Wednesday, May 16, 2012

King of NOVA - Round 3

So going into round 3, I found myself at the bottom of the list for the 3 undefeated players in the tournament. This had me facing the top of the 2/1 players, 2nd Generation Awesome Dan.


Here's the thing, Dan is good. We have faced each other a handful of times on Tuesday game nights, along with a handful of times at tournaments. He regularly kicks my ass. Probably the only person I play more games who regularly kicks my ass is Mike, who is also really good. With that said, I was expecting my run at the tournament to end with this game. So, I stepped up to the table ready to give my all to make it a fun and challenging loss, and looked at where we would be playing. For three rounds now, Dan had been camping out on the same table.

I took a quick look over the table and flipped strategy. After both Dan and I flipped our strategies (he was playing Resers), we ended up with shared Distract. So, kill the opposing leader or keep them off your half of the board. Basically kill the opposing leader while keeping your alive. I knew Zoraida was survivable, but I also knew Dan plays against Mike's Zoraida a fair amount (or did). I also knew I was not overly familiar with Zoraida, and that Pandora is really good at this strategy. I suspected Dan would be taking Kirai, and I know how to handle Kirai fairly well with Pandora. With that said, I went with my Pandora crew. In a slight surprise (but not overly much if I thought about it) Dan took Nicodem and attached the Avatar. He has been on a roll lately with aNico, and I should have suspected that was up his sleeve.

Which was another knock for me. I have widely claimed that not only do I think Nicodem is a good master, but that in Dan's hands he is simply scary. I was now truly expecting a beat down, but trusted I was good enough with Pandora that I could make it a challenge.

Dan set out Nicodem, 2 dogs, 2 crooked men, Dead Rider, and a grave spirit. Looking over his crew, I went with Kidnap on 2 dogs and the grave spirit, and Assassinate on Nicodem. I knew I would have to deal with the rider, but did not want to bank a scheme on him.

The game got underway and we headed for the middle of the board. It was clear from our early movement that this was where the fight would take place and there was really no reason to try and avoid it. Nicodem needed to be taken down early or he would manifest and be nearly impossible to kill before getting across the board. Dan was helpful in killing off his dogs for me early on, leaving me to focus on Nicodem and the Dead Rider. The game went by very quickly and it was a fairly long day, so only key moments really stick out in my memory.

I was able to get Pandora and Lilitu into range to use some lures to damage and kill off a number of models. Pandora and Nico both burned thier last stones somewhere around the end of turn 3 or start of turn 4 in a battle to force a Rigormortis through onto Pandora. With both of us burning our last SS, the spell was forced through the opposed WP check, then Dan flipped a 4 to cast it and did not have the cheat in hand. This was a rough hit for him. I followed up by activating Pandora and chipping away the last couple points Nico had on him (dropping project emotions on a nearby mindless zombie to overlap onto Nico, then burning off a pacify, a self loathing, and a dementia once he was on negative flips) and killed him. Dan knew the game was over at that point, but eliminated Lelu with the Dead Rider before I could take him out of the game as well. With Dan tabled going into turn 5 and 2 turns left to lure and walk Pandora into the opposing deployment zone, I was able to lock up 8 points to Dan's 2. I was lucky the focus was kept on Lelu and Pandora so Lilitu had enough wounds remaining that she could last through 2 remaining turns.

At the end of the game, my record was now 6tp/+15diff/22vp and I had a surprising win vs Dan. Dan and I talked a bit after the game, both of us suspecting I would be facing Mike in the final round. Throughout the entire tournament I had heard Mike was bringing Collodi, but assumed it was Collodi plus Zoraida. Dan's recomendation was to switch back to Zoraida due to the high WP in the Collodi crew, and I agreed, as Pandora would struggle with the high WP and be vulnerable to her own crew with Zoraida's obeys.

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