Friday, September 15, 2017

Nova Open 2017 Impressions Part 2

Hey Everyone!  Today I wanted to wrap up my Nova Open Impressions series with a run down of all the Age of Sigmar games I played during the event.  I opted to leave out army lists as the event chose to use the original Generals Handbook so most of the armies were built around the older points and meta.  It was fun to get one last go around with my Warrior Brotherhood, but I think the event would have been much more exciting if it had used the Generals Handbook 2017 as it would have made the field of armies much more diverse and interesting.

I also want to note that Painted armies and round bases were not required during these events and as such the hobby level at the event was low overall, but there were a fair number of players who brought amazing painted and themed armies completed and ready to game.  Those who did paint got points toward their overall score which was a nice bonus, but playing against unfinished models can really pull you out of the game at an event as large as Nova Open.

-----------------------Age of Sigmar Doubles-----------------------

First up was the Age of Sigmar Doubles event.  I partnered up with my good friend Matt to drop the lighting on our opponents as we both brought Stormcast Eternals.  I went a more traditional route with my army while Matt went with the shiny new Hunters for some movement shenanigans.  Team Thunder Buddies hit the tables!

Round 1 saw Matt and myself play against Zach with his Nighthaunts and David with Ironjaws.  The first game of an event can really be nerve racking, but Zach and David really knew how to keep it relaxed and fun while still playing a top level strategy.  

When I looked at their armies we realized very quickly that trying to kill off Zach's Nighthaunts would be a fruitless endeavor so Matt and I decided that picking on Davids Ironjaw's was the way to begin since they would stay dead when we killed them.  A strong Alpha strike on our part really put his force on the backfoot, but being Orruks they charged in regardless as Zach's March of Death toward our lines began.  The game was well fought and my Lord-Celestant earned his keep by holding off a lot of the Nighthaunts for most of the game.  Careful positioning and cheeky building hoping by my Relictor helped Matt and I win the scenario in a very bloody and fun game.  Zach and David you two were a blast to play against and I hope to see you on the tables in the future!

Matt and I went to lunch before Round 2 with a win and a bit more confidence.  We came back and looked at the pairings and saw our next opponents were some gamers and buddies from our local scene out here in Pittsburgh, PA.  Roger and Ryan ("Okami") smiled at us as we realized our fate in playing them and their finely tuned Death Army.  Roger knows well my inability to beat death on any consistent basis, but I always have fun when I play against him so win or lose I knew it was going to be a good couple of hours rolling dice.  Ryan, while local, was a bit of a new face as despite seeing him around I never really got to talk with him so it was a great excuse for the four of us to chat and get to know one another better.

Matt and I chose to be the Defender, mostly for thematic reasons and knew a win was not likely so we tried a slow retreat tactic to hold on to as many points as we could.  Thankfully, Roger and Ryan deployed in a way to give us space at our backs.  Matt deployed off the board to try and ensure we had surviving units near the end game and I set up to hold out as long as possible.  I think I surprised Roger and Ryan a bit by throwing my Alpha strike Retributors to kill off as much of their weaker Zombie units as possible and secure a few points from a secondary objective.  The game got more intense as my turtled up Liberator, Judicators, and Lord-Castellant braced for the charge from their Necropolis Knights and Spirit Hosts.  The dice were rolled and all but one unit of Spirit Hosts failed their short charges and hope sprang in our hearts!

Sadly that hope would be ground down through the rest of the game as my force began to collapse.  Although my standout of the game was seeing a lone Liberator Prime survivor as his unit was wiped out, passing battle shock, and locking the entire army in combat for one more round!  Matt and I stuck to our plan, but in the end lost the game decisively. Roger and Ryan played a great game and we all had a fantastic time.  Be sure that our vengeance will come soon to you both Roger and Ryan, we know where you play!

There was a short break before Round 3 to rest up, but the day was beginning to wear on us as it was for everyone.  We met two more great opponents in this game in Zach with his Soulblight and Mathias and his Chaos force.  Zach had painted up objectives to match his army and he was kind enough to let us use them for the round.  We deployed and began throwing dice!  Once again Death was our bane as we just couldn't kill off more than could be regrown and after a quick switch of tactics to focus on the Chaos forces we saw some amazing saves from Mathais to really keep the game tight.  

Zach and Mathias played one of the best games of Age of Sigmar I have ever witnessed first hand.  Their tactics were tight, precise, clean and brilliant to watch.  The level of strategy they brought was exciting to try and break, but we weren't able to shatter their lines and in the end saw them victorious over me and Matt.  Zach and Mathias were fantastic gentlemen and brilliant gamers to play against.  I wish we could have given them a better game, but the fatigue was really setting in, but I hope to pair off with one or both of them in the future.

 -----------------------Age of Sigmar Narrative Triumph & Treachery-----------------------

After a few hours to relax after the doubles I headed down to play a game in the Age of Sigmar Narrative Campaign.  There were Narrative events throughout the weekend to play run by Aaron Bostian that linked to an overall narrative.  I opted for Triumph and Treachery as it was the best expansion I have ever played during my time with 8th edition Fantasy.  As I said above we were using the original Generals Handbook so the rules for the event were a homebrew created by Aaron that worked nicely and was not too far off from those in Generals Handbook 2017.

I sided with Queen-Neferata's forces to secure order over the rebellious upstarts and possibly establish a connection between Nagash and Sigmar in a future alliance of the Gods.  My opponents this game were Chris playing Khorne, and Peter who had Seraphon.  Both rightfully feared my Stormcast Eternals and left me alone as they deployed opposite each other and as far from Sigmar's wrath as they could.  Chris and Peter were great fun to chat with and play against, but sadly when combat began between the two I found myself with little to do for quite a while.  Thankfully Vince and Sean were roaming the halls and I was able to chat at length with them on various topics while my opponents battled it out.

Once I got stuck in however I knew it was my time to shine and I let my mind wander in devious ways playing them against one another.  Offering no win deals they couldn't refuse and other Treacherous solutions to their issues.  I was my trickery awarded with being awarded Most Treacherous at the table and managed to have the second highest coin total at the end of the game.  It was fantastic fun and I cannot wait to crack into the new rules for more Triumph and Treachery soon.

-----------------------Age of Sigmar Grand Tournament-----------------------

Saturday came as well as the Age of Sigmar Grand Tournament.  I took my Warrior Brotherhood list out for one last spin.  I have been playing Stormcast since the game launched and I do love the army, but I feel the need to try something else.  Something a bit more Aelven.  When I really began honing the army it was with The Warrior Brotherhood style of play and since this was going to be the last event with the original Generals Handbook I felt it was the right way to put a bookmark in the army until I pick up the hammer once more.

My first round opponent was Tom L. and I have rarely met such a happy person.  He was there to have fun and he brought a great Kharadron Overlords army themed in the realm of death with subtle conversions and a great looking army!  We both had the same mindset of rolling dice and having fun with a fellow gamer.  We were cheering each other's big rolls and smart positionings and it really made the game a great experience.  In the future, I probably won't remember the results of the game, but I will remember Tom and how great he is to throw dice with.  

I went strong with my Alpha strike on him as I had taken the first turn and really put the hurt on him, but his first turn saw a strong counter and I learned to fear the Kharadron Overlords shooting very quickly, but I had held my Paladins in reserve and when it was my go once again I threw them right at his Frigate.  We played to the end and Tom fought back against every step I took, but in the end, Sigmar won the day by holding one more Objective, but due to secondary scenarios the game final score was much closer than it originally seemed.  It was a great start to the end in taking a win and more importantly meeting a great hobbyist who really enjoys the game and having a good time.

Round 2 paired me with a Tzeentch player by the name of Nate.  I have never really played against a Skyfire list, but thankfully Roger from my local scene (and one of my second round Doubles opponent) was nearby and knew the army well.  He helped me work out a plan to victory and I set to the task.  

I planned to throw everything I could and knock out his Skyfire units.  Nate saw this coming and deployed them inside a protective bubble of Chaos Warriors to minimize my attacks.  After the first round few rounds, I was able to take out one unit, but the second escaped and began to regrow.  Nate was set on the backfoot and the entire game was played in his deployment zone, but due to the scenario, where objectives are randomly removed, all the objectives ended up on his side anyway.  We had a long fought battle with quite a bit of fun along the way and we ended in a draw in both objectives and secondary objectives.  Neither one of us were upset with this result as far as I could tell.  Nate was a joy to play against and coming away with a draw against a hard list I had no practice against was a win in my books.

My third game was humbling in both results and the level of respect an opponent can give to their opponent.  My opponent was Walker was also playing Stormcast and I have always had an issue in mirror matches.  Not that we had the same list or play style, but ever since I began this hobby I have always done terrible when playing against the same army.  Sadly this was no exception.

Walker baited me and I fell for it with my Alpha Strike.  He weathered it with little loss and I was outpaced every step beyond that and I knew it.  Walker was a true gentleman by bringing me water from the cooler and making sure I was having a good time.  In the end, he won thoroughly and we hugged and parted as friends.  He was even generous enough to toss a few Black Library Novellas he had won but already owned with the intention of it being a gift and not a consolation prize.  Walker, I hope we cross paths again and that you keep doing Sigmar proud!

As I mentioned in my previous post I ended in perfect Hobby Karma with a 1-1-1 record and due to some Saturday night fun, I chose to drop on Sunday.  It was nice seeing everyone from the prior day still battling it out, but I had found a good end to playing out of the original Generals Handbook as well as a nice bookmark on my time as a Stormcast Player.  Have no doubt they will be back in the future, but for now, I feel the calling of my Aelves and I must answer.

The Hammer might be hung up for now, but I still love my Stormcast and Nova was a great event to bring them to bear.  I do hope that next year we see a painting requirement as well as enforcement of round bases at the event.  Playing at a national event like this is great, but I feel it should also have higher hobby requirements.  Regardless of this, I will be back next year without a doubt.   Thank you to all my opponents for the great games, as well as all my friends I got to see and chat with, and thank you to Matt for being my Thunder Buddy through a rough few rounds.  Until next week, Happy Hobbying

Previous Articles in the series:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weekly Hobby Update : 9-13-17

Hey Everyone!  I am getting back to a normal hobby schedule post-Nova Open.  That being said I have gotten some work done on my Khorne and should have them wrapped up by this Saturday.  I have also been giving a bit more thought on my Aelf Rebasing project as well as finalizing a theme for my Sylvaneth who have sat unpainted for far too long.

I am very happy with how my converted Chaos Warshrine turned out, but it was quite the challenge to paint.  The detail on the model wasn't unexpected but demanded me to look over the model more than a few times to ensure I had the model how I envisioned it.

The last two models in the army are a pair of Bloodthirsters and I have just really dug into one of them, but as soon as I began putting the first coats of color down I fell in love with the kit and could easily see myself adding, even more, Bloodthirsters to the army in the future.

One issue I have had with the army is how to base it once it is complete.  The above picture was only a few ideas but after a few suggestions I believe I know how I will base everything, but I will leave that to next weeks hobby post (or pictures on Twitter).  I am excited to wrap up this army and get it on the table soon.

Hopefully, your Hobby is also going strong and if you live in the U.S. where the weather is cooling it is a great time to prime those winter projects so be sure to get out there soon as we settle in for Winter Hobby Projects.  I will be back Friday with the second part of my Nova Open Impressions series where I dive into each of my games over the event and wrap up my overall thoughts on the event.  Until then, Happy Hobbying!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Nova Open 2017 Impressions Part 1

Hey Everyone!  Hope you had a great week of Hobby with plans for more throughout the weekend.  Today I want to bring you more coverage of my time at Nova Open 2017 looking more at a general recap, how I spent my time and all the great people I got to know better, meet, and spend time with throughout the weekend.  In one of the next posts in this series, I will do a more in depth breakdown of my games so keep a look out.  I am sure I missed mentioning a few people in the sections below and if I did I apologize, but know you helped make this an amazing experience for me and I cannot wait to see you all at the next one!

My driving skills have mixed reviews apparently

Any trip to a convention is a great time with the excitement and promise of a fun weekend when you arrive.  I am very fortunate that Nova is only 3.5 hours from my home and I had a few friends coming along so it made the road trip quite a bit of fun!  Myself, Matt, and Sean loaded into the car after work on Thursday and hit the road!

We arrived late in the night and after settling in headed up to the Nova Open Charity Lounge which was going strong.  It was a very relaxed scene where we could grab drinks and chat with other Hobbyists about our armies, games, and upcoming events.  I was also able to finally meet Aaron Bostian who runs the Narrative Age of Sigmar Events.  We shared a few drinks and got to know each other a bit more and had a great evening.  It was nice seeing other familiar and friendly faces all gathered to share a good time.

Thunder Buddies for life

Waking up Friday saw myself and Matt dawning the Title of Thunder Buddies in the Age of Sigmar Team Event.  We each rocked up with Stormcast and meet great people in our games and even got to play with a few of our local scenes top players in the second round.  Lightning only struck once as our record will show, but it was three great games of Age of Sigmar.

A quite Age of Sigmar/Hobbit Hall

After the armies were packed away a few of us headed out to grab some dinner followed by me heading back for another game.  This time it was Triumph and Treachery in one of the Age of Sigmar Narrative Events.  I got to meet some great people including Chris, who was introduced to me by Aaron, as we played on the same table.  The game was an odd deployment which actually kept me out of most of the game as my Stormcast had to foot slog it over the board.  During that time I got to chat with Vince quite a bit and share ideas of the future of the game, lore, and other musings.  After a while, I managed to get within range, due to some shady deals and got stuck in and after more wheeling and dealing I was awarded most Treacherous from those at my table which in a game of Triumph and Treachery is a goal of mine.

A day of gaming was wrapped up and it was time to head to the Charity Lounge again for a few drinks and socializing.  I got to meet some a few great people while hanging out such as Jason who handles Warhammer 40k at Adepticon (if I recall correctly) and I was able to meet the man himself Mike Brandt who runs the show at Nova with the support of all the amazing volunteers.  Mike is very passionate about the event, the volunteers who he refers to them as a family, and what we as a community are doing for charity through Nova Open.  It was nice to see Pete and the rest of the crew from Games Workshop hanging out as well and talking hobby with everyone.  It was another great night catching up with friends and meeting new people.

Warhammer TV was out in force

Saturday morning saw me awake bright and early to grab breakfast before the Age of Sigmar Grand Tournament.  I headed down with a bit of nervousness and excitement for the games ahead.  I shouldn't have been nervous as I had three of the best games I could ever hope for anywhere.  My opponents gave me a challenging game while keeping it all about the fun and I did my part to do the same for them.  High-fives and cheering each other on is what really made these games.  I ended the day in what was later dubbed as Perfect GT Karma (1-1-1).  I was also able to catch up a bit with my friend Miles who arrived to hang out with everyone for a few days.  It was great seeing more and more friends at the event including others from my local scene such as Bill, Roger, Ryan, Mike S., Jason, Linda, Christian, Jenn, Matt, Aaron, and Evan!

The lovely lobby at the venue

I followed my gaming with a brief rest in the hotel room.  I met up with Vince, Kelly, Miles and headed to a seminar presented by Games Workshop talking about Generals Handbook 2017 and beyond with David, Andy, and Pete.  I was also thankful to meet someone who I have followed on Twitter for quite a while, Joe, who will be running Age of Sigmar for The Renegade Open in November.  Joe is a great guy and it should be an exciting event.  I won't dive into the details here as Vince covered it nicely in his latest Warhammer Weekly video, but I can say this will be a very exciting year for Age of Sigmar!

Directly after I was fortunate enough to sit down with Kelly, Vince, Miles, and Joe to talk with Pete Foley in a follow-up meeting from Adepticon discussing the U.S. AoS Community.  After a great talk, we headed over to a Shadespire Seminar which got me excited to buy this game when it arrives this fall.  Deciding which faction to play will be the hard decision.

Live Music, Drinks, Friends, and helping charity

Saturday night saw Mike Brandt's band playing live in the Charity Lounge and boy did they blow the roof off.  I won't lie that I partied a little harder and longer than I expected this night.  I bought a few rounds for the great team from Games Workshop and Forgeworld as well as other friends who were out having a good time.  They all, in turn, did the same for me right after I finished my drink.  I did not get to wild, but I knew I would be hard pressed to play in my last two games of the GT on Sunday.  I still can't tell if I was a bad influence on Dan or if he was a bad influence on me, but it was a great night!  After climbing into bed around 4:30 am I knew I would not be gaming and dropped from the event so sadly I will not be able to bring you coverage from those last few games.

I should have known this crew was going to be trouble

While I might have dropped I found I enjoyed hanging out with everyone and just wandering the halls quite a bit.  It reminded me that the community is more than the game, but the game is how we all connect and is integral.  I spent the afternoon watching Vince do very well at the Capital Palette as well as my friend Sean achieving a medal with his first entry into the event as well.  You can read more about that in my prior post.  It was great to sit back and cheer them on and see them do so well.

The evening wrapped up with one last Seminar hosted by Games Workshop on Building a Community.  Those who know me well will realize this was the one I was waiting for as I love the Warhammer Community and am doing everything I can to help it grow, connect, and become bigger than ever before and I couldn't do it without all those around me who feel the same.  It was nice seeing others opinions on the community and even making a few more connections of like minded people who care a lot about our community.  Games Workshop really cares about the community and I am of the mind we should do all we can to help each other grow.

Closing/Award Ceremonies

The whole event wrapped up with a Closing/Award Ceremony.  After the awards were handed out and the goodbyes were exchanged me, Matt and Sean hit the road homeward and after a few hours of telling our stories, we made it home in one piece.  I have been asked if I prefer Nova Open or Adepticon by a few people and I can safely say "Yes".  They are each top level events, but there is no comparing as they each have their own charm and reason to attend.  I will be back at Nova next year without a doubt and I will count the days until its back.

New Album from  the new Band "Grim Dank" coming soon

See you all next week, Happy Hobbying!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Weekly Hobby Update : 9-6-17 (Nova Recap Edition)

Hey Everyone!  I am back from Nova and sadly don't have much in the way of my own hobby due to the event, but today I did wish to bring you my pictures (warning there will be a lot of large images on the page) from The Capital Palette Painting Competition that was held at Nova Open.

What I really enjoy about The Capital Palette is how the awards are based on the skill of each individual model and not a standard 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  In any category, there could be four golds or no golds etc... It feels more attuned to encouragement without taking away the honor and pride in receiving a Finalist Pin or a Medal in the event.  I am nowhere close to being able to enter the competition, but just seeing the beautifully painted pieces of art is inspiring to improve my hobby even by a bit.  It is really a top Painting event and if you are ever able to make it I would suggest you do.

First up is the entries for the event!

It is hard to say there were standouts as every piece of art in these cabinets was exceptional quality, but here are a few that caught my eye.

The award ceremony was held prior to the General/Closing Awards ceremony up on the Rooftop Floor, with exception of the Fan Favorite Vote Winner.  I joined Vince Venturella of Warhammer Weekly, who had numerous entries into the event, at the smaller awards ceremony and watched the genuine love all of these amazing artists have for their craft and their community.  It was great to be off in the corners watching this group support each other and share their passion for what they love to do.

It was a lot of fun seeing the winners go up to accept the recognition for their hard earned work and my friend Vince was able to walk away with quite a few awards for his entries.  I am also very excited for my friend Sean McAfee of Brush For Hire as he was always the painter in my local scene and he joined me this year in going to Nova and had a few entries as well in what was his first true painting competition.  His goal was a Finalist Pin and he walked away with one as well as a Bronze in the Singles category.  Vince and Sean, I want to offer my congratulations for all of your hard work.  The art you to and other like you produce is inspiring to all of us in the hobby.  Keep up the great work! 

Take care everyone and come back on Friday when I cover part of my Nova Open experience (except a few posts on the event in the coming weeks).  Until then, Happy Hobbying!