NOVA Practice

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I was able to get some much needed practice games in yesterday at a local RTT. It was a great opportunity for the local guys to try out their 1850 lists in a mostly NOVA format -- there was slightly different mission scoring and the group employs official chess timers/clocks set to 1 hour per player. While I believe the intent of the timer is a good thing (ultimately to discourage intentional slow-play and winning by means other than playing out the full game) I think it has some unintended consequences; it doesn't accurately account for your opponent's activity within your own turn, namely the assault phase, overwatch, or waiting for saving throws to be made.

There was a Pause button for rules questions, but it got to the point where I was more worried about the timer running out than making sure I was making the best possible moves on the table. I don't want to dwell too much on the timer aspect because again I think it was a novel idea, just needs some tweaking to ensure players aren't gaming it to their advantage in their opponent's turn. It was really good practice for me in that it made me focus on ways to make interacting with MY army much quicker -- things like pre-grouping dice pools for my complex units like Beasts and the Court and making sure I have little cheat sheets for these non-standard units as close combat can be a bear of a phase when you have 4-5 different wound pools & initiative steps. This was my first outing with this list so I'm sure I'll get quicker with it the more practice I have.

I didn't take a lot of pictures and I regret it as there were quite a few fantastic looking armies in attendance, but I'll be sure to snap some next time. The day was mostly about getting to know my list better and learning how to deal with various match-ups. I went up against a super shooty Tau list, an interesting Ork list with Space Wolf allies, and a mostly jumper Blood Angel list.

The quick rundown: I got tabled by Tau; had a very close, hard fought game against Orks/SW; and handily defeated the BA army.

Tau packs a mean punch! I've heard how deadly their shooting can be with their 6th edition codex, but nothing could have prepared me for the amount of dice being thrown at me. And it's not just the amount, it's all the special abilities they can choose to use depending on the situation. I know I've lamented the over-abundance of Flyers as the bane of 6th's existence, but truth be told there's something far worse than Flyers... 'Ignores Cover'. Yup, what once was a rare ability is quickly becoming commonplace on every table, at least every table that has the most recently updated armies on them. Tau & Eldar get this special rule in droves and unlike Flyers, which honestly still have a few ways to handle/mitigate them, what can one do against 'Ignores Cover' spam? A lot of armies in 40k heavily rely upon cover and tactical use of terrain in order to survive and be effective. I don't want to get too far off topic, but it just felt like I was removing models, no cover, no saves, no interaction on my part at all. Some shots didn't even need Line of Sight, so I couldn't even hide. I knew my only hope was to get into close combat as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, my beast pack was destroyed turn 1 and my other choppy units were mangled down to 1 or 2 models by the time they hit his line. To be clear, I don't mean for this critique to take anything away from my opponent; he was a much better general than me and was a great guy to play against!

I still learned a lot from this game, and all of my games really. Overall, I think my list did better than I expected for the day. It was a well run event and I had a great time. I hope to play with those guys again soon!

I'm not going to make any changes to my army list before NOVA, mainly because I've put a lot of work into these models and really like the overall appearance of this army. I also just need to stick to one list and play a bunch of games with it before I start making changes. I'm sure there are things I could do to make it more competitive, however I still feel like my current list has some flexibility on the table and it will perform better once I learn to play it better. With only 2 weeks till NOVA, I'm going to spend that time painting of course and I'd really like to magnetize all my flying stands to make moving things around easier. Other than that, I'm really looking forward to this year's NOVA and I'm very happy to be so close to having a fully painted Dark Eldar army :)