One Man's Journey to the Atlantic City Open

So you made it to a Super-Major tourney. Great for you, now what can you expect. I will share some thoughts about playing in a very tough environment.


I went to the Atlantic City Open, run by the same guys who produce the Las Vegas Open, little known fact, Reece has been running major tournaments long before I started playing in them. I first meet the team at the Bay Area Open, at the time it was a massive event with hundreds of players coming to play 40K. Ok, back to the ACO, the event was held in the massive convention center in Atlantic City.


Imagine a very large building, then expand that by at least double. It had three floors, but each floor was at least 40 feet tall. Now the room itself was thousands of feet of open space. Over 150 tables were set up for the 40K champions matches. Six games initial, with a follow on three games for the lucky final eight. I did not make it to the finals, no real surprise as the room had many Gamers and I am a Hobbyist.


What is the difference between a Gamer and Hobbyist, intensity and a razor sharp focus on the business side of playing competitively. I am a Hobbyist, who likes to play, see the painted armies (which are amazing to see) and spend time socializing with all the other players.

Each game was fun for the most part. I played six rounds in two days, if you have never done this, it can wear you out standing for 12 hours, rolling dice and planning your next move as the game develops. I went 2 wins, 1 tie, 3 losses, not great but not bad.


So you want to know about the games, well the first round was against the dreaded Drukahi, Kenny had a beautiful Army and he knew how to use it. Immediately the Raiders, yes many of flying attack vehicles came forward. I immediately keep my forces behind what little cover I could find and hoped for the best. I decided I would play the long game, get all five rounds in. I knew I could not stop Kenny from moving around the board but I wanted him to move around the board.


Secondaries, Linebreaker, Pierce the veil, while we stand we fight for my Grey Knights. Kenny had Deploy Scramblers, Engage on all fronts, and Assassinate.


The game played out, he killing anything he could engage, me counter striking as much as I could. A few of his Raiders blew up, Lascannons tend to make things blow up. He played a wonderful game, I was able to use the Teleport ability of the Grey knights to strike in his deployment zone, take a few objectives and turn the tide turn four and five. We ended the game in a 90 to 90 tie, again great game with a great player.


Next round was against Dale and his Adepta Sororitas (Sisters). So when your opponent comes to the table and tells you they only got to round two of five, go find a game clock and ensure you use it. Dale played a good game, but at the end of round three he was out of time and I had 14 minutes left. Again this is a long game for me and I look to score in rounds four and five to swing games. I was able to push the sisters off of the objects, it was a hold two, three, more game so to score at all you needed two objectives. Since he had no time left, I moved around freely, took objectives, scored secondaries and won the game. Score 71 to 42 Grey knights win.


Next was my best opponent, Jason played Deathwatch. He is a worthy opponent and I am lucky to have scored any points. Jason shut down the back field with excellent placement of his forces, robbing me of scoring and playing my hard push for rounds four and five. He has wonderful models, a unique paint scheme of yellow and black which made his Deathwatch standout. He used his heavy hitters and shot up my forces, kept me out of his deployment zone and just controlled the game from start to finish. If your going to be handed your head, at least Jason did it with grace and spent a lot of time teaching me strategy and the analytics of the game. Jason’s strength is his analytical mind and planning out how to score while denying his opponent the chance to score. The Greyknights Lost with a 86 to 44 score. Jason was kind enough to drink with me and explain how I could have done much better with better secondary choices. My best match at this event.


Fourth game was against Dark Angels. It was a seesaw match, and while a lost for the Greyknights a respectable 83 to 91, better secondaries and board control would have made a difference. I am sensing a trend here.


Fifth game, Frank brought Chaos, not just Chaos but Chaos Deamons to a match against the Greyknights: Deamonhunters. While he had a great plan, kill my Greyknights, move his two Primarchs, yes both Mortarion, Daemon Primarch of Death Guard and worshipers of Nurgle and Magnus the Red, Primarch of the Thousand Sons and Deamon Prince of Tzeentch, and he added a third Greater Deamon to keep it lively. My plan was to kill the Primarchs and Deamons, which Greyknight can do pretty effectively. We played the match, he striking down Greyknights but I was able to kill his three big bads and pushed the game into my favor. Greyknight win 55 to 47. Frank did an excellent job and knew his army and was able to even bring back whole units because of the Greyknight rule for Deamons, unending hoards, not fun but still a great game.


Last game was against Spacewolves. I should have done a lot of things different, taken different secondaries for sure and keep score and used a chess clock. The Wolves won in the end, with a dominating score of 77 to 43, Greyknights lost. I am sure some Wolves are drinking mead and celebrating their victory against the oathbreakers (plug for a Greyknight/Spacewolf book The Emperors Gift).


So scores are just numbers. What I can share with everyone is the fun I had in playing, talking about the games with fellow hobbyist and having a chance to watch some of the best Gamers in the world play against each other. The event was exciting, full of people and games and also a great venue to meet new people and play your army against someone fun for the most part. I commend Reece and his team, because it took a team to pull off this event, for running another successful Super-Major Tournament.


Warcry: "We are the hammer!" or "I am the hammer, I am the right hand of the Emperor, the instrument of His will, the gauntlet about His fist, the tip of His spear, the edge of His sword!"


Dr. C

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