NOVA 2011: Final Thoughts

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Closing out my thoughts on last weekend's event, I can't emphasize enough how great of an experience the NOVA Open was. You'll see a lot of different views and opinions on the Internet but just keep in mind that people tend to complain more about the things they weren't expecting or didn't like over acknowledging the aspects of the event that were done really well. This is the biggest thing I've noticed on the web over the past week. To all the NOVA staff who volunteered their time and effort to make the tournament a huge success, you did a phenomenal job. Everyone who was actually in attendance can attest that the event as a whole was a positive experience and the good far outweighed the bad.

No event of this size with so many people is going to go off without some hiccups in the schedule. 8 games is a lot to fit in with only 2 days for the main event. It would be great if it could be held over 3 days but I'm afraid that might make it harder for that many people to attend due to work schedules and real life. My only other suggestion for future events is to select a more reasonable hotel/venue -- the Hyatt was expensive for what you got in my opinion, and they lacked any affordable food options that could be utilized in the short amount of time between rounds.

The only other thing that caught me off guard and that I hope is changed/clarified for next time is the ruling on combat squadding from reserves. This isn't so much NOVA's fault as it is GW's poorly worded FAQ and their lack of defining "deployment" in the rules. The NOVA FAQ disallowed any combat squadding from reserves (unless from a drop pod) by citing the GW FAQ. There's a couple things I'd like to point out in regards to this decision.
GW's FAQ is answering a specific question about a 10-man squad that selects a drop pod as its dedicated transport.
Q: Can you take a Drop Pod with a 10-man squad and
then put a combat squad in it, deploying the other
combat squad on the table, or leave it in reserve but
not in the Drop Pod? (p69)
A: No, because squads that are placed in reserve may
not break down into combat squads.
We know that the squad can split into combat squads after they disembark from the pod, per pg. 51 in C:SM. On the same page under Combat Squads, it states that this decision "must be made when the unit is deployed". This brings us back to the lack of definition on what it means for a unit to be "deployed". Can a unit be deployed into reserves? Or are they only considered "deployed" after they are on the table? My thinking is the latter scenario, which seems to follow GW's logic in the codex as well as the question posed in the FAQ. The squad can't be split into combat squads while in reserves because they are not yet deployed on the table. Once deployed on the table, they are allowed to do so.

I didn't want to tangent into a rules dispute, so let me bring it back to why this lack of clarity affects my army. I have a full sized bike squad that is allowed to be split into combat squads. Say I want to combat squad them but also leave my bikes in reserves; do I have to split them somehow before they are technically placed in reserves and thus become 2 separate rolls from reserves? It's confusing because the ruling above seems to say that squads can't be split while in reserves, only when they deploy or arrive on the table. I would think that my bike squad could be split into combat squads when it deploys on the board / arrives from reserves. Until GW clears this up, I can't make use of combat squads if I reserve or outflank if I take Khan without running into rules issues, which really takes away from the effectiveness of my bike squads and limits their options.

Aside from this deployment confusion, I really enjoyed how my bikes performed on the table. They gave me flexibility in reacting to my opponents' moves, allowed me to be aggressive when I needed to be, and double tapping twin-linked bolters is the most fun you'll ever have with the standard issued Space Marine weapon. Unlike some outspoken bloggers, you wont see me complaining about the Terrain at NOVA, even with the majority of my army treating all difficult as dangerous terrain. In my experience most places don't have enough terrain on their boards, so it was nice to see NOVA abiding by the established rules of at least 25% and some LOS blocking terrain on the board. It's called generalship people; some situations/missions call for taking risks, especially when you don't plan for all scenarios and all-comers lists...exactly the environment a tournament aims to provide. I paid for siege shield upgrades on my Vindicators, and you better believe it was worth every point! I'm tired of reading about people whining that they lost because the terrain wasn't best suited for their army or that they would have won if their dice rolls would have been better. Give me a break! Anyone and everyone could make these statements (read: excuses) but thankfully not everyone is a moron.

This post isn't intended to be a bitch-fest. So let me say it again, I truly had an awesome time at the NOVA Open! I met some great people, saw some fantastic armies, and learned more about my army and 40k in a weekend than I have in the last couple of years combined. Thanks again to MVB and staff for organizing this thing. I can't wait till next year's Open!


**Note to self: Never use the digital zoom on the flip cam. I also need to remember to bring a tripod to reduce the shakiness; I apologize if watching this video causes any seizures. You've been warned!

***Also, I just realized I uploaded the wrong video; I'm in the process of uploading the correct one now and will post it as soon as it's ready (it's much longer so it's taking awhile). In the mean time, check out the Skaven Dark Eldar army and display at the end of this video; probably the most impressive thing I saw the entire weekend!