The Corroad to NoVA Part 3: Actually Playing Warhammer

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Welcome back to the Corroad to NoVA! If you’re somehow reading this and don’t know what the Road to NoVA series is, check out TheChirurgeon’s intro post here. Part 1 and part 2 of my personal series are here and here

This time around, I’m going to buck the trend by posting actual progress, both painting and gaming. First up, I finally got time to finish a model that might actually be relevant, by getting the Yncarne done:

Pictured here posing before blowing its own head off trying to cast Smite

 

This guy was harder to build than to paint. I used Contrast to lay down the base for the blue, purple and green, then drybrushed a ton, then just picked out some metals and a couple of other details. The end result is pretty pleasing even if the colours are making me think of a palette-swapped Riddler. This marks the completion of all the Ynnari characters, a mere 7 months after I bought them. That kind of rapid-fire progress is why I’m exactly the kind of guy who should be writing this series.

Otherwise it’s been quiet on the painting front, because I did dumb stuff like “paint a Daughters of Khaine hero” and “a Leviathan Dreadnought” instead of anything Eldar-focused. I did, however, play some games, thanks to participating in two different tournaments in the last couple of weeks.

The first was the Bristol City Open, held as part of the new Roll Dice Gaming convention. I not only played in this but also helped organise it, which was fairly stressful for reasons I won’t go into here. In the end we had 34 or so players, with some surprisingly stiff competition.

I hadn’t really had time to playtest anything for this event, so I took something fairly similar to the Talos list I’d been playing back in March when I went 4-1, 3-0, and 5-0 in events. Unfortunately I failed to repeat the trick this time, drifting to a lousy 2-3 record. Partly this was luck of the draw – we had a very tight field and I played against 3 very good players with reasonably good counters to Talos spam, and partly just that Talos have been left behind a little by changes to the meta, and the big FAQ 3 changes to Doom and Jinx which cut them off from an important source of wound re-rolls. I may also, and this is just about possible, have not played all that well.

This went ok

 

This… not so much

Second up was the Death in the Dreaming Spires event held in Oxford and hosted by the Oxford Outriders. This was 3 games at 2000pts, using a modified set of Maelstrom missions, and I took the list below:

Army List - Click to Expand

+ ARMY FACTION: Drukhari

+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 10

+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1,999pts

+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Drukhari

+ TOTAL REINFORCEMENT POINTS: Not Applicable 

 

== Air Wing Detachment == Drukhari [405 Points] 1 CP – Kabal of the Black Heart

 Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles (0) – [8PL] [135]

Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles (0) – [8PL] [135]

Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles (0) – [8PL] [135]

 

 == Battalion Detachment == Drukhari [1144 Points] 5 CP – Kabal of the Flayed Skull

 HQ: Archon (70), phantasm grenade launcher (3), splinter pistol (0), venom blade (2) – [4PL] [75]

HQ: The Yncarne (337) – [17 PL] [337] –

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 blaster (17) – [2PL] [47]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

DT: Venom (55), two splinter cannons (20) [4PL] [75]

 

== Spearhead Detachment == Drukhari [450 Points] 1 CP – Kabal of the Black Heart

HQ: Archon (70), phantasm grenade launcher (3), splinter pistol (0), venom blade (2) – [4PL] [75] – WARLORD

HS: Ravager (80), 3x disintegrator (45) [7PL] [125]

HS: Ravager (80), 3x disintegrator (45) [7PL] [125]

HS: Ravager (80), 3x disintegrator (45) [7PL] [125]

I was trying to stick to pure Drukhari, with the splash of the Yncarne joining in. Venom spam is a complete departure from Talos, with far more ability to get around the board, and I also got to include the ever-trusty Ravagers again having not used them for quite some time.

In game 1 I played against Tyranids and won trivially, the final score being 35-0. My opponent, Kyle, was a great guy, but he was playing his friend’s army just to have something painted on the table, and I hard countered his list fairly well – the only threats to my Ravagers and Razorwings were an Exocrine and a group of Hive Guard, and I murdered the Exocrine on turn 1 while ranging out the Hive Guard, then murdered the Hive Guard. That left me with the run of the board to go around scoring objectives. We were playing Contact Lost, so after about turn 2 my opponent didn’t even get to draw any cards, let alone score. Thinking back, I’m not sure he actually killed anything with an offensive action – the only things that died on my side were two Razorwings, which he killed with clever model placement after I carelessly overstretched them to make sure the Hive Guard died.

Game 2, ironically, was against my friend Gary who I’d travelled to the event with. This was my first time playing against Genestealer Cult, and what a rough introduction it was – they do so much and there is tons happening at all times. This was a very tough game in which Gary led the scoring almost all the way through, and my army flew around putting out fires as fast as possible in the hope that enough Genestealer Cultists would die that I could break out and seize objectives late on. The final score was 21-17, after I finally pulled a good hand of cards on turn 6 and scored a ton of points all at once. Even then I only won because of the end-game objective scoring included in the pack – purely on Maelstrom points, it was a draw, and deservedly so. I look forward to playing more games against GSC in the future.

Ready to murder some Genestealers

After that tense affair, my final game was against Scott and the truly horrible Imperial Soup of Blood Angels smash captains, Guard tank commanders, and the current meta hotness of three Caladius Grav-tanks supported by Trajann and a guy with a flag. My army did not quite have the tools to deal with this – the Caladius outrange me, and on average each one deletes a Ravager per turn, whereas assuming I somehow got all my Ravagers and Razorwings to be firing under the appropriate auras I don’t quite kill a Caladius. My game plan was to focus on the Russes first and try and clear those plus the supporting infantry, in order to limit his ability to claim objectives, and more or less hope for good use of terrain and such to keep me in the game long enough to score points.

This all looked like it might go well when I seized the initiative on him, but my turn 1 was dismal. The game opened with him rolling four 6s to save a Russ against an opening volley of Ravager fire, and all three planes between them did about two wounds to it, meaning that instead of a dead Russ he had one alive on a single wound and another untouched. Four blaster shots later and I’d done a grand total of 3 wounds to the unhurt one. 

That was pretty much that. The game played out much as you might predict, with the Caladius and pals gunning down Drukhari mercilessly. There was one moment which I could have played differently, failing to pull the Yncarne out of range of a marauding slam captain, but realistically the game was probably over then anyway and at best I was going to score a couple more points rather than look to win. In the end, from playing on the top table, I slid down to 4th.

Fuck these things

A disappointing ending, then, but otherwise a good run out for the dark and skinny types. I think that, sadly, sticking to pure Drukhari is no longer viable. The book is really great, but thanks to all the weird restrictions on what you can and can’t take together, you have far fewer unit selections available than it looks like you ought to and the army runs out of steam a bit.

So given that, what next? I have a couple of different plans.

Firstly, I absolutely must update my Ravagers. I’ve been lazy about this ever since the book came out, but it’s time that I finally got some actual disintegrators on there instead of putting down some dark lance-armed ones and squinting. Knowing my luck this will precipitate a drastic change in the September FAQ, but for now I’ll have to live with that.

After that, it really depends. I have two lists in mind, one very similar to the above but trading a Razorwing and some Venoms for a pack of Crimson Hunter Exarchs, and another which goes the other way and includes mostly Craftworld Eldar with the supporting fire of three Ravagers. The plan is to paint from most common to least common, knocking out the things that I most want to include (Ravagers) and then working through in order of priority after that – so Crimson Hunter Exarchs will be next on the list, then other Craftworlds bits after that.

If this all sounds like the kind of plan I should have had months ago instead of leaving it until a mere six weeks before the event, well, that’s because it is! I blame work for insisting I “do my job” at our “peak period” instead of painting Warhammer models. Hopefully next time I check in I’ll have real progress instead of a hot mess of ideas and no follow through.

 

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