Anton plays a fierce Tau force and he placed in the top 25%. Here's his report on the action:
I didn't take any pictures, but I can give you a brief battle-report of my games:
Game 1: Iron Warriors
12 Terminators, 3 Predators, a Defiler, and some other random ickyness. Only 2 6 man marine squads for troops. I stuck him on sportsmanship for that, but only one notch, and I told him about it.
Overall, I was worried about this being my first game, and having never beaten iron warriors, I thought I was headed for the bottom of the barrel. However, I did a good job of limiting his fire-lanes, I refused flank the hell out of him, so only 1 or 2 tanks had shots in a turn, and while I didn't manage to destroy many of the preds (only immobilized one), I did make short work of the 12 man termi squad and they ran off the board after being taken below half. He didn't spread out well, and I used my mobility to my advantage.
Result: Minor Victory that should have been major because I forgot i got points for my scoring units left.
Game 2: Crusade Marines (various chapters, actually written up that way and well painted, not just thrown together)
Mission: Objective markers
Really friendly. I sat down and his wife was there, and I thought I was playing her for a second. Probably the most easy going and chatty of my opponents. Very basic set up. Lots of 6 man las-plas, 2 dreads, 2 speeders. Very nicely painted. Hadn't played 4th edition much, and I mopped him up. By turn 4 he was off the board except for one dread, and a squad of marines. Did a very good job of using a squad to claim 2 objectives. Tricky. In the end, he didn't have enough scoring units left to claim a victory. I used fish of fury which upset him a bit. I demoralized him completely after that, and after sinking 48 pulse rifle shots into his terminators, he was all but done. The rest was pretty much mopping up. He played a good game though, and his wife and him were very interested in the game and discussed tactics and armies with me the entire game. She was just starting a sisters army and since I am doing the same we were talking penitent engines, repentia, and seraphim all game. It was actually her suggestion that got me to take the engine against scott last monday (so you can blame her for the cheating!)
Result: Victorious slaughter
Game 3: Tau
Mission: board center
I was kind of excited to be playing another Tau player. Much different build than my list. 4 static firewarrior squads, 12 each (but no marker drones), sniper drones, a hammerhead, 2 squads of three crisis suits w/ pods and plasma, a pair of broadsides. He placed the broadsides to one side with a good field of vision. I knew I'd have to sink a hell of a lot of firepower into them to drop them, so I ignored them completely. Limiting their shots as best I could and focusing on everything else. I think that basically won me the game. I infiltrated the Kroot into the woods in the center, but they got picked apart fairly early. I had much more firepower to bring to bear on everything else. We both rolled HORRIBLY this game. More ones and twos than I've ever seen... But it was horrible on both ends... I was able to use my dropped skimmers as cover to advance my suits in the backline. It was kind of an accident, but I couldn't have asked for a better strategy. He dropped one of mine, and I dropped one of his fish, and I used them to block line of sight from his broadsides and other suits and advanced on one side and used my firepower (which wasn't superior at all in this game), and picked apart the firewarriors in cover. The suits were tricky. I only managed to kill one squad, after catching them out in the open and frying them with railgun shots. I deepstruck my drones and almost managed to kill his ethereal with them. Had I done that, I think I would have gotten a major or maybe a slaughter. Only caused one wound on the little bugger though. He tankshocked my broadside off the board... That sucked... but it was kind of funny. I have never seen anyone else use tankshock in a tournament setting, but it's not a bad strategy/technique. Certainly worked for him. I was the only player who beat him, and I think he ended up being the highest scoring tau player, so this was a proud moment for my army.
Result: Minor Victory (I had a lot of stuff in the center at the end of the game, he had nothing).
Game 4: Ultramarines eq.
Mission: Table quarters
At first, I couldn't figure out where the hell all his points were at... he had 3 squads of 6 w/ las-plas, and 2 devastator squads, one attack bike squad, one w/ missile launchers, and one with heavy bolters. I scared him into setting up his HB devastators behind cover. He had two beefed up librarians w/ retinue, and uber powers... It was a bit ridiculous. I made the mistake of not realizing that one was still scoring, and that cost me a major victory... I thought the missile launcher devs would be much more brutal, but I ended up almost ignoring them, and it paid off.
He hid the attack bikes behind cover, and I knew I'd have to do something about it. I deepstruck my commander and managed to kill one, but not the other. I thought i was fucked and he'd get a last turn grab (I took first turn because i had too much in LOS of his lascannons), but I managed to vaporize it with a hammerhead railgun shot on turn 4 when I flanked him. I also vaporized one of the librarians with a railgun when he got too close to my broadside. The broadside took a ridiculous amount of fire, and he had a vendetta against it, which probably cost him the game in a way. He all but ignored my hammerheads for the more lightly armored devilfish and the broadside. They took maybe 2 or 3 shots all game, and were free to flank the less manned side of his board. I picked apart the closest las-plas squads, and got myself into a great shooting position. He sent the terminators into each quarter, and they got chewed up on both sides. He was a weird superstitious guy and had all his dice set to sixes and in nice rows. He also over-measured a lot, but all in all, neither the superstition nor the long moves helped. I only managed to get a minor victory because I thought his other terminator squad was below scoring and didn't sink enough fire into them on the last 2 turns.
Result: Minor Victory
Game 5: Undivided Marines
I went into this game a bit cocky, I'll admit. Recon? I thought I had it in the bag. My mobility had won me at least 2 of my games so far, and I didn't think this was going to be a problem. Boy was I wrong. The guy was the Las Vegas GT winner, and it showed. He played an excellent game, lined up like 10 lascannon shots so that I couldn't hide (it was one of those shitty lava boards), and managed to drop my 2 hammerheads by turn 3. At that point, the game was effectively over. He caught my refused flank, and matched it with a ton of marines. I took first turn and tried to pull a switch and move to the other flank, that was almost empty except for a squad of havocs. Had I been able to pull it off, I think I would have had the game, but he just had way too much firepower to bring to bear on me. Stunned my 1st hammerhead on his first turn, immobilized on the 2nd, and destroyed it on the 3rd. My shooting was abysmal the first turn. I dropped one marine I think. I should have deepstruck all my suits... But I figured he'd have to come to me... He did, but by that point, I had almost nothing left on the board.
My only complaint was his ridiculous lords... on bikes (T5), 4 wounds, 2+ save, 4+ invul. Immune to insta-kill, and feel no pain on every wound... This was the only game I felt completely outplayed though, and he timed everything well. He didn't make a single mistake, and played a great game against me. He got a slaughter out of me, for my only loss of the tournament. He played super fair, and got a deserved victory out of me. I should have deep struck my suits, and not tried to refuse flank him... He was by far the best player I played all weekend, and caught everything I was doing and countered it well. I was going to dock him for the lords, but he played such a stand up and honest game that I gave him the 10 for sportsmanship anyways. At one point he was arguing with me about something that was going to help me (Attacking skimmers that haven't moved, I still think he should have been able to hit them automatically, but he insisted he needed 6's), and it was nice to play someone who wasn't trying to get something over on you (I know we've all had our share of those games). By turn three I was fighting for a minor loss... but didn't manage to hold on.
I had a great time at the GT this year. The games were spaced well apart, giving you a break and not making you feel rushed. My main complaint was some of the uber-powered characters, and really unbalanced lists I played. You couldn't score them anywhere but sportsmanship, and I felt bad docking someone on that if they played a fair game. Also, they need to do away with the shitty lava boards... terrible.
I did much better than expected. I wanted to be in the top 25%, and I think I made that easily. I'm not 100% sure though, because of my slaughter the last game. We'll see when the results are posted.
Thanks for the report, Anton.
Nick Baran had this to say about his Grand Tournament experience:
I was 2 people's favorite opponent. That's the only reward I get out of those stats. I got an average painting score with the army they have directly linked on the GW site to their "What we are looking for" painting examples. I feel slightly hurt.
Also, the tournament winner, Bill Kim, has started his own Blog. Check it out.