Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dropzone Tournament - EndGame in Oakland, CA

by Novus

This last weekend I attended the Spring Dropzone Commander tournament at EndGame in Oakland, California. The tournament was full, but one of the EndGame employees, Steve, did me a huge favor by giving me his reservation at the last minute. Thanks, Steve!

EndGame has a very active Dropzone community and with 14 players in attendance, this was probably the largest Dropzone tournament held on US soil, to date. If you're in the area and would like a pickup game, you could drop by on a Tuesday night and you'll likely find a Dropzone game in progress. They also have a great Facebook presence, too.

The tournament was set up using the Hawk Tournament Guide: 1500 pts, Clash level, and three rounds. Seeing as the latest game updates were released by Hawk the day before, it was decided they would not be employed for this event.

First Game

My first game was against Chris Loomis and his Shaltari, whom I met at the LVO two weeks ago.  He was actually the guy who told me about this tourney.  Thanks, Chris!

The mission was Targets of Opportunity.  Chris and I fenced around quite a bit on this one.  I did score some early kill points by dropping a building with some of his troops in it and destroying his close-in objective.

Chris got his first objective on his first roll and got it off the table turn 4 but not until after some trouble from my Athena.  She merely delayed the inevitable, though, but she did give him something to think about.

He began with a similar strategy but, seeing as I killed his close in objective super quick, I completely ignored my close objective and pressed in close to try and capture 2 of the three center-line objectives.  It was a good plan except for one thing: I had to successfully roll to find an objective.  I rolled a total of 7 times between two squads over 4 turns to find the objective, only finding it on turn 5!  But, I did finally find it and get it off the table.

I tend to do a lot of damage with my army, but have a bunch of trouble playing to the mission when I roll like this.  I think the final score was 2 to 3; we both got one objective off and he found another but was unable to remove it from the battle space in time.  I lost the mission but won on kill points.

Final: 9 to 11

Second Game

Turns out that because of our near tie, Chris and I should have played against each other again. But, Mike the TO, adjusted the pairings to give us different opponents. I drew Michael and his great looking Scourge force. The mission was Secure the Flanks.

As I see it, Michael had two problems this game: absolutely horrendous rolling (really horrendous, I complained about mine last game, but compared to Michaels, it was pretty good), and only having maybe a half-dozen games under his belt, if I remember correctly.

Michael was aggressive, as you should be with Scourge, and had a decent plan, but his unit drops and target priority were a bit off. I think the problem with his drops is that he set his skimmers down too deep in my territory.  I was able to drop the Zeus and the Odin nearby at the end of the first turn and then win initiative. His skimmers, having not yet skimmed, didn't last long after that. He also decided to attack my Sirens head-on with his Razor Worms, which also didn't go well, but as he said, was the best chance he had of killing them in CQB. After those two set backs I think he was on his back foot psychologically for the rest of the game.

I was also able to drop a 30 point building with the center objective in it in two turns using my Hades, my Athena, and a Taranis squad, killing a squad of Destroyers and one of three Reapers. I learned, first hand, how devastating destroying a building like that can be at the LVO, and set my list up to do that if I needed to at this event.

From turn two onward, Michael was on the defensive. My Sirens were able to defeat the Worms and remove the objective on my side of the table. I was also able to shoot down his transport with my Athena and keep him from getting his objective off. He did have it in his possession, but he was maybe one inch from getting it off on turn six (we had to stop at Turn 5, if I remember correctly).

In regards to focal points, we both pretty much ignored the one on my left and piled everything we had on the right one. But, with my command squad standing on it he just didn't have enough surviving points to win this one. Also, on turn six my Athena screamed in and (luckily) killed the only Prowler in range to capture the other largely unattended left side focal point, which neither of us scored any points from.

I won on both the mission and kill points. I think the final was 17 to 3.

Game 3

Well, Chris and I had similarly good second games so we ended up playing each other again.  This time it was a rural environment with Land Grab as the mission.  Chris and I appear to be fairly evenly matched, skill wise, which is really cool, but I was pretty sure this would be an uphill battle for me and my PHR, and I was right.

I did almost kill his Firedrake on turn 2!  I had it down to 1 DP via my Helios and Phobi but ultimately ended up losing my Athena to his AA when I misjudged the firing distance, thus missing his Firedrake, and then she got shot down.  It was a calculated risk that, if successful, would have been well worth it.

I left all of my troops in To The Deck'ed Tritons until Turn 5 then used them to secure my focal point in the "home forest."  Turn 5 and 6 got interesting when he materialized a squad of troops and two AA Yari's near my home FP.   I did end up gunning them all down (BTW, Sirens are surprisingly good at killing light vehicles) but for one lone Yari.  Giving him an extra VP for being within 6".

He scooted his troops up to take the left-hand FPs.  I ended up hitting them hard with indirect fire from both the Hades and my Taranis' and wiping them out.  My Hades did end up contesting this FP but with his commander on it, I didn't have enough points to win it.

We both also ignored the center FP for the entire game.  I did end up losing this one because of some good shooting on his part.  I only had one Helios on it when Turn 6 ended while he had about 3 units available.  Had I rolled better on Turns 5 and 6 with my Hades, my Helios would have been enough.  Damn skimmers!

My right-hand FP was a battle between my Command Squad (Zeus and Odin) and primarily his big Caiman.  I did end up winning this one because my Phobi had it pretty well covered with AA and he had a hard time getting gates near it.

So, I lost the mission but won on kill points.

Final: 9 to 11

Overall Standings

It was a very fun event and may have been the largest DzC tournament held in the US, to date.  We had 14 players and this is how the standings shook out...

Last NameFirst NameArmyGame 1Game 2Game 3Total
  1. Tony brought home First Place, only failing to secure 4 of a total 60 tournament points!  He also won Best Painted!  Congratulations Tony!
  2. Kyle, it's great to see PHR in the top three!  Well done on your 2nd place showing!
  3. Ian, it's also great to see a Scourge player in the top three, as well!
There was a lot of Prize Support, too!  Much of which was donated by GSI.  Nearly everyone walked away with some sort of raffle prize!

The next Tournament will be in the summer, so keep your eyes open and come join us on Facebook!

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  1. Excellent! Looks like a great comp. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, it was a fun event. If you are in the area, come by!

  2. I'd love to, but I'd have to win the lottery so I can afford a holiday to the US, flying out from Australia. LOL


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