Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Return From the LVO

by Novus

I've survived.  I don't know how.  But I have.

The LVO was my first major singles tournament and it was an educational experience.  I've only ever participated in one other singles tourney, an 8-man, over at Frontline about 2 years ago.  That was pretty fun but not nearly on the scale of the LVO.

I've been to the BAO as a vendor and team player and, I have to say, that was a pretty great event.  Lotsa folks with a common interest getting together in a giant barn to throw dice at each other for a half-dozen-plus games.  Well, the LVO is different...

The Venue

Balley's Las Vegas was an amazingly comfortable place!  The rooms were nice and the event hall was big and roomy... and carpeted!  Carpeting made all the difference compared to my experience at the big barn with the concrete floor the Bay Area Open is held in.  The noise wasn't bone breaking at Bally's and my jacked up spine didn't protest at all the entire weekend!  The man who invented carpeting is a Saint!

Plenty of tables and plenty of room, too!  There was something like 190+ players for the 40k singles and everyone had a table with lots of room between the rows to walk.

The tables were awesome!  The Mega Mats made all the difference, visually.  I played in the BAO doubles and the spray painted sheet with terrain sprinkled on top is OK for a pick-up game, but for a tournament I think the Mega Mats are the way to go.  They help you feel like your entrance fee was well spent.

The only issue I noticed with the gaming surface was that the tables for the lower ranked players (me), say tables in the number 80-100 range, didn't have the same amount of LOS blocking terrain as the folks in the top ranked tables.  I don't think this hurt me, it's just something I noticed.  Higher rank seemed to mean more LOS.

The TO's were on point with rulings, too.  I'm not strong in my rules knowledge and I try to look stuff up before asking, but certain things need clarification during the round, so I felt I/we should ask.  They were there quick and happy to help.  Can't complain at all about that!

Oh, and the LVO dinner on Saturday night was freaking awesome!  I had a pile of pork ribs over another, larger, pile of mashed 'tatos.

How'd I play?

(Disclaimer: I'm writing the following based on my point of view at the time of the events described.  Since catching up on my food and sleep I'm much cheerier.)

Singles Day 1

My list was Black Legion based...

Nurgle Lord on Bike with Hand of Darkness and a power sword, VOTLW
2 Heldrakes
1 Relic Predator with Plasma Destructor and pintle Bolter
1x7 Plague Marine squad with 2x Melta, VOTLW
1x7 Plague Marine squad with 2x Plasma, VOTLW
1 Platoon of IG
   10 man squad with Autocannon
   10 man squad
   1 Sabre Platform with TL Lascannon
   5 man platoon command squad with 4x Flamers (goes in Vendetta)
1 Command Squad with Astropath
1 Vendetta with TL Lascannons
1 Manticore with HFlamer
Aegis Line with Quad

Game 1: Played against Charles and his Space Marines (IDK what chapter).  Mostly consisted of various troops, a Thunderfire, and an HQ with Shield Eternal.  This was a fun game.  Charles brought a "normal" list that was built to win but not crush.  He helped me out on the finer points of certain rules, here and there, and it was the best game of my first day.  I came pretty close to a win but just couldn't pull it off.  I lost by 1 point.  Thanks for the great game, Charles!

Lunch: Game 1 went long so I decided to forego lunch out of respect for my next opponent.  "S'ok," I thougth, "I've got snacks!"  Luckily (or so I thought at the time) the very nice guy at the next table had an extra slice of pizza that he offered me, which I gratefully accepted.

Game 2: Played against Garret and his Space Marines (lotsa white bikes that were his troops so it was likely White Scars).  4 squads of bikes and 1 assault squad, a Thunderfire, an HQ with Shield Eternal, a couple of speeders, a Rhino, and a Scorpious(?).  Garret showed up about 20 minutes late (due to the lines for lunch, apparently) which immediately put me in a bad mood.  On top of that, the pizza really kicked me in the guts... I mean there was a fat porcupine in my belly doing flips.  It HURT.  So I was really not happy even before the game began.

I don't know exactly what happened in-game, but Garret and I just didn't mix well.  We got to the end of turn 4, where I was in a position to win it on 5 (Garret admitted as much after the game, too), but we ran out of time.  Had he been on time, this would definitely have been a win for me.  I was pissed and well within my rights according the the LVO Tourney Guide to "thumbs down" him (due to lateness), but that just isn't my style.  I took the loss with as much dignity as I could muster, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to forgive and forget, and moved on to Game 3.

Game 3:  Played against Aaron and his Space Marines/Space Marine list (IDK what chapters).  Mostly consisted of various troops (more bikes and two jump squads), a Thunderfire, and an HQ with Shield Eternal.  Very low model count.  I couldn't hurt this army!  They all had 2+ saves and all kinds of re-rolls.  It wasn't even close.  He smashed me 10 points to zero.

But, after the game we were talking to some of the other players and they pointed out to him that he was counting his allies as Battle Brothers rather than the Of Convenience sort.  This oversight may have cost me the game due to the buffs his psykers were passing around like the flu, but Aaron assured me it was not intentional, so again, I took the loss (even though I was still pretty pissed about the second game).

That Night:  I had almost decided to never play in another tournament again.  Aside from my first game, I would have honestly told you that the tournament scene is not for me.  I was glad I came and would get to play more games in 3 days than I would normally play in 6 months, but at the time, the competition side of it really kinda sucked from my POV.

Then came...

Day 2

Game 4:  Played against Mike and his Space Marines list (Imperial Fists?).  Mostly consisted of various jump troops, a Thunderfire, 3 Grav Amp Centurions, Lysander, and another HQ with Shield Eternal.  This was probably the most fun game I have ever played.  I don't think I made any massive tactical errors and my plan almost worked!  I think I lost by just 1 point!

I had the game won on turns 5 and 6, but....

... then came Turn 7, and it was EPIC!  I had dropped my platoon command squad with 4 flamers from my Vendetta down onto his Emperor's Will objective and cleared it of resistance turn 6.  Had the game ended here, I would have won because he didn't have enough models on the table to hold more objectives than I did.  Unfortunately, it went on to turn 7.  So one of his jump HQs made a 9-inch charge (!) and cleared me from it turn 7.  But, that wasn't the Epic part...

Also on Turn 6, my last Storm Eagle Rocket from my Manticore killed his final two Centurions and his Apothecary, leaving only Lysander, with one wound left, as the lone survivor of a very powerful squad.  So Lysander charges and wipes out my IG speed bump squad that was on my Emperor's Will objective.  Lysander is literally standing on the objective with only 1 wound left, alone and unsupported.  All I had in my backfield was a spent Manticore and one lonely Plague Marine with a bolter and a plague knife.  I Heavy Flamer'ed and Bolter'ed him, but didn't score a wound.  Damnit!  All I needed was 1 freaking wound!

So, I decided to Tank Shock Lysander, knowing full well that he will likely just hammer my Manticore to death.  Can't hurt to try, eh?  So, I declare a 12" Tank Shock and Mike decides to let Lysander take a swing at the Manticore.  Why would he not?  Lysander auto-hits due to the Tank Shock rules so Mike just has to roll anything but a 1 and my Manticore explodes and the Plague Marine is left to merely contest the objective.  Mike rolls... a ONE!!!  The Manticore squishes Lysander, clearing the objective for my sad and lonely Marine!

Buuuuuut, I still lost because of those confounded 2+ saves of his jump troops (I think I killed all but one of his troop models).  I'm pretty sure Mike only had 5 models left on the table at the end. That last guy held the Primary for him, so I think I lost by just 1 point again.  I didn't mind because this was a nail-biter of a game for both of us!  Had I cleared that last guy, I would have won.  This game was FUN on a bun and I have no complaints!  Thanks, Mike!

Game 5:  My opponent dropped out.  So, I sat waiting for a good 15+ minutes (again) and then went up to go see Reece/Frankie and find out what the deal was.  Well, I was in luck.  There was another player who had his opponent drop out, too!  Who is this equally lucky person?  Garret.  The dude I didn't mix well with on my second game.

To be honest, I was not at all interested in playing Garret again (and I came to find out from him later that he was not interested in playing me again.  Which I really can't blame him for because I wasn't the most pleasant dude at the time, either).  That game left a very bad taste in my mouth so I told Reece (one of the TO's) I would just take the "By" due to my opponent not showing.  Reece then shot me a look that stung a bit as I turned to pack up.  Sort of a "Don't be such a pussy," look.

Well, I got about 20 steps away and decided "F*ck it.  This is an opportunity to redeem that crappy game from yesterday!  I'm going to beat this MF'er hard." so I turned around once again and told Reece I was in.

Now, I was still smoldering slightly from my first encounter with Garret so I came in sharp and with a plan.  I put my objectives up off the ground so his bikes couldn't get to them.  I put a bait squad of IG out in the open with a squad of Plaguers and my Warlord in a position to counter-charge and maybe pull some of his bikes into a position where the Storm Eagle Rockets could pummel them good.  I castled up behind my Aegis in such a way as to have a very open field of fire for my Sabre (80% of the table), Quad (60% of the table), and Relic Pred (50% of the table).  It all just mentally clicked.  I was on point and felt really good for letting Reece shame me into turning around and giving this game a chance.

And for once, my dice were red freaking hot!  Garrets were stone cold dead.  By the end of turn three, 80% of his troops, his Storm Talon, and both of his Speeders were gone and I think I had only lost my Astropath and the bait squad and maybe a Plague Marine or two.  Plus, both of my Drakes were nearly untouchable as his only AA was the now a flaming wreck of a Storm Talon.  I had First Blood and I was going to have Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord , no problem.  After 3 groups of horrible rolls during his turn (2 sets artillery scattered off into nowhere as well as a failed charge distance of like 4 inches) he had gotten so frustrated with his rolling he threw in the towel.

I was hoping to get a full game in, but I totally understood the frustration he felt at getting kicked in the teeth by crazy rolling (I'm usually the guy at the other end of that equation) so I accepted his surrender.

I don't know what happened during this second encounter, but we both sorta mellowed with respect to each other.  We hung out a bit after and shot the shit, as it were.  This game was a great finale to what was an exhausting group of games.

Singles Results:  I came away with a real-world 1 and 4 record and an internal-world record of 2 and 3 (should have won that second game!).  Further, I reached my goal of getting a win at a major tournament!  Feels pretty good!

Team Event

I paired up with my buddy Pascal who I play against at Frontline every once in awhile.  We both came to the LVO without pre-arranged partners.

My Half
Nurgle Lord on Bike with PF and LC, BGrenades, GOM, and Sigil
1x7 Plague Marine squad with 2x Melta
1x7 Plague Marine squad with 2x Plasma
2 Heldrakes
Aegis and Relay

Pascal's Half
1x15 Plaguebearers
1x15 Plaguebearers
1x20 Plaguebearers

Game 1: Ended up matched against Jim and his partner and they brought a Necron list that was super tooled up to win the Team Event (4 Night Scythes and, I think, a dozen Wraiths and 4 Annihilation Barges and just two troops).  By contrast, Pascal and I just wrote lists based on what he had on hand so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would lose.  As predicted: It wasn't even close.  It was so bad some mercy started creeping in here and there... now that's BAD.

Game 2: Another Necron list (2 Scythes, some FW thing with AV14 and a giant cannon, and a realistic number of troops, 4 squads I think), but Matt and Anthony were more interested in having a fun/close game (and drinking!).  Pascal and I did OK.  We killed some stuff and contested the center of the board but just couldn't pull it off.  We killed a good amount of things but because we didn't have troops that got back up after dying once, twice, three times(!) we lost badly on kill points.  And we ran out of time.  A much more balanced game and a good couple of guys!

Game 3: Lastly, we played a father and son team, Reggie and... damn, forgot the sons name(!), that was running a Tau/Daemons combo.  Honestly, they probably should have beaten us because the Riptides were crazy hard to kill for some reason.  We were able to keep them contained in their table quarters while keeping them out of ours.  They conceded after they lost their final troop choice.  They did have one Cultist that survived a Drake bombing, a Fateweaver shooting attack, a Plague Marine bolter/plasma volley, and two vector strikes; all in one turn!  That little guy just wouldn't quit (until the next turn, anyway)!  He gets MVP!

Thinking about the game later, I realized that they may not have understood the mission because it wouldn't have been hard for them to break free and contest our quarters.  We had them on KPs but it wouldn't have been the route they thought it was.

Stunning Warmahordes Table.

I had a great time and learned a bunch about the game and tournaments in general.  I can't recommend the LVO enough.  Las Vegas!  Bally's!  A giant carpeted hall filled with gamers!  What more could you ask for?


  1. Great coverage, glad you had a good time in spite of a rocky start. As for your game 3, all space marines are battle brothers except for grey knights, so unless he had them (which they have a bit of a different aesthetic and all force weapons so you'd probably see that) he was playing right. Also, I don't know of any Space Marine jump infantry with 2+ armor saves. VAnguard vets can take storm shields, but those are only 3+ invuls.

    1. I really don't remember, Chris. I want to say one of them was some sort of "Angels" and I don't remember what the other was. I think the conflict came from one being new SM codex and the other being a stand alone chapter/codex. Being a CSM player, all those loyalist armies look the same to me!

      Regarding the 2+ on jump infantry, I think that was due to a special character that could join many of the SM armies... or it was a psyker thing. I only kept one of the lists and it is no help, here.

      I had only played against SM maybe 3x before the LVO and two of those times were back in 5th. You could trot all sorts of SM stuff by me and I'd take your word that it was what you said it was... there's just too much crap to track in this game anymore!

      Thanks for reading my post and trying to help me sort it out!

    2. Blood angels - Sanguinary Guard 2+ armor + jump packs - Elite

    3. Ahhhhh, that sounds familiar. Thanks, mathhammer!

  2. "there's just too much crap to track in this game anymore!"

    I agree, which is why I find the W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. rule annoyring sometimes. Who cares if I've put adrenal glands and toxin sacs on my Termagants and I haven't bought them as upgrades, the majority of opponents don't know what they are or what they do.

    Having a model correctly kitted out help but if you have no knowledge of the opposing army it's kind of pointles, so long as you can ask, "what's that big guy got? How tough? What's his save?" etc. and get an honest answer. Of course that means you've got to trust your opponent knows his Codex and hope you're not getting shafted because of your lack of knowledge...

    Glad it came good in the end for you though, seems the LVO has been quite contentious.

    1. WYSYWIG is cool and all, but it's just no possible without spending a bunch of cash, I think. Especially when GW limits the number of kits with things like official Melta-bombs (I think only the IG command kits have these?). I'm not going to buy an IG command kit just to get MBs on my Plague Bearer champ. As long as the list follows the rules, the points are accurate, and it's easy to reference the model to the list, I'm good with trusting my opponent.

      Plus, how am I supposed to know the difference between a Stormshield bit and a Shield Eternal bit?

      Most folks won't cheat that way, anyway. It's too easy to get caught, I think. He was straight with me on everything else for the entire game. There's no reason for me to assume it wasn't an honest mistake. I'm still not sure there was even a problem, so I'm not going to worry about it. Either way, I'm not that good so he probably would have beaten me still.

      The LVO itself was amazing. I just had some slight issues with a couple of games and I'm chalking that up to the stress of being there.

      It's taken me a good 3 days to recover! I haven't been that warn out after an event since my heavy paintball days! Exhausting!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Reece! Again, your tremendous amount of work paid off! See you at the BAO (or the store... probably on Wenesday... )!


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