|Setting up for round one|
We opened the day with Crusade (Seize Ground) and Dawn of War (Pitched Battle) as the mission and deployment type. We figured this would make for a pretty easy first mission for the day. Everybody has seen it before. Everyone knows what to expect. Theoretically, no rules questions to speak of. It's also a good way to ensure that everyone has a chance to score an equal number of points, since we preset the number of objectives at five. We were operating on wins to determine the Best General award, but because of the number of players, it was likely we would need victory points as a tie breaker. This is what eventually pushed us away from using Purge the Alien (Killpoints) since second round match-ups would favor those that scored more victory points.
|Tau and CSM: Surprisingly well represented|
Our final mission was The Relic with Hammer and Anvil as deployment type. We had judged this mission to be the most likely to produce a winner, while agreeing that we didn't want last editions "roll dice and tie" or The Scouring (because that most definitely is the worst designed mission, whether playing competitively or otherwise). You may note that there are only six points available in this mission. That was also an intentional decision. The hope was that most of the points for establishing yourself as the top contender needed to be earned in rounds 1 and 2, while round 3 would be focused solely on winning. Additionally, it meant that tanking your score to get an easier round three opponent was mighty risky. Because of this, we felt like we could pair the best players of the day against each other with everything riding on just that one game. Again, things turned out how we hoped, with one of the top table contenders winning his mission going away.
|Wolf on Wolf action. Those on the left would take best painted.|
Interestingly, the field was incredibly diverse. Seventeen players showed up with twelve different armies. Miracle of all miracles, none of them were Grey Knights. The most represented army was Tau (3), followed by Chaos Marines (2), Blood Angels (2), and Space Wolves (2). Not counting Deathwing, only seven of the entrants were power armored armies.
Maybe interestingly, we tracked First Blood victory points against first turn. The results may not be what you might have thought. Out of eighteen games (we counted the first two rounds), ten of them resulted in the player with first turn getting first blood, and that figure includes a couple games where it was not earned on the first turn. That is a majority, but hardly the runaway number some may have expected. Granted, I would not consider this population normal, so I hesitate to say we've achieved a statistically significant figure, but it could be interesting if you're a stats nerd.
More pictures and such to come...