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Monday, March 23, 2015

Warhammer Conquest: A Tale of Two Tournaments

In the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to play in two great Conquest tournaments! Let me preface this by saying my memory for how games went is pretty poor. So to all of my opponents - I am sorry if I got any details wrong! What I do remember is all of my games have been fun and all of my opponents have been very cool dudes.

Thanks to the aforementioned terrible memory, I will work backwards, starting with the most recent tournament! While my good friend Eric Lott and I were attending Cold Wars (a miniature wargaming convention), he randomly found that a game store just 9 miles away was running a Conquest tournament on Saturday. With our schedules miraculously clear we decided "Why not?"

March 7th at Six Feet Under Games in New Holland, PA
I took a Ragnar Deck shapred by the careful tutelage from the great Davis Kingsley (who took 2nd place at Worlds with a Cato deck). Listen to Davis' wise words on the excellent Conqast podcast.

Here is the deck I ran:

Army (32)

4x Blackmane Sentinel
3x Blood Angels Veterans
1x Daring Assault Squad
3x Eager Recruit
3x Honored Librarian
3x Iron Guard Recruits
3x Ratling Deadeye
3x Rogue Trader
3x Sanctioned Psyker
3x Tactical Squad Cardinis
3x Void Pirate

Attachment (4)
1x Frostfang
3x Promotion

Event (11)
2x Blackmane's Hunt
3x Crushing Blow
3x Drop Pod Assault
3x Indomitable

Support (3)
2x Catachan Outpost
1x Ragnar's Warcamp

The tournament was held at a fantastic game shop called Six Feet Under Games. They had everything you want in a game store: clean, well lit, well stocked facility and staff that was above and beyond friendly and helpful. In fact, because the tournament only had 4 players (the bare minimum to matter!) they just divvied up all of the prize support - I left with more alt art Leman Russes than I knew what to do with! Big kudos to them for running an excellent event.

Round 1: 
My first game was against a great opponent named Fahim who seems to be really helping drive Conquest in the area. I definitely hope I get to play with him again in the future! He was running a Cato deck. The planet setup ensured that it would be a bit of a long game, as they were fairly well spread out. Thanks to my Astra Militarum allies I was able to gain a slight edge on the Command Struggle, but not by much. I played the bully game with Ragnar, and won a handful of planets early on - but only after Fahim hit me with two Eager Recruits at planet 1, scoring 4 damage on Ragnar on turn one and winning the planet! Ouch! Fahim and I both had every Space Marine trick in the book flying furiously: Drop pods, Indomitables, and Crushing Blows all over the place! I stacked the pivotal planet fairly aggressively as the end approached. I was a bit nervous he might have an Exterminatus, but by that time my command struggle wins were fairly strong and I could've recovered from a planet wipe. In the end, Fahim called it as it was clear I would take the winning planet.

Round 2: 
The second game was against Eric, who was running a Cato deck I am very familiar with! So much Space Marine love on this day! Both Eric and I had TERRIBLE opening hands after taking a mulligan. Neither of us had more than one unit on the board - it was weird. The first few turns went very quickly until we both managed to draw some units. In the end, I think I had slightly more units and was able to capture a winning planet, without a lot of fanfare. Mostly, it was like a slap fight until some actual combat units made an appearance!

Round 3: 
My final game was against Matt, who had gone 0 and 2 so far, but since there were only 4 players,
the organizer made the call to just have everyone play everyone. We were all in agreement! Honestly, I won this game on the opening hand. While I don't remember what it was exactly, I do know I played 6 of the 7 cards, and won command at 4 of the 5 planets - AND sent my Warlord to his planet where we tied for the 5th. By the end of the first round, I had a heap of resources and cards and he was struggling to keep up. Matt was running Eldorath Starbane, and I guessed right with Ragnar a few times, plus saw Frostfang make an appearance. In the end, I think had Eldorath 1 damage away from death when I won the 4th and final planet.

In the end, with 3 victories, I managed to win the day! Everyone who played got tons of cool swag, and I got a 2nd plaque and mat. This tournament was so worth the minor detour!

Deck Thoughts: This Ragnar deck was very strong. I never felt like it was under-performing, even when I had lousy starting draw. I rarely worried about hunting the enemy warlord, but allowed my opponent to be intimidated by that ability. The deck dominates the command struggle with the AM allies, and the SM battle tricks let it perform very well. It lacks shield cards a bit, but I rarely found that to be a major detriment.

February 28th at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD
Just a week prior, Andrew and I drove up to Glen Burnie and met up with our friend Eric (the same Eric from just above!) to play in their store's tournament. The dudes I met in my first tournament also made the trek, along with some fresh faces for a total of 10 players!

Games and Stuff is another fantastic Game Shop, and I will happily make the trek back anytime they run a Conquest event!

For this tournament, I was running Eldorath with Dark Eldar allies. I had been practicing with Eldorath/Tau but made a last minute decision to switch to Dark Eldar. I really regretted that decision as it very much cost me in command! I also made another last minute decision to try including both Warlock Destructor AND Black Guardians after listening to the Conqast podcast, and found the Black Guardians really left me wanting with their lack of command - as most of the hosts predicted! Still, having already won a regional buy, I was happy to see it as an experiment.

Round 1: Just like Round 3 of my previous tournament, I played my buddy Eric using Cato! This was a very quick game, as capturing almost any combination of the first 5 planets could win you the match. I had a strong opening hand with good command, and aggressively went after the first 3 planets. I was feeling good with Eldorath coming out of this game!

Round 2: I was playing against a somewhat new player who's name escapes me. He was running a Ragnar deck that was very similar to (if not identical to!) the deck I settled on for the tournament above. This was the complete opposite of my previous game - he out-commanded me and won the first 3 planets without much problem. I did make one major miscalculation - I used Empower as a shield instead of playing the card outright. Pending whatever combat tricks he had, I possibly would have won one of the pivotal battles had I not shielded with the card (I realized the mistake about 10 seconds later!). Still, he was ahead on command, and building up quite a warlord train. It was a great game, but drawing into 2 Black Guardians in my mulligan meant I started the game on my backfoot with
command, and that's often hard to recover from!

Round 3: I played against John, whom I played in my first tournament. This time around he was running Dark Eldar. I remember this game being quite tense and very close, but I don't remember many more details! I know I managed to pull off the victory, though it was very up in the air for a bit there!

Round 4: Was against Alex who was also running Kith. This was a fairly close and tense game much like the last one, but Alex pulled off the victory at the pivotal planet due to some very well played Archon's Terrors. Alex was dominating command which was tough to recover from, though I think I at least put up a good fight!

In the end, I was 2-2 which was not enough to make the cut into the top 4! Because we had long drive home, we went ahead and rolled out before the top 4 started, but we know our friend Ben running an Ork deck won the whole shebang - which is awesome!

We had a fantastic time, and I had 4 great games. I really liked all of my opponents!

Deck Thoughts: I made a last minute game time decision to add in Black Guardians which REALLY hurt me on command. In hindsight, that card was not at all worth having in the deck, and really hamstrung me. I love the Eldar deck, though, and plan to revisit it soon!

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