Monday, September 19, 2011

NoVA Day 2 - Late to Update

I've been meaning to get this up so I can start talking about my new project. NoVA seems like a fond memory, but according to the Internets, there was lots of drama. At the end of the day, I'd like to think that if you personally had fun for two days playing games, you walk away feeling good.

Anyway, on to the meat:

Day 2, Game 1: Spaaaaaaaaaace Wolves. Long Fangs, as far as the eye could draw line of sight. Thunderwolf Cav. One unit of scouts. And some Grey Hunters for flavor. I decided to try "First to the Fray" with Mordrak's Lads. Originally, I had first turn but he stole it. I drop the Lads into the scatter terrain near one of his Fang squads and just try to force Panic Checks where I can. This brings the Thunderwolf Cav back around the horn to focus down on the Lads. I could not get a single goddamn psychic power off. The Rune Priests he had were turned up to '11' and denied every single power. In addition to that, any time he needed an insane roll, like a 2 to save or lose the HQ, he'd make it. It was a tough uphill battle without powers available to me but such is life. Game Highlight: Incinerator Squad rolling in from Outflank and killing a healthy Long Fang squad by itself. Seriously, these guys are amazing. Result: Loss.

Day 2, Game 2: Deathwing! I've never played against Deathwing! Sweet! This guy was a great opponent. We were both of the mindset that we weren't hitting top tables so why make the game so serious. Terminators everywhere, One landraider, two vindicators, and one tactical squad in a rhino. Having to kill every terminator squad down to the man is a pain. Cyclone missile launchers are no joke either. I might just have to plug a few shooty terminators in my new army. Game Highlight: Mordrak's Lads fighting up against two squads of terminators and clearing them out. I also managed to get the jump on Belial's unit. Result: Loss, but actually Win! We screwed up the scoring for Kill Points (you had to win by three or more, and he only had two over me). The tie breaker should have gone to the Quarters, which I had. Unfortunately, even though we corrected it with the judges, the published results still show me as losing that game. Its probably why I was near the lower tables later on, but it didn't really matter to me. The game was an absolute blast and probably the most fun I had the entire weekend. It just bugs me a little, but hey, there was nothing really on the line except pride at this point, so I'll just keep rolling dice.

Day 2, Game 3: Chaos Marines! Double Land Raider! Khorne guys in both, with Kharn in one. Two sets of Plague Marines to sit on objectives and a unit of three bikes. Oh, and a Chaos Wizard-dude. One thing my opponent taught me is that anything that Marines have that makes them useful, Chaos doesn't have it. No Power of the Machine Spirit on the Raiders. So he tried to castle up on one side while charging in on the other. He went after the assassin quickly but ended up putting his Khorne unit into great position for the Incinerators to fly in. Game Highlight: One Justicar by himself killing the three man bike squad. I also managed to chase the second Landraider into a corner with a Dread. It survived but kept it out of the fight for a long time. Result: Win. Just couldn't keep up with an old codex. The guy was nice but he was definitely giving off a bad, bitter vibe the whole game.

Day 2, Game 4: Grey Knights! Massive Paladin unit, Lib, GM, 3 Strike Squads, a Vinnie, and a Land Raider. This was very similar to my last game on Day 1 but I knew what to expect. Instead of daring him to charge me, I made him choose between confronting me head-on or defending his other units. The Hammer unit kept having to help out the smaller squads throughout the whole battle. Highlight: It finally came down to the last turn, Table Quarters, I had two to his one. He didn't realize what I was doing until after the game. He had let his units die, I would have floated to another Quarter. Deploying too much in one side without respect to the mission is where the fault was. He was a good player too. Our Vinnie stayed out of range from each other, which was funny to measure them just outside of range. Result: Win.

So the whole weekend, I went 4 wins with 4 losses. I hit my target. I wanted to stay for the whole award ceremony but it was crazy late during the drawings. The big thing to pull away is a crazy amount of experience and now I have a fully painted 2000 point army. Feels good, man. The major corrections to the list are as follows:

Dropping Mordrak, plug in a normal GM with Grenades. He's a neat trick or two, but you can get more out of normal GM's with Paladins or Terminator (namely Psycannons). The Librarian can be switched up to be the Swiss Army Knife and I think I get a few points left over too.

Stormravens are insane firemagnets. If I can just figure out a better delivery system for the terminators, like Outflanking them, I can save TONS of points and either spread out the targets or make the units better.

Other than that, I feel really comfortable at this level. I played a game after this with a buddy of mine, Thomas. I changed out the Terminators for Paladins, dropped Librarian and made him Crowe, and swapped all the Strikes for Purifiers kitted out with Halberds. I also tossed in two Techmarines with grenade belts. It was pretty gross, so I might have to practice with that for next time.

As for now, I'm painting up a Raptors Legion from the Badab War. I'm loving it so far. I'm pulling out all the stops for this one too. White is a major color for some of the accents. Lots of practice with that now. I find it incredibly rewarding and looks pretty banging when

Friday, September 2, 2011

NoVA Day 1

NoVA comes and NoVA goes. Its been hard recovering after not really having a weekend. Thank god for Labor Day.

As you probably heard, we had Irene roll through here, but luckly with minimal damage to the area. I came into the Open with the goal of breaking even. My list definitely wasn't set for tourney level competition but set for a fun game with (what I think is) a cool character. Let me break down some the Pros and Cons of the weekend:

Pros: Terrain was important but not exactly game breaking. Each table had a good set up and you knew what to expect with each game. The different piece allowed for some creative line of sight options. Everything was considered flat but being in an elevated position gave you better line of sight overall.

Bracketing levels. I've been to a few tourneys but never a two-day one. Day one (which I'll get to in a bit) was very random how you got paired up. Day two, you played people around your same level. Pretty much all of my games on day two were very close or at least a blast to play. I think it makes it a better experience for everyone overall. No one likes getting stomped out for two days straight, though I'm pretty sure that happened to a few people.

Cons: The venue was nice and all, but no cell phone reception at the tables. Nit picky, I know, but it sucks having to go up top to get reception. I heard from multiple people that it was wicked hard to find something to eat. Since I'm from the area, I either brought things to eat or waited until I got home.

There were a few issues with getting some of the table assignments correct. Plus whenever they were posted, everyone would create this mass of humanity around the list. Then someone would need to put their hand on the page to read an individual line, blocking half the page. Really now? Still need a hand to read in a straight line? Come on, guys. Not really an issue with the tourney, just an observation. Maybe next year, a big projection of the table placement or a TV, I don't know. The list on the wall is low-tech and cheap. We're a hobby of creative folks: let's find something better.

Ok, now for some meat. For each I'll just give a brief overview and a highlight, good, bad or otherwise:

Day one, Game one: Nids
Lots of bugs. 2 sets Hormagaunts with 24 bugs each, Two terrvagons with their 10 each gaunts, three sets of Zoans, Flying Tyrant. I felt good that I had somethings that could take that much but my hopes were dashed quickly when my Stormraven crashed the second turn. I played too conservatively and let him come to me instead of meeting him half way. I ended up getting tabled, badly. Game Highlight: Watching my Terminators get charged by 22 hormagaunts that were boosted by two of the other big bugs. 66 attacks with re-rolls. I ended up taking 10 wounds on each of my four remaining Terminators. Result: Loss. Horrifyingly apparent, I still can't squish bugs.

Day one, Game two: Mech Blood Angels
Predators maxed out, 3 small assault squads in Razors, and two assault jump packs full, one with a chaplain/priest, and the other with a librarian. The terrain was all pretty flat but tall enough to create these valleys. Those created choke points that let me set firelanes and take out tanks as I felt it required. I did have a really good bum rush turn early (turn 1 or 2) and popped four tanks in one turn. What would have helped my opponent is if he included more melta into his army. A lot of his normal squads had either flamers or nothing. Once the troops hit the ground, my Dreads could walk up and bash them up. EXCEPT MY GODDAMN VENERABLE DREAD WHO IMMOBILIZED HIMSELF STEPPING OVER A RHINO. He has flame throwers. File under "Not Helpping". Game Highlight: After his deep striking librarian nailed the landing with his unit, I dropped a few templates on the unit to try to get it wiped. Didn't wipe it but caused just enough to cause a panic check the unit. I was more than happy to escort them off the board. It was a rough game and we both got bloodied, but really it was the terrain setup that made the difference here. Result: Win. At least I know how to handle BA's now. I wanted to play more BA's throughout the weekend so I got a better feeling how they played (since I'm doing them next), but he was the only one I got to play against.

Day one, Game three: Mech IG
Chimeras for as far as the eye can see, three gunships, a PBS, two heavy blasting tanks (the ones with rockets and, I think, a colossus). An Inquisitor lord and a Callidus from the Witchhunters Book as a last hurrah from the Codex. Lots of shooting and me taking covers saves trying to outflank where I could. This was probably my worst match-up and game. I see where everyone was getting their gripe on competitive IG. The PBS targeted down my Terminator squad to reduce their leadership to a "2", the Callidus pops up and templates them with the better shredder. I lose only two but now a check on a "2", and I'm the one getting escorted off. My incinerator squad outflanked in and managed to kill off a tank and the Inquistor with one turn of creative template placement. Highlight: Had to be the Callidus coming in like a hot rocket of anger that her codex is now in a magazine. I'm kinda glad she's not raged out now in the GK codex. Result: Loss. Felt like I was on a steady diet of my own teeth at this point.

Day one, Game four: Grey Knights
After hearing about how many GK's were there, I finally played against one!
Grand Master, Librarian, Paladins and a Stormraven. MSU Strike Squads in Psybacks. Purifiers and a Vinnie.
I thought I had the upper hand after he reserved a ton of his stuff and I killed the Assassin and a whole unit of Strikes before his other stuff got there. I still have much to learn. They came in and rocked my silver plated world. Psyk-Out grenades, rad grenades, and tropes all on the grand master. My Terminators never stood a chance. They all hit themselves at I1 but it didn't matter since he charged with the Psyk-outs, I'm going last :(.  Highlight: I found the proper way to utilize the Brotherhood Banner. In that unit, Mordrak can't be singled out but through wound allocation, and I failed a save on him. Banner activates. Bye-Bye Ghost Knights. His list felt stronger than mine and he gave me some good advice on not overreaching myself. Result: Loss. Tied for objectives. Tied on table quarters. Tied on Kill Points. He won by victory points by a 27 point margin. That's 27 out of 2000 points. Ugh. A fantastic game to end day one, but still, 27 points.

I'll hit up Day Two later, but here's a photo of my army with Mordrak's Fancy Lads up front against Belial on the Second Day.
"Come on, lads!"