The Corroad to NOVA Pt 5: Aer Lingus Can Suck It

An article by    Events and Challenges Road to NoVA        0

Liam and Greg at NOVA

Hell yeah boltgun.

I spent the longest time at NOVA of any of our attendees, since I flew in on the Tuesday evening. This was mostly because I’m what you might call a “luxury traveller” or, if you prefer, “pathetic baby who can’t deal with jet lag,” but it turned out to be prescient, for reasons which will become clear and which I remain angry about.

Coming to America

I set out at 5am, flying out of my local airport in Bristol, via Dublin, and into Washington Dulles. Trouble began more or less immediately – the check-in queue was insanely slow, and then our flight was late taking off for unknown reasons. Transferring through Dublin was very smooth and getting to pass through US customs on that side of the Atlantic was great. The second flight was ok, I watched Pet Sematary which mostly just reminded me how boring the novel is, and then landed and whoops Aer Lingus left my bag back in Dublin. The one containing my clothes, and uh, my army. Ok. Fine. This is fine. I filled in the form and was assured I would be called with a reference number I could use to track the case.

Spoiler: Aer Lingus promised me four separate phone updates and didn’t make a single one of them.

Anyway. The incredibly helpful Dan Boyd of 40k Badcast fame collected me from the airport, we hung out, got me checked in, and then took a tour of the Hyatt where NOVA was being held. Even in its unfinished state the whole thing was impressive – there is nothing like it in the UK, and the volunteers were putting in a crazy amount of work. While we were walking around I met Mike Brandt, Pete Foley, and Robin Cruddace, and secured Goonhammer interviews with the latter pair, so look out for those soon!

After a couple of hours hanging out, it was time for Dan to “spend time with his wife” like some kind of adult, and for me to schlep my way down to Target to buy some clothes so I didn’t spend the first three days of the con wearing the same shirt and underwear. I also picked up a Chipotle, in order to have the quintessential American experience of destroying your own ringpiece for no good reason, and crashed out in short order.

 

Before the Storm

I didn’t have any formal events booked for Wednesday or Thursday, which turned out to be for the best. Wednesday was mostly about hanging out with DB, including a gym session which reminded me what a truly weak baby I really am, and some excellent banh mi. More goons started to arrive throughout the day, and then it was preview time! The room went wild for Psychic Awakening and the “it’s definitely not endless spells for 40k” thing. The new AoS faction looks amazing, the new Necromunda thing is intriguing, whatever it is. Like two guys were really excited about Middle Earth, good for them I guess. The Angels of Death animated series at least looks like it could be great, and having Jes Goodwin do all the concept art is a big win. And then holy shit there’s a Canoness strapped to each of our chairs, wow. What an event. This whole thing was cool as hell. 10/10 would preview again.

I was becoming increasingly concerned about my case. Aer Lingus had, at least, found it by this point, but for some reason they didn’t bother to send it until Thursday. Their motivations remain a mystery.

Thursday was shopping day. I knew I wanted the event exclusive LT. I kind of wanted the metal objective markers. I don’t really know why I bought a Blood Bowl star player, but here we are. I also grabbed Honourbound, since it’s finally out in paperback. $130 later and I was the proud owner of all these things. This was a quiet one – I mostly dawdled around the place hanging with goons until the 2pm Badcast Beatdown. This was a 1500pt game of Team Sports vs. Team Anime, of which like 80% of the field was Sports. I took on Goonhammer’s own Craig Sniffen aka MasterSlowPoke, his excellent Rainbow Warriors vs. my, uh, Steel Legion which I borrowed from Dan. Having rattled off a quick list and not played Guard for about a year, I got taken apart fairly comprehensively by the new Marines. Oh well. Just imagine if I’d had my real army.

WIP Lieutenant Amulius

Built this guy already. Looking forward to painting him.

During the game, Cyle/Naramyth and Chase arrived. We left the hamster cage of the Hyatt to go and check out Washington. Aer Lingus at this time assured me that my luggage had now arrived, and that it was on the way to me. When pressed on whether it would actually arrive today or not, they were what you might call “non-committal.”

After a few hours rattling up and down the National Mall, checking out all the sights including a very distant White House, we arrived back at the hotel with no sign of my luggage. I’ll be honest – by this point it was only a few hours before the GT, and there was no sign of my stuff. Once again the guy on the phone was evasive and basically refused to do anything to help me, and I lost my temper in a way I usually hate people doing with customer service. To cool off I went and hung out in the gaming hall with some of the narrative guys and then watched the end of Rob and Greg’s practice game, which uh, was definitely a close contest and not a stomping. Rob had helpfully brought me a whole Chaos Knights army, and there we were at midnight writing up the list, and then I went back to my room and uhhhh my case is here after all??? Good job letting me know I guess.

That meant the GT was comprehensively on.

In Which Many Games Are Lost

My list, for reference was:

Army List - Click to expand

 

== Air Wing Detachment == Asuryani, Alaitoc [27PL, 483pts] 1 CP

Flyer: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), two starcannons (26), pulse laser (0) – [9PL] [161]

Flyer: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), two starcannons (26), pulse laser (0) – [9PL] [161]

Flyer: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), two starcannons (26), pulse laser (0) – [9PL] [161]

 

== Battalion Detachment == Drukhari, Kabal of the Black Heart [66 PL, 1,158pts] 5 CP

HQ: Archon (70), splinter pistol (0), venom blade (2) – [4PL] [72]

HQ: Yvraine (132) – [7PL] [132], default psychic powers: Gaze of Ynnead, Word of the Phoenix

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 shredder (8) – [2PL] [38]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 shredder (8) – [2PL] [38]

TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6), 1 shredder (8) – [2PL] [38]

DT: Venom (55), one splinter cannon (10), twin splinter rifle (0) [4PL] [65]

DT: Venom (55), one splinter cannon (10), twin splinter rifle (0) [4PL] [65]

DT: Venom (55), one splinter cannon (10), twin splinter rifle (0) [4PL] [65]

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

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

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

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]

 

== Vanguard Detachment == Harlequins, mixed Masque [21PL, 358pts] 1 CP

HQ: Shadowseer (125), hallucinogen grenade launcher (0), shuriken pistol (0), miststave (0) [7PL] [125] – WARLORD, default trait: Player of the Twilight, default psychic powers: Twilight Pathways, Shards of Light <DREAMING SHADOW>

EL: Death Jester (45), shrieker cannon (0) [3PL] [45] <DREAMING SHADOW> – RELIC: Curtainfall

EL: Death Jester (45), shrieker cannon (0) [3PL] [45] <DREAMING SHADOW>

EL: Death Jester (45), shrieker cannon (0) [3PL] [45] <DREAMING SHADOW>

EL: Solitaire (84), harlequin’s caress (7), harlequin’s kiss (7) [5PL] [98] <MIDNIGHT SORROW>

Mixed Aeldari army at NOVA

Mixed Aeldari army at NOVA. Credit: Corrode

 

As you might recall from our pre-event article I had a worrying feeling that all this was less than the sum of its parts.

Day 1

Game 1 certainly didn’t seem that way. I played Cole, who was running a pure Guard army. I went first and dunked a Vulture and a Wyvern off the board, as well as assassinating Harker with the Death Jesters, shooting up a bunch of infantry and mortars, taking down the warlord Company Commander with the Solitaire, and then tying up both Basilisks. That pretty much set the stage for the rest of the game, with not enough counter-punch coming the other way to really harm me. I’ll be honest, despite the win I didn’t much enjoy this game – Cole’s head went down pretty much immediately and he spent most of our time at the table being very salty, culminating in him conceding at the end of turn 4. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but in totting up the points he then tried to deny me the remaining progressive points points and claim some for himself via endgame objective scoring, and got very upset when I told him that no, with half an hour left in the round, I wasn’t really up for not scoring my remaining points, and letting him score his. A bit of a sour note for the start of the event, we finished the thing at 29-7.

Harlequins at NOVA

A deadly combo. Credit: Corrode

Game 2 was against Nick Rose, who you may have heard of. He was running a GSC list with substantial threat, including the flamer bomb, a pile of Neophytes with special and heavy weapons, melee Hybrids, and a big mob of Aberrants. This game was pretty much decided on turn 2. I’d screened him out reasonably effectively, and set myself up to Twilight Pathways the Solitaire into the middle of his pile and assassinate his Patriarch. And then Twilight Pathways didn’t go off. I went to re-roll and he Vected me, so I went to Vect his Vect, and uh, there’s a 1. Welp. 5 CP spent and nothing to show for it. In retrospect I made a big mistake here – I was holding off on Blitzing the Solitaire until I knew Twilight Pathways had gone off, but instead I should have Blitzed first and seen if I could get in range to make the jump and attack the Patriarch without needing Pathways at all. A lesson for next time. A slightly lacklustre Shooting phase followed, and that was probably game over – I certainly fought for it and pressed Nick as hard as I could, but we ended the game after he Bootsed me on turn 6 and I think that was the game changer right there. A hard lesson to learn.

Wrapping up the day was game 3 against Mark. He was running a pretty standard Tau list, with three Riptides, a pile of Shield Drones, Pathfinders, and Fire Warriors, and Shadowsun. I’ve only lost to Tau once this edition, but it’s never an army I really want to play against – I’m ever hopeful that they’ll be updated just so that drones are less obnoxious. I definitely missed the trick that Rob spotted with marking them for death, too. That said, Mark was a really nice dude and a chill opponent, and we had an enjoyable game. I took the lead early, maxing out the progressive primary at the earliest possible point, and murdering Tau reasonably effectively. I got through turn 1 more or less unscathed, with nothing dying, and basically just spent the whole game slowly progressing and boxing Mark into his corner. On turn 3 I took down a Riptide and his Broadsides, on turn 4 I took down the remaining two Riptides, and that was that. A good end to the day, and a comfortable 2-1 record to take into day 2.

This was the last game I would win. With the gaming over, I headed out to Enjera with Rob, Greg, and Bernhardt, and ate some god damn amazing Ethiopian food. I’d highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

Day 2

Day 2 started super late, thanks to a situation with a game from the previous day. Once the delay was finally sorted, I found myself across the table from Mitch and his Sisters of Battle/Imperial Knights army.

This was a hell of a game. I was leading the scoring early on but a couple of things just did not break my way when I needed them to – including being forced to go first, but also smaller stuff like a Helverin surviving on two wounds after a couple of Ravagers just refused to wound it, and the big Knight living on the same. This was a very good match-up for Mitch I think, and one he’d prepared for well. Search & Destroy deployment also really helped him – it made it easy for the Sisters to stuff themselves into the LoS-blocking box. I scored pretty highly for a loss (22 or 23 points) but nevertheless, I was on the wrong end of this game.

Thanks to the morning delay, lunch was shortened, and we’d taken game 4 right to time. I ended up having to get Bernhardt to bring lunch to the table, and then sloppily eat a falafel wrap and fries through my game. Robin Cruddace also took this moment (2pm) to tell me that he and Pete were happy with an interview time of 4pm, which meant scrambling to get things arranged in the middle of my game. Thankfully my opponent, Dom, was a gentleman who courteously allowed me to keep running off from the table, though after his incredibly destructive turn 1 which saw him drop two Ravagers, two Venoms, and the guys inside those Venoms, he knew he neither had to worry about time nor really about the game. I made a bad choice to target his Basilisks instead of his Skorpius Disintegrators on my turn 1, which probably put the nail in the coffin. I’m not gonna lie – normally I’m a big advocate for approaching games with the philosophy of “how can I win from here?” but in this case I was both distracted and a little down from that ballbuster of an opening turn from him. We probably played like an hour of actual gametime with another hour of me running around, and that was that.

Going into the final game I was 2-3, and the chance of a positive record was gone, but at least I could still go neutral, right?

Say hello to Andrew and his three Knights. Turns out that even at the lower tables at NOVA – I was now on table 90, having dropped into the losers’ hall – you can still face some reasonably hard armies. Rounding out his list was a TPD, a couple of Onagers, a TPE, and some Skitarii.

This was one of those games where just nothing goes right. Turn 1 was fine – he went first and didn’t kill any of my important stuff, and in return I deleted a whole Knight. Turn 2, two Ravagers in a row decided to just not wound a Knight, and it survived with 6 wounds left, which might as well be all its wounds for a Mechanicum one. The Solitaire failed to kill the TPD, missing six times with its attacks. Next turn he would fail to kill some Rangers, then fail to kill a TPE, and die to a Knight stamping on him. This was the one game where I didn’t take him with Cegorach’s Rose and I really wish I had.

The whole game just kind of went like this. i didn’t kill a Dunecrawler by a wound or two so of course it healed up to 7 remaining. I didn’t touch the chickenwalker sat on an objective in my backfield, despite putting a Ravager and a plane into it. I could not get out from under the points tallying up for him and not for me on the progressive, and despite nearly boarding him – he had a single Knight left up, and had killed less than 1,000pts of my stuff – it wasn’t to be. That said, Andrew was a nice dude and the game itself was fun.

There we are then, a dismal 2-4 in the GT. My results have been all over the place this year – negative records at Last Chance Open, Bristol City Open, and now NOVA, paired with a 5-0 at Battlefield Birmingham, and solid results at London Open and Heat 2 at Warhammer World back in February. Very confusing.

Mixed Aeldari army at NOVA.

At least the newer stuff I’ve done looks good, although of course one of the Ravager sails needs fixing immediately. Credit: Corrode

And the rest…

The rest of the weekend was basically just a whole lot of hanging out. This was honestly the best part – chilling out until 3am talking complete nonsense with a rogue’s gallery of hilarious goons, watching the narrative Apocalypse play out, Cyle getting hilariously drunk at the post-NOVA party, all this stuff was great. I go to a bunch of events each year and they’re almost always fun, but NOVA with a huge group of brilliant people, Goonhammer-affiliated or otherwise, was something special. Thanks everyone for a fantastic week.

Except Aer Lingus. They lost my case on the way back too and they still haven’t given it back. Fuck you.

 

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