Nova Open Recap: The Age of Sigmar GT

I hadn’t had the pleasure to attend NOVA before, despite it being the closest of the “Big 3” (Nova, Las Vegas Open and Adepticon). Scheduling just never quite worked out. The first year I was going to go was in 2020, which was unceremoniously cancelled. This year my friends suggested we head down and check it out. We made our plans and on the Thursday before I packed my stuff in my car and headed to DC.

First warning to anyone going: Parking is a bear. If you have an alternative means to get down there then do so. Driving means needing to find alternative parking, as the hotel didn’t have any. I did eventually settle at a parking garage for 20 bucks a day so could be worse.

Second problem was the hotel. The key printer didn’t work, and wouldn’t work all weekend, which meant to get to your room you had to ask a bellhop to walk you up and unlock it. This was naturally a freak accident to happen the same weekend a major convention was happening and while nightmarish, could have been worse.

Thursday was otherwise uneventful. Grabbed some dinner at the hotel bar, picked up our badges and headed to the Commander open play zone to kick Dan Boyd’s ass. After that I headed to bed to prepare for the big event.

Game 1 – Charlie Bonta (Sylvanenth)

Mission: The Icefields

Charlie's List

Army Faction: Sylvaneth
– Army Subfaction: Heartwood
– Grand Strategy: Spellcasting Savant
– Triumphs: Inspired
– Seasons of War: The Burgeoning


1 x Alarielle the Everqueen (820)*
– Spells: Verdant Blessing

1 x Warsong Revenant (300)*
– General
– Command Traits: Spellsinger
– Artefacts: The Vesperal Gem
– Spells: Verdurous Harmony , Verdant Blessing


10 x Dryads (100)*
– Branch Nymph

10 x Dryads (100)*
– Branch Nymph

6 x Kurnoth Hunters with Kurnoth Greatswords (220)*
– Huntmaster


1 x Spiteswarm Hive (40)


3 x Spiterider Lancers (190)*
– Spiterider Scion
– Spiterider Standard Bearer
– Spiterider Hornblower


*Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: (1990/2000)

The Icefields was going to be a tricky one for Charlie from the get-go. Sylvaneth want to charge and teleport away as often as possible, and this mission can potentially punish you a lot for charging with too many units. In addition, the halfway up the field deployment makes assigning Overgrown territory very difficult, since it must be outside of opponent’s territory, so they have to run up the field which is even more dangerous.

I won the roll off and since my opponent was a one drop I knew I’d lose priority anyway, so I let him be attacker so he would need to put his entire army down and I could plan around that. He ended up deploying far too conservatively, placing all of his units as far back as possible and only on one objective. With 6 objectives players often need to risk pushing up early to keep scoring, or risk falling behind turn 1, and this was no longer an issue. He noted to me at the end of the game he realized this just a second too late.

I measured 30″ from his casters and he handed priority to me. I expected this which meant a super easy Magical Dominance turn 1. With him on one objective I only needed to score 2. So I put all my buffs on my Immortis Guard and pushed everything in the center, baiting him to come at me.

He opened up with Harness the Spirit Paths and ended up charging with his Kurnoth and Alarielle, with her summoning a Treelord to Boot, and just couldn’t crack the Immortis Guard.

On round 2 I won priority and handed him the double, figuring he wouldn’t quite be able to kill them in a second round of combat. This ended up paying off, while he did succeed with Lead into the Maelstrom I was able to follow up with Bait and Trap, removing his Kurnoth Hunters and pushing up with my Stalkers and Kavalos Deathriders to start clearing out his Dryads.

When I won priority on round 3 he conceded, figuring I had punked enough things that he couldn’t put up meaningful resistance. I felt bad, because melee Sylvaneth really struggle against Ossiarch and my opponent was a super nice guy. He didn’t seem to take it too badly.

Also note I said melee Sylvaneth, that’s going to come back to us later.

Victory 28-16

Game 2 – Tim Horwath (Ironjawz)

Mission: Geomantic Pulse

Tim's List

– Army Faction: Orruk Warclans
– Army Type: Ironjawz
– Subfaction: Bloodtoofs
– Grand Strategy: Waaagh!
– Triumph: Inspired
Megaboss on Maw-krusha (450)*
– Boss Choppa and Rip-toof Fist
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
– Mount Traits: Fast ’Un
Orruk Warchanter (120)*
– Warbeats: Fixin’ Beat
Orruk Warchanter (120)**
– Warbeats: Get ’Em Beat
Orruk Weirdnob Shaman (90)**
– General
– Command Traits: Shaman of the Chilled Lands
– Spells: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork
Orruk Gore-gruntas (340)*
– Gore-grunta Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
Orruk Gore-gruntas (170)*
– Gore-grunta Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
Orruk Gore-gruntas (340)*
– Gore-grunta Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
Orruk Brutes (280)**
– Brute Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
– 2 x Gore-choppa
Orruk Ardboys (80)**
– Gorkamorka Glyph Bearer
– Waaagh! Drummer
– Ardboy Boss
– 2 x Orruk-forged Shield
*Battle Regiment
**Battle Regiment
TOTAL POINTS: 1990/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

I had seen Tim at several events (hard to miss with an army like that), but this was my first chance to play him. I was intimidated by Ironjawz because they really force me to play against my usual plan. I won priority, but I chose to go first, because my best chance of surviving the initial charge was to get my defensive buffs up. I put myself far enough back to get off Magical Dominance easily and pushed up just enough to get onto an objective, since the Pulse does not activate till turn 2. I put my deathriders and stalkers on the flanks, so I could grab either side but that was a bit of a mistake, and it strung them out too far and left them vulnerable.

When Tim charged he hit my Deathriders on my left and my Immortis Guard in the center with pigs. He took out my stalkers, which allowed him to smash and bash into the Immortis Guard. The Immortis guard, as expected, held out a lot better and could kick back for some decent damage, but he took a few out in the process.

We rolled for priority round 2 and I won, I tepidly took first, knowing Tim would get to choose which side the Pulse began on. He chose my right, smart, as I had no way of getting enough models on there to take it. I mis-measured and tried to At The Double onto the point, and couldn’t get enough to beat a 5 wound Gore-Grunta. I brought back all my Immortis Guard and swung into the Gore-Gruntas they were tied up, killing them. I retreated with my other unit of Kavalos, freeing him up to charge my Immortis Guard with the Gore-Gruntas and his Maw-Crusha on his turn. Due to some poor placement on my part, my General could be hit and was not within 3″ of my Immortis Guard, killing him. With my Grand Strat failed I had to make up for it.

Round 3 was a turning point, I attacked his Gore-Gruntas, killing them and used their fight twice Strategem, almost killing the Warboss. On Tim’s turn he retreated, letting it lick its wounds and heal. As the pulse moved across the board and his Gore-Gruntas removed, I now could scoop up points in the late game. I won priority round 4 and now that I had advantage in numbers I pushed up to try and keep a defensive position and hold as many objectives as possible.

The most exciting moment of the weekend came at the bottom of round 4. Katakros had been rolling very hot on robbing Tim of command points and I managed to put him in a position where he had no command points and tried to charge my Death Riders with a somewhat recovered Warboss. He rolled his dice into his tray but I didn’t see them. With a pained expression he looked at me and said

“Snake Eyes.”

I screamed. I honestly have to give him credit for being a good sport, because I couldn’t contain my disbelief.

Turn 5 I rolled priority and won, and moved Katakros into combat with the Warboss, finishing it, and focused on clearing up a few stragglers so I could maintain max points. After sweating it all out, with his grand strat and me without we ended one of the most exciting and close games of Age of Sigmar either of us had to play.

Victory: 25-24

Game 3 – Mark Male (Ossiarch Bonereapers)

Mission: Power Flux

Mark's List

Army Faction: Ossiarch Bonereapers
– Army Subfaction: Null Myriad
– Grand Strategy: Spellcasting Savant


1 x Mortisan Boneshaper (140)*
– General
– Command Traits: Aura of Sterility
– Artefacts: Artisan’s Key
– Spells: Hoarfrost

1 x Katakros (460)*

1 x Arkhan the Black (380)**


2 x Morghast Archai (220)*
– Spirit Halberd

6 x Immortis Guard (220)*

5 x Kavalos Deathriders (180)**
– Mortek Hekatos
– Necrophoros
– Nadirite Blade

5 x Kavalos Deathriders (180)**
– Mortek Hekatos
– Necrophoros
– Nadirite Blade


1 x Bone-tithe Nexus (0)


*Battle Regiment

**Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: (2000/2000)

Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

Ah crap.

Well as the field thinned it was inevitable I’d fight another OBR. What I didn’t like was fighting a list nigh identical to mine, on this mission in particular. An OBR mirror match is basically a western duel at high noon, both players are going to stand there waiting for the other to blink and draw first, and then the other gets to shoot them. I have issues with impulsivity, afraid to fall behind in the early game in a way that I won’t recover from.

Mark won priority and handed me first, naturally. I put my Deathriders on the flank for a first turn Surround and Destroy, and then held my turn. He then did much the same, opening with Trample the Defiant which pulled some of his stuff out, trying to get the Deathriders.

On Round 2 I won priority and thought about how to proceed. I decided to take second, giving him mthe double. Importantly it would let me switch the objectives to the side ones, to try and draw him out onto the flanks. This worked, and he started shifting toward my right. I pushed up, trying to seize on Katakros now being protected by nothing more but some Deathriders. I charged with my Immortis guard, who spiked real hard into the death riders, and then tried to double fight into Katakros. The Immortis Guard were still close to him, but I was banking on 1. making the Immortis Guard easier to kill by him pawning wounds off of Katakros, and 2. Trapping him so he could not use Supreme Lord next turn. The Immortis Guard whiffed insanely hard, which was the beginning of the end. In addition I forgot about the bonus point for putting an Andtorian Locus on an objective, which also would end up costing me the game.

Round 3 I handed him priority, as planned. I figured if nothing else, he would lose Supreme Lord and make his entire army easier to crack. This kept the game going for the 5 rounds but I just wasn’t able to make up the score. Had I remembered to keep my Boneshaper on a point I might have been able to eek out a tie and won a minor victory on battle tactics, as he had to throwaway one on Round 4 where I got all 5, but it was super close and I learned a few things.

Defeat: 21-23

Game 4 – Matthew Davies(Sylvaneth)

Mission: Every Step is Forward

Matthew's List

Allegiance: Sylvaneth
– Glade: Heartwood
– Season: The Dwindling
– Grand Strategy: Spellcasting Savant
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Alarielle the Everqueen (820)*
Arch-Revenant (120)*
– General
– Command Trait: Radiant Spirit
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)

6 x Kurnoth Hunters with Kurnoth Greatbows (460)*
– Reinforced x 1
3 x Kurnoth Hunters with Kurnoth Greatbows (230)*
5 x Tree-Revenants (110)*

5 x Gossamid Archers (210)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
Spiteswarm Hive (40)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Terrain – Tree

Total: 1990 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 87
Drops: 1

My only really “bad” game all weekend, though I don’t fault my opponent for it.

Matthew’s list is much more ranged focused than melee, which is where OBR can struggle. The map being a rather long deployment also makes things more difficult as it means hoofing it to the enemy while they pelt you with bows. As a one drop, Matt had me set up and then go first. I measured from his casters for an easy turn 1 Magical Dominance and then moved onto the objectives. While I didn’t need 3, I did to try and force his hand, though I regret that choice as it may have spread me out a bit too much.

Matthew moved up with his Gossamid Archers, and targeted my General. He rolled an obscene six 6s to hit, and then proceeded to roll almost all 3s on the D3s. With nearly 18 wounds I had to bodyguard the save and I watched in horror as I rolled an unnatural number of 1s. This didn’t kill my General, but came close and left me with only a few Immortis Guard. He then won priority and somehow rolled hot again and between that and the Kurnoths with bows the game was very short and left me with almost nothing on the table as his sword kurnoths also punked my Stalkers and Deathriders.

As much as I would have wanted to play it out, with only Katakros and Arkhan it wasn’t going to be much of a game and I conceded. For once I don’t think I could have done much, and sometimes the dice just really screw you.

Defeat: 10-28

Game 5 – Aaron Schmidt(Maggotkin of Nurgle)

Mission: Spring the Trap

Aaron's List

Allegiance: Maggotkin of Nurgle
– Subfaction: Filthbringers
– Grand Strategy: Blessed Desecration
– Triumphs: Inspired

Bloab Rotspawned (330)**
– Lore of Malignance: Gift of Disease
Rot Coven Rotbringer Sorcerer (Pustulio)(120)**
– General
– Command Trait: Overpowering Stench
– Artefact: The Splithorn Helm
– Lore of Primal Frost: Hoarfrost
Rot Coven Rotbringer Sorcerer (120)*
– Lore of Primal Frost: Hoarfrost
Rot Coven Rotbringer Sorcerer (120)*
– Lore of Primal Frost: Merciless Blizzard
Poxbringer Herald of Nurgle (130)**
– Artefact: The Witherstave
– Lore of Virulence: Fleshy Abundance

20 x Plaguebearers (260)**
– Reinforced x 1
20 x Plaguebearers (260)
– Reinforced x 1
10 x Plaguebearers (130)

6 x Plague Drones (400)**
– Reinforced x 1

Endless Spells & Invocations
Aethervoid Pendulum (40)
Geminids of Uhl-Gysh (50)

Core Battalions
*Andtorian Acolytes

Additional Enhancements

Total: 1960 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 166
Drops: 9

After 2 gnarly losses I was ready to wrap this up to hopefully score one more victory. Aaron was another super nice guy, with an interesting off-brand list. Arkhan was going to be a well needed counter to the rot-bringer coven. I made sure he was close enough to unbind as much as possible. We only rolled one unit to remove from the board, I elected to not remove anything (since I didn’t want to lose my CP for not having 7 units on the field) and he pulled a unit of Plaguebearers.

Aaron deployed a bit conservatively and since I had first drop I handed turn 1 to him. He didn’t move up much, only securing the middle. So I moved my Immortis Guard and characters to the middle to take it back, and my Deathriders to the flanks for an easy Trample the Defiant turn 1.

Round 2 I won priority and handed him the turn. He went for Glory to the Grandfather and focused everything on one of my Deathriders units, only managing to deal just enough damage to kill them and succeed on his battle tactic. I played more passively did Magical Dominance, only letting my General cast and then stopping, securing the center and the left flank held by my other Deathrider, which was way too far out for him to chase.

On Round 3 he won priority and through some very silly dice rolls, succeeded on Into the Malestrom charging in a summoned Sloppity Bilepiper and plaguebearers into my stalkers, who somehow survived. Tired of playing passively, I cast all my buffs and charged with my Immortis Guard into the plaguebearer brick in the middle, almost wiping them out.

At this point it was mostly a grinding skirmish for the middle, slowly wearing down each of his forces over the remaining 3 rounds before I had removed enough stuff he couldn’t keep up.

Victory: 28-21

Closing Thoughts

The Nova GT was experimenting with a new format, where only 5 games was mandatory and after that 3 more games could be played by breaking off into 8 player pods. I very badly wished to stay, but didn’t have anyone to stay an extra day with me at the hotel and with an 8 hour drive back to Boston it wasn’t feasible to just leave late on Monday. The TO tried to convince me by noting I had gotten several best opponent votes, which did feel pretty good to hear.

Overall I really enjoyed my first NOVA and intend to return next year, ideally budgeting for time better so I can attend all 8 games. I had hoped to do better with Ossiarchs of all armies, but a mirror match was going to be difficult and the dice just screwed me on Sylvaneth. It’s a dice game, it happens.

Next up my prep is waiting for the inevitable change to OBR in the Battlescroll so I can plan for the Games Workshop Open in Tampa in October!