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 Went to the NOVA GT

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TeenageAngst
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PostSubject: Went to the NOVA GT   Mon Sep 03 2018, 07:28

I took my brigade list, the one with the Black Heart flyer wing and the 2 squads of Razorwing Flocks. Almost everyone I've talked to about that list has told me "it looks interesting" at best to just outright explaining, in detail, how much it sucks. It'll lose to Custodes, it's a battle of attrition that Dark Eldar can't handle, you're going to lose to Tau gunlines, you're going to lose to Riptides, you have no answer to Castellans, CP batteries will out-perform you, Guard mortar spam will pick half your army up turn 1, 3 Shield Captains on bikes will destroy half your army, you have no answer to hordes, etc etc. The night before the first round I had a drunken half hour conversation with a guy who was explaining exactly how badly the list would do against every meta tactic out there. So I went in there with a chip on my shoulder. And how'd I do? Dead middle of the pack, 5 and 3.

My first match was against an inexperienced player using Space Marines and 2 Knights and a single bumblebee. By moving the flyer my birds were able to hook into just about everything and I tabled the guy, maxing points. No real highlights, just a squash match.

Round 2 I was deep in the meta. Smash captains/Guard CP battery/Castellan with 2 Armigers. I'd never faced this army before and wrote it off as a loss the moment I got to the table because I had no idea what anything did. And a loss it was, as I got trounced 8 to 37. I took this L to learn the mechanics of Knights post-codex, the value of the Castellan's shooting, the effects of Smash captains, and most importantly, how to salvage a score.

Round 3 I was against Guard and, yup, more Knights. This time it wasn't the shooty Castellan but the one with the super flamer. No Blood Angels this time though. I lost all 3 Talos on round 1 of shooting as well as my Beastmaster, so I sent the birds on a suicide quest to hold the enemy Knights up. Realizing I couldn't hold his knights with birds alone, and realizing the Castellan was going to be able to barbecue my flyers no matter where I put them, I had a brainwave. I shoved my birds around the base of the knight an inch away. Then I flew all 3 planes around it, getting a triangle on its base through a pad of birds. Then the birds charged. The thing spent 4 rounds of combat having to step on bird bases before it was finally able to shoot again. In the end though I lost, 16-40, and took away more valuable lessons.


Day 2 and I was into round 4, this time against Tau. Stealth Suits, a Yr'varah or however it's spelled, Ghostkeels , and Kroot. This match was basically a case study in the effectiveness of a Vexator Mask. Turn 1 I sunk a charge against poorly placed Stealth Suits with my birds as the Talos brought up the rear with the Haemonculus. 2 Ghostkeels died after being picked apart by turn 2 drops of Mandrakes, the Kroot were removed by shredder Scourges, and by the end of turn 3 my Talos with their trusty Haemonculus were carving out the rest of his lines. By the end of turn 3 my opponent conceded.

Round 5 and I was against daemon swarms. Cultist swarms, Plaguebearer swarm, Bloodletter swarm, several Daemon Princes, oh my god the bodies. My birds got stuck in early with powered up cultists but they survived, and attempts to pull the cultists out with Tide of Traitors was denied by Vect. Realizing the blob was in trouble, Bloodletters were dropped right next to them, charged in, and cleared the birds. Thus allowing me to drop 2 units of shredders down and remove 35 Bloodletters in a single round of shooting. A Daemon Prince tried to murder my Talos but ended up getting punked by a Heat Lance. My early game was very strong, but towards the endgame the tricks ran out and he got down to shoving mortal wounds on me, as well as powered up shooting from sneaky Obliterators. I lost with a score of 20.

Round 6 and I was paired against Tau, this time gunlines with a Riptide, 3 Broadsides with high yield missile pods, Captains, and plenty of Fire Warriors and markerlights to keep them going. My opponent got turn 1 and blew an entire unit of birds off the table. I couldn't get my Haemonculus close enough to get a reliable charge in and the units were packed well, offering oppressive overwatch. In the end, I decided to gamble. I used my flyers to pick away at units of Fire Warriors, trying to remove as many possible overwatch units as I could. Then I moved my remaining unit of birds in and took a chance. I lost 5 bases to overwatch but they made the charge, locking in a unit of fire warriors and harassing the Riptide. His units were so packed it was difficult for him to move stuff around, allowing me to drop shredders and Mandrakes turn 2 to carve even more overwatching units away. I peeled the layers like an onion, losing lots of units in the process but ultimately claiming the board for a solid win.

Round 7 on Sunday was against the dreaded Shield Captains, backed by guard mortar spam and a Shadowsword. There are a few times where you get lucky in 40k, and I usually like to chalk my victories up to skill or tactic, and my losses due to lack of practice or planning. But when you sink a turn 1 charge against a guard line on hammer and anvil by rolling double boxcars, thus setting a backfoot tempo for the opponent the entire game, yeah. Yeah that doesn't happen often. The details of the game are kinda fuzzy since I was half hung over from waaaay too many whiskey sours but I know it involved 2/3 shield captains getting kicked off the board by turn 3, birds just constantly harassing guardsmen, 2 exploding planes, and lots of mortars. At the end we were placed on a chess clock because our game was slow, and that's what turned it from a game into me just dictating how I'm going to win to my opponent.

So this is the first year NOVA has used chess clocks and I take back all the hate I had for them. I honestly love them in a competitive environment because they remove any and all accusations of slow play or pushiness from the equation. You have your time, I have my time, and we can spend that time however we want. My opponent however... he took 15 minutes to take his 3rd turn. Unfortunately we only had 30 minutes to go when the clock came over so I basically had 13 minutes (after saves and all that) to run around the board claiming victory points while all my opponent could do is roll saves and score on what he stood on. I was probably going to win anyway just by how things were turning out, but his slow decision making and poor time management turned it from a close match to a squash.

Round 8 and boy oh boy, more Knight Titans. This time it was 4 Armigers with a Castellan and Skitarii. And Electropriest squads, got are they scary. This match was notable for a few things. First, that Armigers make great safety targets for birds. Second, that a hot-rolling Archon can do 10 wounds with 2 weapons and a stratagem to a Knight Titan. And third, that Castellans are good, but not unbeatable, and without their stratagems their whole house of cards collapses. I got a solid win by picking a unit of Priests off early, cleaning the back lines away from the big Knight, and then carefully attacking it with Fire and Fade haywire scourges.

So yeah, 5 and 3 and I finished right in the middle. Had I practiced more I know I could have done better, and without modifying my list. Practicing against knights and daemons more would have been very beneficial as I sort of needed to learn their playstyles on the fly, but by the end I was becoming a much more proficient player. I kept going over in my head what I might change in my list. What was or wasn't working, what did or didn't I need, what would I drop if I could, and really the answer is nothing. Everything had a purpose and did exactly what I needed it to when I needed it to, I was the one letting my list down. Normally after a tournament I'm burned out and frustrated but now I'm genuinely curious if I can get this nonsense brigade concept to work, because clearly it can do ok. After all, I won against lists that on the face of it have so much more intrinsic strength, such as the heavy shooting of knights or the shield captains supported by mortars. What's more I think my losses were mostly my own tactical errors, I could have done things differently. So yeah, that was my time at NOVA. Pretty fun, and a new personal best.

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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Mon Sep 03 2018, 10:56

Interesting post. What was your list?

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TeenageAngst
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Mon Sep 03 2018, 18:19

Kabal of the Black Heart Flyer Wing: 435pts

Razorwing Jetfighter, 2x Disintegrators, Twin-Splinter Rifle – 135pts
Razorwing Jetfighter, 2x Disintegrators, Twin-Splinter Rifle – 135pts
Voidraven Bomber, 2x Void Lances, Voidraven Missiles – 165pts

Mixed Dark Eldar Brigade: 1565pts

HQ:
(BH) Archon, Blaster, Venom Blade, Phantasm Grenade Launcher – 92pts
(RG) Succubus, Archite Glaive, Blast Pistol – 60pts
(PoF) Haemonculus, Vexator Mask, Electrocorrosive Whip, Stinger Pistol – 81pts

Troops:
(BH) 5x Kabalite Warriors – 30pts
(BH) 5x Kabalite Warriors – 30pts
(BH) 5x Kabalite Warriors – 30pts
(RG) 8x Wyches, Shardnet & Impaler – 69pts
(PoF) 5x Wracks, Ossifactor – 52pts
(PoF) 5x Wracks, Ossifactor – 52pts

Elites:
(RG) Beastmaster, Agonizer – 40pts
5x Mandrakes – 80pts
5x Mandrakes – 80pts

Fast Attack:
5x Scourges, 4x Shredders – 92pts
5x Scourges, 4x Shredders – 92pts
5x Scourges, 4x Haywire Blasters – 92pts

Heavy Support:
(PoF) Talos, 2x Macro Scalpels, 2x Haywire Blasters – 99pts
(PoF) Talos, 2x Macro Scalpels, 2x Haywire Blasters – 99pts
(PoF) Talos, 2x Macro Scalpels, 2x Heat Lances – 107pts

Non-slotted:
12x Razorwing Flocks – 144pts
12x Razorwing Flocks – 144pts

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Archon_91
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Tue Sep 04 2018, 21:45

Are those units labelled as Black heart, Red Grief, and Prophets of flesh for narrative purposes? Or are they benefitting from those obsessions? And cudos to proving the nay-sayers of your list wrong, cause from the sounds of it basically everyone was expecting you to be bottom of the pack. It does sound like everyone who told you you were going to lose every game don't fully understand the Drukhari, they know just enough to know that we run around in paper boats and spam darklances and poison. And from what it looks like there's plenty of anti-tank and anti-horde in the list so ignorance is probably what fueled a lot of those "you will lose to this" rants. Anywho again good job.
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TheBaconPope
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Tue Sep 04 2018, 22:14

Your list looks perfectly fine to me.

Frankly, the fact that you steered clear of all of the major DE meta choices probably worked to your advantage.

By the looks of some of the other lists at NOVA, it'd surprise a lot of people if you told them the DE dex contained more than Grots and Ravagers.

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TeenageAngst
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Wed Sep 05 2018, 00:05

@Archon_91 wrote:
Are those units labelled as Black heart, Red Grief, and Prophets of flesh for narrative purposes? Or are they benefitting from those obsessions? And cudos to proving the nay-sayers of your list wrong, cause from the sounds of it basically everyone was expecting you to be bottom of the pack. It does sound like everyone who told you you were going to lose every game don't fully understand the Drukhari, they know just enough to know that we run around in paper boats and spam darklances and poison. And from what it looks like there's plenty of anti-tank and anti-horde in the list so ignorance is probably what fueled a lot of those "you will lose to this" rants. Anywho again good job.

They were labeled such so I could use stratagems on them. Specifically Black Cornucopians.

This list caught every opponent by surprise, they had no idea what they were up against and it's extremely aggressive. Having 5 units that can deep strike without having to spend CP means I have the advantage of seeing how my opponent is throwing the weight of his army before I start putting the more vulnerable units down. Target priority against it is essential to stop the chain of assaults that will happen as soon as a birds get a target within range, and the Razorwing Flocks were, just as I expected, the most crucial part of making it all work. The look of utter despair on the face of Knight players as their D3 damage melee attacks pull a mere 2 bases is delicious.

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Frankly, the fact that you steered clear of all of the major DE meta choices probably worked to your advantage.

By the looks of some of the other lists at NOVA, it'd surprise a lot of people if you told them the DE dex contained more than Grots and Ravagers.

It absolutely did.

Grotesques had a board advantage at NOVA given the massive LoS blocking terrain in the middle. Bringing them over other melee options was a no-brainer as their speed was much less of a liability. The Ravagers are well-priced firepower, that's it. There's really nothing magical about them and I don't know why people think they're so crazy ridiculously good, they really aren't. IMO the most slept on units in the codex right now are, aside from the Razorwing Flocks, the Scourges with Shredders and Mandrakes. Mandrakes put the fear of god into the Shield Captain's player and Shredder Scourges removed infantry so reliably I don't know why 1 or 2 squads aren't in every meta list. To borrow a line from Scott Ross, it's like if you give a homeless guy a bottle of whiskey, will he take a swig, it's that kind of reliability. And at less than 100 points a squad there is no reason not to bring them as there will always be a target for them.

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Gorgon
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Wed Sep 05 2018, 19:43

I somehow have never run the numbers for shredder scourges. Looking at them now they're point for point the one of the most efficient infantry killer in pure shooting in the codex (trueborn with same weapons are slightly cheaper though). They're slightly outclassed by basic kabalites against things like daemons, ie only an invuln, and by blaster scourges against things with a few wounds and a good save like termie librarians

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TeenageAngst
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Fri Sep 07 2018, 19:28

They're cheaper than Trueborn when you factor in Trueborn necessitate a transport. Also their survivability is pretty substantial when you have CP to throw at them. Fire and fade, -1 to hit, +2 to your armor save in cover, it makes them harder than 92 points has any right to be.

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Gorgon
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Sat Sep 08 2018, 05:53

Totally agree. I've only previously used them as suicide haywire for backfield armour but they dropped out of the list for harlie bikes. With shredders though I think they would fit nicely at clearing chaff or disrupting scouts and such

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Otasolgryn
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PostSubject: Re: Went to the NOVA GT   Fri Sep 21 2018, 15:32

The shredder scourges put out a decent number of wounds, but not amazingly so.

But they do cover something our army are not terribly good at.
And DS keeps them safe
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