Warhammer 40,000 Doubles – Event Report (Magnus did nothing wrong)

Eddie and Andy recently went to the Warhammer 40,000 Doubles Weekend, so we caught up with Eddie to tell us how it went:

Eddie: If you’re a regular reader, you might remember a few weeks back I wrote an article on how much I love playing doubles game of Warhammer. Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend Warhammer World‘s first Warhammer 40,000 doubles event and it was a blast – here’s what happened.

For our armies, myself and my partner Andy (also from the Warhammer Community team) pledged ourselves for Chaos. I mentioned my last article that there are two ways to assemble a doubles force: one where both players meticulously plan what they’ll be bringing, unify their basing scheme, and optimise their armies to counter each other’s weaknesses on the tabletop… then there’s the other kind. With the decision to attend the event taken 10 days beforehand, this was the other kind.

Luckily, we both had armies in the works for the new Warhammer 40,000 already, and as it happened they combined to make a formidable team.

My half of the 2,000 points matched play force consisted of Magnus the Red leading a combined force of Tzaangors and Tzeentchian Daemons. While Andy brought two Renegade Knights.

With three heavy hitting Lords of War at the fore of our force, backed up by durable infantry and psychic shenanigans, we were ready to face all the horrors the 41st Millennium could throw at us.

In our first game, we faced Richard and Ben’s beautifully painted Ynnari force, an effective combination of Craftworld jetbikes with Shuriken Cannons* and Commorite flyers backed up by a towering Wraithknight.

The deployment was Spearhead Assault, so we were starting very close to each other, but with room to deploy forces further back if needed. We went all-in and deployed Magnus and our Knights as close as possible, wrapped in a protective line of expendable Horrors**, while they deployed their own Knight forward, but held the flyers at the back of the battlefield.

We got lucky in this game, seizing the initiative and catch their army off-guard; we managed to take down the Tantalus in a single turn. It was a blow the Ynnari never really recovered from, before the real pivotal moment when one of own Renegade Knights fought the Eldar Wraithknight blade to blade, and cut down the xenos construct in a titanic combat at the centre of the board. The missions at the weekend were all Maelstrom of War, so thanks to those early blows, our army was able to dominate the battlefield and scoop up most of the objectives when they came round. In the end, it was a solid victory.

As opponents from the second game onwards were set based on Victory Points earned, we found ourselves at the giddy heights of table one, up against Simon and Sean’s Astra Militarum and Ynnari force (also a Dreadknight). These guys had done really well in their first game and brought a well rounded and lethal force.

Deployment for this mission was Vanguard Strike, meaning there was a big distance between our forces and the deadly, long-ranged Astra Militarum artillery, though we both also had plenty of fast units to take the fight to the enemy.

We started well with the Knights advancing, the Heldrake tying up the Leman Russ, and Magnus managing to engage and destroy the Ravager in combat thanks to Warptime – a psychic power that effectively lets him move 32″ in a single turn and then charge! He bit off a bit more than he could chew though, as he found himself counter-charged and all but slain by the vengeful Aeldari combat specialists, led by the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar and Wych Cult leader Lelith Hesperax. Reduced to just a handful of wounds, the mighty – if overconfident – Daemon Primarch was forced to retreat, leaving the Renegade Knights to do the rest of the heavy lifting.

They were more than up to the task, however, and waded in to dish out death both at range and up-close with those fearsome Reaper Chainswords – another victory.

In game three, we faced a combined Imperial force – Astra Militarum and Custodian Guard led by Saint Celestine herself. This battle was hard fought, and casualties were high on both sides. Highlights included Magnus falling in the second turn to the withering Punisher fire of Tank Commander Pask before he, in turn, was crushed by a Renegade Knight, and the Living Saint was ingloriously pulled from the sky and ripped to shreds by a feral herd(flock?) of Tzaangor.

In the end, our Chaos alliance secured a narrow victory.

Our 4th game of the event, and the first game of day two, saw us face the Living Saint again*** this time at the head on an Adepta Sororitas strike force and Imperial Navy contingent. Chris and Matt, who commanded this army, were very canny with their deployment, using ranks of infantry to make charging optimum targets impossible, forcing us to work hard for every kill, all the while dishing out horrific firepower with their Vendetta gunships and Exorcists tanks. Magnus was the star of this battle, and he took pretty much a whole army’s shooting for 2 turns before he dropped, aptly slain at the last by a blessed bolt round from the Canoness. By that point, though, we were firmly in control of most of the battlefield’s objectives and the game was ours.

Oli and Louis were our opponents for the final game, commanding a force of renegades and traitors with some really nasty tricks in it. This was another very close game, and one where the Maelstrom cards were pretty kind to us. The highlight of the game came as we received the Priority Order card for our Warlord to Slay their Warlord in single combat. Magnus the Red obliged and cut down Khârn the Betrayer with a contemptuous swing of his ensorceled glaive.

Elsewhere, the battle didn’t go as well, with the bulk of our infantry falling to renegade artillery, and one of our Knights exploding after a continued psychic onslaught from a coven of Malefic Lords. In the end, though, Magnus and the remaining Knight did enough to secure a final victory.

After 5 games, we were lucky enough to finish with 5 victories, some much closer than others. All in, it was a great event and lots of fun. Here are my main takeaways from the weekend:

1) Magnus is amazing.

He is a Daemon Primarch, so you’d expect him to be pretty handy in a fight, but he’s far more than that. His speed, combined with his psychic clout and aura-bonuses for nearby units makes him the solution to pretty much any problem a Thousand Sons army might face. Be warned though, he’s not invulnerable. Even in games we were winning we lost him to combined firepower, and being a massive crimson cyclops that towers over most tanks and terrain, he’s pretty hard to hide.

2) Getting the best from Renegade (or Imperial) Knights means getting stuck in.

You pay a lot of points for your big guys – around 500 each, so if they aren’t doing damage to a thing every Shooting and Fight phase, you’re losing out. If you want something to sit in your deployment zone and pound the enemy with firepower, there are probably better options for fewer points, like tanks or artillery. Speaking of which…

3) Tanks are back.

From the humble Rhino to the largest battle tanks of the Imperial Guard, these all now have a place – I have a newfound respect for the Astra Militarum Battle Tank, (as does Magnus after one blasted his incorporeal essence back to Sortiarius****).

4) Infantry win games.

We had a lot of fun flying a Daemon Primarch around the battlefield and smashing stuff with Renegade Knights, but in these Maelstrom of War games, it was our infantry, in the form of Tzaangor and Horrors, that scored us more points across the weekend – holding objectives and racking up the VPs. Don’t underestimate the little guys.

*Scatter lasers are so 2016

**Sorry Horrors, at 2pts each, what did you think you were for?

***Typical Celestine – you think you’ve killed her and she just pops straight back up again.

****That’s not the first time he’s been broken by a Leman Russ… (Magnus did nothing wrong.)

If you fancy going to a doubles event yourself, they are a really fun way to play. If you’re lucky enough to live close to Nottingham in the UK, Warhammer World runs them regularly. If you’re based in America, there are loads of independent doubles events over there too, from the long-running Adepticon Team tournament to the newly announced 40k doubles event for this year’s Las Vegas Open, tickets for which go on sale later this week. Wherever you are in the world if you can make it to a doubles event like this, do it – you’ll have a ball.

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