Friday, 27 May 2016

Small girl big tournament - My first Northern Open

This was my first big tournament - the only other one I ever played at was the previous weekend at the Just Play event in Liverpool. That was 8 players, this was 28 players. This was also a qualifying event for the UK masters later in the year so I knew a lot of seriously good players would be battling for their spot. Scary times! I went in with zero expectations and my personal target was "Don't get ten-zeroed every game!" I took my vanilla Haq as I have only been playing two months so that's the only army I have at the moment. I'm already eyeing up a second faction if I'm honest...

On arrival the atmosphere was buzzing as people chatted, set up tables and perused Andy's wares from Ragnarok Games (Friendly guy who has a great range at reasonable prices and goes above and beyond with customer service).

Some of Andy's wares. I think the tenth model I've bought since my self-imposed model ban.
The new Reverend Healer was so pretty though and a perfect proxy for Miranda Ashcroft!
Anyhoo, I had never seen so many nice boards, here are some of my faves:

Pete's awesome new board and also him in his formal wear in the background.
I always love snowy boards, I'd like mine to be snowy when I start one :)
Newman's. I love the variety of levels and how everything being hand made helps everything blend in so well.
I like these buildings and am a fan of non-road mats, thought this one was quite cool.
For my first game I was drawn against Luke who is a really good player who smashed my Haq army to bits the weekend before. He played USAriadna. First question from me: "How many orders, probably twenty?" Flipping Ariadna and their stupid super cheap order spamming ways. To be fair, when I first started playing it was with Newman, the world's biggest Ariadna order whore of the lot so it's hardly surprising I have had enough of the never ending camo army by now! 

We got going with seize the antenna. I got to deploy second and I did a realllllly big silly. I deployed a holoprojector L2 chap as a model and two markers, but forgot that Luke had successfully infiltrated with one of those cheap US flamer grunts and tucked him behind a wall. Being vertically challenged, despite having watched him put it there earlier, I forgot it was there, so set up my holos right near it. No prizes for guessing what Luke did as he had first turn! Over 30 points burnt to a crisp by an 11 point grunt! RATS. Lesson 1 of the day though - Grow! Seriously though, double check the surroundings of your infiltrators, particularly for template weapon wielding enemies. Sad times.

Clearly concentrating petty hard!
I hate it when people whinge on about bad dice. 

Firstly, you're playing a game with dice in. You probably even bought your own dice. You knew what you were getting yourself into. Even worse is when people moan about bad dice, when actually they are making poor decisions leaving big negative modifiers applied to their own rolls which mean their odds of winning the rolls are extremely low. That's not bad dice, that's your own fault! You're taking a big gamble and moaning when it doesn't work out! 

Now, in true fickle woman style I am going to moan about bad dice... but... I truly had what can only be described as TERRIBLE DICE this game. I couldn't seem to hit anything even when I was using a shotgun in close range (Rolling on 17s!). I missed with HMGs on burst four in range. We are talking rolling twentys all flipping game when 16s or 18s were required. Can't lie, Luke's crits also upset me a bit but I can't really moan about those. It happens!

The story of my first game... I think all of my troopers were drunk or hungover!
Bullets were shooting everywhere except at the enemy's actual bodies.

Despite my bad luck, Andy is a nice friendly bloke to play a game with so I didn't feel too crappy and I had great fun trying out tricks with my new Ghazi Mutts. Chin up and isolate, that's what I say! I still can't believe my luck - at 5 points you get a chain rifle, E/marat and jammer! The drawback is that they are super-impetuous nutters, but it's worth it for 5 points and I don't judge them for being dramatically over-excitable. In fact, it kind of makes me rate them more as they just go for it every time without being scared. Oh yeah, they're dogged too the cute little mutts. Bearing in mind the E/marat is a teardrop isolater/immobiliser and the jammer is a ZoC isolater with intuitive attack trait, they are not good news at close range for the enemy. I was excited I got to intuitive attack a camo marker the level above me, and also got to isolate two guys out of Luke's link team in one go with the e/marat. Go little Mutts!

Intuitive attacking a camo marker within ZoC with an unmodified WIP 15 is fun!
Don't complain - I paid five whole points for that ability!
I had the last turn and Luke had the central antenna and the one nearest to him. I had kept three cheap specialists in a building in my deployment so I cracked out a ghulam forward observer which had actually been lent to me by Matt as I didn't have enough for my list. He quickly grabbed the nearest antenna, as I knew and Luke pointed out, better to at least get some OPs rather than none! 

I then decided that with the limited number of orders I had left, my only chance was to suicide run the ghulam past two guys on the way and then two covering the antenna on suppression. Poor odds but come on, as I said, I was owed some good dice right? That's definitely how probability works... Anyways, he successfully dodge rolled against two flamer hits in a row as he got past that pesky grunt (you remember the one from earlier who toasted my holos?), made it to the antenna and had one roll at WIP 14 to succeed. Which he did! What a bloody legend! The funny thing was as well, I got Andy to roll for the rifle guy and HMG guy he had on suppression as we needed to do the end game points surviving, and they both missed every single shot! 

So that game ended on 6-3, and any chance of me feeling slightly bad about the insane ghulam run were counteracted by the terrible luck I'd had at every turn prior to that. I was pretty shocked that I hadn't been murdered, let alone actually won a game at a tournament!

What a bloody legend!

Second game I was matched against another Ariadna player, Colin, who brought a vanilla list. We were playing emergency transmission and I was surprised he didn't have too many orders compared to what I expect from Ariadna, although he did have a war cor, and we all know how much gunishment they can cause nowadays!

I had a fiday but couldn't pick where to put it as with Ariadna there aren't too many heavy expensive things to take out and he had lots of specialists and lieutenant options. In he end I opted for a lovely little spot tucked away behind the central antenna prone, which seemed to quite rightly scare him off when it came to it later on!

My deployment. Was quite happy with having a camo infiltrating specialist ready next to the LHS objective up high. Crawled out and grabbed that and re-camoed early doors. You can also see where the Fiday is tucked away prone guarding the central antenna if you look closely.
Not going to go through the whole game as I'm not that good at making it sound interesting bu I will point out a couple of things. My best specialist got stunned by the war cor. LAME. Colin had used the GoGo Marlene model for it which looked cool. You don't get blinded anymore in HS N3 and being stunned is pretty nasty. 

It all got a bit busy around the central antenna in the end with anything Colin tried to get near it getting isolated by a Mutt or shot with a Tuareg. The Fiday just chilled there being scary. Nothing could get LoF to discover it either as it was prone behind that cover.

Did my usual active turn throw smoke on a group of troopers and then pick them off one at a time with my Djanbazan thanks to his MSV level 2. Always fun. 

Good times were also had in my last turn trying to take out Colin's specialist that was near the objective, firstly using smoke to get nearer to him backed up by his two mates and then suiciding him to chain rifle two of them, with both of us providing the narrative as the events unfolded. One died but the darned specialist survived. So I brought on the Ragik spitfire to take him on. He nearly didn't manage it either but he did it in the end thankfully. 

Get rid of that specialist at all costs!
Mission accomplished!
Colin's last turn was something like an order pool of 3 and one of 2, I forget exactly, which he did shift with command tokens but he couldn't do much by that point as his engineer had been isolated and he didn't have any specialists near enough to the action.

"Back away from the antenna!"
I learnt something when scoring this game. I had more consoles and had WIPed the central antenna. I also had the fiday in b2b with the antenna. So thought it was 8-0. I thought that it didn't have to be a specialist in base contact, just any model, because that's what my mate had told me when we played it before. Turns out they'd mugged me off! This wasn't true! My own fault for not reading the mission properly again myself. But it meant the game turned out as 6-0. Still, second game second win, I was not going away from that unhappy!

Colin and I both said we actually had a really fun game as neither of us was super experienced. We both had a falter with the rules now and again - let's just say the war cor had increased chances of hitting a few things she shouldn't have until I asked to check the range modifiers and also I nearly started with a model over my deployment line and noticed just before we began! But also I let him take something back, which he was surprised at because it was a tournament I guess. But I could see exactly what his brain had done and as I said, I'd rather come here and have fun and not be a bitch! It was 100% not one of those dick moves where suddenly they don't like the AROs they get or something, he just slipped up for a second.

Before the tournament I had talked to Newman about my list, what I was taking, etc. We had joked about what would happen if we got matched up, but both dismissed this as he is way better than me and has won lots of tournaments etc, and I wouldn't be up at that level. You can see what's coming can't you? 

I was not happy at all. Newman knew my list and knows me pretty well. He knows how I play and he is way better than me. He always beats me and I was looking forward to playing someone new. Lame! The TO did offer a swap, but at the end of the day I had got to third table on my own merits and didn't want to mess with the matchings, it'd affect other people as well. So I grumbled a bit (OK a lot!) and got on with it.

This table looked awesome but I found it hard to play on due to being able to see under the big overhanging buildings for AROs and LoF etc.
I wish I'd have managed to be a bit more positive about this game, as I think mainly because I was so pessimistic I made lots of stupid mistakes. I had basically written it off before we even started! I isolated someone key early on that I should have of chain rifled instead, which then turned into a super-impetuous magnet which my mutts and bike kept getting stuck underneath (he was on a higher inaccessible level). I forgot to deploy a camo infiltrating specialist which sucked. Newman also killed my lieutenant turn one! He said he hadn't remembered who it was. I was a bit suspicious, but either way he could have a pretty damned good guess either way from knowing my army and me!

My doctor plus I got round to painting. Turns out I have got a lot better since Jazzy Jeff.
She hid in the skip and therefore was one of few remaining survivors!
The only pretty good thing I managed to cause some irritation with was my Djanbazan HMG. I had to take a gamble and leave him on suppression in the middle of the board and he did cause the burning of some enemy orders. What a lad.

Whoa black betty, Djanbazan! I have lovingly painted him so he works hard for me now :)
To say I got absolutely annihilated would be on the conservative side. I was just happy I got one OP! It ended up being 8-1 to him and this pushed me right back down the ranking for the day. for all of my excuses, it's no secret that Newman is a really solid player, backed up by his tournament wins and when he doesn't win he's always top 3.

I came 11th out of 28 overall and I was really happy with this for my first big event (second event ever). For days after I kept realising I came in the top half! I had an awesome experience and met so many nice people. It was quite a tiring day playing against Ariadna three times in a row I have to admit! I have booked quite a few more events and am looking forward to going and playing more games and meeting more players and playing more tournament games against different factions.

The final rankings for the day.
UK ITS rankings :)
Next event is the expo a week on Sunday so definitely need to start thinking about getting my lists sorted for that!

Thanks to the organisers of the Northern Open for doing such a great job and being so welcoming. They also had organised some great prizes including vouchers and other things for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, a prize for two mid-table places, a painting competition and also a nice touch was the wooden spoon had a secret prize attached, which was a ticket plus one to the Gribbley Gaming invitational coming up in June. Must have softened the blow!

The only other photo that catches me playing is the back of me! Credit: INA.
Bye for now!

Entries from the painting competition:
Add caption

Matt Fisher's. Wish I could use an airbrush and freehand this well!
How cool are these! Mike Scarr's
Striking colours!
Love the dogs even though in game they terrify me. Beautiful bases. 
Loved the colour scheme on these - Stunning! 
The very army Luke played against me! Perfect USAriadna.
Just beautiful :)
For the following pics I don't know who to credit. Please feel free to get in touch if you recognise yours and I'll update the post!


  1. Congratulations! Always look forward to your entries.

  2. Good showing! Tournaments are a fun way to socialize with the community see nice terrain/armies and what not. In my head the tournament isn't just about competition but getting a few solid games in a day lol.

  3. Congrats :) and thank you for a very descriptive and entertaining post, you made me chuckle more than once :D
    Keep the good work.

  4. This was really fun to read. I love the brutal honesty "I hate whiners...ok, so I did whine about my dice.."

    My only critique is that I wanted to know more about your list.

    Also, after reading your battle report I'm pretty sure Mutts are my next purchase

  5. Awsome! I want to participate in a tourney as big as this! in my zone the biggest tourney has been 8 players, and was long time a ago.

    You got great tables to play there and also you did score good in the ranking! good ITS :D