Best Armies at Nova Open 2017

posted in: Tournament Results | 44

This past weekend was one of the biggest table top gaming conventions on the East Coast, NOVA Open! While you can find almost any of the major games there, we’re going to be talking about the Warhammer 40,000 events today. NOVA has both an Invitational and a Grand Tournament so we’ll touch on both today and leave the other events for another article. Now are you ready to find out what were the Best Armies at Nova Open 2017?

Nova Open Grand Tournament

First, we’ll take a look at the scores from the GT. There were a total of 8 rounds with a possible 20 points each game. The first four games are by score and then the second 4 games are within brackets. Here’s the data from the Grand Tournament:

Faction Average Overall Score Average Score per Game Player Count
Daemons 106.5 13.3 8
Renegade Knights 106.0 13.3 1
Asuryani 102.3 12.8 3
Imperial Knights 100.0 12.5 1
Space Marines 96.3 12.0 30
Genestealer Cult 95.0 11.9 4
Astra Militarum 94.6 11.8 17
Harlequins 92.3 11.5 4
Drukhari 91.3 11.4 3
Grey Knights 89.7 11.2 13
Adepta Sororitas 89.6 11.2 5
AdMech 88.4 11.1 5
Chaos Space Marines 88.2 11.0 31
Necrons 86.0 10.8 4
Ynnari 85.3 10.7 16
Orks 84.7 10.6 9
Imperium 83.9 10.5 13
Space Wolves 82.7 10.3 6
Tau Empire 82.7 10.3 12
Deathwatch 80.0 10.0 3
Death Guard 78.0 9.8 2
Aeldari 76.0 9.5 1
Dark Angels 74.0 9.3 5
Tyranids 60.6 7.6 11
Blood Angels 56.0 7.0 4
Custodes 54.0 6.8 1

Top Factions

Well that’s about what we were expecting. The top armies seem to be Daemons, Space Marines, Genestealers, Astra Miliatrum, Knights, and a little Eldar. I don’t think I need to go over Daemons as they have Magnus, Horrors, and all sorts of other goodies even if the most recent FAQ’s have taken Horror smite down a notch. Space Marines are the golden boys of Games Workshop and have both Guilliman and a new Codex helping them out. There were 30 Space Marine players making it a little more meaningful they scored so highly on average. We’ve seen powerful Genestealer Cult lists do well at other tournaments utilizing speed, surprise, and hordes of close combat units with invulnerable saves. The Astra Militarum have definitely been helped by the addition of Forgeworld units. Finally, there’s the Knights lists and our old friends Eldar also performing well in the NOVA Open Grand Tournament.

Middle Tier

I won’t go over every army in what I would consider the Middle Tier but I will point out some things I think were interesting. Chaos Space Marines had 31 players, almost the exact same as Imperial Space Marines. They also came right in the very middle of the pack which tells me CSM appeal to almost all levels of players which is pretty cool. I think their codex definitely helped them out a lot. Harlequins and Dark Eldar were at the top of this middle tier so it’s nice to see the denizens of Commoragh get some time on the table. It’s also worth pointing out that Ynnari and Necrons are no longer trending in the top tier like they were in 7th edition. Meanwhile, Orks had a pretty decent showing which is always good to see after their drought for the last few editions. The last thing I’ll say on this section is that I like that there were 5 Sisters players. Maybe that’s enough to convince Games Workshop to make some plastic kits?

Factions that Struggled

For this section I’m basically looking from the Space Wolves down. You’ll notice that all the Space Marine chapters that don’t have codexes (ie not Grey Knights) really struggled. Another faction that really struggled was the Tau. Now I love Communist fish people as much as the next guy but they’ve really taken some hits recently. They’ve definitely fallen far from their former glory in 6th and 7th editions. Then there’s the Tyranids, poor buggers. I’ve said this in every article but I really want them to be doing better. I really like seeing them on the table top and I hope they get a bump with a codex sometime soon. Finally, some brave soul played Custodes and I have nothing but respect for that guy.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think the NOVA Open Grand Tournament went pretty well. The NOVA style mission formats are not my personal favorites but it does appear that they really do let armies play to their strengths. For those that don’t know, the NOVA missions let each player pick from a list of objectives that they can try to achieve instead of locking them into missions predetermined by the tournament organizers. The winner of the Grand Tournament also won the invitation which definitely signals he knew what he was doing. That’s a hell of a lot of games in a weekend but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Finally I want to make a shout out to my Warhammer 40k community in North Carolina who had an amazing showing. Joe Papa Behrend brought home a best painted army award and we had several bracket winners. On top of that, almost all of the NC 40k players had winning records or were just their usual great selves at the tournament. Thanks for repping North Carolina so hard guys, and let’s keep this a strong community going!


The NOVA Open Invitational tournament is a 32 player tournament by invitation only. This means that it draws some of the best Warhammer 40,000 players from around the world. It follows the NOVA style mission format and is played in 5 rounds. There are still 20 points possible for each round but a loss results in immediate disqualification. This means that by round 5 there are only 2 players left to battle it out. You can check out the round progression here.

This year the winner of the Invitational was Andrew Gonyo, who like we said before, also won the Grand Tournament. That means he played a grueling 13 games in just about 4 days. I’m normally starting to lag around game 6 of a regular tournament or after several casual games on a Saturday while Gonyo was playing against some of the top 40k players in the world. That’s pretty amazing.

While others have gone over his list in detail I’m just going to hit the highlights here. Gonyo’s list was able to pack in horde units, elite deepstriking units, no LOS units, a lot of smite, and the lady Saint Celestine herself. With 120 objective secured psuedo-fearless conscripts supported by commissars, he was able to both bubble-wrap and hold objectives. Gonyo also used the Forgeworld Elysian rules to put plasma and infantry models where he needed them before they could get shot off the table. He also had 15 mortar teams which pack a hell of a punch in those numbers and don’t care where the enemy is hiding. Primaris Psykers brought full strength smite to the table in a similar way to how Chaos players have been using Malefic Lords. Having Celestine and some inferno pistols to pick off stragglers also never hurts. Finally, Gonyo also used Tauroxes with Gatling cannons to hold the line and provide a massive amount of strength 5 fire support.

As a guard player I love seeing the regular humans do work on the table top. I’m excited to see how the upcoming codex changing the play style of this faction in particular. I also wonder if we are going to be seeing a Games Workshop FAQ in the wake of the devastation those mortars squads left. Overall I think Gonyo brought a very versatile and creative list that exploited the units available to him. However, I’m curious to see if this type of army can survive in the constantly changing meta that is 8th Edition.


We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of the Best Armies at Nova Open 2017! Check out our Facebook Page and let us know how you feel about our article. We also have an upcoming tournament, Open Fire! on September 16th at Event Horizon in Garner, NC.

Don’t do paperwork, play with your dice!