Monday, September 21, 2015

NOVA in Review, Part 3: GT Bat Reps, Day 2

As I mentioned in my last bat rep post, I ended Friday 3-0, and began Saturday matched up against Frontline Gaming's Frankie. Game 4 was Points and Regions, which is a board quarter mission. Honestly, I felt pretty lucky to run into Gladius on this mission and not on the other three missions. The board quarters made Frankie's army-wide Objective Secured much less important than an objective based mission.

Frankie's List was:
  • Gladius Strike Force
    • Battle Company
      • Kahn: Moondraken
      • Chaplain: Bike
      • 4x10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Grav-Cannon, Rhino w/Dozer Blade
      • 5 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Rhino w/Dozer Blade
      • 5 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Drop Pod
      • 4 Bikers: 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav, Attack Bike w/Multi-Melta
      • Attack Bike: Multi-Melta
      • 2x5 Devastators: 2 Grav-Cannons, Rhino w/ Dozer Blade
    • 10th Company Task Force
      • 3x5 Scouts
For missions, I selected End-Game primary, and took Linebreaker, Moment of Bloodshed, and Kill Points. Frankie selected Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord, and Marked for Death on one unit of Wraiths. 

I won the roll for deployment and forced Frankie to go first. He deployed his line of Rhinos centrally across the front of his zone and declared his squads were Combat-Squading. I measured out the threat range of the Grav Cannons and deployed my Wraiths and Spyders outside this range, with a buffer of Scarabs and Warriors in front. On the left, I deployed two Spyders, 2 units of Scarabs, a unit of Wraiths, and the Tomb Blades. The second Warrior squad deployed mid board. The Immortals stayed in reserve with the Warp Spiders and Marked Wraiths. Frankie then Infiltrated his Scouts in the middle of the board and scouted everything forward. 

I opted to not seize, so Frankie went first. He tried landing his pod in my deployment zone, but it scattered just out. Everyone piled out of their Rhinos and leaned a bit to my right flank. In the center, Frankie concentrated fire on the Warriors in the middle, taking down nine of ten. 

In the bottom of the turn, Scarabs and Wraiths surged forward. Shooting plinked away at the Tactical Marines by the pod, and I suicided the lone Warrior into them in combat to deny an easy Tertiary point in the following turn. The Scarabs on the left took down a Rhino while those on the right charged into the bike squad, with Wraith support. 

In the top of two, Frankie tallied three points for his Primary. The squads on my left moved up to assault the Scarabs who had just eaten a Rhino. Shooting was largely ineffective, plinking off a few wounds here and there. The Marine squads charged into the Scarabs, but one base survived. 

In my turn the Immortals, Wraiths, and one unit of Warp Spiders arrived. Across the board, Wraiths moved up to make assaults and Spyders moved to support. In shooting, the Warp Spiders destroyed a Rhino, the Tomb Blades wiped out a unit of Scouts (which I was hoping wouldn't happen, as they were cutting off a charge lane). The Immortals whittled down another Scout squad. In assault, a unit of Scarabs killed off the Drop Pod and some Wraiths assaulted into tac squads. The lone scarab base held on, denying a butcher's bill point, and they then hit & ran, as did the bike squad. 

In the top of three, Frankie again scored three points to his Primary. He moved rhinos to surround my Warp Spiders and moved two tactical combat squads in to the ring. Shooting plinked away some wounds here and there. In combat, the Warp Spiders were charged, lost 4 of their number, and the hit and ran through a small gap thanks to their reduced numbers. The bike squad charged the Warriors and Warlord, and predominantly bounced off, killing three but, losing the attack bike in return. 

The remaining Warp Spiders dropped in in Frankie's backfield and on me left flank. Spyders and Wraiths moved about hunting down tac squads. Scarabs ate another Rhino, while a bunch of combats broke out on the right side. Kahn's combat was a stalemate, and they hit & ran out to prepare another charge. 

In the top of four, Frankie only scored one point this time, and we both could see the tide turning. Wraiths and a Spyder had halted any advance on the left flank while the Wraiths and Scarabs were pushing down the right side, slowly grinding down the various 5-man marine squads. The Bikes charged back in and in a flurry of poor dice, Kahn and the Chaplain found themselves all alone against the Overlord and Warriors. 

In the bottom of four, the combats continued, with Warp Spiders and unengaged Wraith and Scarabs hunting down depleted marine squads. As the turn ended, and the Chaplain died in combat, Kahn hit and ran out of combat along my board edge. 

As we tallied up turn 5 scoring, Frankie would score no points this turn. Being short on time we decided to call the game. I tallied 18 of 19 points, compared to Frankie's 10. It was a great game, and Frankie was a great opponent. And with that, I was 4-0 and destined for the top bracket.

In my first game in the top bracket, I was paired up against Mike Vagenos's Thunderwolf Star on the top table. Unfortunately it looks like the past broadcast is no longer available, and I didn't take any photos. Mike's list was:
  • Company of the Great Wolf Detachment:
    • 4x Wolf Guard Battle Leader: Power Fist, Stormshield, Thunderwolf Mount, 2 Fenrisian Wolves
    • 3x Iron Priests: Thunderwolf Mount, 2 Cyberwolves
  • Space Marine Allied Detachment:
    • Severin Loth
    • 5 Scouts
    • Drop Pod
  • Dark Angels Allied Detachment
    • Chaplain: Bike, Powerfist
    • Command Squad: Black Knights, Company Banner, Apothecary
    • 5 Scouts
For missions, I chose to score Turn-by-Turn for my Primary, while Mike took End Game. For secondaries, I took Linebreaker, Strike the Rank and File, and Marked for Death on his Dark Angel Scouts. Mike took First Blood, Last Laugh, and Kill Points. 

Mike won the roll for deployment and chose to go first. He deployed the star across the broad front of his Vanguard Deployment. The Scouts and Loth would be in the pod, while the Dark Angel Scouts would walk on the board. I deployed with my Warriors lining the front of my deployment zone and the Spyders a bit back. The Immortals, Tomb Blades, and Warp Spiders all were in reserve. Mike opted to scout and moved up. 

In the first turn, the drop pod landed just next to a 1 point objective on my right and Loth joined the star while the Scouts surrounded the objective. The Star moved up close to my line and took shots at one Spyder, dealing two wounds. Some Bolters from the Scouts were just enough to take off the last wound to secure First Blood. 

In the bottom of the turn, I pushed up to my left a bit, and a unit of Wraiths and Scarabs went for the Drop Pod and Scouts. I was able to destroy the Drop Pod with the Scarabs and the Wraiths killed three of five scouts, but they stayed in combat.

In turn two, Mike had is Dark Angel scouts arrive and go into his back corner. The star moved around the big ruin and declared a 5 unit charge, pulling a move I didn't realize was possible, sneaking 40mm Wolf bases through the 2" gaps in my screening Warrior squad to hit a Wraith unit. He quickly wiped out two Scarab squads and the Warrior squad, while the Wraiths survived. The Wraith squad on my right managed to kill off the Scouts before dying off to power fist attacks.

In my turn, I only held 2 points of objectives, so scored no points. I repositioned my screens, and was annoyed to only get my Immortals and Overlord in, who moved in on my right corner. In combat, Mike was a bit unlucky to wipe out the Wraiths, preventing his star from doing a hit and run.

In turn three, Mike failed Invisibility and decided to do a more limited charge into a Spyder and screening block of Scarabs. He wiped out some bases, but my Spyder managed to smash a biker. In my turn, my reserves arrived, including two of three Warp Spiders. The two units of Spiders were able to wipe out the Scouts, securing me two of my Secondaries and stand on a 3 point objective. Mike was unable to wipe out either the Spyder or Scarabs, and hit and ran away.

In turn four Mike made some charges in the middle of the board to contest some objectives. In the top of the turn I scored two primary points and lined up some screens around the three point objective in the back corner.

In the top of the turn Mike split off some of the Wolf Guard battle leaders to hunt down Scarabs and Warp Spiders. He attempted to make a multi charge on Wriaths, Warp Spiders, and Immortals, but lost a wolf to overwatch and then rolled 2" for his charge, meaning he wouldn't make it to the Immortals. All but two warp Spiders were wiped out, but hit and ran away. In the bottom of the turn, I scored another point. One wraith continued to survive in the combat with the star. In what would be a big turning point, Mike chose to not hit and run, thinking he needed to contest the 3 point objective in case the game ended. In his defense, I was thinking the same thing.

The game continued to turn 6. In the psychic phase, Mike Terrified the Tomb Blades on the 3 point objective, who ran away. One wolf guard battle leader charged into some Scarabs and in a flurry of 1s, died. The last wraith in combat with the star died. As time was becoming a factor, we tallied up some points and determined that my 2-man warp spiders, after movement, needed 10" between their run and thrust move to contest the 3 point objective. They promptly ran 5" and thrust 7", easily contesting the objective. I could have also tried to take down a Wolf Guard battle leader down to 1 wound to deny Last Laugh, but didn't need to; I was able to escape with a great 12-10 victory.

In Round 6, I was paired against Brett, aka "Tombking." He had a Eldar and Tau list, and we would be playing on Hammer & Anvil. His list was, from best recollection:
  • Eldar CAD:
    • 2x Farseer: Jetbike, Spear
    • 3x3 Jetbikes: Scatter Lasers
    • 2x3 Jetbikes
    • 6 Warp Spiders: Exarch
  • Tau Allied Detachment:
    • Commander: Shield Drone, Vectored Retro-thrusters, Stim Injector, Neuroweb, Onager Gauntlet, PEN, M-SSS, Iridium Battlesuit
    • 6 Fire Warriors
    • 2 Remora Drone Fighters
    • Sky Ray
  • Firebase Cadre:
    • Riptide: Ion, TL Fusion, EWO
    • 2x3 Broadsides: HYMP, EWO
The mission was Relic, and I chose Progressive Primary while Brett took end game. I also took Linebreaker, Marked for Death on the Fire Warriors, and Last Laugh (I'm not sure why on this one). Brett took First Blood, Linebreaker, and Marked for Death on a unit of Wraiths. 

I deployed first, with my Spyders and Scarabs concentrated in the middle, with Warriors and Immortals on my back objectives (Immortals were completely out of LOS under the floor of a ruin. I'm pretty sure Brett had no idea they were there). I reserved my Tomb Blades and Warp Spiders, thinking they would be best at taking down the marked Firewarriors who I assumed would be reserved. Brett deployed a little back, though one unit of bikes were forward in the middle. He deployed the Firewarriors in the back behind the Riptide and unit of Broadsides. 

In my turn 1, I made the mistake that set the tone for the game and really reduced my chances - I didn't go as aggressive as I should have. I spawned all four spiders into one unit of Scarabs and moved them up to surround the relic, completely overlooking the fact they would have had a 6-8" charge on a unit of jetbikes, that potentially would have denied Brett First Blood and put one of my units in his face turn 1. Everything moved up and ran, but again, concentrated on surrounding the Relic. 

In Brett's turn, he opened fire and my dice showed their desires for the game, with me failing 7 of 9 3+ saves on a unit of Wraiths, making them go poof for first blood. A spyder similarly failed over half it's 3+ saves, though made a respectable number of 4+ Reanimations before going down. 

I scored 2 points for my Primary turn 1 (in part because Brett forgot I was doing turn by turn). In a silly move, my two Warp Spiders that arrived deep struck between the two broadside units, completely forgetting about Interceptor. Serious facepalm moment there. I moved up with Wraiths on both flanks, and one wraith unit charged a broadside unit and Commander, and promptly began wiffing it what would become 5 rounds of losing combat to broadsides... that's about how this game went. In Brett's turn, he dropped in Warp Spiders in my backfield and maneuvered them to contest one of my objectives. Shooting took down the last unit of wraiths on my right flank, and whittled away at some Spyders.

In turn 3 I scored a single point, and then charged my Marked Wraiths into the Broadside combat. I also boosted my Tomb Blades up the board to eventually track down the fire warriors. The wraiths were able to kill off the shield drone, but lost one of their number, losing combat again. I also charged the Warp Spiders and killed a couple before they hit & ran away. In hindsight I should have broken off the Overlord and charged him in alone, trapping the Spiders with a ring of Warriors. In the bottom of the turn, shooting killed another Spyder and plinked away at a few other units. One jetbike unit jumped onto a small cleared spot by the Relic to deny that point, while the Warp Spiders jumped back to contest again. The Riptide charged a whittled down unit of Warp Spiders and wiped them out.

In turn 4 I charged the Jetbikes on the relic with about 15 Scarab bases and only killed one. Meanwhile, after killing off one unit of Wraiths in combat, the Broadsides hit & ran away. The marked unit, no longer in combat, was lit up and destroyed in short order. The Riptide jumped up and down on some Tomb Blades, and my Scarabs were unable to kill a single Jetbike with about 60 attacks.

It was at that point we went ahead and called the game, with a 18-5 victory for Brett. With that, my pursuit of NOVA glory was over, but despite being disappointed by my pretty big mistakes (and hilariously atrocious dice) in game 6, my overall GT experience was a success. I entered NOVA with the goal of making top 20 Overall. As I packed up my army for secondary paint judging, I knew I had accomplished that.

When the final numbers came out, I slipped into the top 10. I was 16th in Battle Points and Win % (through Round 6 when Renaissance Man is determined), and 27th in Paint score, which combined for 9th place overall. I had also made top bracket, which was well above my expectations.

I also walked away with the best single contributor for the NOVA Olympics, which means next year I get to see my name on a big trophy, which is pretty cool. I'm already excited for NOVA 2016 and hope to see everyone out there. 

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