Monday, September 26, 2011

WHFB: Ogre Kingdom Review Part 5

Hey gang.  Let's keep the ball rolling with the Specials.  In Fantasy, Specials do for you what Elites and Fast attack do for you in 40k.  Since 50% of your points can go to Specials, the choices you make in Specials can be what define the feel and flavor of your army.  What goodies to Ogres get?


Leadbelchers:  Flavor-wise, these guys rule.  Big nasty Ogres carrying cannons that they shoot like small arms.  Pretty cool.  Unfortunately, they aren't so awesome on the table top.  The problem is you are paying for normal Ogre toughness and close combat ability, and decent shooting.  They are overpriced as a CC unit, and though their shooting is good, it isn't 43 points per model good.

Maneaters:  Pirate Ogres!  Ummm, weird.  They are super bad ass in close combat, since they come stock with an extra attack and Strength 5 over normal Ogres and for a measly two-points you can give the first row (since each model is armed differently) additional hand-weapons.  That's five attacks per model in the first row.  Insane.  And guess what, you can then arm the second row with Great Weapons.  4 attacks base Strength 7.  But let's not stop there.  Each unit gets to pick two USRs.  The best combos I see off the bat are a CC based unit like I've gushed over so far with Stubborn (best USR in the game) and Swiftstride.  That is an uber unit.  The second coolest thing to do with them is to give them shooty weapons and Scouts and Sniper.  Yep, you read that right.  You can deploy them near your opponent's magic bunker, and shoot the hell out of their wizards turn one.  But all of this awesomeness comes with a really staggering points cost.  You have to think long and hard about including one in your list, because they can become a points sink quickly.  But they CAN be absolutely devastating to an unprepared opponent.  If your opponent sees the Scouts and Sniper shooty unit on your list and doesn't deploy accordingly, he is in for a very rude awakening.

Sabretusks:  Eh.  When you bring a hunter the unit gets a massive buff in the form of Swiftstride.  Without a hunter, they are a low leadership, no armor unit that doesn't have Ogre Charge.  They are cheap (for Ogres) but I don't see a need for them outside of a theme list.

Yhetees:  Pros: they are fast, and they hit hard, and have decent leadership.  Cons: they are expensive, nor armor, and flammable.  Many better choices.

Mournfang Cavalry:  The heavy shock cavalry unit for Ogres.  They are insanely expensive, 70 points gives a 2+ save.  Try to kill a unit of multi-wound monstrous cavalry that have 3 wounds each and a 2+ save.  D3 impact hits on the charge.  Here is how we view this unit: chariots.  These are essentially cheaper, but faster (they can march), and harder hitting chariots.  That don't suffer the drawbacks of chariots.  Ummm yes.  You know I'm a sucker for chariots, and these are better.  The minimum unit size is 2, so I can easily see people flooding the field with MSU Mournfang cavalry.   Treat these like chariots and you'll see their value.  But a unit does not exist in isolation, yes they are cheap super chariots: but is that what makes a good Ogre army?  We'll see!

Gorgers:  90 points each.  Whew.  But, guess what: they have two of the best two abilities in the game, Ambushers and Unbreakable.  So they get to come in your opponent's backfield out of nowhere.  And whatever they charge will either kill them, or die, or be tarpitted.  The Unbreakable feature means that they are ideal for charging defensive minded magic bunkers, who will struggle to kill them, and will be tarpitted.  Generally speaking, a magic bunker that is stuck in combat means a wizard isn't being useful.  As you might have noticed so far, a lot of units in this book are good at attacking magic based strategies.  This is a sign that Ogres may be more competitive than previous editions.  I'm not saying Gorgers are a great unit, because in many ways they compete in role with Maneaters.   


Ogres have some cool Specials for sure.  They DO define the army.  You can bring lot's of Mournfang cavalry in a chariot-esque swarm attack.  You can bring an uber unit of Maneaters that are tailored to nearly any role you can imagine (though I think the two builds I identified are the best ones.)  Heck, you could bring like six Gorgers and have your opponent freaking out when he is sandwiched between Ogres in the front and Unbreakable Gorgers attacking from the rear.  I'm not going to lie, there is a lot of creative real estate to explore here in list building, and I envy you Ogre players for getting to do it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WHFB: Ogre Kingdom Review Part 4

Sorry for the delay with this.  Real life is kicking my ass.  But enough about my herpe... er... personal problems, how about we talk about burly fat half-men?


Ogres - Here we have the meat and potatoes of the army.  Basic Ogres are pretty cheap for what you get.  The best way to look at Ogre units is to view them as chariots that don't really mind being charged as badly as normal chariots do.  So the big question is, do we ever want to take basic Ogres over Iron Guts?  I think the answer is 'quite' often.  The biggest statistical difference between Bulls and Iron Guts is the Leadership.  One point of Leadership is not that valuable when you have characters in each unit, or you should anyway.  How about one point of armor?  What's a point of armor worth?  That depends.  Going from a 6+ to a 5+ doubles your protection. I'd say it's worth having Iron Fist to double your protection, because I don't think the extra attack is as relevant.

My unplaytested instinct is so say that if you're buying a Look Out Gnoblar and have a 9 Bull unit with a character in it, and are buying Iron Fists, you generally save a ton of points not buying Iron Guts.  Bulls should be the core of your army.  So why buy Iron Guts?  Glad you asked...

Iron Guts:  These guys cost a ton more for +1LD and +1AS, and Great Weapons.  But they possess one trait that sets them far apart from Bulls: they can carry a magical standard.  In the magic items review I made mention of how good the Ogre standards are, as well as some of the BRB standards having pretty fantastic synergy with the Ogre concept.  What I would suggest, for competitive purposes, is one unit of IG per army.  Put your L4 Slaughtermaster in it.  Give them the Banner of Discipline (thanks Vilicate) and have a unit of Bulls nearby with a BSB in it.  I would probably buy the champ, because you don't want your SM getting involved in a challenge with characters who are designed to win challenges.  He is tough, for a wizard, but he ain't that tough.  That's a big, nasty magic bunker with 4+ saves and LD9.  Pretty standout for Ogres.

Gnoblars:  Gnoblars lose a lot in this edition.  Their thrown weapons aren't nearly as scary as they were in the old books, but Gnoblars can still serve two purposes in an 8th Edition Ogre force, as I see it.  

One, they can protect your warmachines.  10 Gnoblars are 25 points and they can guard your warmachines, buying them an additional turn.  Since Gnoblars are beneath contempt, if they get eaten, who cares, they bought your warmachine another turn of unmolested shooting.

Two, they can guard your flanks.  I see most Ogre players bringing one or two big units of Bulls and a unit of Iron Guts.  These units are definitely at risk of being outflanked, like most big, unwieldy units.  A large, deep ranked unit of Gnoblars on the flank can tarpit anyone trying to hit your big guys in the flank.  As most Skaven players know, large units of cheap cannon fodder on the flanks will make sure your center gets there.  Plus, they have relatively easy access to Regeneration.  It can be quite demoralizing for your opponent to realize that he simply cannot kill 50 Regenerating Gnoblars in 6 turns, let alone the rest of your force.

Summary:  Iron Guts are useful, but you should probably only ever have one unit of them per army unless you're playing some ungodly large size game when you can afford to take two Slaughtermasters.

Bulls are now cheap enough to take a couple big units of, and they can be quite scary.  They have shitty leadership, but since most Ogre armies aren't going to have many units, you can probably afford to have a character in each Bull unit to shore that up.  Again, I would almost always go with Iron Fists over the AHW.

Gnoblars should either be taken in giant units to set up on the flanks as a regenerating tarpit, or minimum size units to protect your warmachines.  Though be my guest to experiment with a 300+ strong Gnoblar units in the center that gets Regeneration and nearby BSB bubble.  That can definitely be the type of unit that isn't going anywhere unless you want it to.

All in all, Ogres have a good selection of Core units that will allow versitile and competitive lists to be constructed.  Each unit does vastly different things on the battlefield and my gut (no pun intended) says that a combined arms approach of all three will garner the best results.  Ignore one of them to your detriment!

Friday, September 16, 2011

WHFB: Ogre Kingdom Review Part 3

Magic Items

Alright folks, this is the last of the nuts and bolts reviews before I start on unit analysis.  Keeping with the trend of the newer books, there aren't many items in here, and they will probably be overpriced.  Let's see how right I am or not...

Thundermace - 85pts - Great Weapon.  You may trade in all your attacks for a Thundercrush attack.  If you hit, place a small template in front of your dude on the enemy unit.  Everyone takes a Str3 hit and the dude under the hole take a str9 d3 multiple wound hit.

No way.  For 85 points, it should auto-hit.  Part of what you pay for in a Lord level fighty character is higher initiative and attacks.  This gives those away.  Just no.

Siege-breaker- 85 pts - Great Weapon.  You roll to his against your enemy's initiative rather than Weapon Skill, can't be parried.  Can also trade in your attack for a mega attack against a building.

More crap.  I wouldn't spend 85 points for an item that can only be useful in one scenario and only actually helps you hit dudes from 1/3rd of the armies.  Pass.

Gnoblar Thiefstone - 45pts Talisman - MR2.   Roll on a chart and get a random magic item from the BRB.  If another character in the game has it, you steal it.

OMG garbage.  Look at the list of items.  How many of them are worth more than 45pts?  Right.  So why do I want this?  For Magic Resistance?  You mean the special rule that hasn't been useful once in any game of 8th I've played yet?  Sad.

Greedy Fist - 40pts Talisman - +1 Strength, 6+ ward.  Any saves the ward makes against magic weapons turns the weapon mundane.  Any wizard hit by an Ogre wearing it loses a spell and a wizard level.

On the surface, it isn't terrible.  The wizard hitting part is the selling point.  Except, if an Ogre character is hitting a wizard, the wizard should be dying, not losing levels and spells.  Have to pass.

Gutmaw - Magic Heavy Armor 45pts.  Causes Terror.  For each wound you do in a challenge, you heal one.

Forget the healing factor, it will never matter.  Would you pay 45pts for Terror?  When you already cause Fear?  I don't see this as being something I'd pay for unless Terror did something better, or you could lower enemy leadership.

Grut's Sickle - 50pts Arcane Item - You can inflict an unsaveable wound on your unit to get +2 to cast for the remainder of the magic phase.  At the end of the turn, roll 2d6, on a snake eyes, the unit kills the bearer.

Wait a second.  This is a powerful item!  In an 8th Edition book?!  The +2 to cast makes your Level 4 a real beast in the magic phase.  You probably don't want to use it every turn, but on turn when you don't roll many casting dice, you can ensure that key spells still get off.  I'm shocked, I would consider taking this on my Slaughtmaster quite often.  It compares very similarly to the DE Sac Dagger.  This item also allows you to skimp points by not going to L4.  This can be useful since Ogre Characters are expensive and in low point games you can struggle to get all the tools you need.

Hell Heart - 50pts Arcane Item - One use only.  At the start of the magic phase you can make every enemy wizard within d6 x 5" roll a miscast.  Get an extra dispell dice for every wizard affected.

A pretty powerful effect, actually... if everyone played fair army lists.  Unless the wizard has a way to stop miscasts, like Teclics or Cupped Hands, this can be game breaking.  Unfortunately, those are the only two wizards you should be especially afraid of.  I'm not sold on an anti-wizard item that doesn't affect Teclis or Slann, sorry.

Rune Maw - 60pts Magical Standard - On a 2+, any spell targeting the unit is redirected.  If no valid targets are available, the spell fizzles.

Total shit.  Guess what?  This doesn't say enemy spells.  So the great Maw magic that grants Stubborn, +1T, Regen?  Yeah, your best unit can't be affected by them.  What a joke.

Dragonhide Banner - 50pts Magic Standard - On a turn the unit charges, re-roll all to-hits, to-wounds, and saving throws of 1.  Also, the unit gets an Always Strikes Last Str 3 Breath Weapon.

This is actually pretty good.  I'm not sure I could ever see having the extra points lying around to take it, but if you do it's good, as all Space Wolf players can attest to.  But wait.  You have to successfully charge.  If an Ogre unit powerful enough to take a 50pt banners gets the charge off on someone, are you really going to lose?  I sure hope not.  So what category does this go into?  The sad 'win-more' items.  You pay 50 points to win combats you were already going to win by a larger margin.  Pass.


7 shiny craps and one winner.  Par for the 8th Edition course.  The Hellheart will be upgraded to 'good' when High Elves and Lizards get new books that take away their avoid miscast abilities.

-Bonus BRB Item Section-

So I thought I should detail which Basic Rule Book items are worthwhile for an Ogre Army.  Here goes...

Sword of Swift Slaying - Ogre characters have high strength and decent initiative.  So for 25 points you get to strike first and re-roll hits.  Sign me up.

Sword of Striking - For 10 points your characters hit most people on a 2+.  This is good, because you hit hard, and you have lot's of attacks already.

Trickster's Helm - Don't laugh.  When you're T5, sometimes 6, and have regen, making people re-roll their successful wounds is pretty great.  Not to mention, an extra pip of armor save is good.

Dragonhelm - Hell fucking yes.  An extra armor save, plus a 2+ ward against fire (strong when you have regen, don't forget) for 10 points.  All day.

Rampager's Standard - So vital to an Ogre force.  Re-roll charge distances?  In an army whose success is based entirely off getting the charge?  Yes, all day.

Banner of Swiftness - Cheaper cousin of the Rampagers.  I'd probably bring both.  An extra pip of movement is huge for Ogres, and for 15 points?  All day.

Other Trickster's Shard - Very good.  Most people won't get armor against you, so making their ward saves less reliable is useful.

Iron Curse Icon - Also very useful.  Big Ogre units will draw a non-trivial amount of shooting from warmachines.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to BoV!

My blog is about a year old now give or take a few days.  I'm appreciative of you guys for reading the drivel that I write on a regular basis.  I'm so glad I got to meet so many of you at NOVA and I hope to see you again soon.

Additionally, I turn 30 years old today, which is brutalizing me mentally.  I will probably continue with the Ogre review tomorrow unless I get some free time today.

Adios, and thanks for reading this blog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WHFB: Ogre Kingdoms Review Part 2


Lore of the Great Maw

Inherent Ability: After a successful cast, roll a d6.  On a 2+ the caster heals a wound and gets +1 to his next cast or dispel attempt.  On a 1, he takes a Str 6 hit.

I dunno, I really like it.  It's characterful, and powerful.  The ability to get +1 to your next dispel attempt is pretty great.  From a basic perspective it encourages smart game play, cast your easy stuff first and save the nasty spell for the end.  Very cool, powerful Lore Attribute.

0 - Spinemarrow - 6+ to cast.  12" range buff spell that gives Stubborn to target unit.  Can be pushed to a 9+ for 24" range.

Wow.  Now THAT is a signature spell!  Stubborn is one of the most powerful abilities in the game, especially when combined with tough, hard to kill units.  Ogres are an army of tough, hard to kill units.  Happy marriage.

1 - Bonecrusher - 8+ to cast.  18" magic missile that inflicts 2d6 hits no armor saves allowed.  Can push to 11+ for 36" range.

This is very situational, but very strong.  Chaos Knights and Dark Elf Dreadlords and even Steamtanks fear it.  A lot of times you roll this you will trade it for your signature spell, but the times it is useful you'll be glad to have it.

2 - Bullgorger - 7+ to cast.  12" range buff that grants a unit +1 Strength.  On a 14+ it can affect all units within 12".

It's a powerful effect, yes.  But it strikes me as a "win more" spell.  You use it, and you end up winning combats with it that you were already going to win anyway.  I'm not 100% sold on it being as broken awesome as people seem to think.

3 - Toothcracker - 8+ to cast.  Same as above except for Toughness.  16+ for all units.

Now this is a game changer.  This is just absolutely crushing.  This defends you from small arms fire as you get close so that you don't take too many wounds cross the field.  Plus, in prolonged combats ::cough::Stubborn::cough:: you will win the attrition war by being very high toughness.

4 - Braingobbler - 9+ to cast.  Hex spell that forces a unit to take a panic test.  Can buff the range.

Weak sauce.  In the 8th Edition world of BSB and Inspiring Presence bubbles this is laughable.

5 - Trollguts - 12+ to cast.  Buff spell that grants 4+ regeneration to a friendly unit.  Can buff to 20+ to give it to ALL units within 12".

Kinda redundant with Toothcracker, but still absolutely insane.  A 12+ cast means you will only want a Lord level caster to have it, whereas a Hero can cast Toothcracker.  My advice is to never take both if you can avoid it.  If you roll both on your Lord, swap #3 for the Signature Spell and let the Hero get it.  Obviously regeneration makes a large bull unit nigh unkillable, so this is a must dispel for your opponent.

6 - The Maw - 15+ to cast.  18" range small template.  Scatters an artillery dice.  Misfire let's your opponent place the template anywhere he wants.  Everything under the template takes an initiative test.  Anything that passes takes Str 3 hit.  Models that fail take a Str 7 multiple wound D6 hit.  Can buff to large template for a 21+

Certainly potentially powerful.  Less powerful than Purple Sun or Dwellers Below.  But powerful none-the less.  However, it isn't accurate and carries some serious risk.  I can't imagine opting to use the small template version very often.  Then again, if I had a Lord level Ogre wizard, I would be throwing my dice at a buffed Trollguts rather than this.  The Maw = High Risk, Medium Reward.  Trollguts = Low Risk, High Reward.  

Summary: Powerful Lore.  The buffs are really strong, and that's the meat of it.  It's not a strong offensive Lore, but Ogres already have offense aplenty.  They need the defensive ability this Lore brings.  I would recommend taking this on your Lord level wizard everytime in the Ogre army.

Monday, September 12, 2011

WHFB: Ogre Kingdoms Review Part 1

Hey all, I haven't seen many people do any indepth reviews yet, and this army seems wildly popular at least in my area, so I figured I'd fill the gaping void on the blogosphere and shoot out a multi-part review of the new book.  Without further adieu...

Army Wide Special Rules

Ogre Charge - Each Ogre in the front rank gets an impact hit.  Add a strength for the unit's current rank bonus.  If you roll 10+ on your charge distance dice, it becomes a d3 impact hit each.

This is a definitely improvement over the previous edition, and encourages you to bring big units of Ogres rather than MSU.  We'll see if the rest of the book supports big units before we can say how good this is.

Iron Fists - Ogres with Iron Fists count as having a shield, and get the parry save even when mounted.  

Not bad, but nothing to write home about.  The extra +1 armor save is more noteworthy than the parry to be honest.

Look Out Gnoblars - Your unit upgrade characters and normal characters get Look Out Sir! saves so long as you have 3+ rank and file left.  

This is a good idea, since normally you need 5+ to get a LoS save, and this ought to be adjusted for Ogre's size and cost.  I feel bad having to pay points for it though...

Special Weapons

Chain Trap - 12" range str 6 missile weapon with Killing Blow.  

Harpoon Launcher - Short range bolt thrower.  Can be carried on a mount, which removes the move or fire restriction.

Meh, unless it can be spammed.  We shall see bwahahahaha.

Pistols and Brace of Pistols - Str 4 Armor piercing quick to fire.

Sounds really strong, let's see how much they cost...

Next up in Part Two: Ogre Magic!

Friday, September 9, 2011

40k: Outside the Box Black Templars 2k

Hey all. I've been thinking about Black Templars at 2k. The standard gunline list is OK, but has problems. It's basically an average Space Marine shooty list: Rhinos with melta, Typhoons, Predators etc. Instead of Riflemen Dreads it brings shooty terminators. Yadda yadda. So I want to play Templars at 2k competitively, but I don't see that list as being special enough to have game against big dogs. So I figured, why not just start from scratch and see what I can come up with? The following list probably isn't that great, but it's definitely different and maybe with some community input it may have legs. So calling all Templar players, and anyone else who might want to input, lemme know. 

Hybrid Templars - 2,000pts 

Champ Abhor -110 

4x5 Initiates 
-Rhino =600 

2x5 Initiates 
-Missile Launcher 
-Rhino =292 

Attack Bike 

Attack Bike 

Attack Bike 

3x5 Terminators 
-2x Cyclone Missile Launchers 
-Tank Hunters 


So it has some interesting things that you need to do to win NOVA style games.  6 mobile troops units, 4 of them are double meltas, 2 backfield objective sitters with longer range firepower.  The Attack Bikes add more mobile melta.  I might prefer to have Speeders here, but the points don't work.  The 3 units of terminators are like Long Fangs, but harder to kill and shoot harder.  They should, since they cost a lot more.  Plus, they munch anything that isn't a dedicated CC unit.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NOVA: Lessons Learned

Hola amigos. 

The dust from NOVA has settled nicely and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned about Grand Tournament 40k in regards to how to be a better player and also a better list writer.  Though I didn’t play a very competitive list, I still managed to glean a bit of useful information from my experience that you may be interested in.  Or not.  I don’t care, I’m posting it here anyway.

List Building

1.  This might be peculiar to the NOVA, which always had five objectives and table quarters in each mission, but I am 100% sure that six troop choices are obligatory is your goal is to be competitive.  You could bring fewer, and definitely still give people tough games especially on kill point or victory point missions, but there will inevitably be games where the choice to run fewer than six will cost you.  It simply doesn’t make sense to run less than six at a NOVA style event. 

2.  Melta is still relevant.  Light mech truly does dominate the battlefield, but even at the top tables there was a surprisingly high amount of AV13+.  I personally faced dual or triple Land Raiders in ¼ of my matches, and I rued the lack of melta in my list in those matches.  I said before during my metric system posts that people can try to get away with skimping on anti-14 firepower in order to increase other stats, but skimp too far and you’ll be punished for it eventually.  Eight rounds is a lot of games to hope for dodging heavy mech the whole time.

3.  Marines and Rhinos matter.  The prevalence of 3+ armies in Rhinos was strong.  Granted it was just one tournament, but I would be shocked to see a tournament that wasn’t a 75% MEQ field.  A big criticism about my metric system was it was too MEQ focused, and didn’t take things like Orks into account.  I think the NOVA bore out that your testing, and thus assumptions in list building, should be primarily focused against MEQ forces if you want to win.  When it’s safe to assume 75%+ of your opponents will be MEQ, it becomes easier to plan.  Dark Eldar and Guard were also well represented at the top tables, but those aren’t really ‘horde’ armies as we think of them.  They more neatly fit the template of unit + vehicle.  Guard vehicles being a little harder to pop than marines, and Dark Eldar being a little easier.  But the paradigm is the same.


1.  Cover.  With the 4+ cover area terrain being plentiful; it definitely had an impact on the way people played.  Players who played gunline lists complained pretty loudly that the cover neutered them; however, I saw plenty of very shooty lists at the top tables.  My tentative theory was that the shooty players who were getting rolled used cover as an excuse to explain a loss that was due to poor deployment or poor tactics.  That said, cover did play a big role in every match.  I don’t think anyone would argue that cover saves weren’t among the most important tactical considerations they had in every match.

2.  Previously, I have advocated playing 3 turn games in playtesting because the first few turns are so crucial and the more games you can get in, the better.  I would like to say that I was both right and wrong.  It is important to practice your ‘openings’ so to speak.  Deployment and maneuver the first few turns is key, and you SHOULD do a lot of the 3 turn games in order to get enough reps with it to be comfortable.  But I did observe that a lot of people struggled to win games, despite being far ahead after the first few turns.  In a tournament where you have to balance multiple objectives, closing out the games can be a challenge.  I think it would be highly useful for people to get comfortable with winning games with complicated scenarios.  In two of my matches I won because I was simply more mindful of the objectives than my opponent.  In my final match against Troy, he jumped out to a huge lead in the game, but it wasn’t decided until the final turn because he struggled to finish me off, and I persisted in focusing on the mission objectives.  He should have been able to sweep me clear, but he allowed me to stay in the game.  I don’t want it to seem like I’m saying anything negative about his skills, but an example of something I saw over and over again.  Player A jumped out to a huge lead and slowly but surely Player B clawed his way back into the game.  Across the board, it seems 40k players need as much practice winning on the last turn of the game as on the first.

Tournament Preparedness

1.  Sleep and hangovers.  How many of my opponents complained about lack of sleep and/or being hungover?  A lot.  I overheard similar comments all weekend.  I’m not telling you not to drink and have fun at the con.  But you have to establish what your goals actually are.  You can’t get mad at losing a game when you only got 3 hours of sleep and you’re hungover.  If your goal is to hang out with friends, drink some beers, and throw dice by all means have a blast.  If your goal is to 8-0 the NOVA, try to get a good night’s sleep every night and don’t drink to the point where you’ll be hungover the next morning.

2.  Nutrition.  This is another thing I observed people were epic failing across the board.  I saw people filling their maw with gross pizza, McDonalds, candy, soda, fried chicken wings, and oil soaked Italian subs.  I also heard dozens of people complain about fatigue and exhaustion.  Not a coincidence.  Yes, the food at the hotel was garbage, and the food nearby was garbage.  But a little foresight remedied that.  I found a nearby grocery store and I bought healthy food to stock up on.  Every morning my breakfasts were greek yogurt and fresh fruit.  In between rounds and for lunch I noshed on almonds and fruit.  Even by Round 8, when everyone else was universally agreed to be at the end of their endurance, I felt fine.  I credit my freshness in the later rounds of the tournament to the fact I was eating clean food all weekend and not loading myself down with sodium and greasy food.  Clean food, along with sufficient sleep gave me a measurable advantage.  I know this kind of thing can sound preachy, and it probably is preachy, but I'm speaking the truth.  If you want to be at your best, it's good advice.  If you don't care about maximizing your performance, feel free to disregard.

Monday, September 5, 2011

NOVA Invitational Report By Timmah

Hey all, Nikephoros here.  Frequent contributor and cool dude Timmah was at the NOVA, and due to time constraints, was only able to play in the Invitational and had to miss the Open.  He was kind enough to write up a report for the Invitational for me.  Enjoy.  All grammatical errors are his, not mine. =P

My list:

Wolf lord, runic armor, Wolf claw, SS
rune priest
4 wolf guard w/combi melta/PF
3x 7x grey hunters w/melta, banner, rhino
5x grey hunters w/melta, banner
3x 5x Long fangs w/4x ML, las plas razorback

Game 1 Gun line Imperial Guard

So my first opponent was playing gun line guard.  Primary was objectives.
CCS w/Chimera
1 PBS w/Chimera
PCS w/Chimera
2x Platoon squad’s w/Chimera
2 Veteran Squads w/Chimera
2 Vendettas
2 Hydras
2 Manticores

I seized the initiative and started.  Everything moved up.  My long fangs got a lot of quality shooting in on his chimeras and manticores.  Unfortunately he didn’t fail a single cover save that I forced.  He passed around 8 the first turn.  His return fire exploded 2 smoked rhinos and almost finished off a squad of long fangs.  As well as putting some damage results on my other vehicles.  My first turn is also when I found out that NOVA had FAQed the manticore to fire as multiple barrage.  Obviously this is really bad for my semi grouped up rhinos.  The game kind of spiraled out of control from there.   Turn two, he again passed all of his cover saves on his vehicles, about 8 again.  And my stunned rhinos were sitting ducks for his manticores.  My plan becomes to hold my 2 objectives and just fight over the middle one.  He doesn’t have much to come get me with so it could still work.  Turn three involved me finally getting through some cover saves and wrecking 2 chimeras.  He continued to whittle down my forces.  I start my turn 4 with 30 minutes left.  Up to this point I have taken about 5-8 minutes for my turns, while my opponent has taken 20+, even though he has barely moved a vehicle.  My opponent has been told to play faster once, but he never changed his speed.  My 4th turn involved me getting my guys into cover and ready to take objectives for turn 5.  I pass the turn with 22 minutes left.  My opponent proceeds to take 20 minutes to shoot with 7 vehicles and move about 4 units.  

At this point, we are told we can’t complete another turn.  I attempt to argue that my opponent has been slow playing me the entire game.  My opponent tells the head judge that he is not able to complete any turn in less than 15 minutes.  I am completely amazed here, how could he even expect to finish a game in 2 hours if he is claiming he needs 20 minutes a turn?  The head judge begins to offer us a time extension for 15 minutes when I offer to play my turn 5 in 2 minutes, however then my opponent claims he moved as if turn 4 was the last turn.  I get told to watch the clock better (which I was and  knew exactly where time was in the round) and get ruled against.  So, I lose 3 objectives to 0 because I had not moved onto any objectives yet.  Needless to say, I really hope this doesn’t set the tone for the invitational.  I realize this is the first time you are having judges watch games, but they need to be more aware of slow play and continuously call players on it.  1 reprimand that changes nothing doesn’t really help.  

 Game 2 - Salamanders - Kill Points

Master of the forge
4x TLAC/MM Dreads
1 Razorback
2 Rhinos
5 TH/SS Terminators
2x 10 man Tac Squads
The game started out very well for him.  He destroyed some rhinos on my table edge and forced my troops to walk across the table.  Turn 1 for me, I again shoot into vehicles with cover and my opponent passes most of them.  (At least I got through a couple saves right away)  Not much becomes of it, I damage a landspeeder and that is all.  Turn 2 involves him moving up his speeders to block movement, dropping terminators on a loan isolated long fangs squad and moving Vulkan up to deal with a rhino full of guys.  His shooting wrecks one razorback but otherwise doesn’t do much.  Vulkan charges the 4 grey hunters that are left from the rhino he wrecked.  He kills 3 and then my power fist gets to swing back.  Vulkan proceeds to fail his one invulnerable save and goes splat.  The speeders moving up allow me to springboard my guys forward with assaults.  Scouts also come on and tie up one of his tac squads.  And my loan power fist assaults a dreadnought.  His turn 3 shooting is pretty ineffectual at my guys in cover.  My turn 4, I get to surround the MotF’s Rhino and destroy it in close combat.  His guys inside die and the game begins to swing in my favor.  My wolf lord also hits combat and starts to destroy tac squads.

From here, it is kind of just a cleanup game.  He assaults me with his dreadnoughts to try and tie me up.  However, with hidden power fists I eventually wreck them.  His Terminators run through my backfield and try and do as much as possible.  However they don’t quite get there and I win by 3 kill points.  Very fun game, and very well played by my opponent.  

Game 3 - 


Stelek with Space wolves
Wolf lord w/PF SS
Whole mess of HB razorbacks
And 6 man grey hunters w/melta, combi melta
3x 5x long fangs with 4x missiles
Setup is Night Fight and Table quarters
Andrew castles up in his quarter.  He meshes his long fangs together on the one side so that one squad gives the other 2 cover.  With night fight, I get some decent rolls and manage to see and wreck two tanks (1 or 2, I forgot).  Because I moved up, he is able to hit a lot of my units with searchlights and go to town on.  His shooting however is less than spectacular.  He manages to wreck my rune priest’s rhino, but not do much else.  He then charges my rune priests squad with his TWC and Wolf Lord.  I manage to sneak a single wound through on the wolf lord and pop him with the force weapon.  Second turn, I begin dropping krak missiles into his long fangs.  I get lucky and hit with all 4 shots and manage to kill about 3 long fangs and some squad leaders.  I also continue to kill vehicles with my superior fire power.  (Lasplas > Heavy Bolters)  His turn is uneventful as Heavy Bolters don’t do a very good job of killing rhinos.  He does shoot 2 razorbacks and 1 grey hunter squad into my Wolf Lord and I fail 3 of 4 2+ armor saves and a 1 of 1 3+ invulnerable save.  This bright moment helps to somewhat pull him back into this game.  If my wolf lord had stayed alive through the turn, I think it would have been over.  However, we continue.  Because he is forced to disembark to shoot meltas at my rhinos, I now am able to assault his squads with my larger grey hunter squads.  6 man grey hunter squads don’t hold up very well against 8 man grey hunter squads with a wolf banner and a power fist. 

The following turns are more about mop up and keeping him contained in his one quarter.  I make a critical mistake of forgetting to assault with my scouts when they enter the field.  They subsequently die to missiles instead of destroying a squad of long fangs in assault.  My final turn I move a rhino into position so that his long fangs will have a tough time making a last ditch run for a second table quarter.  He is then forced to try and shoot me out of it before claiming it.  His shooting fails and I win the game 3 quarters to 1.

Game 4 - Blackmoor with Draigo wing - Pitched battle, Primary is Objectives, Secondary is Quarters

10x Paladins
10x Strike Squad
3x Dreadnoughts

I castled up on my right side.  He starts off behind his terrain to give himself cover.  My main mistake with this game was not throwing my entire army at his paladin squads to start.  Instead I try and sit back and lascannon/Missile launcher him to death.  Well my shooting is less than spectacular and the few wounds I do put on his squads he manages to save.  In return he pops about 2 vehicles a turn even through cover.  The one bright spot was when his strike squad dropped in to claim an objective and shoot my scouts.  They only manage to kill one.  In return, my scouts shoot and charge and manage to kill enough to win combat and make his strike squad flee off the board.
However it’s not enough because he continues to manage to go through my tanks while I can’t even hurt a dreadnought.  He ends up assaulting me off the middle objective and going up 3 objectives to 2.   

My wolf lord makes a last ditch effort to wipe his second squad of paladins; however he fails his single invulnerable save he is called upon to make.  (This seems to happen a lot)  At this point its turn 6 and I ask to call it.  Even with a turn 7, I can’t do anything.  If my wolf lord could have made his second squad of paladins flee, I potentially could have drew objectives and won quarters.  Unfortunately it doesn’t happen and I lose a pretty close game.  This was the only game in the invitational I feel like I lost on play skill.  Yes, my shooting wasn’t great, however I believe my initial strategy was wrong.  I should have just advanced a lot of meltaguns and tried to run his paladins over.  A great game either way and one of the most fun tournament games I have ever had.

Game 5 - White scars player - Spearhead Deployment, Primary is Table Quarters, Secondary is Objectives.

Lots of bikes, speeders and a couple rhinos.
We basically decide to run through this game on fast mode.  My ride is coming shortly and I would like to not keep them waiting.

He holds his army in reserve, while I castle up in my corner.  If I can protect my long fangs, this might be a short game.  However when his stuff does come on, my shooting continues to fail me.  Long fangs have trouble putting even 1 wound onto his bikers.  His first squad of bikers goes after a long fangs squad and Khans command squad goes after my librarian, (who got out to attempt a reckless Jaws) again, I am in fun/fast play mode.  The librarian gets mowed down; however the long fangs hold their own.  My shooting continues to be miserable.  Scouts with 2 meltaguns fail to kill a single biker in the open.  My other meltas can’t even put a damage result on his rhino.  And my long fangs continue to fail at shooting bikers and land speeders.  My wolf lord however charges 5 bikers and makes them go poof.  1 rhino squad begins moving to the quarter and objective on the right side of the table.  On turn 6 khan charges a grey hunter squad.  I manage to keep the fist alive and pop khan.  I then get to open up on the squad in the open.  I manage to kill all but 1 biker.  I do however decide not to move my rhino 6” to the objective.  Instead I let it sit there.  My wolf lord can’t reach his biker squad in the upper right quarter either.  So at the end of turn 6, we are even on quarters, objectives is 0-0 and kill points is around 5 to 9 in his favor.  We roll and the game ends.  I feel like I pretty much had this game, however fast playing through it I forgot to claim objectives.  Not too worried about though, since I played another solid game against a great opponent.

In the end, I got to play some great games.  And I feel like play skill only cost me one game.

And of course since I’m a magic player so…

Props and Slops!


Mike and all the Nova Open crew for running a great professional gaming convention

Darkmoor for being by far my favorite opponent

Dominoes, for getting me pizza when I landed because the Hyatt has no restaurants open at 2pm.

Tony for bringing a legal list this year and winning the Open

Power Fists/Force Weapons for constantly killing Independent characters without eternal warrior


Guard players who take 20+ minutes every turn

The Hyatt for having no restaurants open at 2 pm

The Hyatt for charging for internet

Stelek for bringing Heavy Bolter Razorbacks

My wolf lord for continually failing saves at about an 80% rate despite his 2+/3+

All the people who let Tony Kopach win…again

Blackmoor for cheating  J  moving your dreadnoughts before you even roll for fortitude

Wolf scouts for always rolling the one number I don’t want.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

NOVA Open Report: Sunday

I woke up Sunday morning and had a bowl of cereal and a Greek yogurt.  I knew full well that these rounds would be a grind and that the chance of a burn out was high.  My plan was to eat clean food to make sure that didn’t happen.  I’ve talked before about the importance of tournament day nutrition, and I tried to practice what I preached.  Let other people eat McDonalds 3 meals a day on tournament day, and when they are sweating profusely and complaining about exhaustion, I will be completely fresh.

So I walk the mile or so from where I was staying to the Hyatt (some hurricane if I can walk outside in it) and set up shop waiting to see the pairings for round 5 to go up.

Round Five – Pitched Battle with Table Quarters

Opponent – Matthew Swasey – Grey Knights

Venerable Psyfleman
Venerable Psyfleman
10x Strike Squad in Rhino
10x Terminator Squad
Land Raider
Land Raider
Land Raider


Killing 3 Land Raiders is hard enough for my list, so I knew it would be an uphill battle to beat him on table quarters since his units were so valuable.  Hard, but doable.  The big problem was kill points as a tiebreaker.  It would be extremely hard to beat him by 3 kill points without tabling him.

In any event, the game was very defensive, as he was content to sit back and shoot with Land Raiders, and I was content to kill everything but his Land Raiders.  On the last turn, I set up a charge where 20 Purifiers were going to charge 10 Terminators, however, my pre-charge shooting softened them up a little too much and they broke and fled and boned my charge.  The lone remaining terminator from one of the combat squads rallied on his turn and took his full value to help contest a table quarter.  So instead of me wiping over 400 points of terminators, I got nothing to show for it.  I also moved a 5 man Purifier squad to sit on an objective (3rd tiebreaker) but rolled snake eyes for difficult terrain and only an inch on my run move.  That left me 1” away from claiming the objective.

When the game ended, we tied 2-2 on table quarters, tied on kill points, and he beat me on objectives 2-1 for 3rd tie breaker because I rolled triple 1’s.  When we calculated victory points, I was ahead by almost 250 points.  Had the terminators not fled, it would have been 650 and an easy win.  Sigh.  I will give Matthew credit, he played smart and did what he had to do to get a win, but I will say that his terminators breaking combined with my terrain and running rolls is what decided the game.  I just don’t think I lost this one to being outplayed by a superior opponent.

But a loss is a lose, and that’s that.

Record: 3-2

Round Six – Dawn of War – Kill Points

Pat Higgs – Daemons of Chaos

6x Fiends of Slaanesh
4x Flamers of Tzeentch
4x Blood Crushers
7x Bloodletters
7x Bloodletters
Nurgle Prince
Nurgle Prince
Nurgle Prince

Pat was a super cool dude who worked with the 11th Company crew and he had an amazingly painted and converted Daemon army.  It used a lot of green-stuffed up chaos-bitzed Ogre Kingdoms minis and looked a million bucks.

Unfortunately, Pat suffered from some bad luck.  His first bit of bad luck was having had to play against my Purifier list with a close combat Daemon list.  Even had I been blind, deaf, and dumb I would have had a huge advantage based on list alone.  Basically, he had to come to me to kill stuff, and my shooting was enormously good at short range.  And my CC ability was such with Preferred Enemy: Daemons that he wouldn’t stand a chance in CC.

I deployed in a corner, castled up in a semi-circle so he would have to deep strike in front of me, and I’d get plenty of shots at whatever he brought in.  He divided his waves with all the big stuff in his primary wave, and all his small stuff in the second wave. 

His next bit of bad luck was getting his small stuff wave first.  He deep struck in aggressively, and I killed his Flamers and Fiends before they could do anything.  His first reserves were all three Princes.  They came on my left  flank to try to overwhelm me, but my shooting was strong and I believe I killed one of the Princes outright and wounded the others.  On his next turn he got Fateweaver, but the Princes needed to charge my lines rather than sit in a bubble and wait a turn, so he did, and popped a Razorback and a Rhino.  On my turn, I counter charged and wiped out both Princes.  I also did a wound to Fateweaver.

His next bit of bad luck was his Bloodcrushers having a deepstrike mishap and being destroyed.  I think once that happened, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion how the game was going to end.  His Blood Thirster came in, but scattered far away, and I got into combat with Fateweaver.  He may a lot of re-rolled saves but eventually I wounded him and he failed his Leadership and fled.  The Blood Thirster moved closer but 4 units’ worth of dakka from my Purifiers put him to bed.  After that, I advanced my Rhinos to contest the objectives his ‘letters were sitting on.

I won the match 5 Kill Points to 1.  I believe the victory point spread was ridiculous, like 1710-50.  That’s a pretty big margin.  While I’m glad I won, I wish it had been a bit closer because I could tell Pat wasn’t having much fun and that bummed me out a bit.

On the plus side, notching my 4th win meant I achieved my pre-tournament goal of going 4-4, and still had two games left to do even better.

Record: 4-2

Round Seven – Pitched Battle – Objectives

Opponent: Robert Evers – Salamander Space Marines

5x TH/SS Terminators
5x TH/SS Terminators
Rifleman Dread
10x Tactical Marines with Melta, MM, Rhino
10x Tactical Marines with Melta, MM, Rhino
Land Speeder Storm with Multi-melta
Auto-las Predator
Land Raider Crusader
Land Raider Redeemer

“Great, more Land Raiders,” I thought to myself.  Since the mission was objectives my plan was to kill his two units of troops and hope he couldn’t wipe me out.

Unfortunately, Bob was a good player and kept his troops in reserve in order to reduce the amount of firepower that was coming through to them.

The game boiled down to a combat of 25 Purifiers against Vulkan and 10 TH/SS terminators.  Despite me getting the charge, and the math-hammer odds being vastly in my favor, he rolled 3++ like a son of a bitch and it took me 4 turns of combat to finally kill the last of the terminators.  All I had left when it was over was 2 of the original 25 Purifiers.

The game came down to two of my Purifiers desperately holding an objective, facing down a Redeemer’s Inferno Cannon which would surely kill them next turn… but the game ended.

We tied 2-2 on objectives (had it continued he would have won it 2-1)
We tied on kill points

I pulled out the table quarters 3-1, however.  Troops counting full points for quarters meant that those two Purifiers were worth more than his undamaged Redeemer, and thus gave me the quarter.  I actually lost on victory points pretty heavily, too.  The key to the win was in the list, I had five units of troops to claim quarters and objectives and he only had two.

All in all, a super close, super fun game.  Definitely a nail-biter.  

Record: 5-2
At this point, I’m ecstatic.  No matter how I do in the 8th, I’ve already exceeded my pre-tournament goals and I can call the NOVA a success.

Round Eight: Spearhead Table Quarters

Opponent: Troy Esposito – Grey Knights

Land Raider
Psyfleman Dreadnaught
Psyfleman Dreadnaught
7x Purifiers in Passback (gave their ride to Crowe and hopped in the LR with Libby)
6x Purifiers in Rhino
5x Purifiers in Passback
5x Purifiers in Passback
5x Purifiers in Passback

Interesting, a Crowe mirror match.  I was next to Troy during the Whiskey, so I knew he was a good player and his list seemed to match up well against mine.  His Shrouding Librarian would be safe and sound in the Landraider giving his mech wall 3++ saves, while mine would be exposed.

Additionally, I got stuck in an awful corner of the board with literally no vehicle cover, whereas he had full cover. 

First turn he basically destroyed all my Psyflemen, since I got no cover saves and his did.  Then he began to systematically demech me.  I figured the game was over, as it was getting ugly, but I rallied back.  My shooting got hot, and I demeched his entire army and started putting strategic pressure on him by strongly claiming several table quarters with big Purifier squads in cover.

Unfortunately, the early game advantage he jumped out to began to wear me down, as his Psyflemen were able to shoot every turn.  Eventually, his libby and boys were able to get the charge off on one of my 10 man squads.  Thanks to Psyk-out grenades and Hammerhand and Might of Titan, he was able to mow me down in combat.

Even then, on the last turn I firmly held a table quarter and sent a lone former 10 man Purifier to scurry to claim another quarter.  As troops counted their full points, his 302 point value would be enough for me to get that quarter as he only had 7 Purifiers in the quarter.  As we each had one objective, it would have sent the game to kill points, which were tied in, and coming down to victory points, I actually had the edge.

Unfortunately, one of his 6 man squads was able to roll 6 through difficult terrain, and then another 6 on the terrain to charge in order to reach my last dudeman, which ofcourse kill him.  Thus Troy won 3-1 on objectives.  A great game, and Troy was an awesome opponent.  Probably the nicest dude I played all weekend in terms of personality, which you might not expect from a guy who closely resembled a Viking. 

Record: 5-3.

All in all, I was happy with how the tournament played out for me.  I took a pretty non-competitive list and finished 34th overall on the competitive track.  Hard to argue that it wasn’t a success for me, and I walked out of the convention hall pretty proud of how I did.  I also considered that all of my losses were close, and some of them came down to a single die roll, and that I could easily have had an even better record.

Post tournament:  I left the hotel and went back to Chipotle for some celebratory tacos and guacamole.  Most excellent.  I then watched some football and crashed.  Woke up early Monday and headed to DCA to catch my flight home. 

NOVA over.

Post Script.

It was a great event.  I was super stoked to meet everyone I’ve only talked to online.  Especially cool to meet Timmah, Xaereth and Laeroth.  I know I met a lot more of my reader peeps, so don’t feel left out if I missed you, it became hard to keep everyone straight and I didn’t take very good notes.

I don’t know if I’ll be back next year due to logistical reasons, but I would definitely like to.  I’ll either bring a nasty 40k list with the intention to be hyper-competitive, or I’ll play in the Fantasy GT.  Depends what I’m more into at the time.  But it was a great experience, and I’d love to return next year if I can.