Games Workshop’s 2022 40k Narrative Event (Part 2)

In part 1, I talked about general experiences, what the GW Narrative event was, and all the broad strokes. This part of the After Action Review is going to dive more into my personal gaming experience and what I got out of it. If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.

First off, I brought my Space Wolves. I’ll caveat that by saying I spent probably three weeks deciding which 40k army from my collection to bring, what models to paint, and then I spent a solid month painting those models (with four straight days spent there at the end getting ready, because there is no minute like the last minute).

We could bring about 150 Power Level (3000 points) worth of units, and all the games were played at a smaller level so for the games I could have picked different units based off scenario or opponent. I didn’t do that, in part because I already had army lists done up and in part because it gave me an opportunity to field multiple units of Thunderwolf Cavalry (which if you don’t know what they are, think giant super soldiers in power armor riding on wolves bigger than Clydesdales). They are about as crazy a unit as you can find in the 40k universe, they charge across the table and they rip units apart in the name of the God Emperor of Mankind.

My units weren’t “optimized” and Lars, my Wolf Lord (modeled after the indomitable Larry Correia) is armed with an okay weapon set that looks cool but isn’t great against really big and nasty opponents. The TWC themselves are much more threatening, and I threw in a march of big stompy robots (Space Wolf Dreadnoughts) including ones with friendly names like Bjorn the Fell Handed and Murderfang.

All told, I own something like 25 Thunderwolf Cavalry models, though the most I can field in any game with the rules set is 20. At this event, I got to run 17 of them.

My first game went up against a neat Black Legion list and I had a good time talking with my opponent and playing through the opening scenario. At first he was bummed to play against Space Wolves as I guess his best friend plays them and he wanted something different. Apparently, his friend didn’t have any TWC and after three turns and piles of dead models on both sides, I eeked out a victory for the forces of the Imperium. I forgot to take any pictures in the hustle of getting started, but my opponent’s Black Legion looked awesome.

My second game was against a gun-line Tau army. My Space Wolves can do shooty, but I went heavy on theme and built them towards combat. So I spent the first few turns getting shot to pieces while trying to bring the Tau to honorable combat. As poor Wolf Lord Lars got shot off the table during turn 3, leaving me with only 4 models on the table, I was about to call it quits, especially as most of my opponent’s army was still on the table. I buckled down, though, and my token squad of Grey Hunters decided to wake up. In the bottom of round three, they shot, assaulted, and destroyed three squads of Tau Fire Warriors and took the head of a Cadre Fireblade as well. Turn 4, they managed to hunker in cover for a ridiculous quantity of enemy fire, making 16 out of 18 saves at one point and then 12 out of 14 saves, leaving me with two models left going into round five. The last round, I lost one more to enemy fire, then in my turn, overcharged the combi-plasma on my wolf guard pack leader and my last model died, which left the field of battle to my opponent. Unfortunately for him, since he had focused on trying to eliminate my last handful of irritating Space Wolves, he had not been able to complete his objectives and the net result to my extreme surprise was a victory for my Space Wolves (shocking to win with zero models left, but hey, victory for the Imperium!)

Games three and four happened on day two. In the morning, I fought against Necrons. My opponent had some issues and we didn’t get started until almost an hour and a half into the game. I found it a bit frustrating, to be honest, especially as my opponent seemed hyper-focused on winning the game versus playing and having fun. We only got through about full game turns, which I found disappointing.

Game four was an absolutely fantastic game with an Ork player, who had a ton of customized models and a fantastic paint job. The game was crazy fun with lots of units killed on both sides. At the end of the game, the Space Wolves left piles of dead greenskins and emerged victorious, though with horrific losses in the process. This was my favorite game thus far as my opponent and I laughed about some of the crazy dice rolls and for all that he had a ton of models, he had measures to make sure he could do his turns quickly. Hat tip to him for using movement trays for his scores of Ork boyz and for some of the really awesome customizations he had done. Hands down, this was one of my favorite games over the weekend. (I wish I had pictures of his army, they were really awesome to see on the tabletop, but my phone ate them)

The last day came and Game Five was a sort of choose your own adventure. The Imperial players tried to game the system by putting out a player and battlefield one by one, but the Chaos players had good choices about who to match against. In the end, I ended up against exactly the one army that I didn’t want to play against with my hyper-aggressive melee-oriented army… Death Guard of Nurgle.

If you aren’t familiar, think stinky, nasty, diseased super-humans in power armor, whose noxious plagues weakens your army when you get close. They are the ultimate answer to the Space Wolves and my opponent had the Daemon Prince Mortarian to boot, one of the most resilient and dangerous units in the game, especially at close combat.

My opponent for this game was awesome and he and I hit it off very well. There was so much back and forth with this game, which really came down to a nailbiter of a finish. At the end of it, my opponent had only three of his zombified models left on the table, but one of those was a key one he had to protect to score points (almost a thirty point swing on a 70 point game). Poor Wolf Lord Lars got ripped apart by mutated zombies early on and a misplay on my part meant that I left another of my characters out to get shot off the table by an enemy tank.

The MVP for that game was my Venerable Dreadnought, which until this game had generally gone down to enemy fire on turn 2. This game, he tanked enemy fire through all five turns, singlehandedlly cut down Mortarian, two fleshmower blight drones, a squad of death guard marines, and a sorcerer. I rolled two ones to wound with two meltaguns on turn 4 to fail to kill his last character, which led to that character’s survival in a game that was really down to the wire.

Overall, I was pretty happy with how I played, with 3 victories and 2 losses. The one loss, to Necrons, I think would have been a draw at worse if we had been able to play it all the way out. The loss to the Death Guard was in a game that was so back and forth that I can’t complain about it. I took a combat-focused themed army, with no psychic abilities, pretty much no shooting, into the teeth of two very nasty shooty armies and three equally shredding melee armies. Most importantly, I had a lot of fun and most of my opponents seemed to as well. There wasn’t any of the movement shenanigans or the “trade this unit for that” that I’ve seen with a lot of the competitive play at tournaments. Most of my opponents were there to have fun, to play out themed battles, and to get into the event.

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