Thursday, February 1, 2018

LVO 2018 - The Gopnik of the West Returns

As is the fashion these days, I’m going to do a brief writeup of my recent participation in LVO 2018.

Once again, the event was held at Bally’s casino, with people travelling from all around the world. For us though, and representing with a bigger local presence, 5 of our locals got together for a few days of hardcore gaming!

Oh and once again, I was the only Ariadna player!

- Dawn Represents!

Morning of and I look pretty shattered, but thankfully I was waking up at home at least so I could try a bit of impromptu cosplay...

Just like before, myself and the others managed to get a bunch of practice in, with many games scheduled over the few weeks before. There was unfortunately a bit of a last minute switch in the roster (which of course affected everybody equally), but otherwise it was a standard 300 point ITS using the following missions.

Power Pack
Comms Center
Capture and Protect

And my lists were as follows:

You’ll notice that both builds were pretty similar, as the scenario lineup really rewards a very typical Vanilla Ariadna setup. The only real difference is that one list had the Veteran (for Power Pack and C&P as needed) so I had a durable data tracker, and the other had the Scout in case I had a worry about rushing tags and wanted eMaulers for an impending Tag (particularly for C&P). The Warcor in the first list was a useful Flash Pulse speedbump, while the 112 was for Classified coverage (seeing as hackers are blegh).   

The only wrinkle in this was Soldiers of Fortune. I think like many others, I actually opted out of this (not having many of the requisite mercs, and not willing to buy them just to use in one event) but I did briefly consider a build involving Lunah as my sniper and some Sforza action for deceptive purposes. But frankly, with the scenario switchup I simply ran out of the time to test this possibility, though I don't think I missed having them, so no worries there! 

- The Full Army Roster. Notice - a few models there that wouldn't make either list (to deter sneaky observants, but also to let them fixate on big scary things and not focus on what might be under each camo marker. In this sense, worked like an absolute treat!) 

In hindsight, although the Scout disappointed in both games, I honestly wouldn’t have changed much. Really in both games, every piece did what I needed it to. What I (stupidly) forgot was my 10 commandments gaming sheet – having left it in my bag all day. Mercifully, memory took over and there was nothing much forgotten, but what a risk… 

Also, I sadly forgot to take many pics in a couple of games (battery life wasn't helping either!)  but I think I have enough for a passable writeup! 

Onto the games!

Round 1 – Power Pack vs. Vanilla Nomads

This was a surprisingly picturesque board. Normally I’m not a fan of this terrain (the buildings you can’t actually go inside), but the little extras and varied height certainly made for a dynamic game. My opponent was running a fairly balanced vanilla build, with lots of Koalas (6-8, I think?) an Intruder HMG in an advantageous board position, Jaguar for smoke, Interventor, Kriza HMG (his data tracker and Lt) and Morans to hold the middle with remote support. I took the Veteran list and we were away.

Really this game involved a lot of vying for the center, but Chasseurs made it hard for him to get an edge on. Uxia and the Spetz largely emptied out the left flank, but his Intruder and the Kriza cleaned me up on the right. Both of us were just tearing chunks out of each other, but as my Chasseurs still handily held the central consoles, my board control left me still feeling okay about the damage I had taken. My one regret though was the moment when my wounded Veteran Kazak veered a little too close to one of the many koalas, losing his last wound and killing my data tracker. Sigh.

Towards the end. he made a very aggressive push with the Kriza and devoured most of my backfield, hoping to get my Lt out the picture. To his surprise, my Lt was a Foxtrot in the midfield safe from the action, so I soldiered on with the remaining Chasseurs, took the central consoles, and moved the girl Chasseur up to his objective (securing his HVT). His Moran survived the mine to take a console back and go for the tie (dammit!) but then failed the 3 WIP rolls to take the console (hooray!). Without sufficient orders, he couldn’t reach my objective and I had killed the Kriza with a Foxtrot just before.

- The Kriza finally falls...

Win 6-1. 

Sadly I missed out on an easy 8-1 victory by not simply un-camoing the Chasseur on his objective (had the Veteran avoided the Koala or just survived, it would have been a much safer 10-1). But still, otherwise a solid game and fairly indicative of the Ariadna playstyle… 

Round 2 – Tic-Tac-Toe vs. Hassassins

Ah the beautiful water table! Finally got a couple more pictures of this game, so that certainly helped. We both lined up from each other and once again I got first turn, hoping to put the pressure on early, given the advantage of going second for last minute scoring. My opponent had a Muyib link, Fiday, Ghazi, an Ayyar, Leila a Lasiq and Daylami at the top left, and finally McMurough – the only merc I faced that day!

- Deployment, with most of my forces tucked out of LOS behind the buildings (bottom right) or midfield scoring positions. 

My first turn and the Irmadinhos ran up, one taking my central console in the water (why these guys lack Aquatic Terrain I’ll never know!) and the other mainly focused on avoiding coming too far out and catching an HRL hit from the Muyib link. I smoked up a bit further and Uxia took the bottom right console, smoking up much of my backfield so I could reposition carefully. The damn Impersonator revealed and took a pot-shot at her, but despite several exchanges with her assault pistols, neither died before I ran out of orders in pool 2.

- Uxia carefully checking LOS to the impersonator (marker visible just off to the left side of the screen in the boat). No cover sadly at first, but an adjustment the next order sorted that. 

In pool 1, the Antipodes used the cloud cover to bound up to the Impersonator, hoping to box him in. I then used the Irmadinho’s chain rifle to try and kill it, moving into melee. He swung, killed the Irmadinho, and survived the spray (damn) but chose to stay engaged (hooray!) so I could recamo the Antipodes and leave them to babysit all game. Finally, the Spetz picked off the Lasiq, and my Chasseur captured a the central left flag before re-camoing.

In essence, the plan here was to use my aggressive board positioning with smoke + camo to grab as many flags as possible, hoping to whittle him away enough with some gunfighting at range to force the link to come out and play. 

His turn and his forces pushed up, the Ghazi catching some AROs from my Spetz and killing one in the process. Happier still, Mcmurough also ate a pair of rounds and that laid him out, and at this point even the Daylami had a go, getting shot down in the process.

- McMurough dies to Spetz AROs

Understandably feeling frustrated with the fact that the Spetz were still intact and pinning him down while entirely inaccessible from the Muyib link, he pushed those up and captured all 3 of his objectives with the link (right), Leila (center) and Ayyar (left) respectively. The Ayyar hid to re-holo and he passed turn.

- View on some of those long firelanes from the Spetznaz (at the bottom and another on the boat). 

My turn and the Spetz emerged to finish off another Ghazi, and then I had my right Chasseur take the central right objective. I had a few orders in pool 1, so the Dozer grabbed my bottom left objective, and then the Scout tried to kill Leila, failed, and died. Damn. 

Still, pool 2 was much luckier, and I saw a potential opening. Uxia (multiterrain yes!) spent a ton of orders creeping around the island to the right, using smoke to get up to the Muyib link, and climbed up the far side. Lined up in a nice boarding shotgun template, Uxia caught a bullet from the one in the water, but not before fragging 3 of the Muyibs with a Crit+hit, and I think pushing him into retreat. 

With the last 2 orders, my Chasseur climbed down from the island, (using the Antipodes to try and limit his remaining LOS) and pushed his console for a quick line of 3 objectives into his DZ (+ securing his HVT). 

Win 10-0

Much better. Really only the Scout disappointed me this game, but the prevalence of multi-terrain on my part and use of lanes to attack his pieces while avoiding retaliation allowed me to eek out a solid win. My opponent Greg was simply awesome to play with though, so this was definitely one of the best games of the day J

Round 3 – Comms Center vs. NCA

Uh-oh. Well we knew it would happen eventually, and there it was – top table vs. Barakiel (Michael) running his dreaded Neoterra. This board was a bit… “busy” for my tastes actually, as the extreme firelanes afforded by the towers, coupled with lots of winding staircases, arches you could see under, varied height, and littered streets meant determining LOS was…stressful, to say the least. Lots of checking, rechecking, winding back and general messiness. 

- Deployment. Here you can see the four (!) towers on his side of the board, all with amazing firelanes. Once the Fusilier Missile went down on the left, I suspected a Hexa sniper/Swiss Missile would cover the right, so either way I was pretty pinned down from the start.  

Still, winning the rolloff and going first with Ariadna meant I knew I could at least get the HVT done and dusted in short order (Uxia at least winning her rolloff and blasting it to pieces) while mine was tucked away in a near impossible-to-reach bunker (left in the above photo, near inaccessible from his side and guarded by a flamer grunt). 

The real question at this point was how best to proceed.

Michael is frankly an absolute machine of a player. I don’t know how many of you have faced him, but his precision and strategy are only out-matched by his absolutely perfect positioning, and a single mistake can be very costly. I knew that while Michael had a large number of orders, there were only a few specialist pieces in his army, so my strategy was to use whatever pieces I could to leverage a solid board control advantage and ideally trim orders (killing any specialists I could if possible). That way, if his pools had taken any damage at all, lower pano wip coupled with any board control I might be difficult to overcome in a hurry.

Sadly, from the get-go this strategy didn’t work out quite so well. One Grunt had landed successfully, so after taking out an Auxbot (dying in the process) and freeing Uxia to go for the target, she was sadly stunned from a lucky pathfinder and so only got her initial shots off on the HVT, ending any further rampage possibility on those backfield remotes. Damn bit of luck there

After a lot of finangling, the right Spetz worked up to take out a Fugazi, and the other pushed up to take out the missile. I pushed up aggressively to get inside 24”, knowing that if I could take out that crucial piece I would have a LOT more room to move on the board (he could see almost EVERYTHING) from that tower. Unfortunately, despite needing 15s myself and him needing 9s, the Missile survived the roll (ducking prone). Moreover, while I was lucky in that the revealing Swiss missed his shot (needing a 9), the Spetz was stunned by another Fugazi, ending another chance at the missile. 

Worse, the missile was pinning down any hopes of retreating with the right Spetz now that he was revealed, so I knew both had decent odds of dropping in short order.

His retaliation was swift, and the CSUs moved up to gang up on the right Spetz (again, sadly I didn’t kill one with the unopposed pistol shot). Then his Auxilia fought the left spetz who was now caught overextended, killing him easily (a trade I would have been willing to make to get the Missile). The Swiss HMG, who had revealed for a potshot earlier, swept up my left Chasseur and stayed sensibly back for he knew he was in a good place. The Auxilia and remote held the center, pushing his console.

My turn and I knew without both heavy hitters, Uxia and a Chasseur that I was already in trouble, and worse, I’d failed to deprive his orders much either. Instead a new plan formed – grab objectives as much as possible, stall, and go for retreat! The sole flag on my left from the dead chasseur was supplemented by my Veteran grabbing my central and board center flags, then proceeding to shoot up his Pathfinder remote (failing to kill it GAH – you’ll sense a theme here!).

Meanwhile, my chasseur on the right grabbed my right and central right flags, bringing me up to 5. Both died in the process (the Chasseur had to stand to get there, eating a missile, the Veteran was caught by a Hexa MSR I knew was there, but was hoping to bait). Finally, my Foxtrot Lt pops out – splatting a CSU in her good range and once again being eaten by a missile in the process.

With the Mul REMs dying in their attempts to block LOS and the controller dying trying to put down smoke for that veteran (failing miserably, needing a 14 unopposed) I knew retreat was guaranteed. In hindsight, I should have suppressed with the Veteran instead of going for my flag, knowing he’d kill it anyway but use it as an order bump and potentially flaming one of his specialists instead. Oh well. At least I was up 5 objectives to 1, got his HVT with my data tracker, and was guaranteed retreat next turn. 

His turn, and the mad dash begins. The Pathfinder gets his left side objective, and then starts moving to mine. The Antipodes however, still alive (and passing their WIP check) blocked the path though and he switched gears to the Hexa instead. The Fusiliers moved up and tried their luck at shredding the Antipodes to clear a path, eating a few rolls but eventually bringing one of the dogs down. That Hexa hacker then moved up, taking my side middle flag, and claiming one of the ones from the Chasseur on the last roll of the game. The final tally of objectives was 4-2 in his favor, and with more specialists killed, he had a minor win.

Loss 3-6

Wow what a bloody game! I was thoroughly outplayed on this one by a much better player than I, so congratulations on Michael for stealing the LV crown! In hindsight, I don’t think the plan was terrible so much as just unfortunate – if even a handful of those attacks I’d made against the Missile Launcher, Pathfinder, Uxia, or CSU earlier had gone through, maybe, just maybe, he would have been too short on orders to pull off that win (came down to the last 2 rolls of the game, after all!). 

Strategically of course there were probably better moves I could have done – suppressing with the Veteran, pushing up with a Chasseur on the left to waste time, or crucially, leaving the Antipodes closer to the stair objectives at the end to perhaps buy more time.

But yes, excuses excuses Lazarus - I was soundly, resoundly, thoroughly beaten by an amazing player, and he absolutely deserves full credit for the win. And hey, now at least Michael and I are tied in W/L record haha.

Round 4 – Capture and Protect vs. Vanilla Aleph

Well down from top table, this was mercifully a much more relaxing game and oh my goodness what a table. The “Bill Murray” board, as it was quickly nicknamed, was simply awesome to play on, and my opponent was again one of the nicest people I’ve met across the table (yes, I really lucked out this year at LVO!).

- Shots of the board and deployment

The only drawback, he explained, was that this tournament was his first time even playing Aleph! 2 Dakini HMGs, a Deva Spitfire, 2 TR bots, and a host of order bots meant this a very interesting force to face, a surprising “attrition” build that could take a hit, heal back up, and keep moving….very quickly!

Winning the roll to go first, I knew that was a crucial moment. His objective was tucked behind a building, so Uxia thankfully grabbed the flag through smoke, and absolutely legged it back to my lines. She made it all the way back before sadly being caught by a TR bot on the last hurdle, disappearing into a red mist. Still, with a bit of better smoke to obscure said bot, the Antipodes moved up to take over, I pushed up a Chasseur on the left, and moved the Scout at the center (sadly forgetting to grab cover with the second move) to buy some breathing room

- Scout forgetting to take cover there in the open (should have been behind the stall)

My spetz on the right meanwhile set about trying to deplete some orders, but caught a crit from the Dakini and ate it. The Dozer (data tracker) nabbed my flag and then hid prone all game. Finally, the left Spetz on my roof appeared, putting a shot into his TR bot in bad range and killing it. 

- Spetz on the roof picking off the TR bot at long range in hut shaped building (top right)

- Flag tucked away safely there in the bottom middle (red token) 

His turn, and the bot was repaired up. At first, he tried to engage the Spetz, but being at bad range meant needing 2s (range, cover, camo) vs. my single 9, which was just too difficult. Instead, he crept up with the other one, but again being just short on range, the Spetz put him down. He spent orders getting round to repair it (the Spetz killing his Yudbot), and another exchange, this time in good range, mercifully left my Spetz alive and ducking prone for safety. The right flank crept up, positioning the TR bots closer to me and completely controlling the board. 

My turn, and after cutting off the left flank a bit with smoke, my Chasseur upfield ran right a bit, catching the Dakini HMG, right TR bot and the Posthuman in the flamer. The Yudbot from the engineer died, as did the bot (yay!) but both the Posthuman and Dakini survived. Still, the 112 doc now had an opening to get the right Spetz back, and though the Spetz couldn’t get an angle to more than just a Probot (killing it), at least he positioned defensively a bit with some suppressing fire.

Finally, the roof Spetz emerged, killing the Dakini HMG, and sadly dying from the left TR bot in the process (I missed the LOS here in my exhaustion).

- This heroic machine finally dies

His turn and the creep towards my flag continued, with the left TR bot and Deva getting close and the latter suppressing, ready to grab the flag last minute (antipodes wasting a lot of his orders by getting in the way and eventually dying). He had taken some damage last turn, but all it would take is a single 6-4 moving model to grab my flag and that would be it!

My final turn, and the Irmadinho moved up, beat the TR bot with smoke, and then moved through the smoke with irregular order to template it. The Irmadinho died and he lived! UGH! In a bit of desperation, my Foxtrot Lt stood up on the roof, surviving the Deva suppressing (-3 range + cover) and killing the TR bot with a -9 modifier (0 range, cover, camo, surprise shot). This left the right spetz free to break suppressing, move over, and kill the Deva before re-suppressing with the Foxtrot.

Finally, the right Chasseur moved up, flaming the Posthuman (killing it) and dying in the process to his 2nd Dakini HMG.

- Spetz holding my flag via Suppression

His turn and he knows it won’t take much to get the tie. The Dakini moves up, but between the Foxtrot and the Spetz suppressing, I eventually get him before he reaches the flag and that’s it.

Win 10-0

Very interesting game. Despite a very early lead, my opponent ground through with a strong attrition game and had me seriously sweating by the end to stop any one of those fast-moving models forcing an easy tie! Another bloody game though, and not much was left standing, so good on him for really dealing some serious damage, and better still for an army that was entirely new to him!


In the end (after a slight mishap with the scores) I came 5th. I was a little sad about losing Vegas’s hold over the LVO crown for 2 years running, but with a cool suite of prizes (a bundle of QK for the charity project – yay!) and some wonderful games, I have no complaints. Met some seriously wonderful people and had a fantastic time. 

- Mystery box! 

Quickly on the seminar – like most Ariadna players, I’m pretty excited for Rosie, and definitely glad I held off on picking up a 2nd Blackjack sculpt so I can grab that sweet HMG. The rest is either known for a while or nothing for either Pano/QK worth much of a mention, so those were definitely the highlights for me. 

Of course, there was the Warcor meeting which was much more… <redacted>.

Thank you to my incredible opponents, Joel, Carlos, & any others for organizing the event + seminar, and of course my local crew for joining me in representing Vegas!

With LVO now behind me, I’ll be running QK now for most of the rest of the competitive year, so stay tuned for some more updates folks as I begin a new sectorial, a new paint scheme, and of course a new challenge…

Until next time! 


  1. You wouldn't happen to recall more about that Aleph list would you? I'm toying with a similar idea right now and running into a few decision sticking points.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! I grabbed the list from the TO, and it was this:

    Dakini (HMG)
    Dakini (HMG)
    Probot (Minesweeper)
    Proxy Mk1 Engineer (Yudbots x2)
    Proxy Mk5 FO
    Deva Spitfire

    Danavas HD+
    Danavas HD+
    Deva Lt
    Netrod x3
    Garuda Shotgun

    Really bizarre. I've not faced a build quite like this before for Vanilla Aleph. To me, it's definitely interesting for having tons of orders, but I'd personally prefer a bit more midfield presence (e.g. twin Dasyus) and perhaps a primary punch piece (e.g. Asura). Very interesting though to see Aleph run a horde build mind.

    1. Thanks a bunch. I can see a few switches I would make myself.
      I played the one I was toying with over the weekend in the new mission Unmasking and enjoyed it. I did add a bit more punch to it, but this gives me thoughts. Patroclus was a great distraction eating up their orders and a couple units, but not being key to the mission at all.

      Dakini HMG
      Dakini HMG
      Dakini Paramedic
      Danavas HD+
      Deva Sensor LT
      Deva Spitfire MSV
      Myrmidon Chain Rifle

      Proxy Mk1 Doctor (need to change that to Engineer in this list in retrospect)
      Proxy Mk5 FO

  3. Hey, curious what your 10 commandments gaming sheet is. Do you have a post on that?

    1. I'm really wondering that, too - feel like sharing, man?

  4. Thx man, nice article and great pics, go on !