Competitive Innovations in 10th: Superslate Supermajors pt.1

Done with the preliminaries, on to some main events! This weekend we had the LGT, usually the second largest 40K event of the entire season, and it provided an opportunity for list builders to really show off what they can do in a post-dataslate world. Roughly, the takeaways appear to be:

  • Eldar are still too good. If there’s one thing that GW could do to improve this slightly without too much hassle, I’d suggest taking the “no advances” clause off Night Spinners (or at least changing it to -2″ like, you know, every other version of this effect).
  • Chaos Space Marines and (newly ascended) Tau are in hot pursuit at the top.
  • Players were notably building for Fixed Objectives a lot more than has been the case previously.
  • …despite all that, there’s now an appreciably broader range of armies that can throw down with something that seems at least functional, and plenty of armies that were previously languishing can now put up a serious fight.

I’m sure some much deeper dives into the exact stats will follow, so I wanted to just highlight the Fixed Objectives thing as a particular point to watch, in particular the combination of Deploy Teleport Homers and either Cleanse or Behind Enemy Lines. The UKTC terrain maps definitely contributed to this – on pretty much all of them it’s very easy to hide a unit from shooting in range to do board-centre homers, and bring able to reliably ride that to 15+ on that Secondary made it a strong choice over Tactical wherever an army had a second playable one. Metagame evolution is also probably contributing – Fixed is a lot more attractive when you’re not worrying about getting no-scoped by TOWERING  units, and the removal of ten-model Custodes bricks also removes the main thing that might previously have steamrolled you off the centre objective. Changes to free Stratagems probably also contribute – more armies are now running one of the models that hands out +1CP a turn, removing the advantage of being able to burn a Secondary for a CP in an emergency.

Definitely something to keep an eye on, and it’s clear that while things are vastly improved from where they were a few weeks ago, there’s still work to do balance wise. I’d also definitely encourage any TOs putting together their own terrain maps to consider whether they make Homers in the centre too safe, as no one wants to go back to the uninteractive Secondary play that late 9th often threw up.

With that out the way, on to some events. Today I’ll be looking at:

  • Goonhammer Open Canada
  • London Grand Tournament (supermajor++)
  • Crucible 2023 (major)
  • Come the Apocalypse GT 2023

And Lowest of Men will be taking the reins on Friday once more, covering:

  • Hanseatic Alliance Open (major)
  • MOAB 40K 2023
  • 40k SA Nationals 2023

This week’s Showdowns, as voted for by Goonhammer’s beloved patrons, will be:

  • Tau vs. Aeldari at the Goonhammer Open Canada
  • Imperial Knights vs. Synaptic Nexus Nids at Crucible 2023.
  • Imperial Knights vs World Eaters at the South African Nationals.

Goonhammer Open Canada

40-player, 6-round Grand Tournament in Winnipeg, MB, CA on September 30 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Priority Targets – Dawn of War – Chosen Battlefield

Logan Antonation – T’au Empire: Go-wide Tau with a couple of Riptides, a pair of breacherfish and lots of other mobile units.
Army List - Click to Expand


++ Army Roster (Xenos – T’au Empire) [2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size: 2. Strike Force (2000 Point limit)

Detachment: Kauyon

Show/Hide Options

+ Epic Hero +

Commander Shadowsun [100pts]: Warlord

Longstrike [140pts]: Railgun, 2x Seeker missile

. 2 Twin smart missile systems

+ Character +

Cadre Fireblade [40pts]

. 2x Gun Drone: 2x Twin pulse carbine

Cadre Fireblade [40pts]

. 2x Gun Drone: 2x Twin pulse carbine

+ Battleline +

Breacher Team [90pts]

. Breacher Fire Warrior Shas’ui

. . Guardian Drone
. . Gun Drone
. 9x Breacher Fire Warriors: 9x Close combat weapon, 9x Pulse blaster, 9x Pulse pistol

Breacher Team [90pts]

. Breacher Fire Warrior Shas’ui

. . Guardian Drone
. . Gun Drone
. 9x Breacher Fire Warriors: 9x Close combat weapon, 9x Pulse blaster, 9x Pulse pistol

+ Infantry +

Stealth Battlesuits [60pts]: Battlesuit support system

. Stealth Shas’ui w/ burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ fusion blaster
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon, Marker Drone, Shield Drone

Stealth Battlesuits [60pts]: Battlesuit support system

. Stealth Shas’ui w/ burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ fusion blaster
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon, Marker Drone, Shield Drone

Vespid Stingwings [75pts]

. 4x Vespid Stingwings: 4x Neutron blaster, 4x Stingwing claws

Vespid Stingwings [75pts]

. 4x Vespid Stingwings: 4x Neutron blaster, 4x Stingwing claws

+ Vehicle +

Ghostkeel Battlesuit [160pts]: Battlesuit support system, Cyclic ion raker, Twin fusion blaster

Hammerhead Gunship [130pts]: Railgun, 2x Seeker missile

. 2 Twin smart missile systems

Hammerhead Gunship [130pts]: Railgun, 2x Seeker missile

. 2 Twin smart missile systems

Piranha [55pts]

. Piranhas: Piranha fusion cannon, 2x Seeker missile

Piranha [55pts]

. Piranhas: Piranha fusion cannon, 2x Seeker missile

Piranha [110pts]

. Piranhas: Piranha fusion cannon, 2x Seeker missile
. Piranhas: Piranha fusion cannon, 2x Seeker missile

Riptide Battlesuit [180pts]: Ion accelerator, Twin plasma rifle

. 2x Missile Drone: 2x Missile pod

Riptide Battlesuit [180pts]: Ion accelerator, Twin plasma rifle

. 2x Missile Drone: 2x Missile pod

Tetras [80pts]

. 2x Tetra: 2x Close combat weapons, 4x Pulse rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

Devilfish [75pts]: 2x Seeker missile

. 2 Twin pulse carbines

Devilfish [75pts]: 2x Seeker missile

. 2 Twin pulse carbines

++ Total: [2,000pts] ++

vs.

James “Boon” Kelling – Aeldari: Double Avatar with some additional herohammer support, plus lots of speedy scoring units.
Army List - Click to Expand


1. Goonhammer Open (1995 points)
Aeldari
Strike Force (2000 points)
Battle Host

CHARACTER

Autarch Wayleaper (115 points)
• Warlord
• 1x Howling Banshee Mask
1x Reaper launcher
1x Star glaive

Avatar of Khaine (335 points)
• 1x The Wailing Doom

Death Jester (105 points)
• 1x Jester’s blade
1x Shrieker cannon
• Enhancement: Fate’s Messenger

Fuegan (115 points)
• 1x Searsong
1x The Fire Axe

Solitaire (115 points)
• 1x Solitaire weapons

The Yncarne (350 points)
• 1x Swirling soul energy
1x Vilith-zhar, the Sword of Souls

OTHER DATASHEETS

Falcon (140 points)
• 1x Bright lance
1x Pulse laser
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Fire Dragons (85 points)
• 1x Fire Dragon Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Firepike
• 4x Fire Dragon
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Dragon fusion gun

Night Spinner (180 points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Shadow Spectres (95 points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Shadow Spectres (95 points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Swooping Hawks (75 points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Swooping Hawks (75 points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Warp Spiders (115 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Thoughts

Two very strong scoring lists on the top tables here. Both these armies pack a bunch of stuff that provides cheap and cheerful ways to rack up Secondaries, meaning that on Priority Targets (generally the highest scoring Primary) the scores are likely to be pretty high on both sides if the players leave each other to their own devices. That defines the goal here, which is to find a way to shut down either the enemy’s Primary or Secondary game, with the player going first generally needing to focus on stopping Secondaries (as unless you can table the opponent, stopping the player going second scoring maximum Primary is tough), while the player going second conversely needs to focus on maximising their Secondaries while retaining enough resources to prevent a good end-game score from the first player.

The assets each player here has in service to that goal are broadly that Boon’s Aeldari have better and more Secondary scoring units, but Logan has more redundancy in damage dealers, meaning he can afford to trade with them. With that in mind, I think Logan’s goal is to find ways to reach out and murder Secondary scorers as quickly as possible (something that Breacherfish are pretty good for, which helps), aiming to thin their ranks enough that at some point Boon stumbles on being able to lock in every card he draws, sufficient to mitigate the fact that Logan probably scores 45 on Primary. He does need to be careful to retain enough stuff to swing for a 5pts end-game score, as Boon can afford to go all-out with every remaining big hitter on the final turn to try and prevent it.

So how does that play out? Happily, as Boon was tracking the scores in the Tabletop Battles App, we can see exactly how the scoring went:

As expected, you can see that Boon scored 50 Primary to 45, but Logan ended up far enough ahead on Secondaries that he was still able to take the victory. A key pivot point looks to be Boon not being able to score Tempting Target early (which would be down to Chosen Battlefield and Tau scout moves), and then being low enough on tools that picking up Engage late game wasn’t possible. I’m told he still had a shot at playing for a draw, going all out to try and blast Logan off an objective to deny 5VP at the end, but it wasn’t to be and the Greater Good took the day.

Result

T’au Empire Victory – 94 – 89

Logan Antonation – T’au Empire – 1st Place

Shadowsun. Credit: Rockfish
Shadowsun. Credit: Rockfish

The List

See Showdown

Archetype

Mobile Tau

Thoughts

A pleasingly different Tau list here, eschewing massed Crisis Suits in favour of other mobile tools like tanks and Riptides. Lacks the sheer gut busting killing power of a CIB Crisis unit, but scores very, very well, and still has plenty of ways of putting the hurt on the opposition. This looks like a blast to play, and is clearly very potent, so congratulations to new Goonhammer Open belt holder Logan.

The Best of the Rest

There were 3 more players on 5-1 records. They were:

  • 2nd – James Kelling – Aeldari: See showdown
  • 3rd – Justin Signer-Delorme – Death Guard: Mortarion, a Typhus/Pox brick, lots of Daemon Engines and some Brigands.
  • 4th – Cyle Thompson – Deathwatch: Terminator, Inceptor and Eliminator MSUs backed by one big Hellblaster unit.

London Grand Tournament

All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

Liam Vsl – Chaos Space Marines – 1st Place

Iron Warriors Chaos Lord and Space Marines. Credit: SRM

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
CHARACTERS

{CHAR1} 1x Chaos Lord (75 Points)
• Warlord
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Daemon hammer
1x Plasma pistol

{CHAR2} 1x Chaos Lord (75 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Daemon hammer
1x Plasma pistol

{CHAR3} 1x Chaos Lord (75 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Daemon hammer
1x Plasma pistol

BATTLELINE

10x Cultist Mob (55 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Cultist Champion
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Cultist firearm
• 9x Chaos Cultist
• 9x Close combat weapon
6x Cultist firearm
1x Cultist grenade launcher
1x Flamer
1x Heavy stubber

DEDICATED TRANSPORTS

1x Chaos Rhino (75 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Armoured tracks
1x Combi-bolter
1x Combi-weapon
1x Havoc launcher

1x Chaos Rhino (75 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Armoured tracks
1x Combi-bolter
1x Combi-weapon
1x Havoc launcher

OTHER DATASHEETS

5xChosen (110 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Chosen Champion
• 1x Accursed weapon
1x Bolt pistol
1x Combi-weapon
• 4x Chosen
1 with paired accursed weapon and a plasma pistol
1 with accursed weapon and a combi-weapon
1 with accursed weapon and a boltgun
1 with a powerfirst and a plasma pistol / Chaos icon

5xChosen (110 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Chosen Champion
• 1x Accursed weapon
1x Bolt pistol
1x Combi-weapon
• 4x Chosen
1 with paired accursed weapon and a plasma pistol
1 with accursed weapon and a combi-weapon
1 with accursed weapon and a boltgun
1 with a powerfirst and a plasma pistol / Chaos icon–

10xChosen (220 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Chosen Champion
• 1x Accursed weapon
1x Bolt pistol
1x Combi-weapon
• 9x Chosen
2 with paired accursed weapon and a plasma pistol
3 with accursed weapon and a combi-weapon
2 with accursed weapon and a boltgun
1 with a powerfirst and a plasma pistol / Chaos icon
1 with a powerfirst and a plasma pistol

1xForgefiend (180 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Armoured limbs
2x Ectoplasma cannon
1x Ectoplasma cannon

1xForgefiend (180 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Armoured limbs
2x Ectoplasma cannon
1x Ectoplasma cannon

2x Obliterators (170 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 2x Obliterator
• 2x Crushing fists
2x Fleshmetal guns

2x Obliterators (170 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 2x Obliterator
• 2x Crushing fists
2x Fleshmetal guns

5x Warp Talons (100 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Slaanesh
• 1x Warp Talon Champion
• 1x Warp claws
• 4x Warp Talon
• 4x Warp claws

5x Warp Talons (100 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Slaanesh
• 1x Warp Talon Champion
• 1x Warp claws
• 4x Warp Talon
• 4x Warp claws

ALLIED UNITS

3x Nurglings (35 Points)
• 3x Nurgling Swarm
• 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Syll’Esske (120 Points)
• 1x Axe of Dominion
1x Cacophonic choir
1x Scourging whip

The Blue Scribes (65 Points)
• 1x Sharp quills

Archetype

Skirmish Chaos Space Marines

Final Round Matchup

86-65 Victory vs Hugo Richiardi – Aeldari

Thoughts

Chaos Space Marines were looking promising before the Dataslate, very strong in early events after, and at the LGT have very much secured their status as one of the top armies in the game. The good news is that there’s a vairly huge amount of list diversity at play with them – you can go for Accursed Cultist/Commune spam, gunlines with Forgefiends, or more skirmishy trade/brawling builds like this, which work particularly well on the UKTC terrain, which provides great staging and objective play. Chosen have been solidly demonstrated to be the real deal, as the threat of Advancing/Charging them out of a Rhino combined with extra punch from a Lord forces very cautious play from the opponent, and packing several units of Warp Talons doubles down on that (and provides great objective tools).

The fact that Chaos’s shooting tools can sustain themselves pretty much entirely off of Stratagems, Dark Pacts and the Mark effects is huge for this kind of build too – it means you can add some shooting that will actually get stuff done at a lower price than most non-Aeldari/Tau armies get access to it, ensuring you aren’t likely to be terminally outgunned despite not spending too many points on it (and being able to play games with Dark Obscuration in shooting mirrors).

Round that out with access to some great utility and role-playing pieces from Daemons and you have one of the most flexible armies in the game, and a solid addition to the top tier of factions. Congratulations to Liam on the win!

Hugo Richiardi – Aeldari – 2nd Place

Credit: Greg Narro

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Hugo Richiardi “please help i dont like Wraithguards” (2000 points)
Aeldari
Strike Force (2000 points)
Battle Host

CHARACTER

Autarch Wayleaper (140 points)
• Warlord
• 1x Dragon fusion gun
1x Mandiblasters
1x Star glaive
• Enhancement: The Phoenix Gem

Farseer (80 points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Singing spear

Fuegan (115 points)
• 1x Searsong
1x The Fire Axe

Solitaire (115 points)
• 1x Solitaire weapons

Spiritseer (80 points)
• 1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witch staff
• Enhancement: Fate’s Messenger

The Yncarne (350 points)
• 1x Swirling soul energy
1x Vilith-zhar, the Sword of Souls

OTHER DATASHEETS

Night Spinner (180 points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Night Spinner (180 points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Swooping Hawks (75 points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Warp Spiders (115 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Warp Spiders (115 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Warp Spiders (115 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Wraithguard (340 points)
• 10x Wraithguard
• 10x Close combat weapon
10x Wraithcannon

Archetype

Wraithguard and Spinners

Thoughts

Taking a close second place we have what was broadly the most popular top Aeldari strategy at the LGT, combining a brick of Wraithguard with lots of tools to force through scoring, usually a mix of fast Aspects, Lone Operatives and Fuegan, all backed up by Night Spinners. Wraithguard were easy to hide, stage and protect with Fire and Fade/Phantasm on the maps, which in combination with their durability made them very tricky to handle. That acts as an extremely solid core for these lists, and the use of Night Spinners to slow down the opponent’s most precious units combines with the army’s incredibly dense scoring capabilities and the headaches the Yncarne can cause to reliably push through victory after victory.

The only real solution is to have access to stuff that can body them quickly in melee, which is part of why launching Chosen from Rhinos is so strong in the metagame, but against most other forces the plan is tough to stop. Despite that, Hugo did successfully fight his way past several other armies with real answers to this on the way to the final, so congratulations on taking the runner up spot.

Nassim Fouchane – Aeldari – 3rd Place

Credit: Greg Narro

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Eldar (1995 Points)

Aeldari
Battle Host

CHARACTERS

Autarch Wayleaper (140 Points)
• Warlord
• 1x Dragon fusion gun
1x Mandiblasters
1x Star glaive
• Enhancements: The Phoenix Gem

Farseer (80 Points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witchblade

Farseer (80 Points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witchblade

Fuegan (115 Points)
• 1x Searsong
1x The Fire Axe

Spiritseer (80 Points)
• 1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witch staff
• Enhancements: Fate’s Messenger

Spiritseer (65 Points)
• 1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witch staff

The Yncarne (350 Points)
• 1x Swirling soul energy
1x Vilith-zhar, the Sword of Souls

OTHER DATASHEETS

Night Spinner (180 Points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Swooping Hawks (75 Points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Swooping Hawks (75 Points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Swooping Hawks (75 Points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

Wraithguard (340 Points)
• 10x Wraithguard
• 10x Close combat weapon
10x Wraithcannon

Wraithguard (340 Points)
• 10x Wraithguard
• 10x Close combat weapon
10x Wraithcannon

Archetype

Double Wraithguard

Thoughts

…or, if you’re worried about your Wraithguard getting alpha-struck in melee, you could just go with this version that takes two units. I think there’s a world in which this opens up a small weakness to horde builds, but those aren’t a massive thing right now, and against bricks of Crisis Suits, other Aeldari, Votann/Marine hulls, almost all the top players, you’re going to be in a target-rich environment and more resilient against getting sucker-punched. You do have to cut back a little on scoring units to pull that off, but Hawks are still super good at that, and on the UKTC maps Fuegan is one of the best Teleport Homers pieces out there. Well done to Nas on third.

Mani Cheema – Chaos Space Marines – 4th Place

Credit: Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

The Accursed (2000 Points)

Chaos Space Marines
Slaves to Darkness
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Abaddon the Despoiler (310 Points) – Warlord
– Drach’nyen, Talon of Horus

Dark Commune (55 Points) – Chaos Undivided
– Cult Demagogue, Autopistol, Commune stave
– Mindwitch, Close combat weapon, Warp Curse
– Iconarch, Autopistol, Chaos Icon, Close combat weapon
– 2 Blessed Blades, 2 Commune blades

Dark Commune (55 Points) – Chaos Undivided
– Cult Demagogue, Autopistol, Commune stave
– Mindwitch, Close combat weapon, Warp Curse
– Iconarch, Autopistol, Chaos Icon, Close combat weapon
– 2 Blessed Blades, 2 Commune blades

Dark Commune (55 Points) – Nurgle
– Cult Demagogue, Autopistol, Commune stave
– Mindwitch, Close combat weapon, Warp Curse
– Iconarch, Autopistol, Chaos Icon, Close combat weapon
– 2 Blessed Blades, 2 Commune blades

BATTLELINE

Cultist Mob (110 Points) – Nurgle
– Cultist Champion, Autopistol, Brutal assault weapon
– 19 Chaos Cultists, 19 Autopistols, 19 Brutal assault weapons

Cultist Mob (110 Points) – Nurgle
– Cultist Champion, Autopistol, Brutal assault weapon
– 19 Chaos Cultists, 19 Autopistols, 19 Brutal assault weapons

Cultist Mob (110 Points) – Nurgle
– Cultist Champion, Autopistol, Brutal assault weapon
– 19 Chaos Cultists, 19 Autopistols, 19 Brutal assault weapons

OTHER DATASHEETS

Accursed Cultists (190 Points) – Chaos Undivided
– 10 Mutants, 10 Blasphemous appendages
– 6 Torments, 6 Hideous mutations

Accursed Cultists (190 Points) – Chaos Undivided
– 10 Mutants, 10 Blasphemous appendages
– 6 Torments, 6 Hideous mutations

Accursed Cultists (190 Points) – Nurgle
– 10 Mutants, 10 Blasphemous appendages
– 6 Torments, 6 Hideous mutations

Forgefiend (180 Points) – Chaos Undivided
– Armoured limbs, 3 Ectoplasma cannons

Forgefiend (180 Points) – Nurgle
– Armoured limbs, 3 Ectoplasma cannons

Warp Talons (100 Points) – Slaanesh
– Warp Talon Champion, Warp claws
– 4 Warp Talons, 4 Warp claws

Warp Talons (100 Points) – Slaanesh
– Warp Talon Champion, Warp claws
– 4 Warp Talons, 4 Warp claws

ALLIED UNITS

The Blue Scribes (65 Points)
– Sharp quills

Archetype

Cultist Horde

Thoughts

Look I said there weren’t many horde lists, not that there weren’t any. This is one of the other ways you can take Chaos, packing your list with the hyper-efficient Accursed Commune units and running the opponent down, generally scoring Cleanse and Homers along the way. Similar to Liam’s list, a couple of Forgefiends provides cheap and reliable access to real ranged violence, and Warp Talons are just all-round good at their current price point. I faced down an even hordier version of this in the invitational against Mani and got handily bowled over, and now have a healthy respect for the sheer pain that Accursed Communes throw out on their go turn. Well done to Mani for rounding out the top four.

The Best of the Rest

There were six more players in the top ten cut. They were:

  • 5th – Vik Vijay – Aeldari: Wraithguard plus triple spinner, also on the very reliable “shut the opponent down, push Fixed” plan.
  • 6th – Olivier Weiss – Raven Guard: A Biologis Aggressor brick plus Shrike leading round ten VanVets provides a good mix of crunch and roving brawlers, backed by a trio of Whirlwinds.
  • 7th – Guillaume Dusaussois – Aeldari: A slightly different take on objective Aeldari, using some Starweavers with Troupes and Masters as scoring pieces.
  • 8th – Aidan Brocklehurst – Dark Angels: Redemptors and Aggressors all anchored by a full Deathwing Knight unit.
  • 9th – Christopher Radford – Chaos Space Marines: Forgefiends and Obliterators to shoot, with lots of Chosen/Lord units in Rhinos and some utility Daemon allies, including the Fuegan-like Syll’Eskke.
  • 10th – Josh Roberts – Chaos Knights: Dogs and a small number of Lone op Daemons.

Crucible 2023 Warhammer 40K Major

82-player, 7-round Major in Orlando, Florida, US on September 29 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Priority Targets – Dawn of War – Chosen Targets

John Lennon – Hive Fleet Behemoth: Brain bug monster mash using the new Synaptic Nexus detachment.
Army List - Click to Expand


Think Tank (1995 Points)

Tyranids
Synaptic Nexus
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Deathleaper (70 Points)
• 1x Lictor claws and talons

Hive Tyrant (255 Points)
• Warlord
• 1x Monstrous bonesword and lash whip
1x Heavy Venom Cannon
• Enhancements: Synaptic Control

Neurotyrant (115 Points)
• 1x Neurotyrant claws and lashes
1x Psychic scream
• Enhancements: Power of the Hive Mind

BATTLELINE

Gargoyles (75 Points)
• 10x Gargoyle
• 10x Blinding venom
10x Fleshborer

Gargoyles (75 Points)
• 10x Gargoyle
• 10x Blinding venom
10x Fleshborer

OTHER DATASHEETS

Biovores (75 Points)
• 1x Chitin-barbed limbs
1x Spore Mine launcher

Exocrine (135 Points)
• 1x Bio-plasmic cannon
1x Powerful limbs

Exocrine (135 Points)
• 1x Bio-plasmic cannon
1x Powerful limbs

Exocrine (135 Points)
• 1x Bio-plasmic cannon
1x Powerful limbs

Maleceptor (170 Points)
• 1x Massive scything talons
1x Psychic overload

Maleceptor (170 Points)
• 1x Massive scything talons
1x Psychic overload

Neurolictor (65 Points)
• 1x Piercing claws and talons

Neurolictor (65 Points)
• 1x Piercing claws and talons

Neurolictor (65 Points)
• 1x Piercing claws and talons

Pyrovores (30 Points)
• 1x Chitin-barbed limbs
1x Flamespurt

Pyrovores (30 Points)
• 1x Chitin-barbed limbs
1x Flamespurt

Zoanthropes (220 Points)
• 1x Neurothrope
• 1x Chitinous claws and teeth
1x Warp Blast
• 5x Zoanthrope
• 5x Chitinous claws and teeth
5x Warp Blast

Zoanthropes (110 Points)
• 1x Neurothrope
• 1x Chitinous claws and teeth
1x Warp Blast
• 2x Zoanthrope
• 2x Chitinous claws and teeth
2x Warp Blast

vs.

Brian Jones – Imperial Knights: Triple bigs combining Canis Rex, a Crusader and a Lancer.
Army List - Click to Expand


Brian Jones Crucible (2000 Points)

Imperial Knights
Noble Lance
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Canis Rex (460 Points)
• 1x Chainbreaker las-impulsor
1x Chainbreaker multi-laser
1x Freedom’s Hand

Cerastus Knight Lancer (525 Points)
• 1x Cerastus shock lance
• Enhancements: Banner of Macharius Triumphant

Knight Crusader (510 Points)
• Warlord
• 1x Avenger gatling cannon
1x Heavy flamer
1x Meltagun
1x Thermal cannon
1x Titanic feet
• Enhancements: Mysterious Guardian

BATTLELINE

Armiger Warglaive (150 Points)
• 1x Questoris heavy stubber
1x Reaper chain-cleaver
1x Thermal spear

Armiger Warglaive (150 Points)
• 1x Questoris heavy stubber
1x Reaper chain-cleaver
1x Thermal spear

ALLIED UNITS

Callidus Assassin (90 Points)
• 1x Neural shredder
1x Phase sword and poison blades

Eversor Assassin (75 Points)
• 1x Executioner pistol
1x Power sword and neuro gauntlet

Inquisitorial Henchmen (40 Points)
• 4x Inquisitorial Acolyte
• 4x Acolyte firearm
4x Acolyte melee weapon
1x Plasma pistol

Thoughts

It won’t be hugely surprising to long-time readers to see John Lennon immediately hitting a top table with the newest Tyranid hotness, here trying out the powerful Synaptic Nexus detachment for a potent shooty monster build. Irresistable Will works fantastically in that plan, providing lots of re-rolls for when you really need to dunk on a big target, and other tools like Override InstinctsReinforced Hive Node and the ability to switch on an army-wide 5+ invulnerable save provide lots of tools to prevent the opponent answering you. You also get some great character upgrades to create a powerful Hive Tyrant and  flamer-murder Neurotyrant, and enjoy having access to melee +1 to hit on the Maleceptors in a pinch, as it significantly boosts their reliability when things get tight. Add Neurolictors, immediately one of the game’s best utility pieces, and you have a very potent all-rounder build – it’s good at scoring, has solid chunkiness that opponents need to chew through, and can unleash pinpoint violence very effectively.

John’s opponent is another famous faction specialist Brian Jones, packing his Knights. Unlike a lot of players, Brian has gone for three big Knights, presumably relying on them being easier to hide with the new Towering rules, and aiming to create overwhelming pressure that opponents can’t answer. The choice of Enhancements really helps with that, as the Banner lets you leave an home objective behind if the opponent has no way of stealing it, while Mysterious Guardian on a Crusader lets them sweep forward to get off shots if the opponent tries to cower. I also really like having both the “scoring focused” Assassins in the army, as it helps shore up the low number of big drops.

Both good lists, but I think this mission ends up favouring the Tyranids quite a bit. Priority Targets lets you play very cautiously and still plan to win as long as you can max your Secondaries reliably, and John’s list can very much do that and has the numbers to dunk a Knight in a pinch (though it is funny that Irresistible Will can still be hit by the Callidus). Brian’s brought scoring tools too, so it’s not entirely a sure thing, but John has so much more redundancy in threats that I think the condition for Brian’s victory is for a turn to arise where the bugs swing at a big Knight and badly miss, which isn’t a great thing to have to rely on. Sure enough, John’s build was able to cruise to a hundred points, so well done to him!

That does remind me of another thing I meant to mention in the LGT bit – Priority Targets seems to be this edition’s mission that can create some very skewed matchups, and I’m certainly going to be trying to incorporate it less into packs I’m planning.

Result

Hive Fleet Behemoth Victory – 100 – 64

John Lennon – Hive Fleet Behemoth – 1st Place

Neurotyrant – Credit: Rockfish

The List

See showdown

Archetype

Synaptic Mash

Thoughts

All covered in the showdown – John’s build maximises the value it can get from Irresistible Will and makes great use of some of the other Synaptic Nexus toys, creating a force that’s particularly tricky for opponent’s to answer, particularly with how cost-effective big bug monsters are. Tyranids didn’t do fantastically in the LGT, so it’s good to see that John’s been able to make them work – well done to the Hive Mind’s favourite herald.

Jack Harpster – Black Templars – 2nd Place

Imperial Fist Terminator Chaplain. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Jack Templars (1995 Points)

Space Marines
Black Templars
Righteous Crusaders
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Chaplain in Terminator Armour (125 Points)
• 1x Crozius arcanum
1x Storm bolter
• Enhancements: Tännhauser’s Bones

OTHER DATASHEETS

Bladeguard Veteran Squad (180 Points)
• 1x Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant
• 1x Master-crafted power weapon
1x Neo-volkite pistol
• 5x Bladeguard Veteran
• 5x Heavy bolt pistol
5x Master-crafted power weapon

Land Raider Redeemer (260 Points)
• 1x Armoured tracks
2x Flamestorm cannon
1x Hunter-killer missile
1x Multi-melta
1x Storm bolter
1x Twin assault cannon

Redemptor Dreadnought (210 Points)
• 1x Icarus rocket pod
1x Macro plasma incinerator
1x Onslaught gatling cannon
1x Redemptor fist
1x Twin fragstorm grenade launcher

Redemptor Dreadnought (210 Points)
• 1x Icarus rocket pod
1x Macro plasma incinerator
1x Onslaught gatling cannon
1x Redemptor fist
1x Twin fragstorm grenade launcher

Redemptor Dreadnought (210 Points)
• 1x Icarus rocket pod
1x Macro plasma incinerator
1x Onslaught gatling cannon
1x Redemptor fist
1x Twin fragstorm grenade launcher

Terminator Assault Squad (410 Points)
• 1x Assault Terminator Sergeant
• 1x Storm Shield
1x Thunder hammer
• 9x Assault Terminator
• 9x Storm Shield
9x Thunder hammer

Whirlwind (150 Points)
• 1x Armoured tracks
1x Hunter-killer missile
1x Storm bolter
1x Whirlwind vengeance launcher

Whirlwind (150 Points)
• 1x Armoured tracks
1x Hunter-killer missile
1x Storm bolter
1x Whirlwind vengeance launcher

ALLIED UNITS

Callidus Assassin (90 Points)
• 1x Neural shredder
1x Phase sword and poison blades

Archetype

Aggro Templars

Thoughts

Look it’s a Florida major, which team did you expect to be on top? Art of War’s second build in the top four shows off just how much the removal of big Custodes bricks has opened up melee as a metagame factor – the combination of that with discounts on Marine units makes running actual Black Templars pretty exciting again, presumably a huge relief for anyone who’s been looking sadly at their full Terminator Assault Squad in the brief window they weren’t great.

I’m assuming the plan here is to take Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds as a vow when the opponent doesn’t have great answers to the Terminators, both because it works best with the melee loadout the list is packing (Redemptors still love Sustained Hits this edition) and because the more reliable No Escape is super strong for what the army is trying to do (bowl the enemy over in melee), and Uphold if there’s lots of D3 shooting about so that Tannhauser’s Bones can protect the Terminators. That’s a nice bit of flexibility to have access to, and helps reduce the risk of including something like the Terminators in the list, as they’ll pretty much always be good. Uphold with a bunch of Redemptors also just creates a super sticky army in general, carving through those things is no joke.

Similar to Chaos Space Marines, there’s honestly now a lot you can do with Black Templars – their Characters plus souped up Gladiators give you some strong GTF builds, Primaris Crusader Spam looks pretty real, and Jack’s success here shows that even true Templars have a lot to offer – well done!

Quinton Johnson – Aeldari – 3rd Place

Credit: Keewa

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Everything changed when the fire prisms attacked (2000 Points)

Aeldari
Battle Host
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Autarch Wayleaper (115 Points)
• Warlord
• 1x Dragon fusion gun
1x Mandiblasters
1x Star glaive

Avatar of Khaine (335 Points)
• 1x The Wailing Doom

Farseer (80 Points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Singing spear

Farseer Skyrunner (115 Points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Singing spear
1x Twin shuriken catapult
• Enhancements: The Phoenix Gem

Spiritseer (80 Points)
• 1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witch staff
• Enhancements: Fate’s Messenger

OTHER DATASHEETS

Fire Prism (180 Points)
• 1x Prism cannon
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Fire Prism (180 Points)
• 1x Prism cannon
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Night Spinner (180 Points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Shadow Spectres (95 Points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Swooping Hawks (75 Points)
• 1x Swooping Hawk Exarch
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Close combat weapon
1x Hawk’s talon
• 4x Swooping Hawk
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Lasblaster

War Walkers (110 Points)
• 2x Bright lance
1x War Walker feet

Warp Spiders (115 Points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Wraithguard (340 Points)
• 10x Wraithguard
• 10x Close combat weapon
10x Wraithcannon

Archetype

Prisms and Wraithguard

Thoughts

Pointy-eared business as usual. That’s it, that’s the writeup. I guess it has the Avatar rather than the Yncarne, which creates a bit more of an anvil and gunline plan, but it’s much of a muchness – destroy the enemy with impunity is still the key, just how the Aeldari like it. Congratulations to Quinton.

Nick Nanavati – Black Legion – 4th Place

Slaves to Darkness Daemon Prince. Credit: SRM

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


CSM (2000 Points)

Chaos Space Marines
Slaves to Darkness
Strike Force (2000 Points)

CHARACTERS

Abaddon the Despoiler (310 Points)
• Warlord
• 1x Drach’nyen
1x Talon of Horus

Heretic Astartes Daemon Prince with Wings (210 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Slaanesh
• 1x Hellforged weapons
1x Infernal cannon
• Enhancements: Intoxicating Elixir

BATTLELINE

Cultist Mob (55 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Cultist Champion
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Cultist firearm
• 9x Chaos Cultist
• 6x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
6x Cultist firearm
1x Cultist grenade launcher
1x Flamer
1x Heavy stubber

Cultist Mob (55 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Cultist Champion
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Cultist firearm
• 9x Chaos Cultist
• 6x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
1x Close combat weapon
6x Cultist firearm
1x Cultist grenade launcher
1x Flamer
1x Heavy stubber

OTHER DATASHEETS

Chaos Land Raider (240 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Armoured tracks
1x Combi-bolter
1x Havoc launcher
2x Soulshatter lascannon
1x Twin heavy bolter

Forgefiend (180 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Chaos Undivided
• 1x Armoured limbs
2x Ectoplasma cannon
1x Ectoplasma cannon

Helbrute (140 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Nurgle
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Helbrute hammer
1x Multi-melta

Obliterators (340 Points)
• Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
• 4x Obliterator
• 4x Crushing fists
4x Fleshmetal guns

ALLIED UNITS

Kairos Fateweaver (285 Points)
• 1x Infernal Gateway
1x Staff of Tomorrow

Syll’Esske (120 Points)
• 1x Axe of Dominion
1x Cacophonic choir
1x Scourging whip

The Blue Scribes (65 Points)
• 1x Sharp quills

Archetype

Crunchy Chaos

Thoughts

Even more variety in Chaotic toys on show here, adding a Daemon Prince and Kairos Fateweaver to the mix, and skewing towards extra crunchy tools to minimise the chance of being out-shot. Packing a Land Raider is certainly one way to ensure Abaddon doesn’t get sniped out by Night Spinners or anything, and I guess the Cultists can ride in it too – lucky them!

Alongside that shooting, this list seems particularly well equipped to handle enemy scoring plans- both Syll’Esske and the Daemon Prince are durable enough to rove around fighting enemy Lone Operatives, while Kairos’s very nasty Indirect Fire is a strong way of clearing out skulking scorers – and I think UKTC CSM players should take a serious look at them as an option. Definitely continues to be fun to see the variety Chaos has on show, and well done to Nick for taking another top spot for Art of War.

The Best of the Rest

There was one more player on a 6-1 record. They were:

  • 5th – Jon Sweet  – Black Templars: The incredible Black Templars herohammer party bus list strikes again, riding all the way to 6-1, this time with a pair of Redemptors playing shotgun.

Come the Apocalypse GT 2023

32-player, 5-round Grand Tournament in Dothan, AL, US on September 30 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

Daniel Hesters – Aeldari – 1st Place

Crimson Hunter Exarch
Crimson Hunter Exarch. Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Eldar CTA (2000 points)
Aeldari
Strike Force (2000 points)
Battle Host

CHARACTER

Autarch Wayleaper (140 points)
• Warlord
• 1x Howling Banshee Mask
1x Reaper launcher
1x Star glaive
• Enhancement: The Phoenix Gem

Death Jester (105 points)
• 1x Jester’s blade
1x Shrieker cannon
• Enhancement: Fate’s Messenger

Fuegan (115 points)
• 1x Searsong
1x The Fire Axe

Illic Nightspear (70 points)
• 1x Aeldari power sword
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Voidbringer

The Yncarne (350 points)
• 1x Swirling soul energy
1x Vilith-zhar, the Sword of Souls

DEDICATED TRANSPORT

Wave Serpent (120 points)
• 1x Shuriken cannon
1x Twin bright lance
1x Wraithbone hull

OTHER DATASHEETS

Crimson Hunter (160 points)
• 2x Bright lance
1x Pulse laser
1x Wraithbone hull

Dark Reapers (80 points)
• 1x Dark Reaper Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Tempest launcher
• 4x Dark Reaper
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Reaper launcher

Falcon (140 points)
• 1x Bright lance
1x Pulse laser
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Fire Dragons (85 points)
• 1x Fire Dragon Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Firepike
• 4x Fire Dragon
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Dragon fusion gun

Night Spinner (180 points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Twin shuriken catapult
1x Wraithbone hull

Rangers (55 points)
• 5x Ranger
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Ranger long rifle
5x Shuriken pistol

Shadow Spectres (95 points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Shadow Spectres (95 points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Shadow Spectres (95 points)
• 5x Shadow Spectre
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Prism rifle

Warp Spiders (115 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Archetype

Shooty Aeldari

Final Round Matchup

84 – 71 Victory against Charles Barber – Tyranids.

Thoughts

Yeah so it turns out that the Crimson Hunter might be sort of worth it now, one of them anyway. Planes are now unique in being able to no-scope over ruins, and there’s a big surge in the number of hulls that are kicking about in the metagame as players adjust to them mostly being easier to hide. A single Hunter coming out of Reserves loaded with Fate Dice and big shots can put paid to that, and it’s even pretty strong in the mirror for the ability to punk out a Night Spinner. There’s some other new-ish tools here, but I assume most readers have already collapsed into horrifying 8th Edition flashbacks at the mere mention of any of the Eldar planes being good again, so have fun with that (and well done to Daniel, getting to use one of my planes again might legitimately lure me away from Necrons for a bit).

The Best of the Rest

There were 5 more players on 4-1 records. They were:

  • 2nd – Charles Barber – Tyranids: Go-wide monster mash with Haruspexes, plus the addition of Neurolictors and solo-rippers for objective play.
  • 3rd – Carter Leach – Chaos Daemons: Be’lakor-centric monster mash, adding a Khorne Daemon Prince with Wings and some Skull cannons to the normal mix.
  • 4th – Cliff Nelson – Black Templars: Primaris Crusader spam, with Lancers and spicy Characters backing them up.
  • 5th – Mark Perry  – Chaos Space Marines: An unusual Daemon Prince list running a duo of tooled-up winged Princes plus Syll’Esske as brawlers, alongside the more standard Abaddon/Obliterator combo.
  • 6th – Brian Perilla  – T’au Empire: Double Crisis bomb with lots of Tetras backing them, plus a couple of Skyrays.

Wrap Up

That’s it for this half of Competitive Innovations – check back on Friday when Lowest of Men will be covering the other three events for the week.