Well, the NOVA GT has come and gone and so has Hurricane Irene. Luckily for us, we were all able to withstand the weather in D.C., and just got battered with some high winds and pouring down rain. Nothing major happened so that was a good thing. By Sunday afternoon the clouds had broken and the sun was out once again. I got the chance to play against 5 really cool opponents and even got the chance to meet a fellow blogger, Rushputin, whose stunning Skaven army ended up taking best painted. Grats to him. Lots of things that I seen at the NOVA were things I’d never seen at any other GT I’ve attended before. Pre-set terrain, identical table sides, and no scenarios made for some pretty weak games and took out a lot of the strategy that you can use in Warhammer. We were also set back in the corner, away from all the action, and ignored for the entire weekend. Poor initial organization made it one of my least enjoyable tournament experiences, but again, that’s just me.
Here follows a quick overview of each of the games I played:
Game 1 vs. Lizardmen
List was pretty straightforward for a Lizardmen player. A Slann and an Oldblood were the Lord choices and a Scar-veteran and Skink Priest on the EOTG were the Heroes. Some Saurus warriors, a Skrox unit, and some skinks rounded out the core and then some Terradons, and 3 small units of chameleons to fill in the Special slots. Lastly, for Rare choices, 3 salamanders, First turn he actually blew up his Slann by rolling a 4 on the miscast table followed by a 2 on the roll to determine if he lives or dies. He managed to kill of 8 Saurus warriors in the process due to the Strength 10 hit that was delivered by the miscast. So it was looking good for me to start off but it never really went my way after that. I terrained myself and got my OB stuck between a unit and impassible terrain so he never made it to combat until it was too late. He kept trying to take down my Carno with the chameleons but only managed to do 1 wound. The biggest battle came between my spear Saurus and his Saurus unit. This was the beginning of the end for me as my dice went south and never really came back for the rest of the tournament. For two straight turns, I rolled 31 dice to hit him, needing 4’s and 4’s… and managed to wound 3 times the first turn and then 4 times the second turn. I needed to run off that unit and by that time I was flanked by the EOTG with my creatures fighting their own battles. Came down to the end but he managed to get a minor victory in the end. A good game but my dice hated me for some reason. He ended up going 4-1 I believe.
Game 2 vs. Tomb Kings
I actually thought this was going to be a tough game but I ended up tabling him and it all started with my OB charging his warsphinx. It took 2 turns but I was able to down it, after that, my OB was loose on the flanks of his Tomb Guard and eventually a unit of Skellies. The Saurus were handling their own against some chariots and the EOTG and Ancient Steg did what they do best. It was a pretty lopsided victory for me and it was over with by the end of Turn 4, where he decided to take a knee. Again, he was an awesome opponent and his army was painted well. So I’m 1-1 at this point.
Game 3. vs. Daemons of Chaos
So, I had this guy dead to rights for 3 straight turns. He had a big horror unit that had his herald of tzeentch in it and I knew what I needed to do in order to win. They had the 4+ ward save because of the banner so I was going to try to take him out. The other portion of his list was typical Daemon crap, flamers and hounds… and a big unit of Bloodletters Again, it got down to the main event with my spear unit of Saurus engaging his Horror unit. Again, I rolled a bucket of dice and managed to do only 3 wounds… That went on for 2 more turns and the same crap kept repeating itself. I rolled 30+ dice 2 turns in a row and managed to wound, at best, 6 guys. Then I rolled 25 dice and managed to wound 3, with him saving all of them. By that time, the Bloodletters and Saurus had beaten themselves down to a few models and the chaos hounds and flamers came to engage the spear Saurus in the flank. Even my opponent thought the game was over when I was rolling those buckets of dice…. I guess that’s why you roll the dice. Had him dead to rights and couldn’t wound to save my life. So he ended up getting me down to a few models by the end of Turn 6 and it turned out to be a Solid victory for him. Day 1 down and I finished 1-2.
Game 4 vs. Dwarfs
This was one of my favorite opponents all weekend long. He was only 17 years old but said he’d been playing since he was 6 years old! He also had a pretty nice painted / converted army. He said that he went to Games Day a few years ago and won a Golden Demon for the youngbloods category, which I believed because his skills were pretty good for his age. Anyways, the game was tough for me because he had the Dwarven gunline, which is hard for my army. Luckily for me, he whiffed every time on my OB with his grudge throwers but he managed to get my Carnosaur down to 2 wounds left and a single wound left on my OB by the time they made it in to combat. He had a big unit of hammerers and a few units of Dwarf warriors on the flanks. My chameleons and Terradons did exactly what they were supposed to do, taking out the crew of the war machines early on in the game, which definitely helped me. But, to make this worse (again!) for me… I whiffed…. Again… on his unit of Hammerers for 2 straight turns. They only have a 5+ armour save so I figured I would eventually widdle them down since they weren’t going to run anywhere. I charged with my OB (what was left of him, anyways) and the spear saurus as well as a Stegadon and ended up winning the combat. As expected, he stayed there so the fight was on for next turn. I rolled 25ish dice again, and only did 3 wounds… It had gotten to the point where I put those dice up for the rest of the weekend and went with another set. They had failed me too many times. So he eventually started killing off more of my Saurus warriors than I was killing of his dwarfs, the OB eventually went down to a Strength 6 hammerer and all I had left was a few Saurus warriors, the EOTG, and some skinks. My BSB got his head smashed by one of the hammerers so I had no re-rolls left. It ended up being a solid victory for him.
Game 5 vs. High Elves
At this point, I threw all game planning aside and told myself I was just going to get into hand to hand combat as quick as I could (BTW, all of the games were scenario-free, which made them straight pitched battles with a couple of secondary objectives… what? This is a GT, right?) It started off good for me, both of my Salamander getting close enough to do cause some fiery death and, between the two of them, I killed 17 high elves in one go! He had no shooting (I know, weird) so this game was gonna go quick. A unit of White Lions was his bread and butter and a handful of casters. He had a total of 5 characters, 3 of them being spellcasters. It was a small army for High Elves, no chariots, no bolt throwers, no arrows… no Dragons. I’m sure this is why he was 1-3 so far in the tournament. Anyways, I got some favorable charges off with my OB and EOTG and managed to kill of a huge amount of white lions and then moved in with a unit of saurus to clean up the mess. I eventually got them all down by about Turn 5 and the salamanders kept moving around killing off the random others. On the other flank, the chameleons and javelin skinks were peppering a small unit of Knights, and they eventually shot them all down. In the end, all he had left was his lord, everything else was gone so it was a massacre for me. So, I ended the NOVA 2-3.
So I have several gripes about the tournament in general but I won’t go into too much detail here. I think a lot of things should have been done differently and there should have been much more prize support, especially since people had to pay $70 just to get in. I enjoyed the games but the table set ups left something to be desired. Each and every table had the same set up, 2 forests and 2 hills in the corners with a single, impassible watchtower right in the middle. The (lack of) scenarios were laughable. Seriously? A pitched battle every game? Takes the “strategy” out of it. There was some “brother-in-law’ing” going on as well, throughout the entire weekend, but again, I won’t get into that here. The emphasis was clearly on the 40k side, and (maybe) rightfully so… They had tons more players so that was clearly their cashcow. The fantasy side didn’t have a judges table, appearance table, or microphones… all of that was reserved for the 40k side. And lastly, as I have mentioned already, it was seriously understaffed and the whole thing dragged along throughout the weekend, making for a lot of sitting around and waiting… Overall, the NOVA GT was a disappointment for me and I see several areas that can be improved. Hopefully I won’t be here next year but if I am here I’ll not make plans to attend. As always, thanks for reading.