Monday, November 21, 2011

Nova Open 2011 Tournament Report

A note: after having written this, I've decided it's too long to go back and proofread, since it's already super late, and I want to get this stupid thing scheduled and done with.  So, just deal with it.  My writing is still not horrible un-proofread, I hope :-p

Howdy folks!  The time has come, the time is now! (3 internets for whoever can name what book that came from :)  )

We've finally got my Nova Open Tournament Report.  It's been a long time coming, and I apologize to those who have been tapping their feet in rabid impatience.  No point in blogging when you feel like it'll ruin blogging forever though, amirite?

Let's start with me pointing out, as I did in the Nova Invitational Report, that this will be a somewhat abbreviated report, not a full blow-by-blow as it normally is.  It'll still have most of the turns' pictures, along with analysis on what I did/my approach/what I did wrong for each game, just not the 3-hour read (hyperbole, I know) some of you are used to by now :-p  I just don't remember enough of the minute details to justify a full ridiculously long report, so... yeah.  Deal with it.

You can get to the aforementioned posts via the link at the top right part of my blog in the "Battle Report Log".  No, I'm not linking to it, so that you can find it for yourself, and always know where you can get to it :)

Cool, so let's get started.

How the tournament works: (for the uninitiated, don't bother reading if you already understand it)

A Nova-Style tournament uses a Win/Loss system, designed for a specific number of players in mind, where at the end of all games played, a single player remains undefeated.  In the case of the Open, we had 256.  Well, the plan was to have 256, but instead we apparently had a few less, and therefore a few 3-1 players had a chance to win the whole thing.

There are three types of 'goals' in each game:  Objectives, Table Quarters, and Kill Points.

Every single table had 5 objectives:  one in the center of each table quarter, and one in the direct center of the table.  Whoever controlled the most objectives at the end of the game, won that goal.

Table quarter control was determined by the number of pure victory points each quarter contained, with troops being worth their full starting points, regardless of how many of them were left in the unit.

Kill Points are standard, except that you needed to win by 3 KP, rather than just have 'more' than the opponent.

Each round, the different goals were shifted from Primary to Secondary, to Tertiary.  If you won by Primary, you'd win the game, regardless of the results of Secondary or Tertiary.  If it was a draw, then it would go down to Secondary.  If both Primary and Secondary were drawn, Tertiary was used.  If all three were drawn, then it came to straight victory points.

There were a few other things, but that's the gist of how it worked.

After a brutal day of 5 games at the Invitational on Friday, I was ready to play a little more relaxed, and at a point level I'm a little more comfortable with.

Here's the list I took:

2000 Points of Dark Eldar (Kabal of the Awesome Sauce)

Baron Sathonyx

7x Incubi // Raider w/ Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Flickerfield

18 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
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances

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

So, waking up at Zero Dark-Thirty, I shambled my way downstairs, to what I figured would be my impending doom.  The postings were put up earlier than the first game was supposed to start, which was nice - I got to talk to my opponent a little bit before we threw down.

Game 1:  Dark Eldar vs. Nick's Orks!

His List:

Warboss w/ Mega-armor, Twin Linked Shoota, Cybork Body, Attack Squig, Bosspole, Stikkbombs, Power Klaw
Big Mekk w/ KFF, Power Klaw, Cybork Body, 'Eavy Armor

5x Lootas
5x Lootas

5x Meganobz (various combi-weapons) // Battlewagon w/ Deff Rolla, Red Paint, Big Shoota, Kannon
20x Shoota Boyz w/ PK Nob
11x 'Ard Boyz Boyz w/ PK Nob // Trukk

12x Boyz w/ PK Nob // Trukk
12x Boyz w/ PK Nob // Trukk
19x Gretchin (1x Runtherd)

3x Warbuggies w/ Twin-Linked Rokkits

Looted Wagon w/ Boom Gun
Looted Wagon w/ Boom Gun
Looted Wagon w/ Boom Gun

The theme was looted Ultramarines- lots of the Lootas had Ultramarine shoulderpads and stuff.  Very cool army :)

The Mission:

Objectives/Kill Points/Table Quarters

Pitched Battle Deployment

I won the roll to go first, and gave it to him.  The reasoning behind that being that then I'd know where his forces are, and could deploy accordingly.  His shooting wasn't quite crazy enough to make me worry *too* much.

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, this was the first time I'd played Orks with the Dark Eldar.  Still, I know the Ork book pretty well, and theory-hammer wise, I knew that the Hellions w/ FNP + Furious Charge would be a great matchup against the 'standard' Ork Boy.  So the goal was simply to bumrush him, while avoiding the Mega-nobs.  You'll see my deployment mirrored this approach.

Let's see how it worked for me.

Here's the deployment.  The Wagon on the far left is the Mega-Nob wagon I want to avoid. 

His shooting didn't do a whole lot - I think some of the Lootas even moved forward, because they weren't in range of anything.

I began my blitz forward, supporting Reavers with the Hellions, while staying back with my shooty elements.  The poker chip on the ravager in the back is a shaken or stunned marker.  Think the Reavers on the left (plus other shooting) killed two of the rokkit buggies.

Nick just kept moving forward.  his shooting didn't do much - maybe killed a few Hellions. 

The Hellions rushed in and multi-charged a Wagon and the squad of Gretchin, who they killed a bunch of.  The Gretchin had other plans than running, however.

So, most of his shooting is gone, though the Nobz aren't demeched yet.  You'll notice a few Trukks are also not in existence.

His advance continued.  The 'Ard Boyz got out of their trukk and mega-whiffed on the Wrack's Venom.  On the left, the Mega-Nobz tried to get across terrain to charge the Reavers there, and barely failed their charge.  Hellions got charged by 12 Boyz, but won combat by a huge number (gretchin as combat res FTW) and wiped out both squads.

Incubi rushed in and killed the 'Ard Boyz.  Hellions jumped over to wipe out his 20 shoota boyz on the hill in the back.  Venoms shot up more boyz, and Reavers on the left went on to kill the Trukk Boyz on the left.  Battlewagon also died, apparently.

At this point, he didn't have a whole lot left.  We called it, with his Mega-Nobz and Warboss still alive, as opposed to me, who lost a squad of Reavers in the end.

Game 1 Results:  Win for the Dark Eldar!

Post Game Thoughts:

Nick was a really great opponent, who hadn't played against Dark Eldar a whole bunch.  It was for sure a fun game, though I don't think he was prepared for how awesome the Hellions would be.  They ended the game with as much Pain as they could handle, lol.

Game 2:  Dark Eldar vs. Brad's Dark Angels

His List:

Belial w/ Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield

5x 'upgraded' Deathwing Terminators w/ TH/SS, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Standard Bearer, Medic, etc.
5x Deathwing Terminators w/ 4x TH/SS, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Chain Fist
5x Deathwing Terminators w/ 4x TH/SS, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Chain Fist
5x Deathwing Terminators w/ 4x TH/SS, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Chain Fist
5x Deathwing Terminators w/ 4x TH/SS, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Chain Fist

3x Bikes w/ 2x Meltaguns, Power Fist, Teleport Homer
Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
Typhoon Land Speeder w/ Multi-Melta
Typhoon Land Speeder w/ Multi-Melta

Land Raider w/ Las Cannons

The Mission:

Table Quarters/Objectives/Kill Points

I won the roll to go first, and gave it to Brad, the Reasoning being, I needed to know if he would be deathwing assaulting me or not.  You'll see that he did indeed :) 

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, this would actually be my first game against the new Deathwing with my Dark Eldar- lots of fun new experiences :-p  I knew the missiles would be a pain, and that I should be able to wither his terminator squads down quickly enough, followed by a potent charge by the Hellions to mop things up.  Heh.

Woot.  Full reserves FTW

Belial and two other termie squads dropped in, and failed to kill much stuff.

I moved up a bunch, and he failed almost zero saves.  This would soon become a theme, as you'll see.

Almost all of his squads came in, and suddenly I was surrounded.  The Incubi Raider soaked up a grand total of 1 cyclone missile launcher, before failing smoke and crashing hard, running away.

I moved stuff up to shoot at the Deathwing.  He wouldn't fail saves.  Like, any of them.  I was barely able to shake a speeder of his.  Notice that I kept the Hellions back- I couldn't risk a charge doing no damage and subsequently being raped by Belial's squad.

The rest of his stuff came in, except for the bikes, who were outflanking.  His shooting killed more of my stuff.  The game was getting a little scary.

I eventually whittled his 'original' squads down enough that the Hellions thought they could charge in and kill two terminators.  They caused 16 wounds shooting, then 23 wounds on the charge to 2 (2!) terminators, and Brad failed a *grand total* of 1 save, swung with 2 swings and killed 2 Hellions.  I lost combat, and had I failed my Ld. 8 roll, the game would have been his.  However, I made the roll, and killed the Terminator in the next turn.

Well, the game finally started winding down.  I had killed his Raider with some Blaster warriors, and otherwise, he had saved almost every single save he could have.  It ended up with the Hellions once again saving the day, by jumping into the top right quarter, charging his speeder, and barely making it 50% into the quarter, while still holding their top left objective (Daisy Chain FTW). 

As you can see, I killed almost nothing of his - 10 terminators, a few Bikes, and 2 of his 3 vehicles.  Had the game been Kill Points, he'd likely have won.

Game 2 Results:  Win for the Dark Eldar!

Postgame Thoughts:

Wow, that didn't go as planned at all.  He saved every save like a bandit.  Seriously, I couldn't catch a break.  Actually, the one save he did fail in that massive failed charge by the Hellions was using my own dice.  about 40 saves rolled, and he failed 1.  Yikes.

I was very happy with my result - I don't think I could have played the game a whole lot better, to be honest (and to be cocky, lol).  If Terminators won't fail their saves, it's an uphill battle for anyone, and my own dice weren't doing much good for me either.  Add to that that Brad was a really good player on top of that, I was quite happy to have survived.  If we had kept playing to turn 105, I'm not super confidant that I would have won.

Fun opponent though, very good/close game :)

Game 3:  Dark Eldar vs.  Taylor's Beast/Wych-heavy Dark Eldar!!

His List:

Succubus w/ Combat Drugs, Plasma Grenades, Agoniser, Haywire Grenades
Haemonculus w/ Liquifier Gun
Haemonculus w/ Liquifier Gun

5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shields
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannon, Grisly Trophies, Night Shields
8x Wyches w/ Haywire Grenades, Shardnet and Impaler, Hekatrix w/ Agoniser // Raider w/ Enhanced Aethersails, Grisly Trophies, Night Shields, Flickerfield
9x Wyches w/ Haywire Grenades, Hekatrix w/ Agoniser // Raider w/ Enhanced Aethersails, Grisly Trophies, Night Shields, Flickerfield
10x Wyches w/ Haywire Grenades, Hekatrix w/ Agoniser // Raider w/ Enhanced Aethersails, Grisly Trophies, Night Shields, Flickerfield

4x Beastmasters w/ 8x Khymerae, 4x Razorwing Flocks
4x Beastmasters w/ 9x Khymerae, 4x Razorwing Flocks

Ravager w/ 3x Dark Lances, Flickerfield, Nightshield
Ravager w/ 3x Dark Lances, Flickerfield, Nightshield
Ravager w/ 3x Disintegrator Cannons, Flickerfield, Nightshield

The Mission:

Kill Points/Table Quarters/Objectives

Dawn of War Deployment

I won the roll to go first, and gave it to Taylor.  I needed to see where he would be going before I put my own guys down.  Mostly, I needed to spread out his 'assault prong', because I wouldn't be able to handle his army all at once.

Pregame Thoughts:

Hm.  This would be my second time playing against Dark Eldar with my own Dark Eldar.  Not a whole lot of experience to work with, really.  We both rolled a "3" on the combat drugs roll, which gave my Hellions (when charging) S6.  I decided to make this the basis of my game plan, trying to negate his FNP on the Wyches, and overwhelming everyone with S6, I7 charge attacks.

I also knew, after his deployment, that I might be able to take his army out piecemeal.  It was for sure worth a try.

Oh yeah, here's the link to his blog.  Think the batreps were on there!

Here was my own deployment - One Venom, the Hellions, and Haemonculus.

My dudes moved on, and got a few lucky potshots on his own vehicles, with their re-rolls for Nightfight.  I think I ended up killing a Venom of his.  You can see that I used a venom on the far left, to force Taylor to 'deal with' the objective there.

You can see here that the Wyches on the far right (the ones with no Feel No Pain) took the bait of one of my Reaver Squads, and killed it dead, having no real choice but to consolidate into the ruins in the quarter.

The Hellions, despite their blurry picture, were able to wipe out the Wyches quite easily, and I even managed to down two of his Raiders, one being in the back near the top right hill.

He moved toward me some.  You can see the Beasts on the far left having fun messing with the Warriors sitting on the objective.  I was happy to have them out of my hair, to be perfectly honest.

I decided on a multi-assault.  The Haemonculus had come up and tried to flamer me, but was too far out.  In return, I managed to get the Incubi and the Hellions both into him, as well as the Beasts, Wyches, and Venom.  Most vital assault in the game, by far.

In the end, only the Venom survived, with the Hellions having killed all the Wyches, Beasts, and Haemonculus.

His 'big' Wych squad came in and assaulted the Hellions, who lost combat, but stayed because of Fearless, and hit & ran out of there.  This is the last picture of the game.
In the subsequent turn, the Hellions charged in and wiped out the Succubus, Haemonculus, Wyches, and I managed to kill most of the rest of Taylor's stuff as well.  Whew!

Game 3 Results:  Win for the (my) Dark Eldar!!

Postgame Thoughts:

Well, I got a lucky break, in that my Hellions were able to ignore Feel No Pain on Taylor's stuff.  Still, in the end, it didn't come into play a whole lot.  The massive multi-assault vs. the Beasts and Wyches would have simply shifted focus to hurting the Beasts, who would have failed enough saves that I still would have won combat handily. 

I was happy my various baiting worked, forcing Taylor's second beast squad over to the left corner, because he didn't want to forfeit the objective there.  Overall, it was a game of bait/charge/counter-charge/counter-counter-charge, etc.  Hellions win vs. other Dark Eldar close combat, woot :)

Taylor didn't have the best rolls this game, though he handled it with equanimity.  Cool guy, I'd be happy to play him again :)

At this point, I was a single win away from being in the 'top' bracket, competing for the whole thing.  Only 32 people left at this point.  I just prayed I wouldn't have to play Guard.

Game 4:  Dark Eldar vs. Tim's (Fear Respect's) Imperial Guard


His List:

Company Command Squad w/ Straken, 2x Meltaguns, 2x Bodyguards, Medic, Standard // Chimera w/ Dozer Blades, Heavy Flamer

Platoon Command Squad w/ Al'Rahem, 2x Meltaguns // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
10x Veterans w/ 3x Meltaguns, Shotguns // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
10x Veterans w/ 3x Meltaguns, Shotguns // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
10x Veterans w/ 3x Meltaguns, Shotguns // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
10x Veterans w/ 3x Meltaguns, Shotguns // Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer

Devil Dog w/ Heavy Flamer
Devil Dog w/ Heavy Flamer

Leman Russ Exterminator w/ Plasma Sponsons, Heavy Flamer
Leman Russ Exterminator w/ Plasma Sponsons, Heavy Flamer

The Mission: Objectives/Table Quarters/Kill Points

Spearhead Deployment

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

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, shite.  His list had a lot of things I fear:  volume firepower, melta out the ass, and millions of vehicles.  I would need the Hellions to do their job this game, and somehow coax the Reavers to do something with themselves as well.  Since it was objectives, I needed to focus on meeting him in the middle, and tying the Chimeras up.

I had to admit though, I liked his army.  Good shooting, and very, very aggressive build.

He's FearRespect on the Internets.  Sorry if I butchered your name bro :)

Well, Red vs. Blue, right?  My army is so huge, lol

He has lots of tanks, right?  I was glad he chose the side he did - lots of dangerous terrain checks right away.

Some of his tanks immobilized themselves on the area terrain hills, but not enough.  Just enough, in fact, to have a solid presence on his objective.  His shooting did relatively little damage, due to cover saves, etc.

So, the Reavers decided to spread out a little, the middle squad there forcing Straken and company to stay where they were, or risk being stand-and-shooted.  I hoped he'd take the bait and simply melta them, so the Hellions could get a solid multi-assault in.  Reavers torched one of the Devil Dogs (yellow template)

He did indeed take the bait, and the tanks mostly stayed where they were.  You can see where Al'Rahem and his platoon came in on the right as well.  sigh.

The Raider/Ravagers decided to try killing the side armor of Al'Rahem's Chimera, and the Incubi, who would be otherwise worthless, got out to charge them.  That chimera died, as did Al'Rahem (thank God, I'm tired of typing his name).  The Hellions multi-assaulted his Chimeras, and killed Straken's, stunning/immobilizing/weapon destroying the other two.  I again failed to kill his Devil Dog, and Leman Russ on the left.

He moved the last chimera from the infantry platoon up to the top right objective, away from the Incubi.  The shooting phase went by in a blur, and just like that... Straken charged the Hellions.  The Hellions won, hit & ran away 17" toward his top left corner objective, leaving Straken stranded out in the open.

Hm, looking at this picture, it appears that one of the Infantry platoon chimeras came on the left side, which isn't consistent with 'Rahem's rules (they all need to come in on the same side).  Ah well... no use crying over spilled milk.  The Hellions sprinted over to his objective, and killed the Chimera on that objective.  I couldn't roll a shooting result against his vehicles to save my life this turn.  That devil dog stayed alive far too long...  Oh yeah, Straken and co. died to a flurry of splinter shots :)

At this point, we ran out of time.  I would win the game through objectives, though I think it was the bottom of turn 4 - we were quite slow this game.

So, I expected the win.  However, word was passed around that if both opponents agreed to play to the end of the game, we could continue until we were finished, because it was the final game of the day.  Tim understandably wanted to keep playing, and I really wanted to get into the top 16.  I could win the game by saying I wanted to stop playing then.

But... I decided to give him his shot.  Let him beat me, if he could.  I know I'd want the opportunity in his situation.

So we kept playing.

He got his guys out of vehicles to contest/control various objectives.  One of his Russes immobilized itself (the top one)  At the end of the turn, most of my units were still alive, though the Hellions were at a dangerous 5 members.  Last picture.

The Hellions assaulted the Veteran squad nearest them, and consolidated onto the objective.  Other shooting didn't do a whole lot, though he wasn't in a position to win this turn either.

Before we rolled the dice to see if the game ended, Tim shook my hand, and told me that regardless of the result of the roll, it would be a 1 or 2 as far as he was concerned.  I don't remember what we eventually rolled, but he was good on his word, and the game ended, quite amicably.

Game 4 Results:  Win for the Dark Eldar!!

Post-game thoughts:

Whew!  I really didn't want to play that last turn, but I'm glad I let it happen.  Tim had enough shooting left to really mess me up, if the rolls went well for him.  His army had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of troops, and I was quickly running out of Hellions to deal with them.  :-p

I was quite happy the Hellions were able to Hit & Run - I think Straken's charge was pivotal to me clinching the game, though the Hellions would have simply tried to content themselves with the bottom left corner had Straken not charged.

Tim was a really nice guy, though his army was quite scary.  I was happy to get the opportunity to play him, and will be happy to do so in the future as well :)

And just like that, I'd made it into the 'final' bracket, one of the Top 16.  After 4 tough games, I had managed to claw my way to within striking distance of the top.  Still, I knew that the next games would be against the best players out there.  How would I hold up?

Start of Day 2

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

His List (from memory, failed to get his list somehow, correct me if I'm wrong Aaron!):

Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Wolf Claw, Storm Shield, Saga of... something.  lol.
Wolf Guard Battle Leader w/ Frost Axe, other upgrades
Rune Priest w/ Living Lightning and Jaws?

Wolf Guard for each squad - fist for each
5x Wolf Scouts w/ Meltagun

8x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun, Wolf Standard? // Rhino (WGBL went here)
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun, Wolf Standard? // Rhino
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun, Wolf Standard? // Razorback w/ Las/Plas
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun, Wolf Guard w/ Cyclone Missile Launcher
5x Grey Hunters w/ Meltagun, Wolf Standard? // Drop Pod

4x Thunderwolf Cavalry w/ Thunder Hammer, ?x Storm Shields

6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Multi-Meltas

(maybe the fang squads only had 4 weapons in each?  Wish I could remember :(  )

The Mission: Table Quarters/Kill Points/Objectives

Pitched Battle Deployment

I won the roll to go first, and gave it to him.  I needed his forces to be as spread out as possible, and with Pitched Battle, I was guaranteed to have a nice LOS-blocking hill in my deployment zone that I could refuse-flank with.

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, Aaron is also known as Spaguatyrine on the Internets, and posts for The Back 40k.  He also won his first 4 games in the Invitational the day before, and won Ren. Man (best overall) there.  This game would be no joke at all.  He had enough shooting that it could genuinely mess with me if I ever decided to come out of my hole, which I would need to do in order to win.

The gameplan was simply to piecemeal his army, and deal with it a chunk at a time.  Going second made me nervous due to all his shooting, but frankly, going second is an enormous advantage in the Nova format, and this game was no different.

So, you can see our deployment here.  I'm refused-flanking, and he's all spread out to maximize his threat on my plastic airplanes.

Some fun with refused flank.

He moved forward as quick as possible.  You can see that his Pod dropped in on me, but I don't think the guys inside did much.  Overall, his shooting wasn't that effective this turn.

So, here is his wolfstar.  It's not quite as beefy as the one I play (missing another lord), but the rest of his list is good enough that it's probably better suited as a take-all-comer's list.  Not sure why this picture was relevant though :-p

So, after a bunch of shooting and stuff, I managed to wipe out his Grey Hunters from the pod.  I actually think this is the bottom of his 2nd turn.  I managed to kill all the Grey Hunters with the Hellions, who picked up that vital 3rd Pain Token (Fearless), and were summarily charged by the Wolfstar.  They managed to kill three of the wolves due to bad rolling on Aaron's part, but got mauled in return.  Fearless saves and hit + run later, this is what's going on.

So, the Hellions managed to wipe out the rest of his Wolfstar, though his scouts came in from behind and killed a bunch of stuff.  Probably my biggest mistake of the game:  letting his scouts in to shoot a venom and kill off the Haemonculus/Wracks.  3 KP there.  Yikes!

The Hellions do even more - they charge in and kill another Grey Hunter squad.  Notice his on-foot Wolflord and the squad, in the center next to the objective.  He's also got his multi-melta longfangs there in the middle.

So, his shooting was really starting to take a toll on me.  As per usual :-p
Looks like that was the last picture, since we were pressed for time.

It ended up that we were about to run out of time, and I knew that if the game ended on Turn 4, I'd win.

There wasn't a question of it, really - the Hellions could simply assault his Multi-Melta Longfangs, hit + run out of combat, and get into the bottom right table quarter, giving me the Primary 3-1.

I asked him what he thought we should do, and he (very sportsmanlike) said it was entirely in my hands.

Now, I really, really wanted to win.  Duh :-p

I could just say the word, end it Turn 4, and win.  Be 5-0, and still in the hunt.  *sigh*

We really were running out of time.  Like, if we were to start Turn 5 and allowed to finish, we'd be the latest game to finish, by far.

So, I told myself:  I'll roll a dice.  If it's a 4+, then the game is over, and I win.  If it's not, then we play another game.

I rolled, and got... a 2?  Something lower than a 4 :-p

So, we kept playing, and his Wolf Lord + Grey Hunters assaulted and killed my Hellions.  There was a little drama, with me (somehow?) failing to realize that I had to roll each individual save for the Baron's Shadowfield separately.  His Lord caused two power wounds to him, and he rolled a single failed save, which we remembered later and so we rolled to see which wound the Baron took first, and of course it was the 1st, and he died.  And that should have been that, right?

Well, there was a lot of weird positioning drama afterward too, trying to figure out which quarter Aaron's squad was in (since we were in the middle).  I don't know, it's sort of a blur to me now, and really, not worth retelling.  Kind of a lot of tense moments though.

In the end, it was ruled that Aaron's squad was in the quarter that he didn't want it to be in, and we drew on Quarters, 2-2.

Then we did kill points, which I was behind in, but not so far behind that he beat me by 3.

So then we did objectives, which he controlled only 1, and I had 2 (the middle being contested by some sneaky Reaver Jetbikes).

Game 5 Results:  Win for the Dark Eldar!!

Post-game thoughts:

Whew, what a roller-coaster of a game!  I was doing well, then his shooting would catch him up, and we'd be back to square 1.  I had the opportunity to win on Turn 4, but we ended up playing Turn 5.  If the Baron had lived, he would have won me the game as well.  But he didn't.

And I barely squeaked out the win!  The Hellions were pure win this game, killing:  Drop Pod Grey Hunters, Thunderwolf Cav, Thunderwolf Lord, Cyclone Grey Hunter Pack, and the Multi-Melta Longfangs.  Ridiculous!

Aaron was a great guy to play, really competitive, but not WAAC.  I was happy to get the chance to play him, and if nothing else, I get to say that I beat the Ren. Man from the Invitational :-p

Thanks for the game, Aaron :)

So, the game ended late, and I had to rush to get to my next game, with zero downtime.  The final undefeated 8 were as follows:

First Bracket:

Hulksmash (Wolves) vs. Dash of Pepper (Dark Eldar)
Tony K. (Wolves) vs. St. Omerville (Guard)

2nd Bracket:

Blackmoor (Grey Knights) vs. Neil G. from the 11th company Podcast (Grey Knights)
Devon (Grey Knights) vs. Xaereth (me!)

So, the winner of my game would play the winner of Blackmoor vs. Neil.  Lol, the losers would play each other as well.  So, no matter what, I would be playing GK's twice in a row.

Game 6:  Dark Eldar vs. Grey Knights!!

His list:

(sorry, I don't have it nearby - but I think I remember it pretty well)

Librarian w/ a lot of powers

Venerable Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta/DCCW

5x Strike Squad w/ Psycannon
14x Henchman squad w/ tons of Assassins, Crusaders, and one Banisher
11x Henchman squad w/ the same as above
6x Henchmen w/ 3x Flamers // Psyback
6x Henchmen w/ 3x Melta // Psyback
6x Henchmen w/ 3x Melta // Psyback

Storm Raven (Coteaz + 11x Henchmen went here)

Land Raider Crusader (Librarian w/ 14x Henchmen went here)
Dreadnought w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt Ammo (as per usual :-p)
Dreadnought w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt Ammo

The Mission:  Kill Points/Objectives/Table Quarters

Dawn of War

Pregame Thoughts:

Well, the good news was that it was one of the lists I would have wanted to play, had I gotten to pick one out.  The bad news was that it was still a really tough list.  And he was obviously a really good player, if he had won all 5 games to get this far. 

He had 14 kill points, which was a bit steep for me, if we're being honest.  I had 19, which is a huge differential.

So, the plan was the draw on kill points, and win on objectives.  Priority targets included the Storm Raven and Land Raider.  Also to keep the Hellions away from his huge uber-killy squads.

I won the roll to go first, and gave it to him.

He stuck the Raven in normal reserve, and rolled everything else onto the table.

I stuck my Hellions on the board w/ the Haemonculus, and got ready to walk everything on.

Here's his positioning, and my response to it.  Love the building blocking his LOS to me!

Here's my huge enormous blunder of the game:  I forgot he had his pivot move with the Land Raider, and thus gained a few vital inches for charging the Hellions.  He needed a 6" roll through cover to get to me, but got it, and wiped the Hellions off the table.  NOT a good start for the forces of evil.

I responded by killing the Raider, and all of the Henchmen, in one turn of awesome shooting.  Also, some Reavers killed one of his Psyflemen.

His Raven came on, and one-shotted my Ravager on the right there.

My Ravagers in return killed his Raven.  I should point out now that I shot and shot and shot his Strike Squad in the ruins, but they literally passed 20 3+ saves in a row this turn.  .... :(

So, the battle of attrition continued, and at this point, I was fairly confident that I'd get the win.  In fact, he was too.

Hm, I killed his Dread with some Reavers here, and also killed one of his Psybacks, I think.

His shooting was really beating my ships up though.  I was losing guys left and right, though I still had a great position on the table.  This is the top of Turn 5.  Neither of us have much left.

This is the bottom of Turn 5.  If the game ends now, I win, easily.

...the game continued.

Remember those indestructible Strikers?  I'd been shooting them all along, and they still had 3 guys left.  Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of passed armor saves.  Now they're near 'my' objective.  This is the sometime after his Turn 6.  If the game ends this turn, I win, easily.

...the game continued.

In one stroke of amazing luck, he shot a turbo-boosting Venom with his lone remaining Psyback, exploded it, and killed 3 warriors, who ran off the table.  Suddenly, I was behind by 3 kill points.

His strike squad made it to my objective, and I needed to kill the 2 remaining Strikers (who, I might add, should have been dead 3 turns ago, and had passed 40+ saves) to win.  Kill the two, and bring our kill points down to 'draw', then draw objectives, and win by Quarters.

So, everything of mine shot at them.  Which meant, I had 2 Heat Lances, a Warrior w/ Blaster, a fully healthy Ravager... and I guess that was it.  Still, a decent shot at killing 2 dudes, right?  Especially after assault?

I missed like every shot.  He didn't even get the opportunity to roll well.


Game 6 Results:  Loss for the Dark Eldar!!

Post-game thoughts:

So, first I want to say he was a great, great opponent!  He was laughing and joking the whole game, whether he was doing well, or doing poorly.  Keeping that even keel is impressive, and it's very rare to see someone (especially at the top tables) able to keep it.  :)


Ouch.  It hurts to lose a game like that.  What had started as a fiasco (my Hellions all got ate before they could do anything) turned into a great (amazing, really) table position for me.  His main stuff was all dead, and I just needed one of the following to happen for me:
  • Game ends on Turn 5
  • Game ends on Turn 6
  • He fails to kill my turbo-boosting Venom with a single S6 Heavy Bolter
  • He fails to kill 3 of my warriors in the explosion
  • I pass a leadership test on Ld 8
  • He fails 5 3+ saves on 40+ rolls
  • I manage to kill 2 marines with 6 S6+ AP2 guns, + some poison, + assault
  • He fails to get his 6" charge on my Hellions
If any one of those things had happened, I'd have won. As it was, the stars aligned to eff me, and so I lost, and was out of the tournament.

Blackmoor won his game against Neil, which meant that had I won, I'd have been playing against a list that I felt extremely confident against.  Don't get me wrong, Blackmoor is a great player, but I think his list had an enormous weakness vs. my style of army, and I would have had at least a decent chance to make it to the finals.  Not that I'm writing off Blackmoor's talent, mind you.  Just that it was a good matchup list-wise for me.

As it was, I got to play Neil, with his 5 Psyflemen Dread list.

Game 7:  Dark Eldar vs. Grey Knights!!

His list:

(also don't have, it here it is from memory):

Libby w/ lots of stuff

Venerable Dread w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt (as per usual) 
Venerable Dread w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt (as per usual)  
Venerable Dread w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt (as per usual)   

5x Assassins // Psyback
5x Henchmen w/ 1 Jokaero // Psyback
5x Henchmen w/ 1 Jokaero // Psyback
5x Henchmen w/ 1 Jokaero // Psyback
5x Henchmen w/ 1 Jokaero // Psyback
5x Henchmen w/ 1 Jokaero // Chimera

5x Purgation(ers?) w/ 4x Incinerators // Psyback
Dread w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt (as per usual)
Dread w/ 2x TLAC, Psybolt (as per usual)

The Mission:  No idea.  Not kill points.

Pitched Battle Deployment

Pregame thoughts:

Well, I didn't want to play this game.  I was already reeling from the endless streak of bad luck in game 6, and my mind was still spinning.  This was the one board I played on that had no good LOS-blocking terrain.  Not to mention that his list was almost tailored perfectly to be a counter for my own list.

And what's more - he won the roll to go first.


Let's get this over with.

He put his guys in the middle, I refused the flank again, huddling behind the paltry little hills there, since there wasn't anything better on the right.

He shot and killed a bunch of my stuff.

I decided I needed to kill his Purgation Razorback, so the Hellions could be free to multi-assault his tankline.  But, I failed, epically.

He's rolling well, and I'm rolling poorly.  On top of me playing poorly, and him having an excellent matchup.

He's killing more of my guys!  The Hellions charged Coteaz's Razorback, and immobilized it.

Purgation squad flamered the Hellions to death, and the Baron ran off, never to regroup (i.e. never pass his Ld. 9 after 3 different tries)

And that's all she wrote.  It wasn't fun, though Neil was a nice guy.  He butchered me.  Lots of factors combined to allow this fiasco to happen, but in the end, I blame my own play, and my list, more than anything.

Game 7 Results:  Loss for Dark Eldar!!

Postgame thoughts:

I hope my next opponent is cool.  Because I'm out of the tournament, and now have no shot at winning Ren. Man either.  (turns out the judges screwed me on painting, and I got a below-average painting score, so I was never really 'in it to win it' for Ren. Man)

Game 8:  Dark Eldar vs. Imperial Guard!!

His List:

I don't know.  Lots of vehicles, including 3 Vendettas, 2 Manticores, lots of Chimeras w/ Veterans... as per standard Guard.  Only weird thing:  20 conscripts?

The Mission:

Dunno.  Blah.

Pregame thoughts:

None.  Neither of us really wanted to play.  We were out of the tournament, and were really tired.  

Dark Eldar got to go first.  Woooo.

Jumped up, got ready to kill his stuff.  He passed all his cover saves on the Vendettas.  He killed a bunch of my stuff via shooting.

Hellions get the multi-assault on three chimeras, killing one and disabling the other two. 

Hellions still running around, killing everything in sight.  Seriously, everything.  Nothing else of mine can roll anything good though.  Seriously, Reavers shooting tanks should not roll 7 results of a 1 or 2 to blow it up.

Hellions still killing everything.  More tanks, more conscripts, his manticores, etc.
Hellions still kicking, and I've got decent board position. 

If the game goes to turn 5, I win.  I thought we would get 5 turns, but we didn't, so I lost by like 100 VP (everything else was tied up).  lol, if the wracks had moved just a little more on Turn 4, I'd have won right there.

Oh well.  I might have been able to fight it, but I was past caring much at that point.

Game 8 Results:  Loss for the Dark Eldar!!

Post-game Thoughts:

Meh.  Seriously, he was a nice guy, but we were both super tired by this time, and ready to call it.  This was Game 14 of the weekend for both of us (in 72 hours), and there wasn't much reason to have played at all, lol.

Post-Tournament Results:

I don't know where I ended up placing.  My .40 paint score (average was over .50) dragged me way way down, and my ending record was a meager 5-3.

I should say though, that even with a 5-3 record, I thought I did well.  Game 6 was evil to me, and after that, the other games didn't really matter much.

I did end up with a couple prizes, however.

I got a Tournament Ace medal, for having won my first 4 games of the Open.

And I tied with like 20 other people for Best Sportsman.  So, perfect sportsmanship FTW?

lol, I got a picture taken of me smiling tiredly surrounded by 20 other sweaty dudes.  Woot!

However, a huge thanks to all 8 of my opponents, all of you were excellent, and I honestly couldn't hope for a better selection of gamers to play against.  Seriously, all great dudes :)

And so ends the tournament report.

Oh, one more thing.  Maybe I sound real negative toward the end about the tournament as a whole - I don't feel that way at all.  The tournament was well-run, and I enjoyed myself immensely.  The painting scores were a pretty big let-down, but I'm sure next year will be better.  I might or might not post something up about my thoughts on the Nova, but overall, I enjoyed it a lot, and will go again next year, if I can afford it.

Alright, ask questions, declare admiration, and troll away (and be summarily insulted/deleted).

I'm off to sleep in for as long as is humanly possible.

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