The Fabulous Orcboy’s NovaCon 2023 Diary (Part 5)

  • Read Part 1 of The Fabulous Orcboy’s NovaCon 2023 Diary here
  • Read Part 2 here
  • Read Part 3 here
  • Read Part 4 here

Although I had thought my game against Sharvel was about as one-sided as I could expect a Sisters of Battle victory to get, I then had the incredible good fortune to be paired up against an Ork player in the next campaign game. At the time, the main reason I had the match-up was simple: although my team-mates were willing to do so in a pinch, I was the only player on my team that didn’t have any objection to playing against an unpainted army.

Game Three (2000 pts)

Opponent: Keegan (Orks)

My List: Scarlet Raven Mandate (Inquisitor+Sisters+Immolator, 2x Sisters+Immolator, 3x Novitiates, 2x Retributors, 3x Exorcists)

Table: Venixia II – Port Mohktar

Planetary Objectives: Five zones spaced equidistantly (2x per deployment, 1x no-man’s land)

Battlefield Objective: Each objective is an ork fungal spore and starts with a score of “2”. Attacker is trying to destroy the spores, defender is trying to ‘nurture’ the spores. On their Movement Phase, if attacking unit is on an objective (whether or not they control!), they can forgo further actions that turn to reduce score of spore by one, until destroyed by being reduced to score of “0” (and attacker gets +3 BV). 

Defending unit on an objective can ‘nurture’ spores at end of their Movement Phase by adding one to score, to a maximum of “6”. Spore scores can only change by +/-1 point per turn. 

At end of game, defender adds up scores of all five objectives and gains that as total BV for the game. If defender ‘nurtures’ at least three spores to a score of “6”, they gain a special campaign benefit.

Campaign Objective: At end of your movement phase, if you control at least two no-man’s land objectives; gain+5 VP

I think this is supposed to be a densely packed urban board… but it’s got a lot of open areas around the buildings. So more like a rural farmstead, honestly. The red circles are the objectives. And also, spawning pools, because why not.

My opponent Keegan was an upbeat and soft-spoken fellow with a notable French accent, and he had brought with him a solid 2000 points of Orks; one of those units of Boyz had been mostly completed in a nice grey-tone outfit with multi-colored hash-marks, on top of a brilliant green skin. If and when the army gets fully painted, it will be quite striking and distinctive!

  • Runtherd Warlord with a mess of Grots (for objective control)
  • Ork Warboss on big Carnosaur
  • Two units of Mega-Nobs with ranged weapons
  • Two huge units of Beastie Boyz
  • Two basic units of Boyz
  • Two six-model units of Deffkoptas with rokkits (starting in Reserve)

All told, this was a LOT of bodies, but the deployment for this mission massively disadvantaged the Orks: it was opposite CORNER deployment, which meant that the units on his flanks necessarily were further away from me in my corner. For an army that relies on swamping the opponent with sheer numbers, this meant that Keegan would be… funneling his forces toward me in a relatively small area, and then offering them up to my firepower, a portion at a time.

That’s a metric butt-load of targets, I mean Orks, packed into one corner of the table

That’s not even accounting for the other two strategic challenges he faced. The board had a lot of tall LOS-blocking buildings, especially in the middle of the table, but it also had tall LOS-blocking buildings on or next to every one of the objectives, as well! Tall buildings that also had vantage-points modeled in for units to deploy or climb onto – like the two units of Heavy Bolter Retributors that I had brought along specifically for horde-clearing purposes! And with elevated deployment, that meant that I could take advantage of Plunging Fire… which would be handy when trying to punch through that MegaNob armor.

Meanwhile, the buildings in my deployment zone did NOT have enough space for all my Novitiates to cram onto – which meant that I had plenty of incentive to send them racing to the flanks and center to capture (or at least contest) the objectives – and to try to nurture (and spawn) some ravenous beast to fight for my side, as per the Battlefield Objective!

As a long-time Astra Militarum (IG) player, I love me a nice castle defensive setup. Plus, the Sisters have the mobility to nab three No-Man’s-Land objectives (those units ready to move along top, top right, and right of my deployment zone)

In the end, I kept my Exorcists back, and threw two Immolators (and one Novitiate squad) toward the objective on my left flank, the second Immolator (including my Warlord) (and some Novitiates) toward the central objective, and then sent a five-woman unit of Sisters off to the right flank to contest a third objective – the one that was hardest for me to see and defend with the combined firepower of the rest of my forces, hiding in their elevating shooting roosts. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry much about it because… I won the Initiative and got to take the first turn.

I’m going to talk a little in a future post about how ill-served the game of 40K is these days, keeping these archaic I-Go-You-Go turn rules. But in this game in particular, it meant that Keegan had deployed most of his Ork army in the open, well outside of cover, crammed together base-to-base to try to get as close as possible to the opponent’s forces. His Boyz and Beastie Boyz had no cover whatsoever, and in a single turn of shooting, I simply erased his two units of Beasties, and also put more than a few Wounds onto his two smaller units of regular Boyz. 

That left him with: some Grots, some MegaNobz, a Carnosaur, two units of Boyz that (granted) could still mess up my of my units… if they can make contact… and two units of Deffkoptas in Reserve (or I would definitely have shot them up). Already starting his very first turn at a rather considerable deficit!

There USED TO BE two more units of Orks around here somewhere. Oh what fun it must be for the Orks to start the game without two of their biggest units!

Keegan was game to give it a try, however, and advanced with all his forces, but other than a few pot-shots, wasn’t able to do much damage to me in his turn.

Then Turn Two arrived for the Sisters of Battle, and both units of Boyz, and a few MegaNobz, were summarily deleted. Please note that until this point, I had suffered remarkably little damage, and was basically destroying Ork units with impunity. Keegan responded by Deep-Striking his Deffkpotas into the rear of my “castle” deployment, and then opened fire on my Exorcists. And then rolled like absolute garbage.

That’s more than enough Ork firepower to blow away an Exorcist and a squad or two of heavy bolter Retributors… if the Orks don’t totally tank their dice rolls!

In fact, given how lopsided the deployment was, I had an advantage from the start – but when my advantages in deployment (and winning Initiative) were combined with some of the best dice-rolls I have ever managed, and some of the worst dice-rolls by an opponent I have ever witnessed, well…. Suffice to say, this game was utterly, ridiculously lopsided. My Exorcists were consistently firing seven or eight missiles at a time, and I basically couldn’t roll any “ones”, just pumping out scads of Wounds as I peppered the Orks with ridiculous levels of firepower.

One thing playing against Orks made clear to me was that for Sisters of Battle in 10e, the Retributor Squads don’t automatically suck. Now, I don’t want to get carried away here: Retributors are not game-changers, nor auto-include units, but they can be useful – and even quite deadly in the right situation. 

For example, when not facing against T4 W2 3+ save Bolter-boyz, they can really do some work! (or maybe it’s instead that Bolter-boyz have lots and lot of built-in advantages?). Oh yeah, and when your dice are so hot they’re practically melting in your hands, and your firepower is just scything through the ranks of the enemy models…! 

Having said that, the Interwebs seem pretty clear on the fact that Retributors are much more effective when zipping around in a transport and then popping out of an Immolator (reroll Wounds!). For both heavy flamers and multi-meltas, that sounds positively… useful?

Point being, when being used against hordes like Orks, the Heavy Bolters just OWNED, and would have been quite helpful even with just average rolls. In fact, for much of the game I was absolutely in my comfort zone… and in hindsight, it’s because I favor relatively static long-ranged armies with lots of firepower. 

My Immolators and flamers rarely had much of an opportunity to do more than pick off ‘stray’ models, I was rolling like a demon for my ranged shots, and Keegan spent most of his time rolling Invulnerable saves, and frequent Feel-No-Pain saves, but very little time attacking my Sororitas. And when he did shoot, his dice were ice cold.

At this point, Keegan was down to a heavily wounded Dinosaur Ork Boss (seen here, about to be beat down by humans with Strength 3 fists), and his Warlord with Grot retinue. Yowza.

Ultimately, it was clear by the middle of the third turn that the game was functionally over: I had dropped all his Deffkoptas (every single one!) coming in from Reserve, shredded virtually all his units on foot (save for the Grots, who were just hanging out on an objective, out of LOS in his rear, and about to get indirect-fired by Exorcists into oblivion). 

Although Keegan had been so cautious about trying to protect his Carnosaur Boss early in the game, that just meant that the Old Dino-Rider was wildly out of position to do much in the first three turns – and it was obvious that the old Scaley Chicken wasn’t going to survive the weight of my fourth turn’s firepower.

In the end, I won a decisive victory: I controlled more objectives, including the No-Man’s Land ones, throughout the entire game (Planetary and Campaign Objectives), and I had successfully nurtured three of the five objectives to ‘full bloom’ (Battlefield Objectives).  My team earned a special bonus, which my team leader got to assign to benefit the team in the next game, AND I earned a special bonus. 

As a result of having ‘nurtured’ the objectives, I earned a bonus character for the next game, with a cost of zero points: an Ork Warboss in Mega-Armor.

Why, it’s the fellow that had been part of that Necron Deathstar! And now I have one of my own, imprinted on my Warlord and tagging along for the fun!

Next time, I’ll tell you about my next game, which was…not fun, to say the least.