PantsOptional’s Road through Crusade, Part 5: A Little Tourney, as a Treat

Welcome back, suckersfriends. As noted last time this is a Very Special Episode, but not one in which you’ll learn any important lessons. I sure didn’t, because that’s not my bag. No, instead we had a one-day Crusade tournament event. After seeing and hearing all of my Goonhammer comrades develop mild cases of Crusade Madness during the US Open just a few months before, I was a little nervous. Sure, I could have done this in my sleep back in the day but I’m an old-ass dude now. Would three back-to-back games prove to be too much to keep track of even with Administratum doing most of the heavy lifting? Would my knees and back crumble into dust after something like nine hours of standing and playing? Maybe.

In what is perhaps the truest sign that this event took place in New England, both Vee and I thought to bring Dunks for the players and staff, and somehow managed to both end up at the same Dunks at the same time to do so without either one of us knowing. The only way that we could have been any more New England about the affair would be to bring Moxie or be unthinkingly racist.

These photos were taken, at most, 25 feet apart.

Fortified with the cheapest and nastiest provisions to be found outside of a gas station at 2 AM, we headed on to our destination, likely also within two car lengths of each other the whole time but completely unaware of it. In the second most New England thing possible, I briefly pondered stopping for a maple soft serve cone despite the obvious snow and ice; if I could’ve done it in cargo shorts and a Pats hoodie I would be crowned King of this realm.

Round One
Let’s… let’s not talk about round one, okay?

Fine, if I have to. Mission one was largely a continuation of the “tunnel fight” vibe from the previous chapter; four tunnel entrances scattered around the 44×30 map allowed Infantry to set up their own little minigame off on a separate map. The difference this time was that the tunnel contained a spicy little tertiary objective that was worth 10 victory points per turn, so there were a lot of reasons to care about it. For this match, it was me against Bo and his Farsight Enclave, whomst you may recall from last time.

Once again I sent the Khorne murder patrol (Adharak’s Reavers) into the tunnels and once again they encountered the Kroot. This time, though, things went a little different as the timing worked out such that the Kroot managed to shoot and charge the Legionaries, who seemed confused by the notion of meal delivery and thus failed to survive for the most part. Their Aspiring Champion, presumably the namesake of the unit, was left on his own to Juggalo through the rest of the chickens. To his credit he survived but to his detriment the Kroot Shaper in the tunnels was able to just sit back and smoke ‘em on the objective without involving himself in the carnage.

Can you find and circle all six things in this picture that indicate just how poorly things are about to go for me?

Up top, things were going significantly worse, and it was all my fault. Because I am a creature of o’erweening pride and also of zero strategic thought, I deployed Scyzhar the Venomcrawler as far forward as possible. Like last chapter, I planned to turn it into a Red Corsair for a turn and rocket it up the table to tie up or mangle whatever it could touch. Instead, the Riptide looked across the table at the only unit it could see and unloaded everything at the poor, innocent Venomcrawler which had never hurt nobody in its life, honest.

The rest of the match played out pretty similarly. I tried Warp striking the Obliterators in to take out the Riptide but all they did was hurt it and attract its attention, so they too disappeared in a hail of gunfire. The Helbrute wasn’t able to do much more than singe its paint. Bo had himself a nice and tidy little kill zone and owned it, allowing the Crisis Suit Commander to sneak around the side and do a little Jumpy Shooty Jumpy to waste whatever the Riptide left standing. Pretty much everything on my side died; pretty much everything on his side lived. If you need me to spell out who won by now I urge you to look into some remedial schooling.

Round Two
With 11 players including myself, someone had to take a bye each round. For Round One that was Vee, but I stepped aside and let him get a game in for Round Two against the opponent that I would have had: Starman and his In theory this meant that I could check out the various games and be Rules Tyrant for the round, but in practice everything went pretty smoothly as far as rules questions and concerns. The mission itself and the chaos that ensued was a whole other story.

Mission two was once again on the smaller battlefield size but unlike the last time deployment was along the long edges. For a brief second I thought “hold on, I could have done better with this deployment” which really just underlined my complete inability to learn anything at all from the events of just a few minutes prior. The middle of the board was designated as “no man’s land” and with good reason. All three objectives were placed in a row in the middle and if that wasn’t enough of an incentive to begin the slaughter, Infantry and units with Objective Secured could take an action to “claim” an objective. These claimed objectives generated victory points for their owner and stayed claimed until the opponent came in and claimed it for their own.

The objective marker being here as a point of illustration is mostly a happy coincidence ; I mostly just wanted to show Peter’s ol-school Necron Immortals in all of their T-800 glory.

But wait, as the home shopping programs say, there’s more. At the end of each Command Phase, one of the three objective markers randomly got bombarded from orbit, dealing D3+3 mortal wounds each time to all units within 6” of the objective. That’s a pretty rough deal considering that’s 3” past the control zone of the objective.

Since I spent most of my time as a wandering judge-tyrant and taking photos I didn’t really get a sense for how many of the matches this round went down, except for the universal opinion that the MVP of each match was easily the bombardment. Entire armies were absolutely savaged by the objectives blowing up real good on them; Supernova, our Sisters player, reported taking a terrifying twenty-two mortal wounds and I can’t imagine that didn’t basically decide the game then and there.

Every human in this photo is about to die. And probably some clown elves, too.

Round Three

Freshly pizza’d and Diet Coke’d, I was ready for round three. According to BCP’s method of determining pairings I was up against Dexion and his all-Kroot jamboree. If you’d been paying close attention, that means that I spent all of December and January playing the same people and same armies. I won’t lie, I loved playing against all three of the Tau players, they’re all great people, but I was really hoping to mix it up a little.That said, I had a great time,and I’d play them again, but maybe after I go up against a few other armies first.

Mission 3 was an all new custom job, picked to match the NFC divisional playoffs happening later that day. The map layout was simple: Hammer and Anvil short-edge deployment zones with four staggered objective markers in the middle of the field. However, the real money was in the center of the table: a special objective that, like the Relic, could be picked up and carried and you could score a massive 40 victory points by carrying the objective to within 1” of your opponent’s deployment zone. As we handed out the mission cards we cued up the music.

Honestly, I didn’t think that I was going to get the chance to play some footbaw here. If I was going to run the ball down to the endzone that meant crossing through a minimum of 46” of Tau fire zone. Without any Transports or tunnel shenanigans, I was exposed for most of that, and this bad boy was staring down the length of the table at me. Hammerkroot? Kroothead? I don’t know what to call it, though I did love it.

In my personal headcanon the missile pods also shoot out smaller Kroot.

The first few turns were, once again, an exercise in why I should probably have left some things in Strategic Reserve. The Venomcrawler was up front because I don’t learn lessons from my actions, and the Helbrute was next to him for moral support. Both of them ate shit pretty rapidly, although the Helbrute managed to stay alive for a little while longer thanks to pretty much all of its battle traits and buffs were aimed at keeping it up. It didn’t really do a whole hell of a lot aside from that, but I have to give it credit for tanking most of two Tau shooting phases after the Venomcrawler curled up its little legs.

The rest of the table saw some interesting developments. One of his Carnivore packs started advancing toward Adharak’s Reavers, but then seemed to think better of it as they pulled back into some difficult terrain. The Reavers, briefly remembering their time in other warbands thanks to Confluence of Traitors, took on the Legion Trait of the Red Corsairs for a turn and absolutely roadrunnered toward the Carnivores. Meanwhile closer to my deployment zone, some Vespid flew down from above and scared the absolute pants out of my cultists, who did a reasonably good job shooting them, all things told. Turns out that going from a 4+ to a 3+ to hit really makes a difference, which no one could have predicted.

By this point I could feel my brain turning into some sort of meat-and-electricity pudding. Rules occurred within my vicinity and dice were rolled, possibly even by me, but their relationship to me was “it’s complicated.” I don’t know at what point I realized that I could win this. I think it might have been after Dexion looked at the score sheet, looked at the objectives, and told me he couldn’t catch up to my score. Like I said: pudding. With the realization that nothing could change the outcome came a great freedom and and a determination that we were now just both going to fuck up the other guy as much as possible. Nothing motivates like spite.

The long and short of it is that Adharak’s Reavers and the Obliterators (Caestus the Worm and Nayas Velkor respectively) had managed to converge on the Broadside. The Legionaries did this by chewing through the right hand side of the board, while the Obliterators simply teleported in behind the Krootside. It’s unclear if they said anything about it being personal, but they definitely waded in and punched the Broadside to death before moving on in the final turn to bonk the Hammerhead to pieces.

Back toward my deployment zone, a pair of Piranhas that had driven in from my deployment zone got perilously close to Kaothol the Sorcerer and he got to show them his cool new fiery face gift from Tzeentch. After beating two Piranhas to death with a stick he turned around to find the Vespid bearing down on him and that was all she wrote both for that nerd-ass Sorcerer and the game as a whole.

I don’t have a good reason to connect this here, I just wanted to showcase these cool tokens and cooler models. Deal with it.

Loose Ends

Starman and Supernova (what a great combination of names) were still duking it out at the end table but they had stopped caring a while ago about the results and were just having a great time. In fact, at the start of the match they decided that neither of them would care about the primary objectives to the point that they actually removed them from the table. Everything was about moving that football now. One of them, whose identity will not be revealed, actually ran the wrong way with the ball for multiple turns and when they realized what had happened they laughed. They were having a blast.

With everything said and done it came time to tally up the scores and figure out who won. Mike and his “totally not Chaos” pseudo-Imperial force won the day; I haven’t faced the latest iteration which seems to have shifted to primarily Chaos Daemons with a heavy Tzeentch leaning but I think Horrors and Spawn might have been a little challenging to deal with on the smaller boards for round one and two. Due to the way BCP awards points for a bye I technically came in second but that felt cheap and unearned to me so I eliminated myself from the running, putting Will and his Orks solidly in second place. Trophies were awarded, door prizes given out, and cleanup got underway.

With that, the event was over. Nothing was left but to clean up and limp home. There was a big crock pot of pulled pork waiting for me at home and I was the kind of tired that required cheap beer and something where I could shut my brain off. Thank you, Vee. Thank you, players. Thank you, Gansett tallboys that I pounded in the shower. Thank you, Giants-Eagles game. Thank you, everyone.

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