Hello internet. I have something slightly new for you this week. This last weekend I found out on Friday night that there was going to be a small RTT
held at a game store that is only about a 30 minute drive away on Saturday. I play almost all of my games in people's homes, and there has not been much in the way of a tournament scene this year. I happened to have my Saturday free as a major responsibility had been postponed for a week and so I decided to go.
The great thing about going to tournaments is that it is an opportunity to meet new people and face armies and playstyles that are different from what I am used to. I really appreciate the group of guys I play with all the time, but when you are only playing against the same dozen guys or so you get into specific trends and metas. I am eager to see how my army does in the wild.
Now going to tournaments is different than playing casually at a buddy's house. As mentioned, you will be playing against people you probably don't know and so you are not going to be familiar with how they play or what tricks they normally have up their sleeve. Also at an event you will be on a strict clock for the round. This means you can't play at a more leisurely pace where you really think about every move. The combination of unfamiliar environment and time pressure means that you are much more likely to make "stupid" mistakes that you would never make in a home game. This is why it can be helpful to get a good amount of practice in with an army before you try and play it in this sort of artificial environment. Both players are under the same pressures, and in my experience both players are more likely to make mistakes while playing in a tournament.
will run their event a little bit differently, so it is good to find out if there are any specifics to the event that you are not used to. Also, in my experience, tournaments will have very different terrain to what you normally will use in a home game (less terrain at a tournament, typically). Also at a tournament you might get tables which are large set pieces that look great but my provide very strange rules interactions or lopsided battlefields.
Now that I am older my life has changed and now I have responsibilities that make it difficult to take off entire weekends and travel just for a hobby. It is easy to head over to a buddy's house for four hours after work and play a game and hang out. It is a different thing altogether to plan travel and take time off to go to a large event, even if the world was normal. I don't often go to events, and when I do I typically only make it to small RTTs
within an hour's drive or less of where I live.
The event this weekend was the smallest one I have attended yet, which in some ways was quite nice. There were only six people at the event total. Three of the others I did not know at all. Two of the people there are some very good, locally well known ITC players I have played a couple times at other events, but neither of them are in my particular play group. One of the ITC players I've been told was in the top 10 custodes players in the last ITC season and always brings well painted armies. The other player I believe did very well last season with mixed imperium faction, which I am told was the most competitive category. Both gentlemen have won multiple GT
or larger events each in the past, they both regularly attend tournaments so they have a lot more tournament experience than I do, and they are both known locally as strong players. I believe I have been told that both were in the top 300 for overall ITC last year.
Last year, at small events like the one today I would not normally run into players of this caliber, as they would be off traveling playing at the larger events being held. It speaks a little bit to how few tournaments are being held that you get players like this at such a tiny event. Still, three of the players here I've never played before, and of the two more locally famous ITC guys one I have only played twice in the last two years and the other I have played against four times in the last two years. So I will indeed get to have three games outside of my play group, which was my only real goal for this RTT
For those that have read my previous work, I am again taking a slightly different version of the list today. I am in the middle of preparing for a major move and so many of my models are already packed up in boxes and unavailable. I also only learned that this RTT
was being held for sure the night before. As such I made some emergency adjustments which, sadly, make this version of the list worse than normal. The biggest change is that without a broodlord I instead took 3 neurothropes and needed to add 30 points to my army. So I "upgraded" one of my mawlocs to a trygon with murderous size. Now this change is bad for several reasons. Dropping the broodlord and taking a trygon means that now I basically can't take WWSWF as a secondary (it would then be exocrine, exocrine, trygon... and I can't really protect any of them). Also dropping the broodlord means I lose the extra cast ability of the resonance barb relic I take. Also, I think a trygon is worse than a mawloc because a trygon needs to get good rolls on dice to work, where as a mawloc always works every time. But, these were the models I had available on short notice so this is what I took.
There are several beautiful armies in the room, and people have been asking me for pictures of the games, so I asked every opponent if they were OK with me taking some pictures while we played. All of my opponent's were very generous and let me take pictures. I will say that the majority of the pictures came out quite poorly. I was trying to play fast and take pictures fast and the combination means that most of the pictures ended up being blurry and unusable. I am still including pictures in each battle report, and I apologize ahead of time for the poor quality. I don't know if I will do this again, but for this set of reports it will at least give people some blurry images of the games.
Looking around the room the strong ITC custodes player is probably the favorite to win this, although I have no idea how strong some of the three strangers are and crazy things can happen at small events. The initial pairings went up and my heart sank a little bit. I got matched against the custodes player round 1! I was hoping to avoid this matchup until later in the day, if I even had to play him at all. We have played twice before, and we each have won one game in the past. Well, I just have to try and do my best. Off to round 1....
Round 1 Battle Report:
Round 2 Battle Report:
Round 3 Battle Report:
So there we go, a tiny but very fun RTT
. At the end I got exactly what I wanted out of the event. I was hoping to play three games against new players and new armies. I got two games against new people and a game against someone I've only played against three times in the last two years. I went from having never played against codex Chaos Space Marines in 9th, to now I have two games under my belt against two very different builds. I really want to thank all three of my opponents for the great games and also for them allowing me to take pictures while we played. I also want to thank the venue and tournament organizer, it is tough to run events of any size in the current environment and the effort it takes to put these on is not lost on me.
I continue to really enjoy Tyranids and I find them to be a very capable army, especially at scoring points. Still, the list I took had some weaknesses that really annoyed me. I'm glad that the fates had me taking a Trygon to a tournament, if only so that it could utterly fail me in 3 games straight and remind me exactly why I don't consider them a competitive choice. Trygons hit a lot harder than a Mawloc, but Trygon's rely on dice. Mawlocs kill next to nothing but they always work. The other problem with the Trygon is it ruins the WWSWF math of my list, a secondary I would have liked to have taken in the second game. Stormcoil and Madcoil, my Mawlocs, shall rise again!
Finally I have some thoughts on terrain. I make comments in several of the reports about terrain. Look, the terrain at the tournament was just different than what I play with in my home games, many fewer pieces and only ruins so no variety. However, I think the terrain was probably pretty typical of what to expect at a tournament. I think the lack of dense terrain made the games much more shallow and easy. But it isn't as simple as saying the terrain was "bad", you have to be able to adjust to whatever terrain you find yourself playing with. In the first two games I seriously outranged and outgunned my opponents, and the lack of meaningful terrain meant that I could sit back fat and happy and just shoot away. Then in the third game I was the one outranged and outgunned, and I had to find a way to play around what little terrain there was. My hope is that more tournament organizers find a way to work dense terrain into their tables, as they make the games a lot more interesting and less shallow and point and click.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think!
Links to my previous battle reports and article, if so inclined.
Initial 9th Edition and Tyranids Analysis:
Tyranids vs Custodes:
Tyranids vs Iron Hands:
Tyranids vs Knights and Admech:
Tyranids vs Daemons and Death Guard:
Tyranids vs White Scars: