The Las Vegas Open is over and done with. I’m back home, playing with my puppy and watching reruns of Deep Space Nine with my friends via Discord while I write this. I’m still digesting everything that happened over the weekend, and that includes my thoughts on the Las Vegas Open. So bear with me – this isn’t going to be a list of battle reports, but more discussing the “feel” of the event and what I liked and disliked.
The Las Vegas Open 2022 was held in the Rio Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, an off-strip resort. The Rio is an older venue, most notable for hosting (until 2022) the annual Official Star Trek Convention. The hotel is not the utter disaster that TripAdvisor paints it out as, but it does mean many of the stores and restaurants are closed due to a lack of traffic and due to Omicron. As a result, I wound up eating my meals at the All-American Bar and Grill because it was 1) open and 2) the food was good enough.
The Convention Center of the hotel is set off from the Casino by a long walkway, down which there is access to the VIP suites, the World Series of Poker (closed), the Penn and Teller theater (closed), the Spa (closed), the Breakfast Place (closed), and the Fitness Center (open!). Once you’re through this long corridor, you then get to enter the Convention area. The 40K Champs Tournament was held in the Rio Pavilion just off the entry foyer of the Con, while the vendor area was in a set of rooms off to the side of the main corridor. Smaller events were held even further back, to the point where events such as the 40K Narrative, 40K Friendly, the Flames of War stuff, and Horus Heresy events were held in the Amazon ballroom at the ass-end of the convention center. This made actually getting to the Narrative a bit challenging at times, as it was a seven minute walk from the elevator lobby to the end of the convention. Luckily for me, I had a cart which could hold my army.
My advice for anyone going to the LVO 2023, assuming it is held at the Rio (a big if!): Make sure you have a cart that is easy to pull.
Anyway, that just sets the stage for a weekend packed with wargaming and hobbying.
The only event held on Thursday was the Games Workshop preview. While I don’t think Goonhammer did a roundtable of the preview, I’m sure that later in 2022 we will have lots of coverage of the Ash Wastes. Sadly, I could not prepare for the Ash Wastes at the LVO, because there were no miniatures of Judge Dredd being sold at the Con.
The narrative event started getting ready at 9:30 am, and I was able to make it on time. I only had some packaged donuts I picked up at the sundry store in the hotel, because the Rio’s buffet was closed.(1) Because this event was a doubles event and I did not have a partner for the event, I dropped my name into the “singles” bucket. I was paired with a Night Lords player named Ivan Cobain, a quite wonderful fellow with an absolutely gloriously painted army.
As an aside – GW provided the terrain for the Narrative, but required the Narrative to use GW’s layout and rules. Considering that this was the GW terrain from the Warhammer Open road show, this produced endless confusion on the part of everyone regarding how shooting works over the plexiglass. It should be noted that for the 40K Champs, they did NOT use GW terrain except on the low tables – high tables used ITC terrain.
Each mission would allow us to build our armies at the table, from our available models, for a thousand point list. My big units (Wolf Guard, Thunderwolf Cavalry, Bladeguard) were melee units, though I did have my Redemptor and my Contemptor. Aside from those two units, I did not have any guns higher than strength 5.
Our first game was the mission “Supplies from Above”, from the 9th Edition Core book. We were up against two players with amazing looking armies: Tyranids (with four Hive Guard) and Grey Knights (with only one Grand Master Dreadknight).
We went first.
I moved my Redemptor up to shoot at the GMDK. The opposing player decided that he did not want to face a full round of Macro Plasma shooting, so he used the once-per-game relic (Sigil of Exigence) to teleport away to a mid-table wall – Ten inches away from my Bladeguard Veterans.
The charge roll was an eleven.
My Bladeguard chopped up the GMDK, and a squad of Intercessors also made their charge role to kill him off. The Intercessors got mauled in the retort, but hey, it was still fun. The rest of the game did not go quite as well, though Ivan’s glorious Fire Raptor was able to kill off a few Hive Guard and ate an entire round of psychic and shooting in Turn 2. That was enough to win us the game.
This game was based on a narrative mission from Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider. You know, a mission based on the end of 8th Edition that no one played because of COVID. This one had an Attacker/Defender dynamic: the Attacker’s entire army was put in reserves, and the Defender deployed their entire army at once without reinforcements. The Attacker also had first turn. On the first turn the Attacker would have a -1 to hit with ranged attacks, while the Defender could not go more than 12 inches from their deployment zone. There were no bonuses for turn 2. Starting on Round 3, the attacker’s strategems all cost 1 CP more, on Round 4 auras were disabled. I forget what Round 5’s disadvantage was. The way victory points were scored was that you had to destroy more of the opponent’s army per battle round than the opponent destroyed your army. We were against a combination Mechanized Guard and White Scar successors.
So for some reason, I decided to go in with a Vanguard Detachment so I would have a total of 3 CP to start off with. I also, inexplicably, included an Impulsor in this list but impulsively outflanked the one Primaris infantry unit I had on the board (my Bladeguard). This was a mistake. We were tabled by Turn 4, I think.
So we were 1-1, and I was pooped. I went out to dinner at the Aria (Moneyline Pizza is delicious!), and then went back to the hotel and went to bed.
I’m not saying that the Rio’s elevators were as bad as the Hyatt Regency at NoVa, but they could be somewhat slow. So after getting up, working out, and then going back upstairs to get my army and a quick bite to eat (hooray donuts from the sundries store), I managed to get down there in time, and met up with Ivan.
Mission 3 was Passage of Dread from the Beyond the Veil Crusade Pack. This mission had six objectives in the midfield. Control of one objective awarded five points, control of the top right and bottom left (or bottom right and top left) objectives awarded 5 victory points, and control of the two central objectives awarded 10 points. Also, if a Morale test was taken for a unit within range of an objective marker, a 5+ was always a fail.
Our opponents were running mechanized Orks: a Kill Rig, a couple of battle wagons, a truck full of tankbustas, Meganobz, Nobz, Beastsnaggaz. Our plan in Turn 1 was to kill the Kill Rig, which was in range of my Redemptor and his Sicaran.
While we were unable to fully destroy the Kill Rig, we were able to knock it into its lowest bracket. In the bottom of turn 1, the Ork players were able to send in a vehicle with a Mega-Armored Warboss with all sorts of goodstuff (Competitive Edge amongst other things). This area became something of a killzone, in which my Redemptor, Ragnar Blackmane, my Wolf Priest on Bike, and two squads of Intercessors met their end. They gave as good as they got, eventually killing the Mega Armored Warboss, some Meganobz, the Warboss’ ride, and some of the new Beastsnagga beasties. Ivan’s Sicaran did quite well, smashing through some of the other Battlewagons, Nobz, and Grots on the battlefield.
Because neither team managed to control a matching set of objectives, this game ended in a tie. We won the roll-off.
The final game was against two Necron Players. The Mission was The Stand at Saint’s Wall, from Psychic Awakening: Faith and Fury. We were the attackers, the Necron players were the defenders. This mission is determined by who controls the one objective at the center of the Defender’s battlefield edge at the end of the game. The Defender gets to set up the terrain, so long as each terrain piece is 4 inches from another terrain piece and the battlefield edge. This was the one mission GW allowed the Narrative players to actually move the terrain around. The attacker got to launch a preliminary bombardment at the start of the game, where a die was rolled for each of the Defenders units. On a roll of 6, the Defenders unit would suffer d6 mortal wounds (unless the infantry unit went to ground, in which they only suffered d3 wounds. An infantry unit that went to ground could not do anything on the Defender’s first turn though).
Our opponents’ forces were three big blocks of Necron Warriors set in the backfield, with a unit of Wraiths in the back left corner. Two lines of Scarabs were set up to hold both flanks, and a bunch of characters with a full unit of Lychguard were in the center. We had Turn 1.
I divided my army into two – the Wolf Priest, Thunderwolf Cavalry, Bladeguard Veterans, and Flying Wolf Guard on the right flank, and my Contemptor and Redemptor on the left flank. Ivan brought his Sicaran, and kept a full squad of Night Lord Terminators in reserve. He also brought a Night Lord Lord and a squad of Night Lords.
On Turn 1, I brought my stuff up. I took some shots at the Wraiths with my Dread, but even with reroll ones they couldn’t do a whole lot (my opponent spiked a lot of his saves). I sent my Thunderwolf Cavalry and Wolf Guard into the right line of Scarabs, and my Wolf Priest into the big block of Warriors. The Bladeguard were following behind, but remained uncommitted on first turn. Over the next three turns, my melee units were chewed up by the Lychguard and getting blasted several times by Necron shooting. The Necron Warrior block still took three turns to knock out my Wolf Priest, thanks to the Armor of Russ. My Dreadnoughts, on the other hand, had more success. They were able to clear out the Wraiths while the Redemptor remained unbracketed, and the Scarabs were only able to chip my Redemptor down to the second bracket. Meanwhile, Ivan’s Sicaran was happily blasting away at the big blocks of Warriors, and pushing up the center.
On turn 3, Ivan beamed his unit of Terminators in after the Scarabs got cleaned out. These monsters were able to happily carve their way through the Necron Warrior Blocks (one per turn). The Lychguard were teleported over to try and tie the Terminators up in combat, but failed their charge and got blasted by a pair of Dreadnoughts.
The game ended when time was called at the top of Turn 5, when the last block of Necron Warriors was being pounded into oblivion by the Sicaran and Redemptor. Had both shooting attacks finished, we would have won the game. Unfortunately, we were only able to complete one shooting attack (the Redemptor), which left three Necrons alive. Heartbreaking loss.
Me being pooped, I decided to head back up to my room to relax and play my newly-downloaded game of Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
I woke up Sunday morning with a rather nasty headache. Unfortunately, owing to staffing shortages, the hotel sundries store was not open until 9:00 am. So no asprin for me until 9:00 am. So I went back to bed and skipped the last day of the Las Vegas Open. After waking back up, eating lunch, and working out, I painted up a Word Bearer.
I flew home to the D.C. Metropolitan Area on Monday. It meant getting to the airport at 9:00 am and leaving the airport at 7:00 pm, and getting home to see my little puppy.
Whew, intense trip but one with a fair amount of downtime, once the games for the day ended.
The LVO was a fun experience. I thought the missions, while weird and one didn’t really mesh well with my list, were still doable. Had I gone in with more shooty stuff, perhaps Game 2 wouldn’t have been a disaster for me. That’s a combination of list-building and hobbying choices on my part. The Narrative process could have been a bit smoother, but the primary issue was GW insisting on Narrative using their terrain with some of the weird terrain rules based on the large footprint of the plexiglass used to mount the terrain. The Narrative was also placed relatively far away from the elevators, meaning a long walk dragging a short laundry cart. But those are the only two real “problems” I had with the LVO that could be laid at the feet of the organizers.
No, the real “downside” to the LVO was B.1.1.529, the “Omicron” variant of SARS-CoV-2. Many of my Goonhammer friends decided at the end of December/beginning of January to skip the LVO due to the risk of Omicron. No friends around meant no nerd summer camp vibes. This was good for my sleep schedule, but bad for my fun schedule. Furthermore, while the mask usage at the LVO was better than, say, the mask usage at the mall of Nashville, there were still plenty of people who didn’t seem to get that masks need to go over the nose. It was an uncomfortable risk, and I wish the LVO had more mechanisms to enforce mask wearing.
If there is not a massive new variant in 2023, I suspect the LVO will be more enjoyable. I will still be wearing an N95 at the LVO, but that’s mostly because the LVO is going to be in a Casino and Casinos are big believers in allowing smoking indoors. And I do not like the smell of cigarettes (tobacco or marijuana).
Next up, in two months: Adepticon.
(1) Right now, the Rio’s buffet is closed because of staffing issues. That stated, even before COVID, the buffet had some very strange hours. It did not open until 10:00 am, which is problematic if you’re 1) trying to get Sonequa Martin-Green’s autograph or 2) play in a Warhammer event that starts at 10:00 am.
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