40k Nova-Inspired Tournament

Being the crazy, detail-oriented person that I am, I went searching for some already established tournament stuff that I could borrow heavily from to help run the most recent tournament at our gaming store. What I came across were the rules used for the 2017 Nova Open, so I did some minor changes to better fit the laid-back atmosphere of our gaming store and made print-outs for keeping track of score and missions. My favorite part of the Nova Open rules is that they really try to balance out the army power levels by presenting two primary goals players can choose from and a bay of secondary goals players can choose three from. Neither player has to pick the same things, and they both get to choose after seeing the other person’s list.

My List

For this tournament, the only real rules were no Unbound, so everybody could get a chance to try out whatever they wanted before we officially started the migration into 8th edition. Having never fielded him before, I wanted to bring out my Skathach Wraithknight, and with only 1250 points for my list, I was left taking a Combined Arms Detachment.

  • Skathach Wraithknight + 2 Inferno Lances + 2 Scatter Lasers
  • Jetbike Farseer + Spirit Stone of Anath’lan
  • Scatterlaser Windriders (x3)
  • Scatterlaser Windriders (x3)
  • Scatterlaser Windriders (x3)
  • Scatterlaser Windriders (x3)
  • Crimson Hunter Exarch
  • Falcon + Bright Lance + Holofields
  • Fire Dragons (x5) + Exarch

Before we get into any more of what went on, I will warn you, I did really poorly in this tournament. It was all for fun really, and with nothing really being on the line besides bragging rights, I felt entirely fine having a bad strategic day. In all honesty, I am kind of glad for it since it should help remind people that I am not just there to stomp people. Plus, it would be just a little wierd to win the first tournament I was a pseudo-organizer for.

The rules are made up and the points don't matter.
Curtesy ABC Family’s Whose Line Is It Anyway and memegenerator.net

Round 1

Tau – lots of Fire Warriors, a Broadside, a Stormsurge, and Crisis Suits with Buffmander

This game did not go my way. I won the roll-off and chose to go first, and my opponent ended up seizing the initiative on me and rolling for night fighting, which entirely benefited him since his Tau all had whatever wargear allowed them to ignore it. Combine that with the immense amount of ignores cover shots he had going on and the just insane number of shots Tau put out in general and I was doomed. My windriders may have a decent armor save, but it only takes three fails to wipe a squad.

I lost resoundingly and was tabled something like turn 3 or 4. It was the worst I have lost in a long time, but it was hilariously fun. I found myself rooting against my own army for once although it was mostly because my dice were rolling very poorly.

I lost one of my four squads of windriders turn one and only killed a squad of pathfinders in return (they were the only thing I could really see), lost the other two and my Crimson Hunter the second turn in exchange for whiffing against his Stormsurge, and then turn three lost everything but the Skathach – which died turn four.

Overall, my opponent took second in the tournament, so I would guess that on top of my playing very badly, my opponent was having quite the good day.

Biel-Tan 8 | Tau 19

Round 2

Ultramarines with Guilliman and Tygerius

This player was a bit new and said he had played maybe a dozen games max, but he did pretty well. His list was largely foot-slogging, but he baited me into trying to kill Guilliman. Turn one I wiped his Grav-Centurions, accompanied by Tygerius and another character model that I cannot remember, entirely off the board. This effectively compromised his ability to deal with my Falcon and Skathach, but my target priority went haywire after that.

Instead of kiting Guilliman and playing hard to get, I decided to try to kill him, even though I had taken no goals that would have given me points for it. It was a hideous tactical blunder because, after three turns worth of shooting, I had stripped an almighty… three (3) of his six (6) wounds using the combined fire of my entire army. Meanwhile, he had been picked off my windriders, destroyed my Fire Dragons by charging Guilliman into the middle of them, and generally controlled more of the board to win himself a decent number of points.

Only turn five did I realize my error and turned my entire army against the two tactical squads remaining, reducing them down to one lone marine. The game then promptly ended, that one tactical marine denying me a secondary goal and securing the Ultramarine victory.

I guess I really wanted to learn the hard way that shooting the Distraction™ Guilliman is not a good idea. I should have focussed on the rest of his army before playing that game, so I have to commend him for making Papa Smurf appropriately formidable to hold my entire army’s attention for three whole turns.

Biel-Tan 11 | Ultramarines 12

Round 3

Tyranids with Two (2) Flying Carnifexes and Two (2) Mawlocs

This game I went up against someone who was more of a painter and modeller, and while I did my best to help, my wavering tactical abilities did not serve her very well. Rolling to go second, I hid most of my army behind the one building on the board big enough to hide my Skathach and set up a few windriders off to the side to hold a second objective.

Since I had regularly played against Tyranids back when I was first picking up the game, I knew to focus on the Carnifexes and bring them, as well as whatever other Synapse she had, down. To her credit, she seemed quite ready to deal with this approach, having lumped all of her non-Synapse models together and hiding a Zoanthrope in the very back. The Venomthropes in the mix made sure everything had a very good cover save, and with that and their relatively short range in mind, I chose to ignore them.

Her flying Carnifexes destroyed all but one squad of my windriders before I could down them, trading in my Crimson Hunter as well after its shooting did not kill one of them. The anti-armor power of my Skathach and Falcon dropped her Warriors, and later one Mawloc when it arrived. At that point, she wanted to end the game, although I convinced her to keep going. She had one Mawloc that could burrow in again, and with my Farseer and Falcon each having one wound left, I helped her place the Mawloc in such a way that it’s arrival would do maximum damage. If it would have hit, it had a good chance of taking out whatever was in its way, and I explained that putting the edge of the Mawloc’s base slightly over 7″ away from the table edge would mean he would statistically survive if she rolled scatter. And with models all around him, he should have killed something on arrival… the only problem was the roll ended up 12″ directly off the table, and the mishap roll was destroyed.

Needless to say, that ended it. She conceeded, and the game ending prematurely saw my score end up very low.

Biel-Tan 6 | Tyranids 4

Overall results

I quite liked the added layer of strategy the Nova missions added, although I will admit that the format did trick me into performing poorly, on top of my failure as a tactician. Every mission is presented as one all-or-nothing end game goal and one accumulate points turn-by-turn goal. Being rather risk averse, I kept choosing the turn-by-turn goals and only realized after the tournament was over that choosing that way had me playing in a very detrimental way for my Eldar. Instead of the usual pop out, shoot, hide again that I should usually be utilizing, I was leaving my troops out in the open to secure objectives; and while it was getting me a few points here and there, my opponents were easily able to wipe them off the board.

Still, I was quite happy with our overall results. One of the players, who usually brings IG and winds up pretty low in points, brought an Imperial Knight Baronial Court and took first, outscoring everyone behind him by at least 10 points. The Ultramarines player I played against in Round 2 took third; hopefully he will keep playing and showing up to events.

I took fifth and was pretty happy with it. Being responsible for partially running the event changed my outlook on the game a bit, and I actively found myself trying to have more fun and be a bit less serious than usual. It was a nice change of pace, and I am hoping that I can hold onto that.

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