Hey FTN Nation!
This last weekend was the LVO, and it was a great time. I wanted to put up some highlights from the event, and share some of the photos that I got from being there. I participated in the 40k Championships and the 30k Event, and had a great (if exhausting) 3 straight days of gaming. Here is my review and the low-down on some of the things that happened at the event.
The Venue and Events
This year the event was held at Bally’s Casino right on the Las Vegas Strip. The size of the Venue Hall was great, and aside from the conference room proper there were several of the smaller rooms where Fantasy was being played.
The main hall was stuffed with tables, and the tables were full of gamers all weekend long. I’m sure FLG will come out with a full list of all the numbers for attendees, etc., but there were hundreds of players playing many different games, the largest of which was the 40k championships, which sported close to 300 players. Warmachine, Magic, Star Wars X-wing and Armada, Infinity, and many more games were present. The 40k Narrative was done on masterfully made tables with excellent terrain, but there were some clever warmachine tables as well.
This was a convention made for gamers, by gamers, and it definitely showed.
Warhammer 40k Championships
The tables were well organized, and the 40k pairings were managed using a very efficient system where you would put your scores into tablets that the TO’s/Judges would carry around. This cataloged and calculated the scores between rounds automatically, and pairings were up very soon after rounds were over. The only hiccup with this system was that players were constantly refreshing the page where the pairings were posted on their phones, and that caused some latency on the server. The staff were aware and did everything they could to help, and it only caused a very minor delay (maybe a couple of minutes) and didn’t push the rounds back. If that’s the worst criticism that I can give, then the pairing system was a great success.
There were six rounds, and then the top 8 were selected for the finals on Sunday. With the large number of players, I was expecting to see a few more judges walking around, though they were only noticeably absent maybe once or twice during the rounds when a question came up.
Armies and Popular Tactics
The 40k championships had a wide variety of lists, so much so that I think it surprised many people who came. Points were set at 1850, which is the ITC standard. As expected, the ITC’s ruling allowing the cheaper Ork Stompa from Forge World proved to be a very popular choice amongst Ork players, and was almost universally paired with a Void Shield Generator. The VSG was also present in a lot of Tau, Tyranid, and some other lists as well, and was very popular. In environments that this is allowed, it’s a safe bet that you will find a large number of these fortifications in competitive 40k.
Gladius Strike Force, Tau Riptide Wing, Stealth Cadre, and the infamous “Fluffkiller” (Wolves/Ravenwing) were also to be found in abundance. This should come as unsurprising to most who listen to FTN and follow our competitive chat, as these lists are incredibly powerful, especially in the ITC missions which have a strong Maelstrom element in their missions. Lists (like mine) that struggled on the Maelstrom table would have a hard time competing with these formations that offered free units or MSU, as you had to focus on the primary and hope to get the tertiary to win. Armies that can do both well will shut out most other lists right off the bat, so it is no surprise that armies full of things that won’t die (Necrons), free stuff (Gladius/Summoning), and fast moving Obsec troops (Eldar) propagated the top tables every round.
The ITC Overall winner for the 2015 season was Alan “Pajamapants,” who won a $3,000.00 check to commemorate his win (and his wedding earlier that day). Alan is a great guy, outstanding player, and great friend of the show. Congratulations on your big win!
There were a lot of winners at this event. The ITC has a large number of categories for best faction player, on top of champions for individual factions at the event.
Here are some of the pictures I got from my own games and the neat armies I saw there. Many of these and more are also up on our Facebook page as well.
A big shout out for all the great hobbyists out there who brought some very well-painted armies. For people who love seeing painted armies, this was a paradise and every player deserves recognition for that. Well done!
A big thank you to all of my opponents, especially listeners to the show, who made the experience of playing the game great. A lot of people worry about a competitive event, especially such a big one, drawing out that notorious “guy” who ruins your day, and I can say that I didn’t play a single opponent in the 40k tournament that gave that “bad experience” that people get anxious about. I definitely encourage people to come out and support excellent events like this, and take the chance to have 6 great games of 40k, even at the risk of only having 5, because I think you’ll find it a worthwhile experience.
Horus Heresy 30k Event
The Horus Heresy Event was done on Sunday, and we had a total of 32 players (apparently double that of last year’s) who showed up. This was a three game event with prizes for best loyalist and best traitor, and was a lot less pressure than the 40k event for sure.
As this was my first 30k event, there was a lot to take in and a lot to do, but I was impressed with how great the game is and how smoothly it plays. Points were at 2500, which despite sounding really big, played out from start to finish in less than 2.5 hours.
There was a lot of carnage, and a lot of list variety, though as you can expect, there were a lot of Spartan Assault Tanks. The outstanding star was the Leviathan Siege Dreadnaught, which saw great success (especially when paired with a Lucius pattern drop pod). The only thing that would have been a bit more helpful would have been if the missions were printed out in some fashion and handed out with the player packet, as we had to spend a lot of time looking up the particulars of the missions in the books, and not everyone had the book with the missions in it. I had a 28 pound bag full of 30k books, and couldn’t find them, so for next year that might be a bit of a help to the players, but overall it was a minor problem and the event was a major (dare I say Apocalyptic?) blast.
Here are some of the armies that were at the 30k event:
The event saw the loyalists crush the traitors in epic fashion. That’s the price they pay for Heresy! It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to next year, as the Narrative Guys said they are preparing to do a 30k Narrative event for LVO 2017. This game lends itself very well to gameplay that can be both narratively inspired and competitive, so I am excited to see what the next year brings.
Overall, the Las Vegas Open was a resounding success, and it was quite the party. There was so much there that I could not hope to give it all attention, such as the non-gaming activities like the pub crawl and other social escapades that you just have to be there to experience to the fullest. A big thank you to the staff and organizers for putting on an outstanding event! I look forward to seeing it continue to grow in further years!
As a series, ITC essentially corners the market on creating that big, national (and global) community scene, and LVO is the culmination of that. I personally endorse what they are doing, because love or hate the ITC FAQ and format, they are the ones stepping up to the bat to create global 40k, and they work very hard at it. They also allow for a lot of liberty for TO’s and players alike to play their way while still being a part of that (such as the FTN Seasonal Events and Warzone: Atlanta where we got to use our own FAQ). A big “Thank you!” to Reece and Frankie (and all the FLG Crew) for putting such hard work into the event, and for being champions of the hobby.
Another big thank you to all the listeners who came up and said hello during the event. Next time I plan to do a better job commemorating all the people who came to say hi and get more pictures with them. It was great to meet you all, and I hope to see you again at further events and meet new people as well. If you ever see me at events (such as Adepticon next month) don’t be shy about coming up to say hello. It’s a privilege to be a part of the FTN 40k community and I am excited to see more people in the future!