Saturday, November 16, 2013

NOVA Open 2013 - Narrative Batrep 2

Big Trouble in Little Capitol 
A more cinematic way to end the tournament would be hard to find - the raging Hive Tyrant screaming its challenge at the Lamenters' Librarian dreadnought, rising on the Wings of Sanguinius for a duel to the death on the roof of the Capitol.  The NOVA Open 2013 Narrative was a fantastic event - exactly the sort of games I most enjoy.  With no next round looming, it was far easier to relax and get to know the other player a bit better, to banter back and forth, and create storylines within the battle as we went.  I'm very much looking forward to next year.  But the above is just a taster for the final batrep. Here's the batrep for my first battle. This is the batrep for battle #2.

  For simplicity, here's my list:  
Hive Tyrant: Wings, Hive Commander, TL Devs.  Biomancy 2:
Parasite of Mortrex:  Warlord, with chosen ability: Coordinated Assault (+1" assault range to all friendly w/in 12")
Doom in a SPod
Tervigon: AG, TS, ScyTals. Biomancy 3:
Tervigon: AG, TS, ScyTals. Biomancy 3:
Tervigon: AG, TS, ScyTals. Biomancy 2:
Termagant x10 (x3)
Ravener x9, Rending
Gargoyles x27, TS 
My second battle was vs. a gentleman named Harley who had come down with a small contingent from New York , playing IG/CSM (the 42nd Infantry Division).  Overall a very entertaining game - the surprise mission was definitely a shocker.  List after the jump:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Searching for an Inspiring Post & BfS Reflections

Hi all - looking for a little help here.  The evening before I loaded up the car and headed to Battle for Salvation I was doing a fast pass through the 40k blogosphere and ran across one of those rare gems of an article that makes poring over endless blogs and forums worthwhile - true inspiration.  Something that hit me to the core and really helped reset my compass firmly in a direction I am absolutely intent on pursuing, a sentiment that attending BfS helped to cement. Unfortunately - I didn't bookmark or save it, being in a hurry to finish packing and get some sort of list together for BfS.  Googling for "hobby, waac, 40k, blog, tournament" really isn't working... so I'm hoping someone else who reads this may have read it and can point me in the right direction.  Here's the gist of the post:

It opened describing a friend who avoided tournaments because he was afraid of the WAACs and pressure, of showing up without a well-painted army or display board, and in general not knowing either his list or the game rules.  The author was going to a tournament (MichiganGT I think?) and the friend decided he'd just rather just hang out and watch instead of playing.  Game day changed the friend's mindset though - once he saw what the atmosphere was actually like, realizing he should have played.  This in turn led to a series of goals for the aspiring tournament player to be able to hobby up and play with swagger at that tournament next year.  To dedicate the next year to one army - paint it to a high standard, complete with a good display board; to come up with a solid list and play that list as often as possible with only minor tweaks made from experience, not experimentation.  To be in all ways ready, prepared, and confident.  Hobby boxes checked, rules knowledge boxes checked, army list playtesting and tuning boxes checked.  A most worthy roadmap.

So if you may have read that article or one you think might be it - I'd very much appreciate a link or pointer to the blog/author.  I owe him at least a kind comment for kickstarting my hobby and 40k drive again.  Motivation is where you find it.

That article wasn't the only thing though - there's also the matter of a little tournament called Battle for Salvation.  At the last minute, after rains had basically wrecked family plans for soccer and other things, I secured the kitchen pass and was the last person to sign up online.  In a frenzy that Thursday evening I scrabbled my things together, shoved models I could make at least a respectable list out of into carrying cases, printed out 6 power/spawn tracker sheets.  Friday ticked by like slowly pulling a scab.  Workday dues finally paid, I sped home, packed, loaded the car and left for the promised land of West Nyack.  Huge thanks to the gents who at the last minute graciously allowed me to share their room and bring an air mattress to crash on.

A little background:  Ed and the Battle for Salvation crew have been there for the NOVA Open since the beginning.  I think 2013 was the first year they didn't need to bring terrain and tables down to help make NOVA a reality.  To quote Ron White: "We've met".  A better bunch of folks are hard to find. I've wanted to attend BfS for a long time - and had managed to build up some guilt for not doing so.  Being able to attend and support BfS was immensely satisfying - karmic payback perhaps, especially knowing what goes into setting up and running a tournament, and knowing the secret to happiness as a TO/volunteer is the satisfaction of knowing other people had a good time - knowing your efforts weren't wasted.  I had a great time, and it was awesome to see folks having a really good time - that BfS was truly the success Ed and the crew deserved for their efforts.

I went 2-4 on the weekend - not as good as I'd hoped, but better than I expected given the almost total lack of preparation.  Definitely building up my list and rule familiarity and knowledge - and actually finishing 3 of 6 games due to time (shock).  There were some absolutely stunning armies there - more motivation.  I'll post up my list and batreps soon - ideally before the new codex drops!  I'm building up a pretty big stack of battle reports from NOVA and BfS to put together. Life has as ever been crazy busy, but doing my best to refocus on the hobby I love.  Thanks for reading!

For the TL;DR crowd - I read a great article I would very much like to find again but need help doing so (details above) and had a great time at Battle for Salvation.  Put it on your list to attend next year - you wont' be sorry.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

List of Lists II: ETC 2013 Tyranid Lists

It was too perfect not to use
While looking into building a list for NOVA this year I got a little caught up in the ETC 2013 games and did a good bit of list research, which, with only a couple months left before the rumored new Tyranid release, I thought it would be worthwhile to share.  Follows a compilation of the Tyranid lists from this year's ETC 2013.  The tournament format is fascinating in terms of how the teams are set up with a mix of lists to deal with the pairing process.  Some are all comers lists with a good chance of winning vs. anything, some are essentially tar pit lists known as "defenders" - built to minimize the point giveaway for any bad matchups, and some are the opposite:  "attacker" lists built to take advantage of bad matchups and score max points.  The below lists can fall into any of these categories, but one and all are competitive when piloted right.  21 of 28 nations (teams) brought a Tyranid list, ranking 6th overall both in average points scored, and in popularity of primary detachment.

I pulled these from the complete list of all armies found here, removed the points values and cleaned them up for simplicity, removing the Army Primary Detachment in all cases except Latvia's - which was worth keeping ;) I also added links to the player blogs if I could find them.  There's also a breakdown of the Tyranid lists on a French forum here, with some commentary on the role of each list and how it plays if you're Google Translate-inclined, and a difficulty rating with a scale of: + easy, ++ average, and +++ or more as difficult to handle.  I included the difficulty rating and role here.

Lists after the break:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NOVA Open 2013 - Panic, Painting, and Narrative batrep #1

Undersea-Themed Scratch-built Counts-As Daemons Army
Another NOVA Open in the can.  Me - I'm hobbling around my house with blisters the size of quarters, muscles aching, mentally and physically wiped out - but with an awesome blissful euphoria.  Three things that always make me feel good are giving back to others, gaming, and hobbying:  so this is a psychic high to match the huge psychic income deposit that was made this weekend with all three.

A quick note about the top pic:  this was a quick snap of an undersea-themed Chaos Daemons army - utterly unique in a huge (220+ armies just at the GT) field of creative awesomeness.  There always seems to be one that breaks all the conventional rules and stands out.  There were dozens of fantastic armies though - and more than a couple that I had to stop and gawk at almost every time I walked around (which was a lot).
I figured I'd do this more like a journal - as I'm too mentally fragged for anything like normal organization - and because I'm still floored at how much painting I was able to do in a ridiculously short time and wanted to capture it.  Normally I'm pretty slow.  So I made my last post on Wednesday evening late just before leaving for the hotel, with several of my units in various states of belonging to Hive Fleet Snowbank, but a list I felt would be fun to play more than it would be competitive...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NOVA Open 2013 - Ready or Not... Does almost count?

It's that time of year again - the NOVA Open is here once more, and I'm volunteering again.  You get what you give, right?  Believe it.  I've learned to be strong enough to do what makes me happy.  The payoff is the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones, to see amazing paint and modeling skill on display, cruise the vendors, to give the awesome 11th Company guys a hard time - who will again be live streaming the top table this year:
The 11th Co live stream info ... spread the word:
information about our upcoming live streaming of the top table at Nova Open.
You can find the stream at:
We will be starting on Thursday at around 5:30pm Eastern and will be broadcasting the top table for both the Invitational and the Nova Open.
Thanks for your time,
Pat, 11th Co
I'll mostly be judging again - which is always interesting, and I'll be playing in the Narrative this year - it looked like an absolute blast last year and I don't want to miss out!  Bringing Tyranids of course...  I wanted something that would give me opportunities to play the villain role of the Virtue (the Narrative bad guys) in characterful ways.   It started as a Gangnam-style list (i.e. many PSYkers), but rolling endlessly for powers and psychic tests in a fun narrative campaign didn't really sound like it was much fun for me or the opponent.  So I made some tweaks and ended with a list heavily influenced by the excellent Erle, who posted a fantastic series of batreps of his ETC games of Hive Fleet Hyenna here - highly recommended reading.  It's fast, has 74 of models (4 MCs), strong troops, and plenty of disruption:

Hive Tyrant, Wings, Hive Commander, TL Devs, Parox/PsyScream (will trade for Bio in most games):  that's him in the pic above...  he should have his gang colors by tomorrow :D
Parasite of Mortrex:  Warlord, with chosen ability: Coordinated Assault (+1" assault range to all friendly w/in 12")
Deathleaper: will probably regret taking him rather than Ymgarl, but I'm betting I can do some late game and covert mission shenanigans with him if I can keep him alive
Doom in a SPod:  always a good time
Tervigon x2, AG, TS, ScyTals, Dom/Cat/Ons (will trade for 6e in most games)
Tervigon x1, AG, TS, ScyTals, Dom/Cat (will trade for 6e in most games)
Termagant x10 (x3)
Ravener x9, Rending
Gargoyles x27, TS 
Lots of tools in the toolbox - should be fun to play.  Likely to get tabled by a really competitive build, but I'm hoping it has the speed to catch people by surprise, and enough troops durability to force some hard choices.  At any rate - keeping this short as I have to jet to the hotel and finish painting my last few models (yikes!)  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: Tyranids in 6e

No really - I'm not dead yet.  Life intervened and the best laid plans were knocked a bit askew, everything from blogging to volunteer support for the NOVA Open.  Not my proudest, shiniest moments of late in terms of service to those who follow and read my maundering drivel.  So without further ado, here goes with an on-mission post to the hive-interested.  What is the state of the Tyranid meta a year after 6th drops and new hotness in the form of several new codexes are out?  Answer after the jump...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Teaser: Alternate Tyranid Bits Coming Soon

First - the good news.  Quite by accident I came across a gentleman named Peter who is working on sculpting and molding 'alienoid' body parts, which can be used as alternate bits for Tyranids.  Blame Google, and their cruel, heartless cancellation of Google Reader for this discovery.  Out of frustration I've been spending more time with Google+ or Plus or whatever the hell you're supposed to call it (seriously.. a symbol?) and joined a 40k Community and a Tyranid community just to test things out.  It isn't going to replace Pulse anytime soon as my newsreader of choice - but it does a much better job of presenting relevant content than Twitter from people I'm interested in.  So enough about techstuffs - here's the part that matters:  there simply aren't enough alternate Tyranid bits or models out there, so I was quite excited to see what Peter is sculpting, primarily some alternate Aliens/Giger-esque heads, another head style, and some positively wicked looking alternate "bone" swords.  Here's the video - which would have led the article, but Blogger for some reason refuses to let me embed it (it's probably next on the chopping block!):

I was able to snap out a couple pics in case the video doesn't cooperate:

The "bad" news - he's not ready to sell yet or even picked out prices, packages, etc... I'm sure positive feedback and demand might speed that along!  Peter is considering doing additional heads that will fit other MCs, alternate whips and tails, and is working on some eggs and drop pods.  Coolest part:  he's looking for suggestions on other bits or themes, and can even do custom work.  Here's a video of some of his concept art - the insect style wings are fantastic!

My first suggestion:  with everyone and their brother running dakka flyrants, we're in dire need of some alternate bits we can use for quad devourers.  I'd love to see extra plating that could be used for 'armored shell' tyrants too, and it would be fantastic to have some decent alternate bits for crushing claws!  

At any rate - hit him up on his video page, or comment here (for now) with feedback and suggestions. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Airbrushin' iz 'ard! - Hobby update and Genestealer Cults on the Horizon?

While at the NOVA Open last year I attended an airbrushing seminar given by Mister Justin of Secret Weapon Miniatures, and had lots of opportunities to hang out and chat with the fellow manning the Grex Airbrushes booth.  Needless to say - I caught the airbrush bug, but didn't fully succumb until Mike Brandt painted up his Tyranids for Battle of Salvation in something like 14 days...   I Santa got brought me an airbrush for Christmas, a nice Badger Renegade Krome.

So far, however my experiments have been pretty awful.  I've oversprayed, undersprayed, and everything in-between except gotten it right.  Having a hell of a time figuring out what the 'break' is when it will start spraying.  Lots of comments about "you'll eventually get a feel for it" but so far that hasn't happened.  I just need to paint more I think.  I've watched quite a few videos on YouTube, but very few are useful.  Most have horrible resolution, or are done by those guys who are so talented they are utterly oblivious that a complete beginner has no hope of understanding or copying what they are doing.  The best so far have actually been the ones by MisterJustin, and can be found here:

Over the past couple months I've managed to find some hobby time - I finally touched up most of my gribblies from the dings and nicks they've earned from tournament play and the packing case, started work on the six newest members of my psychic choir: 

I wanted to try something different - "yet another WIP" - the Star Blazers Andromeda:

But the best news of all so far this year has been this - the Vidar's Fate: Praedis Zeta campaign at Warhammer World on June 22-23rd.
Add to this the rumors of Tyranids being the first book of 2014 - playtest rumors of cults being back in, and/or available in the rumored Allies book.  I've always wanted to do a genestealer cult army - love the idea of the big limousines, the hordes of cultists.  To me the genestealer cults are one of the most iconic forces in all of 40k, so I'm really hoping GW doesn't drop this ball.  Now I just need to figure out what to use for limousines...  here's the candidates so far:

The Polar Lights 1/32 Black Beauty of Green Hornet fame, or the newly re-released Rommel's Rod by Monogram.  I'm definitely leaning toward the Rommel's Rod...  

And just for extra motivation: here's a fantastic Cthulhu-based 'stealer cult:
Absolutely love the jalopy tervigons...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Huzzah Hobbies RTT 1850 Batrep#1, Nids vs Tau/IG & NOVA Open Missions

A couple members of the NOVA staff ran an RTT on Feb 2nd at Huzzah Hobbies in Ashburn, VA - basically a live-fire test of the new NOVA Open missions.  Huzzah is definitely a tabletop-focused store with a great selection, and did a wonderful job supporting the RTT - with plans to expand its playing space substantially in the coming months.  Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

This year's NOVA Open missions are very different from last year's - you will definitely want to playtest these to tune your lists.  The biggest change is the scoring approach, while the additions of the relic mission, mysterious objectives, and player-placed objectives definitely up the challenge level, and require an additional skill area to consider for player growth.  The only real negative I thought was Hammer and Anvil deployment in a big tournament environment: with tables end-to-end it is a massive pain in the ass and big game delay to run around to the opponent's side of the table to manage complex movement or assault - especially with the large units common to 6th.  I'd originally planned to put all 3 batreps here, but that took too long so here's the first one:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Games Workshop Design Studio

Stumbled across this doing some research on GW's social media presence and sentiment and thought it worth highlighting.  Despite the overuse of the term 'archaic' - this is an entertaining video to watch regarding GW's Design Studio methodologies.  Not really a surprise the 'creatives' tend to run the company timelines given what we see on the release end.  Although I think we're seeing more consistency from GW in the last 6-8 months, reflecting a bit more formality than is reflected here.  Mad props of course for the call-out on crappy inclusion of the Harpy in the Tyranid codex as an example of rush-jobs and poor corporate processes.  Give the gent some comments =)