Interviews with the Top 3 from the NOVA Open Kill Team Tournament

Hey everyone with NOVA Open in the rear view, let’s catch up with the North East’s finest. With NOVA open being one of the last two Golden Tickets on the East Coast before the World Championships in Atlanta, with Tampa Open(link), and the New York Open(link) being the last two. With over 60 gt entrants, and 3 different Kill Team events over NOVA’s five day run, its head TO had his work cut out for him! As a first time attendee, for anyone on the fence it’s certainly worth a visit. Between painting classes, board games, and overall vibes I had a memorable first trip out!

Matt H, Tournament Organizer

How’s it feel to have seen the NOVA field grow from 40+ entrants with 3 events (Day 1 was 3 casual pods with a total of 30 players, Day 2 the team tournament with 12 and Day 3 the GT with 42), to 60+ entrants with 3 events (Narrative with around 20, team 33, GT 61)?

  • The growth to the Team tournament and GT shows how the community continues to grow, and the fact that people keep coming back to NOVA shows how much they love the event.  Also, being a Golden Ticket event 2 years in a row doesn’t hurt 🙂

Cosplayers at NOVA, credit Marc G, Woodley Warriors Pod

I know that some people grumbled about the Turning Point Tactics maps, but as a TO it’s hard to satisfy everyone. For any burgeoning TOs what advice for map making do you have for them?

  • Make sure you really test your maps, and if you can’t do that find one that has been tested by the community.  NOVA used the Turning Point tactics maps which were great.  Their map packs made setting up easy and re-adjusting terrain that got moved or bumped very easy.

With 3 events over the weekend, how did the logistics of the event play out? Did you have an event between narrative, team, and grand tournament that you enjoyed TO’ing more?

  • So for the narrative I used completely different terrain than the Team tournament and the GT. The good news was each event grew in size, which meant up the to the lead up to the GT, I was able set up tables over the first two days, making it much easier

NOVA’s big play space, for teeny miniatures, credit Marc G, Woodley Warriors Pod

What would you say to readers, are the best reasons to come out to NOVA?

  • The insane amount of other events there are.  When I used to attend as a player I would play 3-4 different games during the con.  Try something new, play some board games at night, do another competitive event or find something more casual, it’s all there.

Third place sees tournament regular Nick C secure his spot to the Atlanta finals after making top cut for day 2. Nick thought after his loss day two he thought he was out of contention, but with all 4 of the winners already securing tickets earlier in the year he’s in! I’m sure he’s excited to talk about his blooded boys after his short stint on chaos cults.

Nick shows us the Gaze of the Gods dance moves, credit Travis C, Just Another Killteam Pod

Nick C, Third, Blooded, Plasma Spam

From Chaos Cults to Blooded in two weeks? What caused the change? Were you worried about the meta, or looking for some comfort going into the weekend?

  • Great question! Following my loss in the finals at Goonhammer Open (with Chaos Cult on Open Board into Liam’s Kommandos) and going into NOVA, knowing it would be Open & ITD and that there would be a surplus of Kommando players, I figured that the Blooded allowed some more flex into the meta teams and matchups. We have a sort of a rock/paper/scissors meta right now in the sense that Kommandos are really good into Cults and Hordes, who are really good into Elites like Legionary and Intercession, who are then in turn good into Kommandos. At the end of the day, I brought both Chaos Cult and Blooded with me to NOVA because I was still so torn between the two up to that point. At dinner the night before the tournament I had my good friend Dakota Luster from Squad Games randomly draw a straw for which team I would take lol.

Nick’s Blooded the Hooded Warriors of Vraks

Any thoughts on team choices going into Atlanta? We’ve mostly seen you on wider horde-y teams, but wondering if you’ve given it much thought!

  • I really haven’t thought about it yet! I think my ‘Hooded Warriors of Vraks’ are going to enter a well earned retirement after NOVA and I definitely want to take something new and fresh to the Tampa Open for practice and then on to the finals in Atlanta. I am definitely feeling a little burnt out on horde teams so I foresee an Elite or E-Light team in my future 😉

Was there a particular operative that carried your weekend’s run?

  • So usually it is the Grenadier and his infamous ‘Diabolyk Bomb’ who make that Turn 2 explosive play to win the game, however, most of my opponents knew this and played around him and planned for it. That being said, I have to give the weekend’s team MVP to my Corpseman, Dr. Frankenstein. A lot of people think the Blooded Medic is trash because he doesn’t revive operatives similar to his numerous counterparts on other teams. Instead, he can give out relentless to melee weapons, a 6+ FNP, or heal for 2D3 lost wounds. His buffs ensured that operatives, like the Ogryn and Enforcer, were super reliable and/or tanky which was a nightmare for most of my opponents.

What are you looking forward to event wise, and Killteam wise over the coming months?

  • I am REALLY looking forward to the new teams and the new season of Kill Team on the horizon. This summer drought needs to end! Event wise I am excited to go to the Tampa Open and just relax now that I have secured a Golden Ticket. After that it will be on to the Finals in Atlanta where I am looking forward to competing with some of the best players from around the world. I really really wanted to go to NYO this year but I have a wedding that weekend! However, I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to get the full Kill Team experience, and attend a world class professionally run event, to buy their tickets now so they can duke it out in the Big Apple on November 4th-5th!!

Anything else you want to shout out to our fellow readers?

  • Just want to shout out my teammates over at Plasma Spam, without their support and the team culture we have I don’t think I would be the player I am today. Also want to shout out Ben and Matt H for running an AMAZING event at NOVA. And last but definitely not least, shout out my loving and supportive Wife; thank you for letting me leave for days at a time to go play toy soldiers with other grown adults (and the Garrett brothers)

In second we have Command Point’s Shane! A tournament regular this year, he’s been frustratingly close to the win multiple times this year. However second is no mean feat with Legionaries, and I’m sure he’ll be doing even more details on his Youtube channel!

Pondering his vows to nurgle, credit Marc G, Woodley Warriors Pod

Shane S, Second, Legionaries, Command Point

Command Point on YouTube

How did the Legionaries feel in the current meta? Have you been enjoying hunting the Orks?

  • Hunting Orks was a lot of fun this weekend! I played them in five out of my eight games, so it was definitely an experience. I feel Legionaries are wonderful in this current meta and have all the tools to win an event on the scale of NoVa. The melee meta chased a lot of our current predators out like Kasrkin and Blooded, and the most popular teams (Orks and Intercession) hate playing us. My nova results put me at the number one ranked legionary player in the world on the ITC rankings, so it might be time to put them away… That being said, they are a blast for me to play, so who knows!

How did you feel about the terrain and format of Nova compared to ACO, KTO, and other tournaments this year?

  • The Nova terrain layouts were great. I believe they used the Turning Point Tactics Octarius layouts which yield some pretty beautiful games. The only issue is that the amount of heavy cover in the middle of the board allowed Kommandos to abuse Sneaky Git in pretty wild ways. I don’t really think this is a terrain issue, though—more of an Ork issue that hopefully gets tweaked in a future data slate. Legionaries are one of Kommandos’ worst matchups and even I felt a tremendous amount of pressure against them on open boards. As far as the format goes, I didn’t mind the pods. I think my favorite is ultimately just Swiss pairings that decide a single winner, but pods have a cool sense of drama that is hard to find in other formats. The only other thing I’d change is allowing ties. Not a fan of tiebreakers, although it fortunately never ended up affecting any of my games. All in all, Matt did a fantastic job running the event and it was a smash hit.

Are Nurgle legionaries really the only way to play the team?

  • Nope! They’re just the best way to play the team. Khorne is extremely swingy, Slaanesh is very finesse-y, and Tzeentch just doesn’t quite stack up enough for me against the field compared to Nurgle. I do like the occasional Slaanesh tech piece though into certain 2 APL teams. I actually think the only reason Orks hate playing us is because of Nurgle. They’d be thrilled to see us running another mark team-wide.

What large events do you plan on attending between now and Atlanta? What teams do you think you’ll take to those events?

  • Aside from locals, Atlanta is probably my next one. I might come to NYO(link), but it’ll be a tough one to swing so close to the other event. I can’t wait to see how I stack up against the competition at the US Open!

Are there any other things you want to shout out?

  • Shoutout to all my opponents, I played a lot of fantastic people this weekend and had some stellar games. Congrats to Adrian on the golden ticket! As always, subscribe to Command Point!

Securing his shinier golden ticket, Adrian B’s Ork Kommandos took his local reign of terror to the greater North East area. I guess Nob’s really do get bigger and stronger the more heads they krump!

Brooklyn gang goes to NOVA

Adrian B, First, Ork Kommandos

Adrian’s Website

Were there any other team choices you were juggling for NOVA?

  • Unlike NYO, LVO and KTO, this time around I knew exactly who I was taking. There was no question in my mind that I was bringing my sneaky gits to the nation’s Kapital to do some Krumpin’.

Having played through the year, how impactful have you found the change to Kommandos overall play patterns?

  • I’ve been maining Kommandos since around April of this year, so I’ve really gotten to see them evolve a lot over the past 6 months. The biggest reason I think they are where they are on the tier list is not due to their bomb squig + grot change, but rather the general changes to the game itself. Almost every change that has happened to Killteam they have loved. One extra CP – bring it on. Better seek and destroy tac ops – ‘ere we go. Six objective missions – all the better for fighting elites. Forward deploy at the scouting step on ITD – we’ll happily take that 9” with sssshhhh! Interestingly enough they do not like the change to loot – since beforehand they could run up an early lead and then just focus on killing tp4.
  • Meta-wise: the fact that elites died down a bit of late has helped with their resurgence. They were also one of the very few (maybe even only?) teams that had a favorable matchup into pre-nerf Fellgor, and at least a fighting chance into pre-nerf Cults!
  • Overall I find them to be a team with a fairly low barrier to entry for newer players, but simultaneously a very high skill ceiling. I’m still learning and honing my play with this team 6 months down the line. And there are many players who pilot them very differently than me and still have success, which I think is a hallmark of a well designed team. This, combined with their excellent models, very thematic ploys and tac ops, and great internal balance make them in my opinion one of the best kill teams GW has designed, period. I have not gotten bored of playing them – the same cannot be said for my Intercessors!

Do you feel that Kommandos are overtuned at the moment? The extra activation has certainly allowed the team to take a much longer time to set up brutal turn one plays.

  • I think they might be slightly overtuned when placed into the current state of the game, and the types of open maps a lot of events run (read: Octarius). However I don’t believe they need much if GW does decide to make any changes. One, possibly two, small tweaks is probably all they need, which speaks to how tightly the game is actually balanced – a lot of people don’t appreciate this. More changes than that, and we could see them plummet like some of the old top dogs of the meta, which would be a shame as they are such a fun and rewarding team to play! The extra activation does help in matchups where the activation counts of the opposing team are in the same realm (8-12), as it does give you just that little bit of added time before committing, but I don’t think it matters much at all in their toughest matchups (Nurgle Legionaries, Intercessors, and possibly Custodes).
  • This could also be an instance of lots of talented players chasing the meta and using their skill to pilot them to strong finishes, it’s hard for me to say without seeing all the data. From personal experience though, almost every Kommando player at NOVA was someone who had the skill to win the entire event, regardless of faction. So there is something to be said for that when considering results. I am genuinely curious to see what their win rates are for the next couple of months on a global scale.
  • The other thing I will say is that they love certain open terrain set ups, and this really gives them even more of a competitive edge when the terrain is favorable. The terrain setups alone could very much influence their win rates on an event to event basis. At NOVA specifically they were running Turning Point Tactics maps for all the open boards.
  • I don’t think they are at all as oppressive as some of the pre-nerf releases like pathfinders, novitiates and cults, but against overeager or unprepared opponents a skilled Kommandos pilot can punish you very hard. The key when playing against them is to find that balance between respecting their key threats, but not being paralyzed by them. Someone is likely getting hit with that dynomite, just make sure it’s only one operative and it’s on your own terms!

Adrian’s Kommandos

What kind of team would Games Workshop have to release to get you off of the Kommandos?

  • Now that I’ve seen the light of a team with more than 6 operatives, I don’t think I can go back to power armor! Last year I just lived in constant fear of puny 7 wound mortals wielding plasma guns and melta guns! For me – I have to like the models, the feel of the team, and the rules & playstyle. So basically, all the things, lol. I may try Novitiates next, as I think it’s time to give my Kommandos a well earned break for a bit! I’ll be keeping an eye on WarCom for any announcements on the next box set. If there’s a less glass-cannon-y eldar team released, that might be a team I’d consider!

With a golden ticket in tow, are there any events you’re looking forward to outside of the championships?

  • Well first off, I’m incredibly pumped and humbled to be able to attend the World Finals in Atlanta later this year! It’ll be an honor to rep the Brooklyn Kill Team scene on the global stage! Prior to that, I’ll be attending the Tampa Open, and of course the New York Open(link) on Nov 4th & 5th, trying to defend my title from last year! I’ve also got my eye on LVO early next year to cap off the 2023 ITC season. This past LVO in Vegas was a blast. The sheer scale of the event is impressive.

Any other final words for the Goonhammer readers? Shoutouts to your gaming club?

  • Gotta give a shout to all my fellow NY & NJ’ers who are the reason we have such strong competitors in the NYC area (far too many to list, but y’all know who you are!). And of course my local club where I get 90% of my games in – The Brooklyn Strategist (link).
  • Overall – to all my fellow Kill Teamers reading this: continue to compete, but more importantly continue to be good to each other. The Global Kill Team community has been such a blast to be a part of and get to know more over the last year. I feel that we’ve been great at keeping the negativity at bay, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters. It’s a hobby and a game we all love, but just a hobby and a game at the end of the day! Enjoy it!

Thanks again for making it to the end of the article! I’m helping to run the NYO( mentioned throughout the above article. Please come if you’re looking to play in November!

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