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...

I finally decided to play in the Narrative this year very, very late - like ~a week and a half ago late, and was only able to finally confirm and sign up the previous Saturday.  I got home from signing up at our final staff swag/prize bag stuffing event and did a model count, built and settled on my list, wrote up some accompanying fluff, and then started assembling the list on Sunday.  That was when I realized I'd grossly underestimated how much painting I'd need to get done to not feel like a total d-bag with a half-unpainted army.   With 96 hours to go, this is what I had remaining unpainted in my list:
9 raveners - based and primed, 6 with the orange vents already done
1 spore pod - unbased, orange shell complete, tentacles not added
10 gargoyles - built but not based or primed
1 dakka flyrant - still in the box on the sprue
1 tervigon - unbased, primed with magnetized scything talons

Tuesday evening at home wondering what I'd gotten myself into 
Wednesday was a long work day and packing with no hobby time - finally getting in at 2:30am.  I woke up at 7:30am Thursday morning and started the 12-hour marathon: 8pm was the start time for the Narrative in the evening.
Starting the gargoyles at the hotel, 8am Wednesday morning
Laughing at me from the display board as I started operating on the gargoyles - 8am Wednesday morning

4pm - blues mostly done

4pm closer look

4pm closer look
4pm.  I was happy I'd completed the blues, but obviously I hadn't even cracked the tubes on my red/yellow acrylics.  No blended orange vents or shell armor, and no deep red claws.  I was mortified as at this point - the Invitational was due to start shortly and I was expecting to be on duty as one judge per table as we'd done every year previously.  I headed down downstairs with my pride and self-esteem dragging somewhere behind me on the floor, resigned to my fate of having to put an unpainted army on the table - which was bad enough by itself, and ten times worse as a staffer of an event that prides itself on blending both hobby and competition.  Surprisingly - our head judge, Mike of Saint Omerville's 40k Blog, decided he would go solo this year and I didn't need to judge.  I think I know how a parolee feels now, after he's had a day or two in the slam to contemplate just how much that isn't a place he really wants to be.  Reprieved - I rushed back upstairs for 3 hours of frenzied blending and brushing.  No wasting time with pictures..

And made it to the Narrative briefing with only the talons on my gargoyles, tervigon, and tyrant white - and one ravener that needed some blue fill-in.  Some white remained (and still does) - but mixed in with the already painted models, my army was tabletop ready.  I was shocked to still have people coming up and admiring it, but honestly couldn't be much prouder (or relieved) of achieving a tabletop ready army in time.  I didn't get a picture that night, but here's a teaser shot from the next night's battle to give you an idea of how they ended up looking on the tabletop.

On to the narrative!  As a xenos player, I was on the Virtue team, and my first opponent was John Stiening of 40k Hobby Blog, who presciently commented previously about possibly facing his Ultramarines...  I briefly commented on my list in my last post, but here it is again for simplicity; I went with Biomancy in all my games (probably a mistake in game 4, but I'll talk about that there):
Hive Tyrant: Wings, Hive Commander, TL Devs.  Biomancy 2:  Haemo and Warp Speed
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:  Iron Arm, Life Leech, Endurance
Tervigon: AG, TS, ScyTals. Biomancy 3:  Life Leech, Endurance, Iron Arm
Tervigon: AG, TS, ScyTals. Biomancy 2:  Life Leech, Endurance
Termagant x10 (x3)
Ravener x9, Rending
Gargoyles x27, TS 
John's Ultramarines List:
Space Marine Cpt: Iron Halo, Bolt Pistol, Power Sword
Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought: Plasma Blaster, Plasma Cannon, smoke
Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought: Extra Armor, Plasma Blaster, Plasma Cannon, smoke
Tactical Squad (11): Meltagun, Multimelta, Sergeant, Razorback w/TL plasma, Lascannon, searchlight, smoke
Tactical Squad (11): Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Sergeant, Rhino w/dozerblade, HK missile, storm bolter, smoke, searchlight, repair
Scouts (8): Sniper Rifles, Missile Launcher, Sergeant Telion
Scout Bike Squad x5: Cluster mines, Grenade Launcher x2, Sergeant w/melta bombs
Stormtalon (I think John didn't like that I called these his 'stormbudgies' /grin): TLAC, TLLC
Stormtalon: TLAC, TyphoonML
Thunderfire Cannon, w/Techmarine Gunner
Devastator Squad (5): MLx2, Plasma cannonx2
Predator: Autocannon, 2x lascannons, searchlight, smoke
Unfortunately I got no pictures of this - just mentally exhausted and both of us were playing our first game in literally months so lets just say we spent a lot of time in the rulebook.  We were the last ones to finish, finally getting done around 2am.  John was an absolute blast to play though - and we laughed and heckled each other about the game all weekend.  

The Narrative missions are a bit different than book missions, having two mission goals, special rules, and the ability to win fame or infamy.  Mission 1 was destroy more units than you have destroyed: 4 points, First Blood, Linebreaker worth 1 each, and Slay for 2 points, and 1 point for each unit destroyed with a max of 8 points.  The special rule was whichever player was losing on this mission had preferred enemy (all) from the moment they fell behind until they pulled back ahead.  Mission 2 was to control more of the 4 objectives placed centrally in each quarter than the opponent.  Special rule:  each objective was both mysterious and had a non-targetable gun emplacement with the following profile:  24"/S6/AP2/Assault 1/twin-linked, ignores cover.  As a Virtue player, I had 'drones' that boosted one of my units substantially, giving it +1T, 5+ invuln, and It Will Not Die:  I kept this on my Raveners for all 4 battles.  When a model dies however, it causes a d6" radius S=T explosion (so S5 in my case).  On the Humanity side, John had one unit he could at any point give the ability to give until the start of his next turn: fearless, S6, AP2, and 2+ poisonous attacks, but at the cost of rolling for each model:  1-2 take a wound (w/armor save), 4-6 safe. Vanguard deployment, night-fighting in effect turn 1.

John won the roll to go first, I didn't seize.  In the deep end of his deployment zone, his scouts and thunderfire were on my left on the far objective, accompanied left to right by his predator, devastators, razorback and one dread, bikes in the center, and rhino and tac squad and 2nd dread on my right.  I put one tervigon and gant squad in the center headed to the left close objective, one terv/gant squad on my right/close objective, and the 3rd terv/gant poised to run for the right/far objective.  Ravs in the middle, Gargoyles and Parasite on the right, tyrant, DL, and Doom in reserve.  I'll try to give a play by play as there are no pics =\

Turn 1 - John's bikes charged forward onto the center monument (Hirshhorn), moved up with his left dread, and center tac squad from the razorback.  Fire was light - taking out a couple termagants and a few gargoyles.  On my turn, the Gargoyle/PoM blob went up the right side, followed by a terv/gant group.  Back right terv spawned 12 and parked on the objective.  Left terv spawned 8 and moved for the left close objective, covered by the Hirshhorn.  Ravs moved up onto the Hirshhorn.  My shooting consisted of a gant squad shooting at his bikers, and after losing a couple models and seeing the imminently closing raveners, his bikers retreated back to his deployment zone.

Turn 2 saw his left dread continued to move up, he dismounted his tactical squad from the rhino on the right, and moved his other tac squad with captain up the center toward the left far corner of the Hirshhorn.  His stormtalons both come on, one on the left and one down the center.  Shooting consisted of his entire list concentrating fire on the T5 in-cover raveners, who soaked fire from every side but only managed to lose 1 model - but leaving most down 1 or 2 wounds.  Doom arrived and dropped right between his castled scouts and tac squad near the Hirshhorn, and along with the drop pod's tentacles - killed several tac marines and a couple scouts; then Cataclysm on the dread resulting in a glance. Deathleaper showed up and bounced flesh hooks off John's razorback.  Tyrant arrives on the left, but is out of range.  Raveners continued to advance in the center; I forgot to roll for It Will Not Die this round and would pay for it next round...  Gargoyles/PoM + terv/gant cluster continued their advance, jumping into cover onto the far right objective (I made a rules error here, not rolling for dangerous terrain - but barring a freakishly large number of 1s, it wouldn't have changed the game substantially - the game finished with 7 gargoyles still alive - but I recognize my error and will (did) correct it in the future.) Gants continued left toward the left close objective, with the terv moving just enough to maintain synapse but stay out of LOS of the devastators/predator/razorback.

Turn 3: his left dread turned around to move in charge range of Doom.  Everything else basically shuffled for better shots.  Doom kills more tac squad (leaving 3) and more scounts (leaving 2).  His shooting wipes out the gant squad advancing on the left/close objective, and whittles down the raveners to 2 models - the raveners' death explosions contributed heavily (like popcorn!).  The gargoyles lost a couple as well. His stormtalons concentrate on the back objective-holding terv, bringing it down to 1 wound.  He activates his Virtue tech ability of his right side tac squad, losing 2-3.  The left dread charges Doom - who punches first with S10, but rolls a 1, and is promptly squished.  Dread consolidates 6 back to center.  His center tac squad and captain charges the spore pod, destroying it.  Bottom of 3 has the close/right terv spawning 12, casting endurance on itself - ultimately gaining a wound back from It Will Not Die - and moving 7" from the gants holding the objective.  Left spawns 9, sending them toward left/close objective.  Gargoyles move into charge range with the virtue tech unit.  Raveners move into close charge range of the bikes.  Deathleaper positions to fire on the thunderfire.  Far/right side terv takes right/far objective, backfills with gants.  Gants in center move forward through Hirshhorn toward the center tac squad and gun it down, including his captain (warlord).  Tyrant vector strikes the left dread, destroying it, then guns down the closest stormtalon.  Gants kill a couple of the tac squad on the far right.  DL shoots and wrecks the thunderfire.  Gargoyles/PoM charge, killing all but 3 tac squad, taking a few losses in return.  Raveners wipe out the bikes and consolidate towards the scout squad/terrain.

Turn 4:  Razorback moves back toward the left terrain where his scouts are, shoots at raveners killing 1.  Techmarine moves up to charge DL.  His remaining stormtalon lines up on the back right terv, and kills it, but no gants were harmed as I'd moved him out of range.  His devastators, predator, and razorback fire on the tyrant and left side gants, killing two gants but failing to hit the tyrant.  In assault, his right dread charges into the gargoyle/PoM fight.  PoM has initiative, punches him, rends to pen, and wrecks it. Gargoyles finish off the tac squad, consolidate toward the rhino.  Techmarine charges in and gets munched by DL.  DL consolidates toward the devastators,  then moves closer, shooting and killing one.  Left side gants make it to the left close objective.  The remaining ravs move into assault range of the last scouts, make it in and wipe out the scouts, but I get reduced down to 1 model.  Then I made a huge mistake - I split the PoM out to go after the now-exposed rear armor of the razorback.  The gargoyles line up and shoot - and succeed in glancing the rhino to death, but in the assault phase, the PoM with 5 attacks @ 4+ with re-rollable 1s, and only needing 4s to glance - fails to even scratch the razorback.  Tyrant brings down the second stormtalon.

Turn 5:  His razorback turns and burns down my PoM.  /facepalm.  Devastators try and shoot at the gants reaching the left front objective and kill one or two.  Scouts shoot at the remaining ravs and bring the brood down to 1.  On my turn, the ravs and DL combine to wipe out the devastators, leaving only his predator and razorback alive.  We call it here - I own 3 objectives and picked up Slay, Line Breaker, and destroyed more of his units, finishing with a max of 8 mission points, and winning both Mission 1 and Mission 2.

All in all - NOVA 2013 was a fantastic time.  More soon!


  1. The Hirshorn was lost, but really, does anyone care? Maybe my Scout Bikers were trying to do us all a favor and open up the area for redevelopment of you know, a nice looking building. I have an incredible urge to model a marine holding a can of off with a blue and orange bug on it. Dead scout bikers will definitely become objective markers for that army. My little bits bag in the swag bag had some parts that would make this possible.

    All things aside, it was incredible watching the advance of the bugs. I had loads of fun despite staying up later than I have in years.

    1. I would love to see that can of Off with a blue and orange bug! I picked up a set of the themed Narrative bases but I'm torn between using them as actual bases rather than as objectives.

      I like the idea of a painting lounge too - there were a couple people painting in the back room for part of the time.