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