Monday, September 10, 2018

NOVA Narrative Recap- The Unstoppable Dreadnoughts

NOVA was this last weekend and man was it a BLAST. It is definitely a smooth run operation and I plan on going back again for a third time next year. Last year I took my all Death Rider Army to the NOVA GT and Trios. This year I intended to do the Trios again, but due to team mate issues, I instead went to DC and did the tourist thing on the day of the trios. This is one of the untold bonuses of NOVA, you are practically in Washington, and taking an uber or the Metro to the museums/monuments is easily done and worth it if you are not from the area.  But after a day of site seeing I got to jump into the NOVA Narrative! Check out their mission pack here. Some really fun and cool missions you should try at home (especially Shuttle Crash and Refinery IMO).
My 2500 point army. All my armies would be made from this!
I had started this article a few days ago, but now I feel I must temper my enthusiasm before I launch into the review.
Edit: I leave the following 2 paragraphs for completions sake, but I wan't it to be known I have since spoken to Joe the TO. He is a real class act and got back to me with a solid explanation and apology of what happened, and "honor is satisfied" on my part from what you are about to read below. It really wan a GREAT event and the mistakes that follow in the next 2 paragraphs really are just a confluence of bad luck and pre-con impediments to a 100% smooth Narrative. That being said, I really do appreciate the explanation and discussion with the NOVA Narrative TO.

The narrative, while being great for come and go play and just general fun, had some record keeping issues apparently. I get that is can be really really hard with the open format that it is, but I played every non-kill team game. But reviewing the records afterward, I have the wrong Fame Score (I should have 0... they gave me 27. I saved no civilians). I am missing 2 rounds of battlepoints. My APOC score is not associated to me, and I am missing a hobby score.

As they record shows, I am #9 on the virtue team. If I it JUST added my battlepoints, I would be 4th. With a measly 5 hobby points I would be tied for 3rd. 11 would have had me tied for 2nd. 19 tied for 1st. Seeing as no one got less than 9 if they got judged, I should have placed, and I'd like to think at least 2nd if not 1st (by maybe 1 point)... Its really disheartening to have put all this effort into something and then learn I walked away empty handed not for lack of my effort, but because of just bad book keeping. I know they are volunteers, but as a customer, I feel a bit cheated. I know little can be done at this point, but if there was a certificate or medal that the people who placed got, it would be nice to have one sent. Not looking for the prizes. Just something to mark my accomplishment.

Anyway, onto the coverage! I was on Team Virtue (story in the mission pack), helping eliminate the Forces of Humanity. My Battlegroup was the Guns of Waaaghust.

All my lists are available here. But I'll sum up below
I had 13 dreadnoughts
-Chaplain with Claws and Heavy Flamers
-Librarian with Halberd, Fist and Melta-gun
-Contemptor with Assault cannon and Fist+combi-bolter
-2 x Furiosos
-2 x Death Company Dreads (Cassor the Damned and Moriar the Chosen)
-3 x Mortis Dreads w/ autocannons, assault cannons and the occasional heavy bolter
-Deredeo w/ Autocannons and heavy bolters and  a nice shield projector the FW still hasn't released despite showing it off at every event they do for over a year.
-Leviathan in a Drop pod with a melta lance and siege claw OR no drop pod and Storm cannons (Yay magnets)
-Redemptor with Gatlings, Icarus, and Frag launchers

A key to each of my lists was the Deredeo with Mortis surrounding it. His Atomantic Pavaise (the shield projector) gave my dreads a bubble invlun. I would then spend my CP pretty much EXCLUSIVELY on popping wisdom of the ancients on the same Deredeo to give my shooty dreads rerolls. My Warlord ALWAYS had the Veritas Vitae to regain this CP, which usually stretched my measly 4 or 5 into 6 to 8 CP, which was more than enough to pop Wisdom and get a few 1 time rerolls for saves or damage. I also found myself usually taking Shield of Sanguinius or Quickening and Wings of Sanguinius for my psychic powers.

When my Warlord was my Librarian I took the Gift of Foresight WL trait (6+ FNP rerolling 1s). If it was my chaplain, I took Soul Warden, allowing him to deny the witch, which was often useful as my Librarian usually suicide charged turn 1 or they would be on my flanks opposite each other, giving me good coverage with 2 denies.
Game 1 (Win): 2000 pts vs Death Guard- Mission: Slaughter Zone, Hammer and Anvil Deployment
A great opening game for the Narrative for me. Only my 3rd time facing Death Guard and I knew it would be a close one.  We definitely based each other for a bit, but eventually his disgusting resilience wasn't enough and the wall of steel overcame him. His Plague Drones were beasts though!
My favourite moment of the game was probably when my Leviathan and Typhus met in hand to hand. The first round of combat saw them stalemated, but in the second round I was able to smash his to a foetid pulp before he could even strike.
Game 2 (Win): 1000 pts vs Salamanders- Mission: Open Ground, Font-line Assault Deployment
One of my tougher games at first I feel. Those salamander rerolls can be brutal on a Lascannon or Missile Launcher. My opponent also had a really clutch use of the Flakk missile strategem + Signum against my Wings of Sanguinius Librarian Dreadnought. He gains FLY, so that was a good move. In the end though, my opponents foot Marines couldn't stand up to my Dreads and the NOVA terrain really played to my advantage blocking LOS so my punchy dreads could close. Game ended close points wise, but still a W for me and very few sons of Vulkan left on the table.
Game 3 (Loss): 2000 pts Doubles (1k ea) vs Dark Eldar and Death Guard- Mission: Refinery, Hammer and Anvil Deployment.
This time, myself and Discordian with his Prophets of Bark and the Spooky Bunch Teamed up. I was against the same Death Guard player as turn 1, but teamed up with a very shooty DE list. This game was REALLY close and we lost 16-17, by 1 point - essentially they had first blood and we didn't (I really wish more events used First Strike instead for this very reason. Winning because you went first when all other things means the game would be tied seems silly. We managed to kill something Turn 1 as well AFTER getting shot. But 0 points for that. But I digress). The DE player was the only person the whole weekend who implicitly KNEW to go for my Deredeo to begin with, a lesson all others would learn too late the rest of the weekend. Had he been like them and taken my Furioso bait instead, or we had gone first, the game would have likely came out with Chris and I as the victors. Either way, super fun and a cool mission with progressively scored main objectives (as you siphon off fuel tanks).
Game 4 (Win): 2500 pts vs Orks- Mission: Shuttle Crash, Front-line Assault Deployment
This was one of my MOST FUN GAMES EVER. The Ork player had an amazing "Orkperium" themed army, lead by two PrimeOrks (Growlman was one of them and I forget the other). All the orks had different SM chapter shoulder pads. He had a Gorkanaut and a Morkanaut. Crazy fun! What really saved my bacon is the shuttle crashed in front of my Dreadnought Firebase, and to run at me meant facing a wall of Firepower. Once more the NOVA terrain did me wonders, keeping my Mortis and Deredeo hidden from his big walkers, while my Librarian was able to fly up and severely damage them and my Leviathan come in and do some damage too. Unfortunately, he royally whiffed every melta lance shot I made all weekend... Meanwhile his rockets could roll nothing but 6s (he would do 0 with a heavy 20 weapons, and then nail me with both rockets... 3 turns in a row!). Those orks must have looted some Tau Seeker heads, because they were deadly accurate.
This game was also the first time I got to use my Redemptor. While he didn't last the whole game, he did squish PrimeOrk Growlman, and his Gatlings chewed up some boys good and proper.
Game 5 (Win): 1000 pts vs Death Guard- Mission: Slaughter Zone, Spearhead Assault Deployment.
A great sport who I unfortunately tabled by the top of turn 3... Its rough when a game goes like that. His army was pox walkers, some Plague Marines and Characters, and Mortarion. Turns out when Two Autocannon Mortis dreads have LoS first turn and reroll ones from Wisdom of the Ancients... well Morty doesn't last too long... and to finish him off I was able to charge a Furioso with Blood Talons turn 2. Just not a good day for the Primarch of the Death Guard. In the end my Deredeo and Mortis dreads made light work of the Pox Walkers and Plague Marines while my Librarian ate a few Characters. Could have been different had he gone first, but eventually Mortarion would have had to come into LoS of the Autocannons, and that just spelled his doom.
Game 6 (Win): 1500 pts vs Thousand Sons- Mission: Refinery,  Vanguard Strike Deployment
A fun game amongst a ton of terrain. Firelanes were challenging at times for me. But it proved more problematic for the Thousand Sons. By the end of the game he had 3 models left and I had scored the Maxmimum off my Fuel dumps and at least once off of his. Things I learned- Obliterators are still really scary and Chaos has better Leviathans than the Imperium (and charging one with a Librarian dread may not work out as a result, especially if you fail to cast shield of sanguinius 2 turns in a row)
Game 7 (Win): 3000 pts Doubles (1500 ea) vs Space Wolves and Ad Mech- Mission: Convoy, Vanguard Strike Deployment
My dreads and the Spooky bunch paired up again for fight on a neat winter themed table. Top take away from this game- Wrack Screens are great for shooting dreads! We had a great pair of Opponents from the Crew Shaken podcast. Facing down some Wulfen, my team castled up and left them with no viable first turn charge. Our opponents also threw a Stormfang Gunship at us full of some mean stuff, which we managed to blast from the sky and explode behind our lines, greatly aiding our cause. Our opponents also made an early game push to drive their objective convoy across the field, but our DE Scourges and Mandrakes came in on the edge of our own Deployment zone bottom of 1 and put an end to that. In the end the faltered first turn charge of the Wolves cost our opponents dearly, letting my dreadnoughts take the fight to him first and allowing our firepower and some void raven bombing runs to do the trick and eliminate the worst threats to us early on.
Game 8: Apocalypse (Win)
What can I say about this. Crazy big cool game. The biggest thing on the Table was a Manta, but otherwise nothing bigger than a Warhound Titan, and really just a lot of Knights and Mini-Knights. For this game to get up in points, I had to break out some non-dread units. I had some good fun flying my Xiphon and Fireraptor (WHICH WAS SOME HOW THE ONLY FIRE RAPTOR IN THE GAME) up the board killing knights! I also got to step on a Captain Slamguinius with my Knight Atrapos. Crowing moment for our team though was taking our opponents primary objective bottom of Turn 5 by Orks (our Battlegroup Warlord none the less!) making "Da Jump" and charging in to eliminate all before them. Its really good when something like Apoc comes down to the infantry fighting rather than just who has more big guns.

Biggest take aways
-Narrative is WAY less stressful than the GT and a ton of fun
-Get a better camera and use a flash
-Make sure your scores are recorded properly