Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Home from NOVA!

Holy $hit am I exhausted! I played in the Invitational, the Open, and at the last minute we formed a Trios team, for a grand total of 16 games of 40k played between Thursday night and Sunday evening. My knees are still aching and I can barely keep my eyes open!

I took virtually no pictures...the few I did take I'll put at the end. I got to the point of complete exhaustion very quickly, and taking pictures was pretty low on my mental prioritization check-list...sorry!

Got up at 6am on Thursday, already had everything packed in the car. Helped my son with his getting ready for school (Weds was first day, he wasn't in the rhythm yet!) and got on the road, expecting a ~40 minute trip to my BFS partner and friend Mike Morales' house....my mental planning ability failing already as I didn't consider traffic heading in to NYC, so it took me an hour and 10 minutes. Sigh. Loaded things in his car, drove down to Jersey to pick up Danny Internets, then I slept all the way to DC! Thanks for driving, Mike!

I used the list I'd settled on last week:

Tzeentch Herald (Disc, Exalted, Lvl 3)
Tzeentch Herald (Disc, Exalted, Lvl 3)
Tzeentch Herald (Disc, Lvl 2)
10 Horrors
10 Horrors
10 Horrors
7 Screamers
Daemon Prince (Tzeentch, Armor, Wings, Level 3, Two Greater and One Lesser Reward)
Daemon Prince (Tzeentch, Armor, Wings, Level 3, Two Greater and One Lesser Reward)

Got to the Hotel, got in to the room, had a lunch, showered, napped, and went down for the first round of the Invitational...

Where I stepped in to a Tau, Eldar, and Taudar nightmare that lasted thru the entire Convention! A brief non-scientific breakdown of what was in the Invitaional:

Out of 32 folks:
7 Daemons!
9 Eldar (2 with no allies; 1 with DE; 6 with Tau)
6 Tau (One...Gonyo...with no allies; the rest were either Tau or Eldar allies)
1 CSM (with Daemons)
1 IG (with Wolves)
and a few Necrons (with allies); MEQ (I think BA and GK?) with allies...pretty clear where the "power" is, though, right?

Thursday: Invite Game 1
My first opponent was Eric Hoeger...a really fun guy who I've met several times at regional events, but this was our first game. He was running your basic nightmare: something like 6 Wave Serpents, 2 Wraith Knights, and some Swooping Hawks. This was the new NOVA "Alternate Terrain Setup", which basically removes the large LOS blocker at mid-table and shuffles the other stuff around to, effectively providing a shooting gallery with no place to hide. I had one small hill to hide behind, but his Serpents and my Screamers...being on 'flying stands', were tall enough I could be seen anyway. He went first, I failed to seize, Screamers died first turn, and DPs were picked off as they came in from reserve. I was effectively tabled by turn 3. Eric made it as fun as he could, but it was a brutal start!

Trios Game 1
I then got a wild hair in my ass to join the Trios...I talked Mike and Dan in to it, we got registered minutes before playing, showed up with lists that weren't legal (we'd not bothered to review the FOC restrictions!), re-did our lists, and played our first game starting about 9pm. We played against a boyfriend-girlfriend team there to have fun. Dan and I tried to keep it as light as possible with them, but it was a pretty one-sided game with our Tau-Daemons doing quite a number on their Marines-Orks. I drove 2++ screamers in front of the Battlewagons, killed them, got charged by a bunch of stuff, killed them all, good game.

Friday: Invite Game 2
I'd hoped the Trios games would end around 11ish, instead they all dragged to past midnight, leaving little time for food or sleep. In bed after 1, up at 6:30 for second Invitational game, against Werner Born...another semi-local that I run in to a lot but hadn't played. He was running Necrons with Tau allies...firepower piled on firepower! I did not get Forewarning, but made a game of it...highlight being me forgetting to Smash with DP against his Overlord, failing to kill him, then the Overlord dieing to Blue Horrors...hilarity. I lost 17-3, with a chance to do more but failing some key rolls for the Hail Mary at the end.

Open Game 1
Then the Open GT started! First round was Kill Points against James Piper and his Mech Dark Eldar. I rolled Forewarning and Invisibility twice...I only have 10 kill points total, he has a million, and can barely scratch my stuff. I think the KP total was something like 16-4, giving me a super solid win! Super bad match up for James, he was not happy at having to face me so early, his words, "Well, that's the tournament for me then!" made me feel a bit bad for him, but hey...that's how it goes!

Open Game 2
Second GT game was Greg Hedges and Grey Knights: 3 Dreadknights; 3 Stormravens. This is potentially a problem, as the Grim guy is easily sniped out by the Ravens' missiles. To prevent this, I charged in to a Dreadknight on the top of 2 with the Screamers to keep them safe from Mindstrikes; Fate and one DP flew off, while the other DP (with Shriek, IA and 4+ FNP) went to assault another...for better or worse, the Shriek killed the Knight, leaving the DP standing on the ground taking all the shots from the Ravens. Luckily he was the ultimate badass and suffered only 2 wounds from the whole fleet. I'll take it! That DP then assaulted and killed the third Knight and died to mindstrikes, but Fatey, Screamer-star, and other DP were able to beat down his troops (min Acolytes in Psybacks) for another solid win.

Open Game 3
Third GT game was a frustrating one. I really don't know if this guy was slow-playing on purpose or not...the vibe my teammates and I got was that it was intentional. He had a Tau list with 3 riptides and a million Pathfinders and Firewarriors he packed all on a Skyshield with Ethereal and Commander...along with 2 Suit units from Farsight that had double flamers to deep-strike on to objectives. Despite my pleading for him to speed up his play, he checked every rule and counted every die twice, moved models one at a time, and we barely made it to turn 4. The DP I'd flown off top of 4 to fly back on 5 for the win was counted as dead, giving him a win on tie-breaking victory points...but that still got me 10 points, for a soft loss. Frustrating!

Trios Game 2
Then back to the Trios again. I remember failing Grimoire two turns in a row (no Fateweaver in the 1k doubles list), but the Screamers were still able to stay alive and keep the enemy engaged enough for us to pull off a 20 point win. Highlight of the game was a full unit of Horrors getting charged by 4 fire warriors...I did no wounds, he did 1, and I rolled box-cars for a dead unit! We foolishly went to Buffalo Wild Wings after this, not getting back to the room until 2am...

Saturday: Invitational Game 3
And back to Invitational at 7:30am where I played a really cool guy from Denmark with a gorgeous all Ravenwing army! He went first, scouted and zoomed over and killed all but 2.5 Screamers (and killed one Herald). Daemon Princes went to work though, killing off just enough troops to keep me up 1-0 on objectives, 2-1 on quarters, and way up on Kill Points. Highlight was a Fateweaver Vector Strike on the Command Squad with Banner...did 1 wound which randomly went to the Banner guy, who was also the Apothecary, who failed his LOS and his FNP! This win allowed me to achieve my goal of not being the 0-5 guy in the Invitational, and it was a blast with a very fun guy!

Open Game 4
And then back to the Open round 4! Exhaustion was settling in already, and I drew a semi-mirror match: Daemons with a Bloodthirster, Lord of Change, Tzeentch Prince, big Hound unit, Skullcannon, Soul Grinder, and troops. I've done a few matches against FMC Daemons now, so took Psychic Shriek on all my FMC...I blew up the LOC early with this, did a few wounds to the Bloodthirster which was finished off by a very angry Slaanesh on the Warpstorm (forging the narrative!). He put the Hounds in to my Screamers, which was fine by me, I ate them up over a few turns. In desperation he put his Prince in to my Screamers (after killing some portal-spawned troops), where I think he wanted to challenge the Grim guy, but I accepted with a non-Grim guy, kept his DP tied up for the rest of the game while my Princes and Fateweaver cleared out the Grinder and his troops. 3-1 in the Open, meeting my goal!!

There was a bit of a Snafu with the parings for the top bracket then, but after a 30-45 min delay I learned that since there was not 256 people, there were only six 4-0 people, so having the highest points of the 3-1 people I'd made it to the top bracket! Very exciting, but also not really what I was in the mood for. I'd already played a lot of games, and was in the mood for light fun games, but folks in the top bracket I expected to be grumpy and serious and hard-core winning. Still, it was cool, and I had, as Adam would say, Delusions of Grandeur...

Open Game 5
...which were quickly dashed when I was paired against an old nemesis: Matt Defranze and his Jetbike Seer Council. This game was over quickly (though we played it out for giggles...him stressing the whole time he'd not have time to get max points...jeesh, lighten up and have FUN! It's a GAME!)...I did not get Forewarning, he got Fortune...which basically meant I couldn't hurt him and he could hurt me all he wanted. Still, at the start I felt I could make a game of it as I'd rolled 3 Invisibilities...then I completely forgot about the Reveal part of Conceal, got too close, got blown up, and that was it. I did grind him down to two troop units before it was over, but he didn't need any to win and just needed 1 troop unit to get max points. I did enjoy learning some things from him, he's very skilled with that army! I wish I lived closer to him so I could play him more, despite the stress over getting max points, he really is fun to play and was very willing to talk thru things to make it a fun learning experience. Thanks Matt!

Open Game 6
Next was Matt Bennet and his Tau...Missile Suits and Broadsides and a Riptide yadda yadda. I rolled some of the most awesome powers...then had this completely brainless (ie lazy) moment where I didn't see the little window in the middle LOS blocker I was hiding behind, lost Fateweaver on turn 1, a Prince on turn 2. This was Scouring, so he couldn't kill all my scoring (scoring Screamers FTW!), but everything else besides the Screamer-star and one Prince died. Despite exhaustion, I spent about 30 minutes planning out an awesome top-of-last-turn move that came 2 (out of 20!) kroot shy of pushing it to a win...I put up 2++, Prescience and Perfect Timing on the Screamers, then split off the Heralds 3 different directions...the Screamers Slash Attacked one unit of kroot off the objective they were on, and spread out enough to be able to control 2 objectives (so he'd have to contest two); then the heralds started shooting, one shot a pathfinder unit off one objective; the others worked on the Kroot, along with a smattering of shots from the surviving Prince who was trying to hold a table quarter for me. I forgot to Vector Strike, which might have made a difference; I was sloppy in calculating quarters, too. The clincher was when he remembered on the bottom of 5 that he had a single scoring crisis suit in reserve (that hadn't been rolled for all game...) that dropped in to score him a second objective, putting him up 2-1 on obj. A mildly grumpy game, but still fun and a good learning experience. Had I kept Fateweaver and a Prince back where they should have been out of LOS on turn 1, I think I had that one won easily. Too bad I suck.

Trios Game 3
I think that was the end of Saturday's Open games, putting me 3-3 for the Open and 1-2 for the Invite. I grabbed an awesome cheese-steak + pepperoni sandwich from the nearby Italian deli, and on to the Trios, where I got to meet and play against Alan Bajramovic for my Singles part of the Trio game...he was part of the team that was there to win it, bringing the pain as hard as they could: Alan had the Forgeworld list of broken goodness, with 3 Thunderfires, 3 Sabre-Defense-Platforms, Vulture, 2 mini-IG blobs, 2 Rune Priests and GH in Pods...nightmare. I felt ok though...his turn 1 attempt to snipe out Book Herald failed (thanks to Invisibility giving him a 2+ cover to ride out the failed LOS). Then turn 2 the Book failed even with FW reroll, and I was screwed...charge something and die, or fly away and die. I chose the former, I figured if I was screwed I'd at least have some fun. I ended up losing all but one Daemon Prince who then flew around for 4 turns tanking his whole army and lived thru turn 7. Hilarious. Ended up staying up chatting with Neil and others for awhile, got to bed after 1. Again.

Sunday: Open Game 7
Having dropped 2 in the bracket already, I was here just to play games at this point. I found myself paired up again with Alan Bajramovic, and his Taudar! I rolled again really great powers, with forewarning and Iron Arm twice and 4+ FNP +1W IWND Princes...great stuff. Then for the sake of goofy fun we decided to swap armies! He knew how to play my army better than I did (mildly depressing!) and I only knew the broadstrokes of his army, but I still made a game of it, killing two princes and two of the Horror units...the first turn's Warpstorm result got him 16 Plaguebearers, which I was never able to shift. A really great entertaining game...I got the Pandora going for some music, and we sang and danced (and I did Cups while he rubbed up on me!) and drew quite a crowd! In the end, of course, I lost, but it was by far the most fun I had at the event. They should have had that game on Livestream...folks would be in hysterics! Thanks Alan! Alan was a super cool younger guy who reminded me a lot of my friend Sean Nayden...who I missed sorely at this event! I think he was a little surprised by my attitude towards things and choice in music, asking me finally, "How old are you?!"...I asked, "How old do you think I am?"...He answered, "Well, you act like you're 23, but you must be 40!"

I took that as a great compliment!

Open Game 8
The final game of the Open, and I got to play my friend Adam Tricola (Xaereth from the blog Delusions of Grandeur). He was playing a real pain of a list for me...Stormraven, 3 Dreadknights, Riptide, Crisis Suit Bodyguards, Broadsides, Coteaz...painful! I got great powers yet again, and chose to go first (so I could be locked in melee when the Raven comes on)...with the plan of course being to get tied up in melee and break out on his turn to avoid Mindstrikes. Instead I forgot my plan as I was going along and mindlessly charged in to his two big troop units, killing both, and getting Mindstriked to death...then all three DKs hit the Screamers and that was it for them. He had stayed in his 'castle' awhile, though, which I encouraged, and I ended up holding two objectives to his 1 when time was called, with two Princes being alive and ready for top of 5....with a good chance to kill off one troop unit and contest the last objective. It would have been a fun finish, but he definitely had me on the ropes and I'd need some magic to win. It was really cool to get to play a guy I've been emailing and chatting with for years finally! Thanks for the great game, Adam! Sorry I cheated!! (I had 9 screamers on the table...I'd left my Trios 2k list out, and had just picked up what was on the display board and deployed it...sigh...)

And that was it for the open! I went 4-4, but managed the top bracket. Not a horrible result!! I have to be frank, I was so busy focusing on trying to pay attention to what I was doing that I have no idea who won or with what army. Yeah, I just put my head down and played :)

Invitational Games 4 & 5

I was paired against a ringer for the last two games, as everyone else that wasn't in contention for something had dropped. I was determined to play all the games I'd come to play, so soldiered on!

I played Brad Nichols with his Tau and Space Marine with Null Zone...he was pretty much custom-built to fight Daemons (he's plays against Nick N frequently...). I gave it my best, played cagey (or tried to), lost a DP because I was too lazy to check line of sight and got insta-gibbed by Longstrike, but otherwise played a solid conservative game that paid off when the Warpstorm chart...on a reroll from a 3...turned his Librarian in to a Herald! On the same turn I got off a great Psychic Shriek and Bolt of Change that leveled a Crisis Suit squad, and the Screamers ran down his Riptide. The game ended on time with me up, we talked thru the possibilities and seemed like I had a good shot of contesting his objectives and not losing both of my objectives, but we played slow (and started late) so it's hard to say. It would have been another very fun finishing game that I regret not having the time to finish, but really after so many games none of us were really playing fast or hard, it was for giggles :)

The final game was versus one of the Nova crew, James Watkins and a very entertaining CSM/Daemon list that focused on ferocious speed with 2 units of Spawn, 2 Lords on Jugger/Bike to run with them, 2 Maulerfiends, Plague Flies, and of course a Heldrake. I thought about things on the first turn, and felt like I had a really good plan and a good chance at beating it and playing the mission, then had a very palpable "I'm done playing" sensation during turn 1, sat down for a minute and realized there was no way I was going to be able to think thru the game, so I mindlessly charged things, and he mindlessly charged things, and we bashed away for a few turns until the game ended and he had more objectives than I did and won. It was a really fun game against things I don't see (or even think about fighting against!) often, and I'm very grateful to have gotten to play James who I think a lot of!

So, I sucked in the Invitational (number 22, I think?); I sucked in the Open (I made the top bracket, which is something I guess, but I got blown away by the big boys); but the Trios! Our team won the Virtuoso Team award for the Trios (i.e. Best Painted), which had little to do with my army and a lot more to do with my teammate and friend Mike Morales' army which won Best Painted for the Open! Big congrats to Mike....all your hard work paid off, buddy! We received some fun prizes and a nice plaque for that...then I also received a nice plaque for being an Iron Man! One of very few folks (4 total?) that were foolish enough to play 16 games of 40k over the weekend! I'm proud to say that I'm almost double the age of the kids that did that...which I guess makes me like that super old 90-something guy you see running in triathlons, still sporting his Speedo being at the same time both disgusting and an ultimate badass!

I'll post some pics up tomorrow. Big thanks to Mike B and ALL the NOVA crew for an awesome time! I'm ready to buy tickets for next year!!

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