Monday, October 17, 2011

Nova Invitational Tournament Report

Whew!  Alright, so I finally got this beast done. It's not even super long, but feels like I've been working on it forever :-p.  The first report is what I finished before I got 'burned out' and took a month off.  So, there's a disconnect in the quality of the reports given.  Be forewarned.  

Howdy folks!  I recently went to the Nova Open in D.C, and had the honor of playing in the Nova Invitational event on Friday, before the big 8-game 40k Open.  It was a grueling day of 5 games against 32 of the nation's best 40k players.  I took my Dark Eldar to this event, not really expecting to win anything, but rather to gain a better understanding of the army in the context of extremely good players/lists.  I wasn't disappointed :)

I should also add that I had played exactly 3 games with Dark Eldar in the month and a half following BoLSCON, and was extremely rusty- I should have taken the time to prepare and practice, but burnout is a real threat for me sometimes, and this time it won out :-p

So, here's the list I took:

Nova Invitational (1750 points) Dark Eldar:

Baron Sathonyx

15x Hellions w/ Helliarch w/ Agonizer
3x Wracks // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies

6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances, Arena Champion, Venom Blade
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances, Arena Champion
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances

Ravager w/ Flickerfield
Ravager w/ Flickerfield
Ravager w/ Flickerfield

A word about the missions:

Before we get to the scenarios, I thought I'd explain the 'Nova-style' format.  Essentially, every game has the following scoring criteria:  1) multiple objectives 2) table quarters as determined by Victory Points within the given quarter 3) Kill points (have to win by 3)

Each mission had a primary, secondary, and tertiary that each player needed to attempt to win with.  If you were able to win by primary, you still tallied up your results in the others, but even if you lost those, you still won the game.  If you were tied in the primary, then it went down to secondary of whether or not you won.  If you were tied in both, then tertiary was used.  If tertiary was also a draw, then it went by straight victory points.

So, there was never a draw.  Every game had a clear winner and a clear loser.  This system was used to thin the mass of players into a single undefeated player by the end of the tournament.  If you lost a game or two however, it was still possible to win the 'Renaissance Man', which is the traditional 'best overall', which was made up of 50% Battle Points, and 50% painting scores.

Game 1:  Dark Eldar vs. Salamanders!

I'm embarrassed to say that I forgot this guy's name.  I want to say it was Mike or something, but I met so many people over the course of the weekend, that I'm sure I've forgotten more names than I can imagine :-p

His list:

Vulkan He'stan
Master of the Forge w/ 1x Servitor

5x Assault Terminators w/ 5x TH/SS
Dreadnought w/ TL Auto-cannon, Multi-Melta

10x Tactical Marines w/ Melta, Combi-Melta, Missile Launcher // Rhino 
10x Tactical Marines w/ Melta, Combi-Melta, Missile Launcher // Rhino 
5x Tactical Marines w/ Combi-Melta // Razorback w/ TL Heavy Bolter

Land Speeder w/ MM/HF
Land Speeder w/ MM/HF
Land Speeder w/ MM/HF

Dreadnought w/ TL Auto-cannon, Multi-Melta 
Dreadnought w/ TL Auto-cannon, Multi-Melta 
Dreadnought w/ TL Auto-cannon, Multi-Melta 

Yes you read it right- he had 4 Dreadnoughts.  Not a typo :)

The mission:

Primary: Multiple Objectives (5, one in the center of each quarter, 1 in the middle)
Secondary: Table Quarters (as determined by who has the most VP in each quarter)
Tertiary:  Kill Points (need to win by 3 or more)

Pitched Battle

We rolled to see who went first, and I won, choosing to give first turn to my opponent.

Pregame thoughts:

Well, he had a lot of S7 shooting, along with a solid amount of other backup fire.  I mostly wanted to go second because the terrain was good enough that I knew I could survive his first volley of shooting with minimal losses.

The plan was to overload one side, and slowly sweep across to the other one.  I wasn't too scared by the list itself, though I knew enough to be careful- there would be no 'seal-clubbing round' in this particular tournament :)  

Here's our deployment- he made those ruins on the left 'fortified', and decided to deepstrike his Terminators.  Vulkan and another combat squad are on the right in their Rhinos, along with the majority of his Dreadnoughts- the 5-man missile squads on the left were hanging out in the ruins.  I just castled up behind the awesome building on the left there, lol.
Salamanders Turn 1:

He just kind of moved forward, turbo-boosting his speeders, and staying mostly behind cover- he was sure to keep his dreads in cover.  Shooting didn't result in much for him- a few random bikes and Hellions died, but that was it.

Heh, time for me to go crazy :-p
Dark Eldar Turn 1:

I turboed one of my Reaver Squads over his leftmost tactical squad, resulting in a lot of casualties.  The Hellions stayed in the middle, waiting to see what Vulkan would do.  Otherwise, I shifted the bulk of my army over and up to the left, trying to overwhelm his defenses there.

Venoms opened fire, and resulted in killing off the missiles in both squads of Tac marines, and (I think) killing one of the squads down to a single man.  I also immobilized and weapon-destroyed his Razorback in the ruins on the left, despite the cover.  Some of the Reavers had gotten in range of his closest speeder (behind the building), and downed it with Heat Lances.

After the assault moves for the Reavers, I turned the turn over to him.

Well, not the absolutely best turn in the world, but at least I got rid of a chunk of his firepower :-p

Salamanders Turn 2:

He shifted Vulkan over to the right, threatening the rightmost objectives.  One speeder came over to flamer my squad of Hellions.  Otherwise, he just sort of turned around and started shooting at me.

Shooting wasn't the most effective for him- I don't think he actually killed any of my vehicles, or even full units.  Lots of fail this turn from his rolls :(

I'm mostly intact moving into the next turn...

DEldar Turn 2:

I mostly stayed where I was- I was mostly in range of the things I needed to shoot at, and didn't want to get too much closer to Vulkan, the Master of the Forge, and all the other nice close-up shooting he had.

One squad of Reavers was able to get a back-arc shot on one of his Dreads, and killed it dead.  I immobilized his Master of the Forges' Rhino, and maybe shook one of his other dreads.  Not a super effective turn on my part, which was good for him- he had had a bad turn last time, and it balanced out a little bit this time :)

Oh yeah, the Hellions charged his speeder on the bottom, and shook it.  lol.

Dear Hellions:  prepare to meet flamey doom.  Love, Adam.

Salamanders Turn 3:

His Terminators deepstruck into 'my' building.  See how the roof isn't on anymore? :)

The speeders traded places- the un-shaken one turboing away, and the healthy one ready to flamer me down.  Vulkan decided to head toward the bulk of my forces, protecting the MasterOTF and his immobilized Rhino.  Oh yeah, immobilized no longer, because the MOTF fixed it.  heh.

His shooting didn't do much- he annihilated one of my Reaver squads however.  My FNP rolls for the Hellions were pretty good, and I didn't lose many of them.

The terminators will add a complication to the game- I need to control objectives.  How can I do that if I can't see them in the building?

Dark Eldar Turn 3:

I jumped the Hellions away from the Building, waiting for the Terminators to come out.  I could see through the windows, and moved a few venoms so that they could shoot into them.  I left a Venom close to the Building, so that he'd be tempted to charge it with the Terminators and stay out in the open.

Shooting allowed me to bring down his speeder who had tried to flamer my Hellions, along with Vulkan's (smoked) ride, and the Razorback in the ruins.  I also immobilized the remaining Dread in that quarter.  The Terminators made a billion saves, and I grimaced, awaiting his retaliation.

Well, so far so good, right?

Salamanders Turn 4:

The game was starting to wind down- it was time to start thinking about objectives.  He moved his guys around, making ready to make a stab on the bottom right objective.  His MotF got out, and headed over to his right-most Dreads.

Shooting brought down the 'bait' Venom I had placed next to his Termies.  Ut-oh!

His Terminators then charged the Warriors inside, eating them, but failing to consolidate back into the building.  Woot!

Sorry, no picture for this turn.

Dark Eldar Turn 4:

I needed to kill those terminators, and fast.  It wasn't looking too promising up on the top left ruin, and it was looking more and more impossible to get into his top right objective.  In short, he had too many units I had failed to kill for me to be able to easily win via objectives.  If I could draw him in objectives however, I could easily enough win Table Quarters.

So, the Hellions rushed over to the Terminators, and the Venoms targeted them as well.  Reavers tried to get some shots on his far Dreadnoughts, mostly trying to distract and annoy them, and potentially be in position for a last-minute objective contest.

Shooting saw me kill 4 of the Terminators.

In assault, the Hellions *barely* killed the final Terminator.  Very close, he rolled a lot of saves.  :-p

Well, time to see what he's got- it's become apparent that Turn 5 would be our final turn.  Note that I've got a venom sitting in range of both objectives, sitting there waiting.

Salamanders Turn 5:

He knew it would be our final turn.  So, he got Vulkan out and stepped onto the middle objective.  His MotF squad got out of their Rhino and marched back onto his objective (this might have been a previous turn), and Vulkan's squad got into the vacated Rhino, which then moved 12" into range to control the bottom right objective.

His shooting didn't do a whole lot.  More plinking away at my Reavers.

The MotF barely got a charge off on some Reavers who I had failed to keep outside of 12" from him.  Oops.  Butchered to a man :-p

So, right now he controls two objectives, to my single one.

Dark Eldar Turn 5: (crunch time)

Well, I needed to win via Quarters- not much chance to win via Objectives at this point.  So, the Hellions jumped over into the bottom right quarter.  The Venom at the bottom of the board jumped 12" up, disembarked the Wracks, who ran into contest range of the bottom right objective.

I managed to kill all the Tactical marines in the ruins on the top left, but the Dread had a 3+ cover save (and was immobilized), so we both contested that one.

The game ended...

Did I manage the win?


Objectives:  1-1 No advantage
Table Quarters:  3-1 Dark Eldar advantage
Kill Points:  not really sure- Dark Eldar advantage

Win for the Dark Eldar! 

After-game thoughts:

Wow, this was a very tense game.  He felt he was rolling poorly, I felt he was rolling well, and we both (of course) wanted to win.  He was a really nice guy, and I really enjoyed the game.  I should also point out that his army was beautiful and my blurry pictures don't give it nearly enough credit.  Very cool guy, great opponent, and I was off to a great start at the Invitational!

I thought he should have charged the Reavers with his Dreadnoughts- he never did, and I'm not really sure why not.  Probably to preserve his firepower for another turn, and kill more spiky ships, lol.

Overall a very pleasant (if not intense) game :)

Man of the Match:

Um... the Hellions?  They killed the Terminators, and captured me the far left table quarter.  They didn't accomplish their usual butchery, but they did what was needed in this game, which was act as my insurance :-p

Everything else operated well enough, and the Reavers drew a lot of firepower.  Hooray for expendable, resilient melta squads!

Game 2:  Dark Eldar vs. Rick's Imperial Guard

Alright folks, the rest of the reports are going to be somewhat fast and furious (this is the aforementioned disconnect).  I'll still let you know what went down, but this is the point I reached before I got burned out and decided not to keep writing them for my own sanity.  As such, it's been over a month since I played these games, and so don't have an amazing grasp on the exact things that happened.  I'll do the best I can, though - I do have a pretty good memory ;-)

His Army List (from memory, lol):

Company Command Squad w/ 4x Plasma Rifles // Chimera

8x Psykers // Chimera

10x Veterans w/ 3x Melta Guns // Chimera
10x Veterans w/ 3x Melta Guns // Chimera
Platoon Command Squad w/ 4x Flamers // Chimera
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun?  // Chimera
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun // Chimera



Well... it was something like that.  You'll see why I don't really remember, shortly.

The Mission:

Kill points/Objectives/Quarters (maybe the 2nd and 3rd are transposed?)

Dawn of War

We rolled off, and he got first turn.  Yikes.

Pre-game thoughts:

Well, I was actually happy to take second, because then I could find out where his stuff would be coming on.  I didn't want to have to just spread out into the middle.  Taking a turn of shooting would be worth knowing where he was.

The plan was as it always is:  charge his tanks with the Hellions, shoot them with Reavers, and charge the contents.  Also, to avoid the Psykers, which would be problematic for my Hellions.

So, all was well, I thought.  And then I made my single biggest mistake in the game:  I attempted to seize the initiative.  Seriously, it was more like a muscle-memory sort of thing.  He said:  oh, go ahead and try to seize, and instead of saying (as I should have said) "oh, no, go ahead and just go," I rolled the dice, and it betrayed me - gave me a "6".  Doh.  I'd be going first, and have the same problem I wanted to avoid in the first place.

You can see he deployed a Chimera up 24".  I was excited about this, because it meant I'd be able to get my hellions a 3rd Pain Token and make them fearless.

As you can see, I got all spread out, and tried to kill his Chimera, but failed.  Think I hurt it though.

He did the smart thing and refused flank.  Not a good thing for me at all.

Hellions ate the Chimera Vets.  It almost looked like I might have a decent shot at winning this thing.

His shooting phase killed a few of my tanks, shaking more.  The psykers made some half-strength reavers run off the board.

Hellions just jumped on in there

They assaulted and killed a couple Chimeras, shook/stunned/weapon destroyed/immobilized a few more.  His Veterans didn't run away or pin themselves.  I should also note that for some reason, despite the 6" ruler hitting both my Hellion base and the tracks of the Hydra, the judge said it wasn't in, and wouldn't let me move it into base when I charged.  Not sure why that happened.  I'm over it though - let's keep going.

As a sidenote, at this point, had my shooting phases gone even a little bit to plan, I'd have a chance to beat him.  It was some mega-fail rolling, but I can't really really blame the dice, because of the way I played the rest of the game.  Would have been nice to at least shake or stun something though. 

This is where it got ugly.  He killed about everything of mine this turn.  Two Ravagers, not really very close by, got glanced to death by a single Manticore.  Other stuff died.  Hellions all died.  Reavers all died.

End Result:  Loss for the Dark Eldar!!

He almost tabled me.  Due to my stupid willingness to steal the initiative, my guys were all too spread out when he came onto the table.  Then he was able to piecemeal me.  My army needed to apply consistent pressure to his, and I failed to do that.  It was a poorly played game by myself.  So, remember this game, kids:  I could have won, had I chosen to go second vs. Imperial Guard.  True story.  lol

Give the guy credit though - he did play it well.  Even if he did drop a vendetta (accidentally) on my display board (with most of my models on it) near the end of the game :-p

Game 3:  Dark Eldar vs. Rich's Tau!!

His list:

Shas'el w/ Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Targeting Array, Blacksun Filter

2x Crisis Suits w/ TL Missile Pods, Targeting Array, Gun Drone
2x Crisis Suits w/ TL Missile Pods, Targeting Array, Gun Drone
2x Crisis Suits w/ TL Missile Pods, Targeting Array, Gun Drone


8x Fire Warriors w/ Devilfish
8x Fire Warriors w/ Devilfish
10x Kroot
10x Kroot
10x Kroot

2x Broadsides w/ Smart Missile System, Shield Drone
2x Broadsides w/ Smart Missile System, Shield Drone
Hammerhead w/ Railgun

The Mission: Wow.  Don't really remember.

Objectives/Kill Points/Table Quarters?


I won the roll to go first, and took it.

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, another instance where I was a little bit of a nub.  I hid everything behind the house, despite first turn.  I should have just given my guys cover via Hellions/Venoms/Ravagers, etc.  Failsauce deployment.  Mostly, I just wanted to get the Hellions into his guys, and shoot everything up as well as I could.  Not a deployment well-suited to this though.

He couldn't really see me... but it was still a fail setup.

So, I just turboed.  Nothing of mine was in range to shoot his stuff.  Well, I managed to kill most of the Kroot in the forest up there.  heh.

He shot at me with lots of stuff.  He ended up pinning a few of my Reaver squads, which I've since discovered that units who have turbo-boosted can't be pinned.  This was game-changing.  Ridiculously so (in my mind, at least).

Well, the Hellions got a decent Fleet roll.  The Reavers not pinned epicfailed on their shooting.  /wrist.  The Hellions got a multi-charge into 2 gundrone teams and the immobilized Devilfish, killing the Fish (pinning the squad), and somehow staying in combat with a single Drone (he rolled a "4" for leadership, haha).

So, he killed a Venom nearby the Hellion combat, exploding 6", and killed the Gun Drone.  Not an awesome thing to happen to me, since he then placed the Hammerhead's huge template on all of the Hellions, who would be instantly vaporized if he got a hit.  He failed to hit, and scatted off.  Whew.  That almost went terribly.  He did manage to wipe the rest of the 'pinned' Reavers off the board.  :(

Well, the Hellions got into it with most of his combat suits.  Stayed locked in, though I'd likely win in the next turn - the black stones signify wounds.  The white paper is where the building was, since we didn't want to have to move around it the whole game.

His guys couldn't really kill my stuff, since I had good cover saves, I'd been killing lots of various Suits with the Venoms etc.  He's rolling his own cover saves like a bandit too though.  Hellions wiped the Commander + suits.  He has only broadsides, 3 (impossible to kill) piranhas, some Kroot, a Hammerhead.... well.  Lots of stuff.

Summary of the rest of the game:

No more pictures, since we were running out of time.  The Hellions jumped in and killed some Kroot, but we had only one more turn left.  Table quarters taken into consideration, I had to kill the Kroot, rather than the Broadsides, since I'd only have one more turn.  At the end of my own turn, I was ahead like, 5 Kill Points, and we would likely tie both Table Quarters and Objectives.

His turn, he got 3 KP off of me, and it came down to VP for tiebreakers.

He had taken all his Gun Drones off his stuff on the last turn, getting 25 VP for each 'squad' of them.  Each Piranha had some, and the Hammerhead I think?  It ended up being a loss to me by 80 VP.  Don't remember if the Drones themselves made him win, or if it wouldn't have actually mattered, just been much closer.

I should also add that this was one instance of when I didn't like Table Quarters by VP.  He sat there for like 15 minutes with a calculator, trying to figure out where he could go in order to win.  Heh.

Nice guy though, and I lost to the 'terribad' Tau.  He had a good list, and was a great player.  Bad deployment by myself again cost me the game.  I really should have been more aggressive.  Learn from my mistakes!

One more thing:  there were multiple twists to this game, with super lucky/unlucky things happening to both of us.  Any one of these things going the other way would have won the game for either of us.  I think they evened out at the end, and while I'm tempted to say that had my Ravager not rolled 2 "1"s against his in-the-open broadsides to wound (out of the 3 hits I had already rolled), I'd have won... I'm not going to.  There are a lot of things that could have gone his way as well, such as a venom exploding on an objective, killing 3 Kroot nearby, causing them to run instead of charge my Warriors on that objective (in the final turn).

It was a super close game, and I played it poorly and wasn't as rules-savvy as I thought I was.  He played it well, and deserved to win.  Much as it embarrasses me to say so :-p

Also the first time I've ever lost two games in a row at a tournament.  In like... ever.

Really nice guy, too, I should add.  I'd like to see him play a 'top-tier' list, to see how much domination would ensue :)

Game 4:  Dark Eldar vs. Lucas' Dark Eldar!!

His List:

Lady Malys
Baron Sathonyx

3x Trueborn w/ 3x Blasters // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
3x Trueborn w/ 3x Blasters // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies

5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shield
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shield
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shield
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shield

5x Beastmasters, 9x Khymera, 6 Razorwings

Ravager w/ 3 Dark Lances
Ravager w/ 3 Dark Lances
Razorwing w/ 2x Dark Lances, 2 Shatterfield Missiles, Flickerfield

Mission:  Objectives/KP/Quarters?

Pitched Battle

Pregame Thoughts:

This was the first time I played against Dark Eldar with my own Dark Eldar, actually.  Heh.

He put the Baron and Malys in with the 'Beaststar'.  I'd need to just try to whittle him down, without letting the same happen to me.  Killing his Venoms early would help greatly.  The Hellions would win the fight against the Beasts, I was fairly certain, but they (the beasts) had the bigger threat range, so I would need to be careful.

I won first turn, and let him go first, so I could see where he deployed.  Like a boss.  Lol.

Jeeze, I have such a big army, lol.  Here's the deployment.  Yay for LOS-blocking terrain!  Also yay for Malys, who just shifted 3 of his units to the far left, away from my firepower.  Need to remember that about her, Eldrad, and other units that can let you redeploy stuff.

His initial shooting barrage didn't do a whole lot to me.  Woot.  In return, I shook a few things, and killed the Trueborn Venom on the right (other is on the left)

His beasts were afraid to get too close to my lines, and at this point, he still had an alright chance to win the shooting battle.  He killed some weapons and a full Ravager.  Paper airplanes FTW!

Heh, killed more of his stuff, and made him commit his beasts.  Looking back, not sure why I didn't charge his beasts with my FC/FNP Hellions.  It made sense at the time, I'm assuming, lol.
Proofreading this thing helped me remember:  he needed to roll perfectly to charge the Hellions- 6 move through cover, 6 fleet, and 6 charge.  He barely made it.  I wanted him to try though :)

His guys got real close.  This would be the showdown:  Hellions vs. Beaststar

Hellions won handily.  He got a little unlucky on rolls, but not really enough so that it would have changed things drastically.  Beasts have terrible saves, and I had been able to whittle them down enough that he didn't have the full hitting force available to him. 

At this point, just gotta do some mopup.  The Hellions dragged down more stuff, cutting a swath through the competition.

The game was essentially over.  Good game by him, that Beast unit is a tough nut to crack, what with a 3+ cover save from the Baron, Grenades, Malys, etc. 

Results:  Win for the (my) Dark Eldar!

He was a really nice guy, we were both pretty tired by this point, and were for sure out of the running for any prize support.  I probably should have just charged his Beasts with the Hellions, but it worked out alright this time.

And now the game you've all been waiting for:

Game 5:  Dark Eldar vs. Stelek's Space Wolves

His list:

Wolfguard Battle Leader w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Power Fist, Storm Shield

8x Wolfguard w/ 8x Combi-Meltas, 2x Power Fists // Rhino  (fists went into scout squads, others went into GH squads)
5x Wolf Scouts w/ Meltagun
5x Wolf Scouts w/ Meltagun

5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun // Razorback w/ Heavy bolter
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun // Razorback w/ Heavy bolter
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun // Razorback w/ Heavy bolter
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun // Razorback w/ Heavy bolter
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun // Razorback w/ Heavy bolter

1x Thunderwolf Cavalry w/ Storm Shield

5x Longfangs w/ 4x Missile Launchers // Razorback w/ Heavy Bolter
5x Longfangs w/ 4x Missile Launchers // Razorback w/ Heavy Bolter
5x Longfangs w/ 4x Missile Launchers // Razorback w/ Heavy Bolter

Heh.  Aw man, seriously?  I hadn't wanted to play against this list, but he had already lost two games, and I was right there with him.

So, I sat down and waited at the table for him.

For 20 minutes.

Maybe it was only 15.  For sure not less than that.  15 is the conservative estimate, but I didn't just sit there and watch the clock.

(I should add that it was 15-20 of actual game time)

So, just when me and my judge were starting to think he wasn't going to show, he finally did.

Game on :)

Well, until I discovered I had misplaced my own final army list.  I resolved this in 45 seconds by asking Lucas (from game 4) for my list back.  Hate doing that, I'll be bringing many extras next summer.  Total fail on my own part.  Especially after having so long of a waiting period.

In the time it took me to get my list, Stelek had gotten us both glasses of water.  Was he going to be a nice guy, despite his internets persona?

The mission:

Quarters/Objectives/Kill Points?  I still don't remember, lol.


He won the roll to go first, and took it.

15 minutes for his deployment, as the parking lot wasn't working out logistically.

Here's the deployment.  You should note the walls his longfangs in the back are nearby, they were "on" the walls.  I consistently forgot they were there rather than behind his tanks, and consistently forgot that I could shoot them with Venoms, since they were 'techinically' on the walls.  It wasn't a big deal to me - he made it clear what he was doing.  Just me being forgetful.  My own fault, certainly.

Ah, here's an up-close blur of his deployment zone.  See the walls I'm talking about?

He went first, and shot everything at my Hellions.  It all mostly bounced off.  I should note I only used the Haemonculus for FNP this time, since I wanted the 3+ cover save + FNP immediately.  His Heavy Bolters weren't going to hurt me too bad.

My dudes jumped up, and shot some stuff.  Killed a few longfangs in his 'top' squad, since I could obviously see them.  Killed a Razorback in the back too, despite his 3+ cover save.  My own incompetence shooting that one, if we're being honest, lol.  This was at the end of his Turn 2.  I should note the Ravager that is tilted on the hill in my starting quarter.  It's somewhat important later.

The scouts both came in this turn, and came in where he wanted.  Or so he said.  Neither myself or the judge witnessed these rolls (any of the 4).  Not sure how that happened.  It was an extremely vital roll, and the only time I didn't watch his rolling.  My fault?  Not exactly sure...

His Wolfguard Battleleader charged the Reavers with the Poison Weapon, and took a wound, only caused 3 (not really un-average), and they made their leadership roll (Grisly Trophies FTW)

It's mayhem!  Looks like the bottom of my Turn 2.  Note the immobilized Venom with the Red Flag closest to us.  It has the Wracks.  It's important for later.
His scouts were whittled down a little bit, and the venom bladed Arena Champion killed his Wolf Guard Battle Leader.  The other Thunderwolf had charged another squad of Reavers, and kept failing to kill enough to force them to fail a leadership.  He also made 5/5 3+ saves I forced thoughout that combat.  lol.

The Hellions jumped in and ate the squad of Hunters from the Razor I had killed Turn 1.

This is where he told me he didn't like the Baron because it promotes boring lists.  Stelek called my list boring?  I guess 8 Razorbacks + Rhino in 1750 is exciting.


Since this is the report everyone will want to read, I'll do the rest in 'proper' turn order.  (which is to say, we were already running out of time, and I didn't take any more pictures)

Stelek Turn 3:

He moved one squad of Grey Hunters up to the bottom-left corner, in their Razorback.  He also moved a GH squad up to fight my Reavers his Thunderwolf couldn't kill.  Not much else moved - his scouts decided to do something with themselves, before they bit the dust.

Not much happened - lots of shots at my tanks and Reavers who had killed the WGBL (who were in cover and had FNP), resulting in nothing much.

His assault phase killed some warriors from a downed Venom (with scouts), though they got reduced to a single man.  Other scout squad almost died as well, and failed to win their combat with warriors (Warriors killed his Fist before he could swing, and he was left with a single scout).  The Reavers vs. Thunderwolf kept going, with him rolling his attacks poorly (though good on his saves), and me rolling average.  The squad he got out to help in that combat (the Reaver/TWC one) weren't close enough to get there, heh.

Dark Eldar Turn 3:

I had to kill the scouts, and had to keep him contained.  It was becoming clear that he wanted to stay static in his bunker.  The game was mine to lose, or so it seemed.

The Hellions jumped up toward his Longfangs, ready to assault them, if I failed to pop his Razorback in the far back left corner.  Everything else got ready to concentrate on the 2 remaining scouts.

Shooting with the one unmolested squad of Reavers popped his Razorback in the bottom left (killing 1), and the Hellions moved up to eat the squad inside.  The lone Scout in the open got shot easy enough, and my other anti-tank mega-whiffed again.

In combat, I realized we had run out of time, and contested the objective in the center with the 'unmolested' Reaver squad, who had popped the Razorback in the bottom left corner earlier.  The Hellions jumped into combat with his Grey Hunters in the corner, and caused 18 wounds (they had gotten the +1 WS drug earlier).  He saved all but 2, leaving 3 Hunters left, who in turn killed two of mine, and we stuck in combat.

The Reavers again barely managed to dodge the Thunderwolf, and the Warriors on the right managed to pummel the lone scout on the right into submission.

The Game Ended.

I held 1 Objective in the top right, he held the top left objective.  Bottom left corner was contested by Hellions/Grey Hunters, and middle one was contested by Reavers/Grey Hunters.

I held the bottom right and bottom left corners, he held the top left and top right corners.

I had killed 6 Kill Points (Razorback, Wolfguard Battle Leader, Grey Hunters, Scouts, Scouts, Razorback).
He had killed 5 Kill Points (Venom, Venom, Warriors, Warriors, Ravager)

It came down to Victory Points, which he won by less than 100 VP, as the Hellions had lost a guy in the fight at the bottom, down to under half by 1 :-p 

So, I lost to Stelek, and will live in shame for the rest of my days, haha

Guess I can take a trick from his book and say that:

1) had I taken the Wracks out of the Venom (the one with the red flag, remember?) on Turn 3 and put them on the lower right objective...
2) had he rolled average on the bottom left combat (18 saves vs. 5 guys with a 3+ save)...
3) had the Hellions lost one less guy to dangerous terrain (I lost 3 this game, even with rerolls)

... I would have won.


Just kidding, I don't actually want to claim that.  I probably deserved to lose.  I didn't realize we would only play 3 turns.

I have no idea what would have happened if we had kept playing, to be honest.  He could have killed lots of my 'easy, exposed' kill points on Turn 4, though he in turn would have also lost some.  Conjecture is pointless.  It was certainly a close game.

Afterwards, he told me he had a great game, shook my hand, and gave me a "1" for sportsmanship, the first time I've gotten a 'bad' sportsmanship mark for well over a year.  I'd go on to get 8/8 "3" scores (the highest score) in the Open event.  Not sure what I did to deserve his ire.  /shrug

Alright, don't want to start all sorts of internets drama.  Well, I want to, but have decided to tone it down a little.  Odds are, we'll never play again.  If we do, I don't want it to be unpleasant.

I need to address a few things from his website, however.

Directly after the game, he posted this:

His 'post-game' post

Then, after a few weeks to forget a few things, he posted this report:

His 'post-nova' report

In regards to the 'bullshit' of using the base for the Reaver Jetbikes instead of the model, I should note that on my first game, the judge explicitly stated (without waiting for me to say anything) that I needed to use the base, not the model.  Which was fine with me.  I did this every single game out of my 14 games at the Nova.  In fact, I still do it.  I measure to move, shoot, and assault from the base.

I was clear at the start of our game about it (as every other player I played against at the Nova can vouch for), and played it consistent.  There should have been no 'surprise', since we had already talked about it.  People in his comments section backed me up on that one too, lol.

In regards to me 'getting to where I wanted' with the Vehicles, I will admit my own wrong in the matter of not 'pivot, move, pivot'-ing.  I was tired and felt it didn't matter, but was my own fault nonetheless.  I've made it a priority to do this in every game I've played since, to beat it into my skull and form a habit that I should already have.

I should point out, however, that a Ravager of mine was on the hill, and took a dangerous terrain.  I noted it in one of the pictures.  It took two dangerous terrains, in fact (one to get in, next turn to get out).  Not sure where else I 'got' where I wanted to go in this game.  Nowhere else was even an issue.  Some of my venoms were out of range to shoot at his Longfangs Turn 1, because I didn't "get where I wanted".  We only played 3 Turns.

In regards to me modeling for advantage, I didn't.  The models were all on the bases GW provided.  Never had someone complain about that before.  Maybe he's referring to his previous game against Dash on this one, it's unclear.  But I wanted to mention it.  I can provide pictures if need be.  HA.

In regards to him misrepresenting how the game went, I don't really care any more.  It was certainly frustrating at the time to have my 'good name' slandered, but I'm over it.  He didn't dominate me the way he claims (in his second post, and subsequent other posts), but really... what is gamer pride?

I played like shite this tournament.  Seriously, horrible gameplay lost me 3 of my 5 games.  I hadn't played for weeks before this, and it really, really showed.  If he misrepresents me or slanders me, what does it matter - I played poorly, and deserve some flack.  I don't want to be accused of cheating (since I didn't), but if someone says I suck, is it worth lots of drama and emotional energy to get into a flame war for a game I'm good at (but obviously not great)?

Answer:  no.  Never.  I love this game, and for the most part have extremely pleasant games with the people who play it, even when the games are against the most hardcore 40k players out there.

So, whereas I may have been a little negative about Stelek, this simply reflects the fact that I didn't enjoy the game, or the way he handled himself.  It doesn't mean I won't play against him again, or to even be unpleasant if/when I do.  I hope the internets understands this.  I'm going to great lengths not to start a slander/flame war.  Much as my dramatic side wants me to.

For the record, I gave him a "2" for sportsmanship.  I really should be less lenient on my sports scores, but I'm not too worried about it.  Mostly, I'm inclined to like the people I play against.  My bad :-p

Post-Tournament Thoughts:

I played terrible.  Mistakes in deployment, forgetting rules, sloppiness, etc. cost me 3 games, and could have cost me more.  These guys were all great players, and wanted to win the $1000 cash prize.  As such, they brought their "A" game with the army they're best with, and I failed to emulate them.

Why should I be rewarded for weeks of no play before the biggest tournament I'd ever been to?

For the record, this is the only tournament I've ever played in that I've lost the majority of my games, even when I first started playing (about 4 years ago now).  At least I waited to have a meltdown until I wa up against the roughest field of players I'd ever been in :-p

Otherwise, I thought it was well-run, the judges for the most part were very helpful, and the players (also for the most part) were extremely pleasant.

I'd love to play in this event again, hopefully they have it again next year.  :)

I'll give a bigger 'overall Nova' feedback post later, once I'm done with the other 8 Batreps from the Open.

One thing I'll say about my list:  15 Hellions was a fail.  Always need 18+, even at a lower points level.  It cost me too much.  But enough for now.

And for those worried to read about my poor play in the next Batrep (the 8-game 'Open') - don't worry too much.  I did better.  Not better enough of course, but still better :)

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