by Matteo Thairi
Greetings camerata of the Axis and not!
I tell you, as is tradition for Ammo Drop, what was my experience at the Grief Tournament
Start with thanks, hold on a few more lines!
First of all, I would like to thank Luca Garlaschi for the opportunity to present my report, for logistic support, for the reception in that of Sirmione and for having organized this important event with care and attention to details. Thanks also to the Legio Italica and to Giulio Cazzoli in particular, despite his patience is almost infinite, it was put to the test by us players full of doubts.
Last, but not the least, the now great Pietro Micca Division. With which, I say right now, I share the merit of the victory. Planning, study of missions and evenings spent playing together were fundamental to increase the critical spirit necessary to face Dust‘s competitive scenario. This is a magnificent game that allows, like many others but more than many others, a great sense of belonging and sharing this passion with stimulating, amusing and enthusiastic people like the guys of the Division is without any doubt the biggest victory.
Banning the dull myelisms and let’s start!
First day of the tournament starting from the morning to set up tables and stands. Timely and organized logistics. Magnificent location, I must say that playing in such a context deletes all sorts of difficulties linked to travel. Comfortable and wide tables and plenty of space for miniatures and scenics contribute to giving serenity to the whole. The tournament is set up with the help of everyone. From the Bivacco Vicenza to the Divisione, from the Legione to the “loose dogs”. The collaboration and the desire to play was great!
The tournament is developed in two phases with a narrative cycle that starts from a first predetermined and fixed mission. Following the next two missions of the three remaining are chosen from a pool of missions (previously shared with the community, as well as the first). The last mission will never be seen before and will conclude the flavor route that the tournament organizers wanted to give to this experience. Personally, I really appreciated the variety and complexity of these new missions, where the 12×12 mat gave the opportunity to have a very open field of great strategic value. The care and the detail in sharing the possible missions was maximum and the successful attempt to thematize added value to the event.
Before making a recap of the missions I will tell you my list and my strategic choices in the composition gained during these months of testing.
I Play Blutkreuz and this new format with 165 armed points (150 + 15 bonuses) gives ample choice and variety. I’m quite a neophyte in the world of Dust, but since I was a player of miniatures and board games from all my life I started to analyze the basic mechanics of the game itself to extract the ones that seemed to me best suited to my game. Unlike many young people in the world of Dust, I do not have a thorough military culture and despite some realities it is an impediment; in Dust, paradoxically, it gave me the opportunity to arrive at the essence of some pieces and to exploit their combinations to the fullest.
My game focused on three types of specialists that I categorized; taunt units, practically 60% of the list. These are resilient units suitable for receiving more shots than giving them. The counter units, entered in the list only to counter a particular type of opposing unit that I consider more harmful than others. Finally the take units, the most important. I dwell on the latter so as to make you understand what my reasoning was. Manfred + Sturmgrenadier Engineer an excellent, but expensive unit with great potential for fire and mobility thanks to Move and Fire, Fighting Spirit and At the Double skills. Tanya + San Marco equally excellent, less expensive, very mobile and resilient thanks to At the Double and Defensive Tactics skills. Here these are the two units that go, thanks to their high mobility to take objectives, in the case of Tanya and associates, and in depth in the enemy lines in the case of Manfred. The idea of the list is to use the taunt units to trick the opponent into forcing him to focus on them and intervene with Manfred at the end of the round, when the danger of being wiped out is less. Thanks to a reactivation, assisted by a half command to guarantee favorable statistics, Manfred’s unit has a potential of first round of up to 10 of movement, 20 dice at range 4 against infantrymen 1, a flamethrower and 4 panzerfaust … all in Fighting Spirit, so experts. The slow and resilient Blutkreuz benefit from these blocking units by covering each other’s shortcomings. In 150 points, adding the counter units leads to 16 activations. My list is as follows:
- taunt units
3 Zombie Squad Units with Grenadier x Totenmaister not jointed
1 Grenadier Zombie Unit with Frank von Stein
2 Gorillas Pioneer Units 1 Gorilla Squad Unit and the jointed heroes Wilfred, Jacob and Samnson
- counter units
Heinrich tropical (bk)
- take units
Manfred and Sturmgrenadier Engineer
Tanya and Btg San Marco
Prinzluther and Blutkreuz Command Squad
A quiet mission of ordinary madness.
I play the first game against A. Lentano; a solid and well-painted Spetsnaz list. The primary victory in this map is obtained by discovering the orders placed in a quonset at the edge of the enemy territory. These orders need one action to be read and then completed.
I have the opportunity to comment on the functionality of the secondary objectives, which except in a single case seemed to me balanced and well designed. As a concept, I like them a lot and I hope to see them again in the future. The one with which we found ourselves most in trouble is “scout” due to the difficult nature of the request to bring two units into the opposing deployment zone. During the games I caught several bad moods regarding this secondary mission and its difficult possibility of realization especially for slower armies (without aircraft, super humans or special abilities)
A game of great complexity considering the value of the opponent. This more than others put me in trouble because of one of the great weaknesses of resilient units: suppression. And in this case the Command Team becomes fundamental thanks to a skill often forgotten: Rally. When luck contrasts with reason; the Command (on a vehicle with at least range 3 and 6 health points, damn the Gabro priests) wins, reason is not enough!
The orders in the shed were just 1 out of the 5 secondary missions randomly extracted ;those contained in the quonset of the opposing side would have been worth as primary and therefore those in the nearest quonset to your side would have been your secondary coinciding with the primary of your opponent. I set my strategy trying to reach every possible secondary mission even before discovering it, occupying every possible box and cover with the taunt units. The game proceeds quite slowly, every move is well calculated and the opponent takes his time to ponder at best. In this way it could be a limit for both players because with so many activations and the limit of two hours it rarely goes beyond the third round. The deployment phase rewards me with some good saves on the units that I had aggressively deployed, the gorillas are slow and resilient and resist the impact of the airborne Nikita. In this map it was possible to deploy previously 3 units before the first turn and activate them normally during the first game turn. My choice fell on my anti-aircraft potential to be more effective and to be able to stand up against the three helicopters I was facing. Unfortunately the choice was not one of the luckiest, because accomplice shots of dice below average and my mistake in underestimating the suppressions, did not have the desired effect. However, the resilience of my units came to my attention, saving me from this initial error. The turn continues with small losses on my part, which is normal for my way of playing which involves taking the shots rather than giving them. At the end of the shift, however, what I previously described to you with Manfred is realized. The adversary perhaps underestimates the unit, and perhaps my alignment at the last one has had its weight, but Manfred comes into play and reactivating it in the full of the enemy front takes away two walkers, 1 infantry unit and decimates 2 more , including the command one . A successful second-round win allows Manfred to finish the job. From this point on, I feel I have the advantage, so after reading both orders, I decide to bring the survived gorillas to the objectives (both orders referred to the control of the two types of boxes). The game ends with the last activation of the second round with which I achieve my primary objective.
Abandoned Archaeological Excavation.
Second game against Loki, he plays an army I know and I fear a lot. The hordes of Zombie squads are practically irresistible once they reach the enemy. The mission is to retrieve an artifact in the excavation area in the center of the map and take it to the extraction area at one of the corners of the field. The game starts with difficulty on my part, I am worried because if two armies collide, 90 times out of 100 the winner is the one who has the most hard-hitting units. In this case he was my opponent with his Zombie horde that would have thwarted the resilience of my Gorillas with ease. I therefore decide for a bet linked to reactivations. In a similar way to before with the taunt units I try to deceive the opponent even simulating my inexperience, placing many units without covers and with free lines of sight. The intent was to have all the units with the range to reach the center of the map used in my opponent in the first round. The opponent partially falls into the trap and, due to his mistake in the initial line-up, the perfect situation is created to dare a little more. The BTG San Marco comes into play by penultimate and it with its At the Double skill manages to enter the search area. However, it is uncovered, but thanks to the first trap, only one Hans is left to hit it. Resists with only two wounds inflicted on Tanya. Once reactivated, thanks to the command, it finds the target using both the available actions (this was the specialized archaeologist unit, previously chosen secretly). The opponent is visibly and understandably nervous, following an initiative won by me the second round, I bring Tanya and her marine brigade to safety. I then decide, in order to win the tournament and not to wear down an opponent I felt I had in my hand, to close the game at that moment, trying the last reactivation. I’m lucky, all the dice in the game come in the right way, and I win without having exploded a single blow against the opponent’s ranks and without having used both of the second-placed token previously won.
The second day is that of the real fair, you can breathe the smells of the classic fair events, but my mind already travels on the tracks of Dust; I am starting with a good advantage in terms of victory points, but I fear that the choice of having quickly closed the second game could come back to haunt me. I just hope that the choice of the map falls on something more congenial to my list. With these worries in mind and little sleep behind me, I am going to the tables where once again it is good to see the great participation of all the participants for the setting, and here is the good Caz calls us to collect …
Friendly Fire! Meeting S. Vindrola spiritual heir and material of G. Berruti known as Grabro of the cursed dogs, or dog of a Gabro for the most foul-mouthed (we all love him very much, he has just married and deserves an honorable mention because despite the departure much more that imminent has found the time to come on Saturday to make half a tournament!). I have to face a fearsome army, USMC with 20 activations, two teams of Dogs, Diver and many light but extremely fast vehicles. Its strength is mobility, each unit of its gear list 5 if not 6. Between Move and Fire and Ace the opponent threatened to keep the whole map under control. The primary objective was to exfiltrate Xabaras, a scientist hidden in one of the 4 houses arranged in a specular way on the map, from one of the two areas of deployment. I decide to play this map in a very defensive way. Leaving the initiative to my opponent for the search for Xabaras in the houses, trying to bring my units in range that would have hit the enemy who had found it. I display very few pieces, I try to make the most of the covers this time. Activation after activation we prepare ourselves at the end of the shift. Fortunately, I manage to resist the mortar blows rather well and my opponent underdeploys the Dogs, which I feared a lot, in the field. This gives me the opportunity to dare a little more at the end of the round with the unit that by now you will know more than well. Well yes! Manfred and his clique who, as usual, cause disasters. They enter directly with Move and Fire, and in those that will be 4 consecutive turn, or penultimate, last through reactivation and first and third of the second round having won the initiative (always reactivating the third); they will infiltrate the entire enemy camp by decimating their forces. 2 Demolition, 1 team of Dogs, 1 close with associated Diver and 3 light allied vehicles leave the field. I am in a great position, my opponent is dejected, I still have the entirety of the army, I reduced his by half. Previously he had found Xabaras, but with too few remaining forces he failed to keep him in control, leaving me time to take him and exfiltrate him, thus earning the primary and many army points ( 158). I also managed to conquer the secondary, in fact I had to eliminate at least two heroes in the opposing side, thus obtaining a Black Ops token for the last game of the tournament.
The most important consideration so far has been one: of three opponents no one recognized the potential of Manfred, and the danger which represents once reactivated. That has been the key to my victory so far.
The Battle at the Xabaras camp
“The very bad pool of Xabaras’ laboratory” otherwise called that surprise mission built by Caz of which I don’t remember the title, but in which there was a pool of water on which came a very bad thing evoked by antennas built by Xabaras himself.
The fight in the House of Savoy goes on. This time is the turn of S. Ruzza, or Bruno Patella, if you prefer. In this case I know both the player and his list thoroughly. In fact, I feared that as the map was conceived this would have been the most arduous test. My doubts had indeed a great foundation because of the great competitiveness of the German paràs, a list played masterfully by the good Bruno. The map was a simple deathmatch at 60% of the army points (cca 99) with the possibility of releasing a Cthulhu spawn summoned into the puddle of water at the center of the map that would have issued a Psichic Scream and thrown itself according to a script on the unit considered stronger and closer. The game starts badly. I make my usual deployment mistake and lose my command vehicle. Having the command team wounded, suppressed and activated, a good 20% of my potential was lost. I frown a little, also because a moment after its destruction I had the enlightenment of how to deploy it to avoid being hit. After a first moment of adjustment, I try to lose myself and make the most of my gorillas, who are looking for coverings and to let out the paras as far as possible. Things get really bad, injuries and losses everywhere, and in the survivors of the German wave of dice, suppressions “as if it rained, from the other and with a parachute”. Fortunately I had a clear back up strategy, which I had started building since the first activation: being the last to activate. The last player in fact would have decided in which of the four squares of water to make the Cthulhu appear and consequently control the range of the scream. Bruno, perhaps seized by the desire to burn all the units before everything happened (something to which he approached not a little) had deployed in an offensive way and then on the end of the first round the scream and damage of the beast helped me to balance the disadvantage accumulated up to that moment . But the real turning point was the first activation of the second round. In fact, I believe this is a good example of how we can stem the misfortune of dice in Dust. At the end of the first round I had in mind to let Manfred enter and start taking away opposing pieces, but instead of arriving in the battlefield, without the possibility of being reactivated and therefore losing some of his potential I decided for a more conservative strategy, bringing it forward, but covered with debris. At the same time I had previously brought forward on the left front of the map a Gorilla unit “with fists”, very mobile and very dangerous against enemy vehicles. My idea was to take advantage of the Black Ops token the second round of play, taking the initiative and trying to get as many points as possible. The bad luck, however, must have its say and despite the favorable forecast given the presence of the token, I still lost the initiative. It is here that misfortune can be circumvented by exploiting what in Dust I call “possibility of choice”. We must always give the opponent a multiple choice, a choice of multiple fronts of threatened units. In fact, my opponent found himself facing an arduous choice, protecting his command and consequently rommel and the possibility of reactivating, or exposing himself to try to limit Manfred. The constant of this Grief was one: that damned Manfred . Bruno uses the first activation to take the truck away from the gorillas. Manfred activates and enters doing his. 99 points made. Four games won, 12 tournament points and the latter’s victory.
To close this experience I would like to say that I had two funny days, in good company, with nice people. This is a game that allows this kind of reality, it seems a trivial thing to say. But who, like me, knows how personal and arrogant the world of miniatures and one of nerd in general is, knows that we are facing a rarity. I believe it is our duty to continue to defend it in the respect of every person who participates in this phenomenon. And that it is our duty to infuse it with new life even with realities that are a little distant from what we are used to. I liked this new mode. Especially for the great possibility of customizing the list, and for the size of the map. These in fact allows the employment of different types of units that previously found less utility, such as vehicles and long range units. The big downside, however, remains the commitment to move so many units, and in a competitive scenario the missions are undoubtedly exposed to more fragility mainly linked to the number of rounds played / playable. However, it remains an excellent innovation, which like all the innovations of humanity will act as a base, a giant for those little people who will see the horizon of a new mode of Dust on its shoulders.