|My army and display board set up before game 1.|
I also plan on going again because it was a great opportunity to meet people I know through their blogs; namely +Todd Sherman from SincaiN40k and +Sean Lang from l33tlike.us and see the fruits of the labor I've been following in the weeks and months leading up to the tournament.
Seeing their work, and the work of many others, was definitely a highlight of the event. I got to see beautiful armies and strange events, often at the same time - like seeing the Space Dwarves on the board next to me table their Necron foes before I had finished setting up. Also, Todd's first opponent had a wonderfully painted Eldar army, featuring cherry trees and extremely Eastern themed bases.
Then there were the fun, like these forces of the Empire, complete with Storm Talon Tie Fighters and Darth Varder himself
There were display boards that were flat out astounding like this bombed out Temple of the Dark Angels (and the Space Dwarves had a mountain home complete with flickering lanterns in the mines - no pictures sadly).
My few pictures do not do many of these justice, and leave out many, many more.
Game 1: Nick Robinson - Eldar
Day 1 started with me facing off in Purge the Alien against Eldar. Nick was my opponent, and began by offering me a beer. He was a nice guy, pleasant, if very quick and experienced in tournament play, which made me feel slow and nervous. His list consisted of a bare bones Autarch, 9 Rangers, 5 sets of 5 Dire Avengers in Scatter Laser Wave Serpents, Swooping Hawks and Warpspiders, and two Fire Prisms. Nick got first turn and it was all downhill from there, with the Swarmlord and Zoans getting nuked turn one, and about two to three squads a turn thereafter. I blew up a couple Wave Serpents and immobilized one of the Fire Prisms, but was tabled in his fourth turn, despite not having his warp spiders arrive until then.
Making me feel better about this loss was the fact that I was one of five opponents Nick would table in the tournament, as he was runner up in the second tier bracket (though somehow through NOVA's scoring, wound up third in his bracket, 19th overall). Possibly most impressive of all was his confession that he was borrowing his friend's army after deciding just days before to ditch his own army, and that he then painted up the entire list in two days. They weren't masterpieces, but they weren't bad either.
Game 2: Daniel Payne - Tau
Despite their red paint job and inclusion of Farsight, Daniel was running regular Tau with three riptides, minimum kroot squads, and a Farsight/Shadowsun bomb. I won the roll for deployment and chose to go second. The mission was Big Guns Never Tire, and I had 3 heavy support choices, giving me a total of 9 (3 HS, 5 Troops, plus 1+Spawned Troop) scoring unit to his 2. My intention with letting Dan go first was to let the Farsight bomb drop and then hit it with my devilgants and Mawloc. But, like the best laid plans, this one didn't work when he rolled a 1 for reserves on turn 2, leaving my devilgants to bounce shots off a Riptide, causing only a few wounds. A late failed charge by swarmlord into the Farsight bomb (only needed a 5) kept him me from hurting them much before they hit and ran, free to blast my remaining units away from objectives and secure slay the warlord, giving him a victory on secondary conditions. Daniel didn't fare as well as Nick, going 1-3 in the seeding rounds and dropping to the 11th bracket, where he was the runner up.
Game 3: Randolph von Drach - Grey Knights
After lugging a 2x2 board and nearly 100 models around all day, I was jealous of Randolph's (no the name he goes by) army of 19 models that fit in a shoe box more or less. This was my first time playing Grey Knights, but with so few models, it was fairly easy to remember. Draigo and 5 Paladins started in a Land Raider Redeemer, along with a Dreadknight and 5 man purgation squad on the board. 5 Terminators in a Stormraven began in reserve. The mission was The Relic, with Vanguard deployment. NOVA's version also included 4 corner objectives. I closed the gap, more or less, with the Swarmlord hanging back on my home objective, having been granted scoring by his Warlord Trait. I quickly surrounded the relic with spawned gants, and ran my normal gants and hormagaunts onto the two objectives in no man's land. His Dreadknight jumped forward, killed a few small guys before getting smacked down by the Trygon. Meanwhile the Mawloc ate half the Purgation squad and the devilgants wiped out the survivors.
After watching me throw 60 dice around, Draigo decided the gants had to die, but failed the first charge, giving them a round of shooting. Meanwhile the Land Raider cleared one objective, with the Storm Raven clearing the Relic and then another objective. The dropped terminators were saved from a grisly death at the hands of the Swarmlord, who this time failed a 4" charge, and jumped on the objective just before time was called. The Tervigon had the relic and with Line Breaker, I had a minor victory.
The day's gaming done, I went with Todd and Sean to Buffalo Wild Wings and capped the night talking with some of their friends and enjoying the company before having to drive home. Blessedly, I left my stuff at the hotel with Sean and Todd, saving me from carting them to my car that night and back into the hotel the following morning. My conclusion from the first day that I had fun, needed to get a room next year, and I needed to sit down more during my games.