Combined 0-12: A conversation about Dark Angels at the Goonhammer Opens

Well, it happened again. Another Goonhammer Open, and another 0-6 performance from the Dark Angels. It’s tradition now, we have to make this happen every time forever.

I sat down with Goonhammer Patron Beornwulf, real name Kay Sharrock, to talk about their experience at the UK GHO, which mirrors mine from the US iteration. There’s no bigger mood I can relate to than showing up to a GT with Dark Angels and taking your lumps, getting nothing but turbo-beatdowns all weekend long, and somehow walking away just as excited about the game. 

I had turned my baleful eye on this army well before the GHO started, having followed their hobby progress on our Discord server. If there’s anything I’m consistent about, it’s watching the painting channel like a hawk until a Dark Angels model shows up, then posting a requisite but still genuinely-felt “hell yeah” in response. Unlike my random mish-mash of units that I thought looked cool, Kay ran a pure Deathwing list of units that they thought looked cool, which kicks butt and is the kind of thing we’d all like to see more of. Here’s what they showed up with:

Deathwing Vanguard

Dark Angels Deathwing Vanguard Detachment [11CP, 99 PL, 2000pts]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Deathwing Ancient [5 PL, 120pts]: Pennant of Remembrance, Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield

Deathwing Apothecary [6 PL, -1CP, 135pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Storm bolter, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter

Deathwing Champion [4 PL, 80pts]: Halberd of Caliban

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 85pts]: Watcher in the Dark

. Deathwing Sergeant: Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield

. Deathwing Terminator: Lightning Claw (Pair)

+ HQ +

Captain in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 110pts]: Warlord (Decisive Tactician (Aura)), Relic blade, Storm shield

Interrogator-Chaplain [6 PL, 130pts]: Canticle of Hate (Aura), Litany of Hate, Crozius arcanum, Jump Pack, Thunder hammer

+ Elites +

Bladeguard Ancient [5 PL, 85pts]

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [5 PL, 110pts]

. 2x Bladeguard Veteran

. Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant: Neo-volkite pistol

Deathwing Knights [11 PL, 240pts]: Watcher in the Dark

. 4x Deathwing Knight

. Knight Master: Flail of the Unforgiven, Storm shield

Deathwing Terminator Squad [9 PL, 200pts]: Watcher in the Dark

. Deathwing Sergeant: Storm Bolter & Power Sword

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Chainfist

. Deathwing Terminator: Assault Cannon, Power Fist

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Power Fist

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Power Fist

Deathwing Terminator Squad [9 PL, 200pts]: Watcher in the Dark

. Deathwing Sergeant: Storm Bolter & Power Sword

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Chainfist

. Deathwing Terminator: Plasma Cannon, Power Fist

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Power Fist

. Deathwing Terminator: Storm Bolter & Power Fist

Venerable Dreadnought [9 PL, 150pts]: Rites of Initiation, Heavy plasma cannon, Dreadnought combat weapon w/Storm Bolter

+ Heavy Support +

Repulsor Executioner [20 PL, 355pts]: Macro Plasma Incinerator, Rites of Initiation

Before we get into this, I want to be totally clear that I’m not trying to dunk on anyone here. I do think it’s funny that we had nearly identical GHO outcomes, but more for how strange the coincidence is than anything else. I have genuine respect for anyone who sticks with it and plays out all the games at their first big GT even after winning, getting to .500, or getting a single win, are all off the table. You may have been 101st out of 102 in the standings, but you’re Blood of Champion, and 1st in our book. In mine, at least.

Deathwing Terminators fighting some Sororitas. Credit: Kay Sharrock

Greg: So, first off, condolences/congratulations on matching my record and keeping the trend alive. I don’t know why this keeps happening. I’m guessing you have some regrets, but I do find our mirror-image performances in different GHOs darkly hilarious. How was the event, overall?

Beornwulf: I really enjoyed it. It was my first 40k tournament, and my first time seeing so many people in one place since before Covid, both of which made it pretty daunting, but it all worked out and I had a great time. Nattering on discord in between rounds also helped, as the only person I knew otherwise was Wings and he was understandably somewhat busy! (Gregnote: Wings was Judging and otherwise helping run the event)

My opponents were broadly understanding of my newness, and generally happy to explain what they were doing or gently correct my mistakes. Getting to see and play against so many gorgeous armies also helped!

Greg: Yeah, I was surprised at the US Open by how many people said it was their first tournament, or in some cases their straight-up first 40k games. Bringing new people into the scene and helping them realize that it owns is one of my favorite things about the various Goonhammers Open.

Do you think you’ll register for any other organized events? I had this weird feeling after my 0-6 sweep where being body-slammed straight down to hell just made me want to play extra Warhammer. It seems counter-intuitive, but somehow I love my Dark Angels more now, and have been entering every GT and RTT in my area. You might be the only person on earth that can directly relate to this.

Beornwulf: Hell yes. I actually spent my lunch break today hunting down tournaments in striking distance of me (there’s not enough, but there’s one near my parents’ that’s on my birthday next year if i can get a spot!). Real talk I felt pretty flat after the event, but bounced back quickly once the initial event drop wore off.

Greg: I had a couple days worth of figurative Warhangover myself – less so I think from the string of crushing losses and more just from standing around yelling for 10 hours multiple days in a row.

Beornwulf: Yeah there was definitely more talking than I’d done in ages, let alone thinking and standing!

Greg: What inspired your list for the event, and what sorts of changes do you think you’ll be making? For me, I burned the entire thing to the ground, but I feel like you have a solid base to work from here.

Beornwulf: Yeah, I’m keeping the majority of it. I’m sadly having to put the Repulsor out to pasture – it didn’t kill a single enemy model all event, and I’m pretty sure it killed double digits of my own. I’ve put together a speculative 2.0 of the list that I’m hunting down more terminators for – adding two more squads of Objective Secure bodies should make board control more viable at the very least.

Inspiration-wise, I just really like “oops, all X” lists, and was experimenting with all-Deathwing even before we got the full Codex Supplement to save me 3 CP when doing so. I have plans to do a full 2k of each of the three ‘wings, but need to do some shopping, especially for the Ravenwing aspect. The dream is to one day roll all three out together in a massive weekend battle.

Dark Angels Repulsor Executioner. Credit: Kay Sharrock

Greg: Out of curiosity, how many of your games did you get first turn in? Asking because I went first precisely zero times in my run. I would like to think that played a role in my performance, mostly so I have an excuse for it, but what about your GHO?

Beornwulf: If I’m remembering (and reading my notes) correctly, I went first in my first three games and second in the other three. The one where it definitely felt like it made a difference was my fifth game, where a very aggressive push by the Sororitas player managed to successfully deny me the centre ground for Oaths of Moment (as well as blow up my Repulsor, but that’s less surprising…).

Greg: You didn’t come in dead last, though, so I think you did categorically better than I did in the GHO US. How does it feel, not being the worst? Is it nice? I bet it’s nice.

Beornwulf: In some ways I was actually hoping for last after the panel beating I got in the last round! 

Greg: I get that – at a certain point, usually around 0-4, I’d rather just shoot the moon and end up being the sole owner of 0-6 instead of a pedestrian 1-5. Seems cooler, somehow.

Any theories as to why the Goonhammer Open seems to actively punish Dark Angels? Is there a Curse Of The Unforgiven, or are you somehow British Greg (I assume you’re British anyway, that’s probably something a better interviewer would have clarified before hand) and if so, are you worried about it impacting future events?

Beornwulf: My theory is that it was karma for failing to defeat the Dark Angel successor chapter I fought in round 3, as my performance seemed to go downhill from there. If they attracted the attention of the Deathwing they were clearly Fallen, especially with that gorgeous Chaplain converted from a Cypher mini they were fielding!

Maybe I can make up for it by doing a Dark Angel crusade force and actually doing the Fallen hunt properly…

Dark Angels and Magnus. Credit: Kay Sharrock

Greg: [extremely Columbo voice] Just one more question: do you have any other blazingly Hot Takes you’ve always wanted to post but never had an audience for? This doesn’t have to be about Warhammer.

Beornwulf: This is one that occurred to me this weekend – the best way to make giving someone a panel-beating fun for them is to engage and be enthusiastic and to hype up the cool moments and the stories that are playing out on the field of battle. Absolute shout-out to my last opponent for that – he handed me my terminator-armoured ass so thoroughly I only removed two of his models while getting tabled, but it felt like the best game of the weekend because of the stories that came out of it.

Thanks so much to Kay for doing this interview, and we hope to see them repping the Rock at future events. As always, if you have feedback, the comments are open, or you can reach out to us at