By now those that follow the competitive scene discovered, Tyranids won Bell of Lost Souls first tournament. After two days and seven games Michael Strange’s Anime inspired Nids were victorious. Even more impressive is that he lost a game along the way to IG, only to recover and beat the same IG player. My personal feelings about Nids is they are the weakest codex currently. They are a horde army more expensive than Orks and have few tank busting options. From 4th to now there has been one perceived power build for Nids, the infamous Nidzilla! Michael Strange’s list is a hybrid, an all comers Nid list. So how did he win?
I have no fucking clue. I think it is better to let Mr. Strange explain curtesy of BoLS. With my added two cents.
Super Winged Choppy Tyrant
Foot Tyrant, Dual Devourers and 2 Guards
3x 20 Improved (WS, Str, In) Hormagaunts
8 Spinegaunts, Without Number
2x Carnifex – Barbed Strangler / Venom Cannon
Hello all, Here is the battle reports for the Adeptus Mechanicus Tyranids. None of my games were “cake walks”, in fact it was the opposite. I consider myself both proud and lucky to have won in a field of great armies and outstanding players. So hopefully this will answer any questions.
Round 1, was Space Marines. Heavy armor (three predators (auto cannons, heavy bolters), 3 dreads (multi-melta), 6 speeders (mix weapons), three tactical, and for HQ a Master of the Forge with conversion beamer. Our primary mission was seize ground with 3 objectives. This game was fun. Nothing really mind blowing happened in this one. Hive tyrant with devourers likes land speeder squads, even with the AP -. The predators scared me but he liked to shoot at the carnifexs and tyrants more then the guants. Lictor got two of them towards the end of the game. It is my favorite tank killer. Don’t remember much more about this one other then the player (Anthony Baumayr) was great. Very fun game. Points = 34
What we have here is a classic target priority problem for the Marine player. At first glance the Space Marine player has a lot of firepower, but really he needs to focus fire, and I bet this is where he lost. His entire army should be shooting at one thing a turn, then feed Dreds where you have to. Focus all fire on the Guants, they are the scoring units even if they are getting cover saves. The Marine player also did not have any real assault unit, Dreds just have too few attacks to be effective. How much time did the Marine player spend hiding in his transports?
Round 2 was against Chaos Marines, Khorne heavy. Kharn the Betrayer and Greater Deamon for HQs, 5 squads of Khone Berzerkers, 2 Defilers, 1 Land Raider. With this game I figured my luck had run out. I can only stop land raiders if the venom cannons manage to immobilize it and then the carnies or tyrants flip it over. To help me a little this mission was the HQ hunt. You needed to kill their HQ’s before you could get any kill points. I lead with my tyrants, thinking I didn’t stand a chance, while Doug McNaron was hiding his. The thought of Kharn hiding made us laugh, but it was the smart thing to do. I have known Doug for a while and this was my first time playing him and we laughed often. Two things helped me in this match. First was that Doug tried to drive over a barricade and dropped the 1 for the test. Second was he shot my tyrant with guard before charging it and after I pulled the guard he no longer had the charge. The counter charge was brutal and cost him two whole units of troops. Go gaunts! Kharn lost a wound to the lictor who jumped in behind him and then a squad of gaunts finished him off. The greater deamon was more of a fight. I wanted our HQs to fight each other, because I like the challenge. My implant attacked helped me pull it off and in the end got me a high win. Points = 46
What we have here is a poor mission. Not every army has all eternal warriors and the Nids have no problem with keeping a HQ alive. I am sorry, this is where BoLS loses points; it is fine if the HQ is a secondary objective, but primary for winning is just retarded. I would say this is where Mr. Strange got really lucky.
Game 3 scared the crap out of me. Annihilation, Dawn of War, and across form me is another Khorn army lead by Aboddon the Despoiler and a winged prince. On top of that he had two defilers and two land raiders with demonic possession. Only 30 troops but I knew that was not going to be the bad part. He also had a small squad of termies (3) that was deep striking. He placed a empty rhino and his prince on the 24 inch line to push me back then on his first turn jumped backward to his back line. He stayed on his back line and fired his battle cannons at guants and raiders at big bugs while I slowly crossed the board. I was holding back a little because I was afraid of getting charged but there came a point where I just said screw it and charged head long into his line. Abaddon was in a raider and I figured if my winged tyrant knocked on the door he would come out and sure enough he did. This was the point I figured it was over, but the luck hit ma again. Abaddon rolled the 1 for his weapon and could not attack on the charge. I hit him back for two wounds and once again implant attack for the win. The prince killed me after, but it was worth it. The guants held off the troops and the carnifexs flipped over the defilers and raiders. After the dust settled he had 2 marines and a rhino. Great guy (Joe Cherry) and we were both shocked at how things turned out. Points = 41
I think this is a game where Michael out psyched his opponent. We can tell that Joe Cherry was more afraid of Strange’s Nids, then the other way around. Joe should have looked at his list and saw he has Zerkers, Abby, and a Prince. Defilers are not slouchers either! Michael was not the timid player and he was rewarded. This is where charging the Guants and having your walkers ready for the counter charge is very important. Also, CSM raiders should be tank shocking just to move the Nids into bad positions and making them roll 6s to hit. I would have driven those Land Raiders up the Nids guts and make him split his forces, instead of holding back allowing Michael to dictate the terms of engagement.
Round 4 *insert dark clouds and scary music here*. This is the army I thought would tear me in half. It was played by Colby Anger. He had Imperial Guard. Company Commander with a banner, 3 flamers, and a officer of the fleet. Marbo, 4 x Veteran squads, two had 3 x meltas, the other two 3 x plasmas and auto cannons. All where in chimeras with lasers and heavy bolters or flamers in the hull and heavy stubbers. He also had 4 leman Russes. Squad of 2 normal and two independent demolishers, plus two bane wolf chem tanks. Needless to say he had tanks and I had only my venom cannons and barbed stranglers to hopefully stop some of them. To make matters worse, and Colby knows what i mean know, he is the kind of player i really hate to play. Analytical, quite, driven makes it hard to tell when they are having fun. The game started bad and went to worse. I count not hit anything and when i got close to assault did nothing still. After driving his bane wolf’s straight at me I assaulted them with my flying tyrant and a 20 gaunt squad. I did nothing to them. I was hoping for a shaken or something but a total zero. After that it got worse and worse. I did kill his HQ (the secondary objective) and had more terrain so it was a loss but a high point one. Goat boy had come over and checked on the game and we had a small talk about power lists vs. fun lists. lol. I was just happy that game was over and i didn’t have to play him again……….. or would I! Points = 15
This is where list beats player? If ever I saw a horde killer it would be this list. Templates, templates, and more templates! I would have really liked to see this one just to see how Michael came back to win the day later.
Game 5. after the Imperial beat down I was happy to play a marine again. I understand them and the gaunts like the crunchy outer coating. This was a seize ground mission again and spearhead deployment. Bill Zalman’s list was very similar two my first opponent expect he had Vulkan as an HQ. The big thing that helped me here was that he placed all his tanks as close to me as possible. I was happy to see it so my big bugs could get in the fight fast with them. Then it happened, my zoie actually shot something with warp blast and blew it up! This made me happy because all three of them had done nothing all 4 games before of notice. The one thing I did not like about Bill’s army was there was no paint on it at all, except for a couple units. He was a great guy though and the game went quickly. Points = 41
Mr. Strange does not go into much detail, but it is safe to say that his opponent skated through the tourney on the list, not his playing skill. Bunching up tanks and letting multiple assaults is what doomed this player. I imagine an old veteran teaching the new general a few things or two.
Game 6, This is one of those games where you think you and your opponent are having fun, but when it is all over you find out they think you did something wrong but never could say anything to you. This always makes me sad, because there is no way to fix it, but i am getting ahead of myself. I was playing Nick Villacci’s Salamanders and I have to say I was blow away by the paint job. He was really great, i knew this was not his first tournament so I knew I was in for a hell of a game. The mission was pitched battle, capture and control. We both had our bases in the middle back of our own zones. The only armor he had was a Land Raider Redeemer and two Iron clads, plus drop pods. For his set up he spread pretty far across his deployment zone fearing barbed stranglers. Durnign first turn he dropped an Iron Clad into my deployment zone far side into terrain. For just such a maybe I had decided that I should leave my carnifexs in the middle by my base for security while my terrmanguants held it with two zoies just in case. I sent two gaunt squads up the rights side of the board and one left close to the ironclad. I sent the two up the right because it seemed his weakest side with only his scouts spread out in some woods. I figured it would be a good gate way into his base. On turn two his ironclad jumped out of terrain and assaulted the gaunts. This is where he thought I did something wrong. He killed three gaunts and then I moved in 6 inches to try to get closer to him. He thought since the gaunts had a 12″ charge they had a 12″ consolidate. He called the judge and the judge said they only had 6″, this left a two inch gap on the back of his dread in cover. He also dropped a 10 man tac in drop pod in front of his scouts about 5 inches from 20 gaunts. He was not able to shoot many and my turn looked like it was going to be a big one. I sent a canifex with two wounds left (damn lascannons) after the iron clad and the gaunts after the tactical and scouts. The canifex hit the iron clad twice and got two pens but only stuns, he tried to hit the carni and hit once dropping me to one wound. My gaunts on the right assaulted the tacs and scout and due to some bad save chased them both off. Since it was his turn next I did not chase him and instead wanted to heard them off the board giving me a shot at his base. His turn he moved the raider full of termies and vulkan and his tac to the center to hit my last tyrant (my first flying tyrant was shot to death in a vicious unprovoked attack by some green guys in a low riding drop pod, I got no plate number *cry*) He tried to roll morale so that Vulkan could charge my tyrant but he rolled box cars. The termies did kill the tyrant though but set up my biggest charge of the game with my second right side gaunts just behind the now dead tyrant. On the Iron Clad front he missed me again and i penned him twice again and did nothing. We sit and he has his other iron clad on the way. My turn my lictor showed up and i put him in terrain close to his termies. My second canifex charged his raider and 20 gaunts hit his termies head on with the lictor just 1 inch away. With the feeder tendril bonus i wounded the termies 30 times! A personal best. The canifex flipped the raider and the gaunts killed all but one termie and the librairain. From here out that combat in the middle changed things a bit and it looked good for me. Vulkan assaulted the carnifex that flipped the raider and missed him. The carnifex double toughed him. During his turn his Librarian and the remaining marines ran away in a sea of gaunts. The carnifex on the side woke up and in the next couple of turns took out both iron clads which amazed me since I only had one wound left the whole time. The luck helped me again with the failed morales. I liked the game and had fun. I can not speak for Nick though. I am glad he got best painted. He earned it. Points = 47
You know Michael was going to win once he said that his opponent spread himself thin because, of the Barbared stranglers. I have done it, but I have seen my opponents do it more. Do not change your game plan because, of one unit or one weapon. If your strategies have been working do not stop, especially from a weapon that you can still make saves from. Micheal opponent was always responding to him and not the other way around; being passive with an aggressive army. I am sure the rules disagreement also threw off his opponent, but it just seems like Michael out played him.
Round 7, I was shocked to find out that I had to face Colby Anger and his Iggies again. Well not so much shocked as scared to death. He is a great player and I did not realize how close I was to winning the whole thing tell end of round 5. There was a judge at the table almost the whole time. Not to mention a few spectators. I can say this about this game. It was a lot nicer playing him a second time. I think he was so quite the first time because he did not know me. Since our game in round 4 we talked a couple times and we both knew what was on the line. Much to my surprise my carines and zoies hit many times and did their jobs. In the end he had only a totally busted banewolf and a turret less leman. My lictor was MVP with jumping out of terrain and dropping two lemans all by himself. Great game and Colby is a challenge to play. Once his army is painted and done expect to see him all over top 3.
I only wished Michael had talked more about this battle. I really want to know what he did different. I doubt it was just about lucky rolls. I would have liked to know the psychology and feel of the battle. I want to know if Colby cracked under pressure and what Michael learned about this previous encounter. It obvious he did some things different because, for the IG player to almost roll him the first time, then to have him almost table the same IG player in the rematch there has to be more than being lucky.
So to recap I know I did not have a “power” list. Taking advantage of rules vs. war gear. I solved the lack of shooting anti armor with smart assaults and luck. Gaunts can keep a leamn russ from shooting if they assault it and get a OK roll. So in the end I see myself as being very lucky in what I have done. I set out to make an army that was like no one had ever seen before and it be fun to play against and to prove you do not need “power” lists to win. It is a hobby of players and dice and friends, and fun. I hope this was helpful and gets players to think about playing fun armies and units and not what everyone else plays. Thank you all. Off to Germany now…….. see you next year.
I am sure luck played some role, but after seven games I doubt it played that much. It just seems like Michael made an all comers list, and picked the right moments to shine. I am glad he won the whole thing and against “power lists”. For at least one weekend and one tourney the better general, not the better list won the day! In addition, Michael played the missions not the players, which is important he focused on what his Army needed to do to win.
I am curious to know what you all think? How would you of played against his army? How would you have played his opponents armies differently?
And another thing boy does that army look sweet!