The NOVA missions are a thing of glory, as they allow you to pick what mission is better suited for your army. So we break them down today and look at some of the best tactics to use.
First thing first, you can get the 40K primer here.
The NOVA pack offers 4 missions that are always roughly the same:
1 Primary, with fixed objective placement worth 9 points, 3 secondaries worth 2 points each, and a KP-based tertiary.
The primary goal is always a choice between either turn by turn scoring, which award you some points every turn for scoring objectives, or end game scoring, which awards you big big points for being alive at the end of the game.
So far with 2 of the big trends of 8th edition, end game looks like a heavy favorite.
1- Games seem to take forever and feature 150+ models per lists.
2- Turn one and 2 are insanely bloddy and action packed.
These 2 factors combined make it really hard to take turn by turn, as if you’re only playing 3-4 turns, or of most of both armies is dead by turn 2, being on objectives is hard.
If you have a large army that can take control of the board quickly, like orks or GSC which have decent movement and a pretty agressive game plan turn by turn is a great option if you know you can finish your game.
Secondary objectives is where the fun happens.
Fun, and some sort of army construction can help you make the best out of these 6 points.
Instead of the classic 1st Blood, Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord, NOVA Missions allow you to choose from 11 different secondary.
- First Blood – Classic.
- First Strike – Destroy a unit in your 1st turn. This is a much better alternative to 1st Blood, unless you don’t think you can kill something on turn one and you are sure none of your stuff will die.
- Moment of Bloodshed – Kill 3 units in a single turn. This is matchup relevant, you need to figure out if it’s something achievable without too much compromise – leaving 1-man units here and there to cap it later is decent and easily doable versus the right armies.
- Line Breaker – Classic.
- Heart of the Matter – Finish with your Warlord within 6’’ of the middle of the board. Somewhat a different take on Line Breaker, this objective seems better in 8th edition with « bubble » HQs that can hide in units. It’s not suited for every army, but having your Guiliman or Typhus within 6’’ of the middle is pretty safe and it’s usually much harder to kill than a lone unit claiming line breaker.
- Slay the Warlord – Classic.
- Marked for Death – Before the game, pick one of your opponent’s unit. Kill that unit. This is one of the better objective in my opinion, as it’s usually quite easy to pick something that needs to die during the game.
- Big Game Hunter – Destroy your opponent’s most costly unit. This is a hit of miss type of thing : what is your opponent’s biggest model/unit, and does it fit with your game plan to kill that unit?
- Cull the Hordes – Destroy 60 models. Again, this is matchup relevant. If your opponent has 70+ poxwalkers, conscripts or brimstones, you can usually take this objective, because it’s a fair assessment that if you don’t kill at least 60 of those, you’re losing the game anyway.
- Titanslayer – You earn 2 points per Titanic Vehicle you destroy. This is the gift that keeps on giving, as you can earn all your secondary points on this, even if you miss your other objectives. Assuming your opponent has 3 of those. Any army with 2 titanic vehicles, I would pick this, as usually, your game plan will involve killing them in order to win the game.
- Strike the Rank n File – Destroy all troops. This is an easy one when your opponent doesn’t have any troops. Or a single unit of scouts.
The key to the NOVA Secondary is to play it safe. You should never or rarely have to gamble or go out of your way to make them. Before the game, try thinking how you will win the game, and pick 3 objectives that you will do doing that.
Do you have 10 Slaanesh Terminators with Combi-Plasmas? Pick 1st strike and marked for death. Get 4 points guaranteed on turn one. If your opponent is playing some sort of spam thing and doesn’t have troops, you just got your 6 secondary points. Not a lot of guessing there.
Tertiary – Turn By Turn Kill Point
Every mission has this secondary, where the goal is to get a kill point every turn from 2 to 5. This is really not a big concern and you should probably not go too much out of your way to get it.
More Thoughts and Tactics
The best trick for NOVA mission is to keep track of scoring during the entire game.
Not only your own scoring, everybody’s scoring. Getting your points is easy enough, but knowing what you can sacrifice to stop your opponent from getting his points is just as important.
This Boogie Board gadget is quite popular with the Warmachine and Magic community to keep track of things, and it’s incredibly cheap. Also, shameless affiliate links. Boom!
If you know you will both score the same on primary and you have all your secondary achieved, pick one of his secondary and prevent him from doing it. As long as he can’t get those 2 points, there is no way for him to win.
And inversely, knowing when you are losing and figuring out how to take points back is much easier when you know exactly how many points you have to take.
With this in mind, see you at the tournament, safe travels. Now show me your warface!