Well, the whole experience was just...Wow. The scale of this convention is just insane, and I must say, that despite my familiarity with other tournaments playing against 440 other people is just daunting. The day for us went really well, my teammates and I secretly decided to go for commander's heads rather than going for winning the tournament overall. The decision was made in part due to the fact that we were playing Speed Freak Orks. With all the mechanized armies (more on that later) we knew we would be hard pressed to deal with vehicles, since Ork really struggle against them. For those of you who don't know commander's heads is killing all your opponents team's HQs, while keeping yours alive. Our list was fast, our HQs were resilient, and we have some great killing power, so it seemed like a natural fit. We did pretty well in our goal, but one team actually got a perfect score. At the end of the day, after a grueling 17 hours of tournament gaming, we ended up in 20th place out of 110 teams. Considering we weren't even going for victories as our primary objective it was shocking to say the least.
Of the armies present at the tournament I would have to say (and this is no exaggeration) that at least half of them were mechanized Imperial Guard. Yes, all the armies from 40k were present, but seeing one army that was so clearly dominant was definitely a turnoff. Of the rest of the armies that were not mech guard, I would have to say that 90% of them were mechanized, and there was not a single army that I saw that had no vehicles at all. Yes, even Tyranid teams made themselves genestealer cults, "'Cause what Tyranids need are more Mech Guard." Having such cookie cutter lists dominate well over half of the armies was surely a turnoff, and I can only hope that it is a passing fad. I feel the whole situation has to do with what GW seems to do when certain units or upgrades are powerful/weak. It what I like to call the "Starcannon syndrome." The starcannon used to be the go-to weapon for eldar players back in 3rd edition, it was cheap and effective with its 3 ap2 shots. When the 4th edition codex came out, however, the starcannon not only lost one of its shots, but when up in points as well. This was a double hit in its effectiveness, and now starcannons are rarely taken. GW has done the reverse with vehicles (and specifically transports) in 5th edition. Not only did all vehicles become tougher, but they are becoming cheaper as well. Chimeras (which are the go-to vehicles right above Vendettas) dropped in 20 points over their 3rd edition counterparts, got tougher, got free upgrades, and became more effective with their fire points...what...the...heck... Seeing team after team with 6 or more chimeras and at least 2 vendettas got old fast.
In the end despite the IG, it was definitely a positive experience. All but one team were great sports and a real blast to play against. I look forward to playing more games in my shop with my own army against people who like to think for themselves.
More coverage on my (and my team's) tournament lists, and some pictures as well. After that I may start working on my Eldar Vampire Hunter.