Competitive Innovations in 9th: Big Finish

It’s all over bar the shouting, and congratulations to Richard Siegler for being the first repeat ITC winner, as well as achieving back-to-back LVO wins. The Las Vegas Open saw over 700 players take to the field, but only one player could come out on top, and this year Siegler did it in style with his favoured Ad Mech, an army that many other top players had moved away from since the nerfs.

We’ll be taking a look at that in just a second, and because LVO is the finale of the year we’ll be covering the full top eight as well. We’re also, naturally, going to be immediately segueing into a new year, because the 40K train has no brakes, and there are a good number of other events to look at, including a major from South Africa. More countries running bigger events is always a great thing to see, and we’re thrilled to see the scene over there start to kick into gear.

We’re also on the cusp of switching over to the new missions, and the results from this weekend seem to suggest that three factions have comfortably emerged ahead of the pack as we close out 2021 – Drukhari, Hive Mind and Adeptus Custodes. Custodes in particular had a real breakout weekend, with some of the game’s best players choosing to take them to the field, and making up half the players in the semi-finals, presumably to the considerable surprise of the extremely online Custodes players still complaining that the book is terrible.

New missions do, of course, shake things up for all three factions, with both the Crusher Stampede Tyranid build and Custodes finding the new Secondaries a bit harder, but as Alex Macdougall’s fourth place build shows the Hive Mind has some exciting new options thanks to GSC, while Custodes get some massive buffs in Chapter Approved that should distinctly soften the blow of the general changes. I’m betting that these three top factions will still be crucial parts of the metagame as we head into the unknown from next week, but for now let’s see off the 2021 season with one last set of lists.

Las Vegas Open (Supermajor)

All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings. This event used player-placed terrain.

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission

Richard Siegler – Mars Veteran Cohort
vs.
Matt Lorah – Shadowkeepers Custodes

Priority Targets

Thoughts

Now look, you all know how this one ends, and you can go watch it for yourself over on FLG’s twitch channel, but it’s still worth breaking down some of the key advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

From Matt’s side of the table, there are basically two challenges that feed into each other – he’s a little short on good options for a third Secondary, as Siegler can screen him out of a quarter for ROD very effectively (and Infoslave Skull threatens to delete an Allarus that tries it), and he’s going to struggle to deal with the sheer volume of attrition damage that the AdMech bring to bear. Shadowkeepers’ big sell is their durability, but in this matchup you’re honestly not getting much more out of them than you would from Emperor’s Chosen, as Wrath of Mars represents a viciously reliable six mortals (and if you tank the strength down to 3 it doesn’t matter for any of the Custodes infantry), and the Ruststalkers can crank their number of attacks high enough that they can still bury whatever they touch in high AP wounds and mortals, albeit at more of a price than normal. Having the three Ironstriders spread out is also a problem, as it means that if multiple Dreads are in the open and Emperor’s Auspice gets blown to protect the first, the other lascannons can just switch targets. Finally, everything in Richard’s list that’s going to engage having a 5+ invulnerable save (plus access to Programmed Retreat) means that it’s unlikely that Matt’s going to be able to decisively roll him over with the classic big Custodes counterpunch from which the opponent never recovers – it probably won’t work here, and trying and failing will be fatal.

All that means that this is Matt’s game to try and find a plan for, so what are his assets? He’s certainly got some, broadly three to my mind:

  1. Caladius Tanks are great for punishing Ruststalkers and Ironstriders alike, giving Matt a way to build up some level of attrition in his favour.
  2. The big thing AdMech lists like this have lost to get their points down is stuff to make early objective plays – Siegler has relatively few completely throwaway units to throw out, and the Vanguard can’t steal one off a three-Custodian unit. That means he’s compelled to commit real units to play the objective game.
  3. Bodyguarding an ObSec character on an objective can force a pretty substantial push from the AdMech, which might be able to be exploited.

From the secondary picks and some of the events of the game, it looks like Matt (correctly) leant into these by trying to play a cagey, grindy game. He picked No Prisoners and Stranglehold to go with Priority Target, and rationed his units like the Terminators out onto objectives carefully, drawing out AdMech toys and eliminating them. It looked solid, it made Siegler think, but in the end it didn’t get there. Siegler played carefully in response, counterattacking with Ruststalkers, but holding some of the Rangers back, knowing that the damage should tip in his favour over time, and with Matt taking the first turn he found himself ground out of stuff on Siegler’s three, at which point he was overwhelmed on Primary. This is definitely a game where going second is superior – both sides can punish whatever their opponent commits with, and neither can do decisive damage to the other with early shooting, so with Stranglehold picked on both sides the first turn is most likely to translate to being the first person to start losing stuff. Siegler was able to hold back his second big Ranger unit till it was safe to commit with them on three, at which point their extra punch helped the army pivot to mop-up duty, and gave him unassailable ObSec control of the board centre from there. I do think from seeing how this went down, that we’re going to see quite a lot of players using their extra points to squeeze an Inquisitor into their army, as access to Psychic Interogation for scoring in grindier games like this could be very valuable.

All in all, while the Custodes couldn’t nail the win Matt’s plan was a very strong one, giving a fitting finale for the LVO. Great stuff from both players.

Result

AdMech Victory

Richard Siegler – Adeptus Mechanicus – 1st Place

Sicarian Ruststalkers
Sicarian Ruststalkers. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [95 PL, 6CP, 1,997pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Skitarii Veteran Cohort

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Mars

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Archeotech Specialist [-2CP]: 2x Archeotech Specialist

Stratagem: Artefactotum [-2CP]: 2x Artefactotum

Stratagem: Host of the Intermediary [-1CP]: Host of the Intermediary

Stratagem: Mechanicus Locum [-1CP]: Mechanicus Locum

+ No Force Org Slot +

Brotherhood of the Cog [5 PL, 85pts]
. Tech-Priest Enginseer: Magi

+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 55pts]: Relic (Skitarii Veteran Cohort): Cantic Thrallnet, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Skitarii Veteran Cohort): Calculate Without Diversion

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 55pts]: Mechanicus Locum, Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Programmed Retreat

Tech-Priest Manipulus [6 PL, 120pts]: Logi, Magnarail lance, Relic: Raiment of the Technomartyr

+ Troops +

Skitarii Rangers [9 PL, 219pts]: Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle, Host of the Intermediary, Warlord Trait (Codex 5): Firepoint Telemetry Cache
. 18x Skitarii Ranger: 18x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [9 PL, 219pts]: Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle
. 18x Skitarii Ranger: 18x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [2 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Skitarii Vanguard: 4x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha: Radium Carbine

Skitarii Vanguards [2 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Skitarii Vanguard: 4x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha: Radium Carbine

+ Elites +

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 95pts]
. Infiltrator Princeps (Stub/Sword)
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Stub/Sword): 4x Power Sword, 4x Stubcarbine

Sicarian Ruststalkers [8 PL, 190pts]
. Ruststalker Princeps (Blades): Artefactotum, Relic: Temporcopia
. 9x Sicarian Ruststalker (Blades): 9x Transonic Blades

Sicarian Ruststalkers [8 PL, 152pts]
. Ruststalker Princeps (Blades): Artefactotum, Relic: The Omniscient Mask
. 7x Sicarian Ruststalker (Blades): 7x Transonic Blades

Sicarian Ruststalkers [8 PL, 152pts]
. Ruststalker Princeps (Blades)
. 7x Sicarian Ruststalker (Blades): 7x Transonic Blades

+ Fast Attack +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 85pts]
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 85pts]
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 85pts]
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

+ Heavy Support +

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

++ Total: [95 PL, 6CP, 1,997pts] ++

Archetype

Mars Veteran Cohort

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

In the hands of the master, Mars Veteran Cohort have still got it! This list looks genuinely very good for the metagame – as discussed above, it’s very resilient to being bowled over by any army that’s going for big swings thanks to the good armour saves and most units having a 5+ invuln, while because its own damage output comes primarily from D1 attacks and Mortal Wounds, the defences that some lists stack up just don’t matter against it, and it will win a war of attrition. It’s also excellent at controlling the flow of the game – Ruststalkers can make massive charges when needed when needed thanks to Expedited Purge Protocol, three solo Ironstriders provide enough big shots to force caution on the opponent, and the constant chip damage from a pair of Skorpii keeps the opponent under pressure, and can force them to make the first move. It’s certainly not as terrifying as the Adeptus Mechanicus lists of the summer (notably having at least 200pts less stuff) but it still has everything you need to orchestrate decisive victories – and it’s no surprise that Richard was able to do just that.

Matt Lorah – Adeptus Custodes – 2nd Place

Trajann Valoris
Trajann Valoris. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion detachment

Shadowkeepers

HQ

Trajann valoris 170 (warlord)

Shield captain on dawn eagle jetbike, misercordia, salvo launcher, tip if the spear 195pts

Shield captain in allarus terminator armour, unstoppable destroyer 135

Troops

3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135

3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135

3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135

Elites

3 custodian wardens with castellan axes 150

Allarus custodian 65

Allarus custodian 65

Allarus custodian 65

Contempter galatus 170 eternal penitent

Contempter galatus 170

Heavy Support

Caladius grav tank with twin iliastus accelerator culvrins 205

Caladius grav tank with twin iliastus accelerator culvrins 205

Bike captain- relic: stasis oubliette, warlord trait: lock warden, superior creation

Terminator captain- relic: praetorian plate, warlord trait: radiant mantle

The emperor’s heroes -2cp
Open the vaults -1 cp
Victor of the blood games -1cp
Eternal penitent -1 cp
Trajinn +1 cp

Starting cp 8

Points: 2000/2000

The Standout Features

  • Terrifying characters head up a powerful Shadowkeepers force.
  • Basic Custodian Guard anchor the line, ready to win most fights thanks to faction traits and defensive stratagems.
  • Solo Allarus are a huge pain for other utility units to take down.
  • Galatus Dreads provide powerful push units.
  • Caladius round things out with broad-spectrum shooting.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Three Shield Hosts saw prominent use at LVO, and in the end it was the Shadowkeepers that made it furthest (with the Emperor’s Chosen hot on their heels, as we’ll see in a second). Emperor’s Chosen gives you an excellent all-rounder buff, whereas Shadowkeepers are a bit more focused – they’re really good at not dying. Their Fighting Style inflicting -1A on stuff that tries to take them in melee has wide-ranging implications that you can see all throughout this list. Basic Custodians with this up don’t really need any buffs to go toe-to-toe with nasties, while solo Allarus Custodians can wade into a fight with pretty much any other utility unit and expect to win. At the tip of the spear, the already highly durable Galatus become even more of a pain to put down, and even Grav Tanks have an effective line in harrassing charges in a pinch, as they can ram a key unit and usually expect to get away with it. Many, many armies out there have a rough time getting enough damage through here, and Custodes are adept at making them pay in retaliation (though you will hit the occasional unit like Ruststalkers who can crank their output high enough not to care).

Shadowkeepers is also very much a full package, with this list making use of the Relic, Trait and Stratagem as well. The Lockwarden/Oubliette Bike Captain is something that looked very spicy out of the Codex, and sure enough here he is, just flying around the table assassinating people or piling into key melees to apply Fight Last as needed. The Stratagem obviously isn’t listed, but it’s such good value at 1CP used on the basic units or Characters that I’m sure it was slammed out a lot – and having that to help protect the infantry means that the Emperor’s Auspice can be saved for the Caladii or the Dreads.

Those vehicles help ensure this list has a solid plan when faced with hordier builds – the high rate-of-fire Caladius guns plus the dreads’ flamers and many attacks help prevent this list from just getting overwhelmed by bodies, definitely at least a mild concern for very elite armies. It does leave the list a little short of answers to the Crusher Stampede, where it will be very much relying on going absolutely ham once they get close, but the list ends up extremely good into the mirror, where it can just out-grind opposing Custodes by sapping their attacks and hammering them over time, and gives it a far better game into lists like Alex’s mixed Hive Mind, which paid off in the semi-finals. If Crusher stays a big part of the metagame I’d expect to maybe see at least some changes here, but if it ends up taking a solid hit from the changes and mixed Hive Mind builds rise up, expect this to shine.

Finishing things off, we have Trajann and the Praetorian Plate Captain and yeah – these dudes rock. It’s worth saying that LVO were ruling the Praetorian Plate as counting as a heroic for the purposes of choosing targets (i.e. you could attack the Character if he rocked into a unit that had charged) but it fully does not matter – the sheer pressure this model exerts just by existing, especially as Shadowkeepers where he’s harder to kill, is one of the most powerful tools the Codex gives you, and you should expect to see him a lot. Trajann too, but that’s not actually a surprise. Having a unit of Wardens to bodyguard the characters is also extremely handy, and one unit of these is something I expect a lot of lists to try.

This list is super good – it made it to the semi-finals of LVO after all – and with the addition of free misericordias and some bonus points its grindy plan gets even spicier as we head into the new season – especially as having the Caladius Tanks means it suffers less from the Engage changes than some builds. Shadowkeepers and Custodes both look like the real deal, and congratulations to Matt for running them all the way to the final.

Evan Tomchin – Adeptus Custodes – 3rd Place

Custodes Vertus Praetors
Custodes Vertus Praetors. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [100 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Detachment Type / Shield Host: Adeptus Custodes, Emperor’s Chosen

+ HQ [19 PL, -1CP, 365pts] +

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [10 PL, -2CP, 195pts]: (Emperor’s Chosen): Auric Exemplar, 3. Superior Creation, Castellan’s Mark, Interceptor Lance, Misericordia [5pts], Salvo Launcher [5pts], Stratagem: The Emperor’s Heroes [-1CP], Stratagem: Victor of the Blood Games [-1CP], Tip of the Spear [1 PL, 15pts]

Trajann Valoris [9 PL, 1CP, 170pts]: Misericordia, Watcher’s Axe
. Warlord: 1. Master of Martial Strategy, 2. Champion of the Imperium

+ Troops [17 PL, 345pts] +

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 150pts]
. 3x Custodian w/ Sentinel Blade & Praesidium Shield [150pts]: 3x Praesidium Shield [15pts], 3x Sentinel Blade

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 135pts]
. 3x Custodian w/ Guardian Spear [135pts]: 3x Guardian Spear

Prosecutors [3 PL, 60pts]
. 4x Prosecutor [48pts]: 4x Boltgun
. Prosecutor Sister Superior [12pts]: Boltgun

+ Elites [40 PL, -2CP, 745pts] +

Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought [9 PL, 160pts]: Achillus Dreadspear, 2x Lastrum Storm Bolter

Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought [9 PL, 160pts]: Achillus Dreadspear, 2x Lastrum Storm Bolter

Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought [9 PL, -1CP, 170pts]: Galatus Warblade, Stratagem: Eternal Penitent [-1CP]

Custodian Wardens [7 PL, 150pts]
. 3x Warden w/ Guardian Spear [150pts]: 3x Guardian Spear

Vexilus Praetor [6 PL, -1CP, 105pts]: 4. Impregnable Mind, Guardian Spear, Stratagem: The Emperor’s Heroes [-1CP], Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack [24 PL, 543pts] +

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 273pts]
. 2x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher [8 PL, 180pts]: 2x Interceptor Lance, 2x Salvo Launcher [10pts]
. Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia [4 PL, 93pts]: Interceptor Lance, Misericordia [3pts], Salvo Launcher [5pts]

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 270pts]
. 3x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher [12 PL, 270pts]: 3x Interceptor Lance, 3x Salvo Launcher [15pts]

++ Total: [100 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Emperor’s Chosen pushes Bikes and Dreads to the moon.
  • Vexilla Magnifica very effective against a lot of the current metagame.
  • A different spin on a super bike captain sweeps away elite infantry units.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

I forsee writing the words “Emperor’s Chosen Goodstuff” in these articles a lot over the next months. This list looks pretty close to what we expected to be great in Emperor’s Chosen – two units of bikes can drop six hyper-reliable high damage shots pretty much wherever (especially with extra reach from Calistus for Advance and Shoot in a pinch), Achillus Dreads are decent at distance and total nightmares in melee, any opposing plan relying on Mortal Wounds becomes dire and you kind of fill to taste from there. The flexibility from Esteemed Amalgalm is also great – if you need to turn the tide of battle in your favour, then sticking either the shield Custodians, a Bike Squad or the Galatus Dread into Shadowkeepers mode and plowing them into the enemy can massively swing a combat your way.

The only notable surprise for me here is that the Vexilla Magnifica is still getting the nod over the Defensor, but that does make sense considering the metagame. -1 to hit still ain’t what it used to be in 8th, but it rules if you run into Orks, it’s handy into heat lances, and if you’re being shot at by opposing salvo launchers an extra point of armour save wouldn’t help anyway. It’s also going to be pretty effective against Tau, so expect it to stay the standard for now, and to be a strong choice in Bike/Dreadnought heavy builds until we get a big shift.

List good – this army will continue to be super strong after the changes, and expect it to become a meta staple. Congratulations to Evan on third place – like Matt, his rampage was stopped only by the might of Siegler himself.

Alex Macdougall – Hive Mind – 4th Place

Patriarch. Credit: Rockfish
Patriarch. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Tyranids – Genestealer Cults – 2022) [52 PL, 10CP, 991pts] ++

+ Configuration [10CP] +

Cult Creeds: The Twisted Helix

+ No Force Org Slot [4 PL, 80pts] +

Kelermorph [4 PL, 80pts]: 3x Liberator Autostub

+ HQ [8 PL, 165pts] +

Patriarch [8 PL, 165pts]: Familiar [10pts], Meditations in Shadow [1 PL, 15pts], Patriarch’s Claws, Power: Mass Hypnosis, Power: Might From Beyond, Power: Mutagenic Deviation

+ Troops [13 PL, 240pts] +

Acolyte Hybrids [7 PL, 150pts]: A Trap Sprung [1 PL, 15pts]
. 5x Acolyte Hybrid [45pts]: 5x Autopistol, 5x Blasting Charges, 5x Cult Claws and Knife, 5x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Leader [14pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Bonesword [5pts], Frag Grenades

Acolyte Hybrids [3 PL, 45pts]
. 4x Acolyte Hybrid [36pts]: 4x Autopistol, 4x Blasting Charges, 4x Cult Claws and Knife, 4x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Leader [9pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Claws and Knife, Frag Grenades

Acolyte Hybrids [3 PL, 45pts]
. 4x Acolyte Hybrid [36pts]: 4x Autopistol, 4x Blasting Charges, 4x Cult Claws and Knife, 4x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Leader [9pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Claws and Knife, Frag Grenades

+ Elites [16 PL, 305pts] +

Purestrain Genestealers [8 PL, 155pts]: Cult Claws and Talons, Our Time is Nigh [1 PL, 15pts], 10x Purestrain Genestealer [140pts]

Purestrain Genestealers [8 PL, 150pts]: Cult Claws and Talons, 10x Purestrain Genestealer [140pts], They Came From Below [1 PL, 10pts]

+ Fast Attack [6 PL, 106pts] +

Atalan Jackals [3 PL, 53pts]
. Atalan Jackal [17pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges, Demolition Charge [5pts]
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Leader [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges

Atalan Jackals [3 PL, 53pts]
. Atalan Jackal [17pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges, Demolition Charge [5pts]
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Leader [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges

+ Dedicated Transport [5 PL, 95pts] +

Goliath Truck [5 PL, 95pts]: Cache of Demolition Charges [5pts], Heavy Stubber, Twin Autocannon

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [50 PL, -2CP, 1,006pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts] +

Neurothrope [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: Claws and Teeth, Power: Catalyst, Power: Smite, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast [-1CP], Warlord, Warlord Trait: Strategic Adaptation, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader

+ Troops [23 PL, 456pts] +

Termagants [9 PL, 196pts]
. 28x Termagant (Devourer) [196pts]: 28x Devourer [56pts]

Termagants [9 PL, 182pts]
. 26x Termagant (Devourer) [182pts]: 26x Devourer [52pts]

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 78pts]: Adrenal Glands [3pts], Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond [1 PL, 15pts]
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons

+ Elites [22 PL, 455pts] +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 270pts]
. Adaptive Physiology: Enhanced Resistance
. 6x Hive Guard (Impaler) [270pts]: 6x Impaler Cannon [60pts]

Maleceptor [10 PL, 185pts]: Massive Scything Talons, Power: Onslaught, Synaptic Link: Focal Essence [1 PL, 15pts]

++ Total: [102 PL, 8CP, 1,997pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Skirmishing Genestealer melee provide early punch and countercharge threat.
  • Walls of devourer gaunts and pounding Hive Guard volleys clean up as the opponent flails helplessly.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Alex is one of the most notable masters of the Hive Mind, so seeing him reach the top four by crafting a masterful symbiosis of all their new toys isn’t wildly unexpected. This list rules, and builds on one of the big surprises from the Genestealer Cult book – they’re surprisingly soupable. Crossfire is a real mechanic, useful even in melee builds, but with access to Conceal and Proficient Planning upgrades you can get a whole tonne of value out of the Codex without it, so soup is on the menu, and this army uses that to great effect.

Twisted Helix Purestrains rule, the first unit crossing the table in a flash thanks to They Came From Below and Rapid Advance, and they hit like a tonne of bricks once they get there, especially if the Patriarch can drop some buffs on them. A second unit lurks in a relatively durable Truck ready to stage for turn two, and in combination with the Trap Sprung drill unit in reserve that builds up to an army that is terrifying to get close to.

That’s huge, because if the opponent can be kept at a medium distance, the Tyranid half of this is going to clean up. Devourer Gaunts going full sicko mode with Relentless Flurry throw around more dice than almost anything in the game, evaporating units left, right and centre, and it was these that put paid to Mani Cheema’s 170 Wrack list, taking out around 150 of them in two turns. Against sturdier stuff, you’ve got the Hive Guard double shooting with Swarm Leader and Focal Essence up, helping them make a more appreciable impact even on stuff with damage reduction, and being a big headache for anything that doesn’t. This list is very much a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t – go hard, and you risk a Genestealer/drill counterpunch taking you down, go too slow and you won’t have the numbers left to carve through the number of Gaunts it has, getting overrun.

Atalan Jackals and the Kelermorph round out the list by ensuring it has even more options. The Atalans can use their pre-game move to either be a huge annoyance or claim objectives quickly, while the Kelermorph is a true terror – it’s borderline impossible to screen him out from an unoccupied objective, and he’s no slouch at putting a bit of damage into a key character too. All fun and games. This list is a real masterpiece overall, exactly the kind of new, top tier tech we love to see at the biggest events, and with access to cheap Deep Strike troops it’s in a healthy place as the Season turns. Expect to see more from the army, expect to see more from Alex – congratulations on fourth place.

David Gaylard – Tyranids – 5th Place

Dimachaeron. Credit: Rockfish
Dimachaeron. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [106 PL, 10CP, 1,995pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Crusher Stampede

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems +

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Hive Tyrant [11 PL, -1CP, 215pts]: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, Power: Aggressive Surge, Power: Smite, Power: Synaptic Barrier, Prehensile Pincer Tail, Relic: Biomorphic Carapace, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast, Toxin Sacs, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Raging Influence, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader, Wings
. Adaptive Physiology: Murderous Size

The Swarmlord [14 PL, 240pts]: Bone Sabres, Power: Catalyst, Power: Paroxysm, Power: Smite, Prehensile Pincer Tail

+ Troops +

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

+ Elites +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 270pts]
. 6x Hive Guard (Impaler): 6x Impaler Cannon

Lictor [2 PL, 37pts]: Flesh Hooks, Grasping Talons, Rending Claws

+ Fast Attack +

Dimachaeron [12 PL, 255pts]: Massive Scything Sickle-talons, Scything Tail

+ Heavy Support +

Scythed Hierodule [12 PL, 235pts]: Bio-acid Spray, 2x Hierodule Scything Talons

Scythed Hierodule [12 PL, 235pts]: Bio-acid Spray, 2x Hierodule Scything Talons

+ Flyer +

Harpy [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Stranglethorn Cannon, Scything Wings, Show Spore Mine Rules, Stinger Salvo

Harpy [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Stranglethorn Cannon, Scything Wings, Show Spore Mine Rules, Stinger Salvo

++ Total: [106 PL, 10CP, 1,995pts] ++

Archetype

Crusher Stampede

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

The top finisher out of the UK cohort that flew out to Vegas, David was sporting Dice Down’s spin on the Crusher Stampede, and it’s a mean one. Packing two Harpies and two Scythed Hierodules means that the list has a mid-table brick wall, and a guaranteed supply of fast-moving models that can be used to repeatedly pull off the Breaking ThroughOverrun cycle, definitely among the nastiest things you can be doing with the army. Having extra stranglethorns and the acid sprays from the Hierodules also helps the army to play better into very hordy lists, not surprising as a choice given that Mani’s Wrack list is a known factor in the UK metagame.

You will almost certainly see more players pivoting towards the double Scythed Hierodule version in the new season – with Dimachaerons going up in price the premium on them starts looking too steep, and you only need one to have that threat of a brutal early rampage. Double Hierodule, double Harpy ensures that the Engage plan is good and the Stranglehold option more viable, and means if you’re forced into trying to brick wall the opponent while one of the Tyrants slams out a Psychic Secondary you have a better angle on that.

Adapting is what Tyranids do, and the power that runs through Crusher Stampede is sufficient that I strongly suspect we’ll still be seeing it in the new season, even with a few knocks from the missions. Until then, huge congratulations to David for taking the mighty monster mash all the way to the quarter finals, and for topping the standings after the swiss rounds.

Ben Neal – Grey Knights – 6th Place

Brotherhood Librarian. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [60 PL, 1,065pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Brotherhood: Wardmakers

+ HQ +

Brotherhood Chaplain [8 PL, 140pts]: 1. Words of Power, 5: Warp Shaping, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Crozius Arcanum, Frag & Krak grenades, Omen of Incursion, Storm Bolter

Brotherhood Librarian [8 PL, 135pts, -1CP]: 4: Purifying Flame, 4: Vortex of Doom, 6: Psychic Epitome, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Crux Terminatus, Exemplar of the Silver Host, Foretelling of Locus, Frag & Krak grenades, Loremaster, Warlord
. Nemesis Force Sword: Nemesis Force Sword

+ Troops +

Strike Squad [12 PL, 220pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Grey Knight (Falchions): 18x Nemesis Falchion, 9x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Falchions: 2x Nemesis Falchion

+ Fast Attack +

Interceptor Squad [14 PL, 250pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Interceptor (Halberd): 9x Nemesis Force Halberd, 9x Storm Bolter
. Interceptor Justicar: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer

Interceptor Squad [14 PL, 240pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Interceptor (Halberd): 9x Nemesis Force Halberd, 9x Storm Bolter
. Interceptor Justicar: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

+ Dedicated Transport +

Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]: Storm bolter

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [44 PL, 935pts, -4CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Brotherhood: Swordbearers

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight [11 PL, 230pts, -1CP]: 1: Gate of Infinity, 2: Empyric Amplification, 3: Unyielding Anvil, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Dreadknight teleporter, Gatling Psilencer, Grand Master Chapter, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Daemon Greathammer, Servant of the Throne, Shield of Humanity, Sigil of Exigence

Kaldor Draigo [9 PL, 180pts]: 1: Gate of Infinity, 2: Empyric Amplification, 3: Sanctuary, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted storm bolter, The Titansword

+ Heavy Support +

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

++ Total: [104 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

Archetype

Dreadknights and Interceptors (with Words of Power bomb)

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Grey Knights continue to feel like they’re just a hair behind the top three factions (and also take a substantive hit in the upcoming changes) but that didn’t stop Ben from blasting his way into the top eight with them. What I like about this list is that he’s clearly teched for the metagame and been rewarded for it – with so much damage reduction around, and Custodes also being very durable, the Words of Power falchion bomb is looking very appealing again, and sure enough here it is in the best performing Grey Knight build.

That and Swordbearers focusing fire on something that’s been hit with Empyric Amplification are Grey Knights’ best tools for targeting the big nasties of the meta, and this list looks as tuned as possible for taking on the top players. Wardmakers also pushes the super Librarian to even greater heights of power and offers anti-Aura tech in a pinch, and while that’s not currently that big of a deal in the metagame, it’s the kind of thing that’s good to have in your back pocket when you’re playing at least six games in a wide field, as all you really have to do is profitably switch Rites of War or Unyielding Anvil off on a key unit once in the event and you’ll walk away happy.

Between that, power swapping on the Wardmakers characters and the Words of Power option, this list builds itself as big a toolbox as possible on top of the core power of Grey Knights, and its success at such a high level looks richly deserved, only eventually falling to the brutal raw power and Mortal Wound resilience of Evan’s Emperor’s Chosen. Great stuff from Ben.

Raphaël Jaffre – Drukhari – 7th Place

Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

== DETACHMENT Patrol Artist of Flesh I : Drukhari (0 PC) ==

HQ1 : Drazhar(145), WT : Hatred Eternal [145 pts] [8 PP] – WARLORD

Troop1 : 5 Wracks(40), Acothyst(0), Ossefactor(5), [45 pts] [3 PP]
Troop2 : 5 Wracks(40), Acothyst(0) Ossefactor(5), [45 pts] [3 PP]

Elite1 : 5 Grotesques [175 pts] [12 PP]
Elite2 : 5 Grotesques [175 pts] [12 PP]

HS1 : Talos(100), 2xHeat Lances, Talos Gauntlet(5), Ichor injector [105 pts] [6 PP]

HS2 : Ravager [130 pts] [8 PP]

== DETACHMENT Patrol Black Heart : Drukhari (0 PC) ==

HQ2 : Archon(70), Huskblade(5), Free relic : Djinn Blade, WT : Ancient Evil, Splintered genius (15) [90 pts] [5 PP]
HQ3 : Succubus(80), Adrenalight, Additional relic : Triptych whip, WT : Competitive Edge, [80pts] [3 PP]

Troop3 : 5 Kabalites(40), Sybarite(0) [40 pts] [3 PP]

HS3 : Ravager [130 pts] [8 PP]
HS4 : Ravager [130 pts] [8 PP]

== DETACHEMENT Patrol Artist of Flesh II : Drukhari (0 PC) ==

HQ2 : Haemonculus [70 pts] [4 PP]

Troop2 : 5 Wracks(40), Acothyst(0) Ossefactor(5), [45 pts] [3 PP]

Elite3 : 5 Grotesques [175 pts] [12 PP]

HS5 : 2 Talos(200), 4xHeat Lances, 2xTalos Gauntlet(10), 2x Ichor injector [210pts] [12 PP]
HS6 : 2 Talos(200), 4xHeat Lances, 2xTalos Gauntlet(10), 2x Ichor injector [210pts] [12 PP]

Archetype

Covens Drukhari

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

I keep talking about lists having to be ready for damage reduction, and this and the Crusher Stampede are why. Five Talos and 15 Grotesques with the combination of -1D, an invuln and a 5+ to ignore wounds are a formidable challenge for most lists to carve through, and if you’re relying on D2 attacks you’re going to have a brutally nasty time. This list is also built with opponents sporting similarly durable threats in mind, packing a trio of Ravagers that add up to a whole lot of D3+d3 shots in combination with the Talos. This allows the list to really exploit every moment that the opponent is bogged down dealing with the Grotesques, and against other armies with elite or damage reduction threats that’s going to be super nasty.

The only real challenge the build can run into is that it’s quite light on ObSec, having packed in so many hefty monsters and guns, and that may have been what proved fatal in the quarter finals against Matt’s Shadowkeepers – with their ability to tank this list’s output and ObSec all over the place, plus Caladius tanks to swiftly deal with any Wracks that emerge, they have access to a reasonable plan to push back. It’s by no means a sure thing though – just the sheer amount of shots here that kill a Custodian outright mean that that game’s always going to be live.

An extra vicious Covens build overall then, and also good to see a representative of the mainland European metagame make it into the top eight. Great stuff from Raphaël.

Anthony Vanella – Drukhari – 8th Place

Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [61 PL, 990pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Artists of the Flesh (All-Consuming)

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ HQ +

Haemonculus [5 PL, 90pts, -1CP]: As Detachment (Coven), Master Regenerist, Poisoner’s Ampule, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition
. Alchemical Maestro (Custom): Alchemical Maestro

+ Troops +

Haemoxytes [8 PL, 95pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. 8x Haemoxyte: 8x Wrack Blade
. Haemoxyte Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip

+ Elites +

Grotesques [12 PL, 175pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

+ Heavy Support +

Talos [18 PL, 315pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

Talos [18 PL, 315pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [39 PL, 670pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Artists of the Flesh (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]: Hatred Eternal, Warlord

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

+ Elites +

Grotesques [12 PL, 175pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

+ Heavy Support +

Cronos [8 PL, 155pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Cronos: Spirit Probe
. Cronos

Cronos [8 PL, 155pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Cronos: Spirit Probe
. Cronos

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [24 PL, 339pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 104pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts, -1CP]: Ancient Evil, As Detachment (Kabal), Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

++ Total: [124 PL, 1,999pts, 9CP] ++

Archetype

Covens Drukhari

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

A very familiar face to round out the top eight – Goonhammer Open Champion Anthony Vanella capping off a phenomenal season with a top eight run, entering the event as a possible dark horse pick to take the whole ITC if Siegler, Lennon and Mani all stumbled. In the event it was Siegler who finally put paid to Anthony’s run in the quarter finals, but the Master of the Covens ran him closer than anyone else all weekend, with only seven VP in it.

In terms of Anthony’s list the big point of interest is the Artists of Flesh Cronos, as their presence here suggests there’s still definite game for the unit after the army construction changes. That’s maybe not that surprising as the value of jumping to D2 is at a pretty low ebb right now, and putting the damage reduction on them makes them even better at one of their favoured roles, which is lurking in strategic reserves then floating onto the table to cause headaches. Closing the noose on opponents like that is a very Drukhari way to win games, and hey, the army isn’t going anywhere, so make sure you’re ready to deal with it. Congratulations to Anthony on an awesome close to a strong season, and I fully expect to see him back in these pages within a few weeks.

The Rest of the Best

Five more players finished the main event on either 6-0 or 5.5-0.5, the cutoff for the shadow round. Four of them played and lost in that round, and the unlucky player in 13th place missed the cut to take a crack at it due to a low score in an earlier round.

  • 9th – Mani Cheema – Drukhari: Mani and his 170 Wracks flew out to Vegas, fresh from their supermajor triumph last week, and made it all the way to the shadow round before hitting the perfect counter – Alex’s brutal Hive Mind list. 150 Wracks duly got picked up in two turns of terrifying devourer gaunt fire, and that was enough to put paid to the dream run.
  • 10th – Lukas Troller – Orks: Goff Pressure hammers home once again that it has the chops to compete at the highest level, with a brutal array of Kill Rigs and Trukk Boy Meganobz running down opponent after opponent till Anthony Vanella’s Talos managed to roll with the punches.
  • 11th – Ben Cherwien – Tyranids: Something of a go-wide version of Crusher Stampede here, cutting back on very big monsters for a second harpy and lots of Stone-Crusher Carnifexes. Eventually taken out by Evan’s Custodes, a tough game for this particular build, especially as Emperor’s Chosen can shrug off Breaking Through like champs.
  • 12th – Quinton Johnson – Adeptus Custodes: A shootier spin on Emperor’s Chosen Custodes here, with a Caladius and Sagittarum joining the dreads. Lost to Matt Lorah in the Custodes mirror, and that highlights one of the reasons you might want to take Shadowkeepers over Emperor’s Chosen – if you slam both into each other, the Shadowkeepers are likely to come out ahead.
  • 13th – Sean Nayden – Drukhari: As he has been for most of the season, Sean had his latest Drukhari goodstuff spin out to play, packing a mixture of various transport-bound troops and utility pieces backed with Hellions. Nothing super surprising, but still loaded with Drukhari power, and the big turbo-Hellion bombs remain super nasty.

Cape Town Throw Down (major)

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

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission

Orion Adams – Death Guard – Classic Mortarion’s Anvil
vs.
Vincent Sparks – Grey Knights – Balanced mix with a Paladin unit.

Retrieval Mission

Thoughts

Presumably the first thing that the Grey Knights do here is appeal to the referee to let them have D4 smites against Daemon Engines back, because their relative weakness into the six that the Death Guard are sporting (three PBCs, two Bloat drones and a Myphitic Hauler) stands out as a real problem out of the gate here. Combined with the Hammer and Anvil deployment it means that To The Last is essentially a freebie for Death Guard here in anything even vaguely close, and they’re also helped by the mission. Retrieval gives them a clear, straight shot onto three objectives, even at their lumbering pace, forcing the Grey Knights to make a play to try and break the lock on primary scoring for fear of sitting at range and getting slowly battered off their own home objectives. The other options for secondaries for the Death Guard maybe aren’t fantastic,  and in particular they feel the lack of access to Abhor here, but it’s likely they can shoot for a strong floor that is enough to win the game unless the Grey Knights proactively come out and fight them off it – which is exactly what the Death Guard want.

The pressure is on the Grey Knights to do something then – but luckily for them, they absolutely can. Fifty Poxwalkers might be an obstacle for some armies, but this list can go through it like a hot knife, and three “safe” objectives means that Purifying Ritual is very much in the “free points” bucket too. The Paladins are also pretty cool, as if they put Armoured Resilience up and get into some cover then they’re taking great saves against a lot of what the Death Guard are throwing out. From the Knight point of view, they’ve got the mobility advantage and a close range damage advantage, and need to do something proactive to avoid getting taken out by shooting, so were I at the helm here my focus would be going all out to carve through the Poxwalkers, then aiming to slam the Death Guard off whichever flank objective didn’t have the Stench Vats on it with overwhelming force, then try and hold on to that, edging out on the Primary. The issue with that is that if it all goes perfectly the Death Guard can still comfortably count up to an 75-80pt score, and Mortarion’s Anvil helps ensure that you can’t just sacrifice a squad of Strikes to flip the other objective for a turn to deny a few points, meaning that the Grey Knights really have to be shooting for somewhere in the 90s to be safe, which is hard with the other Secondaries they have to work with here.

All it’s going to take is one bad turn for the Grey Knights (say a volley of entropy cannon shots that just goes straight through a Dreadknight) and it’s probably game over, and the final scoreline is pretty indicative of a swing and a miss, with the Death Guard managing to repel the offensive.

Result

Death Guard Victory – 84-63

Orion Adams – Death Guard – 1st Place

Plagueburst Crawler – Credit Beanith

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [100 PL, 2,000pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: Mortarion’s Anvil

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay [-2CP]: 2x Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Death Guard Daemon Prince [8 PL, 150pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 1. Revoltingly Resilient, Hellforged sword, Warlord, Warp Insect Hive

Lord of Contagion [6 PL, 120pts, -1CP]: Gloaming Bloat, Plague Skull of Glothila, Plaguechosen, Plaguereaper

+ Troops +

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts]
. 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts]
. 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts]
. 10x Poxwalker: 10x Improvised weapon

+ Elites +

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 155pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 155pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts]
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foul Blightspawn [5 PL, 85pts, -1CP]: 4. Arch-Contaminator, Plaguechosen, Revolting Stench-vats, Viscous Death

+ Fast Attack +

Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 135pts]: Fleshmower

Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 135pts]: Fleshmower

Myphitic Blight-haulers [7 PL, 140pts]: Myphitic Blight-hauler

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

++ Total: [100 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

Archetype

Mortarion’s Anvil

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

A very classic Death Guard build here, using the three-layer structure we saw a lot of when they were a bigger part of the metagame – big screen of poxwalkers out front, Deathshrouds surrounding a Blightspawn as a second layer (with one or two Bloat Drones to deploy Flash Outbreak/Gloaming Bloat glory rushes) and Plaguebursts at the back. Slow the enemy down with the Poxwalkers while the Plaguebursts rack up some damage, absorb a big play onto a brick wall of Terminators and the Revolting Stench Vats aura, then push back and grind the opponent into dust.

It’s a fundamentally good strategy, it’s just become harder and harder to win with as other books have ended up a fair bit stronger – so a very impressive performance from Orion to take down the event here. Sadly, this list takes a massive hit from the Nachmund season on two fronts – it loses about 50pts net, and the Plaguebursts end up narrowly cheaper than the Deathshrouds, so the army’s To the Last plan is in tatters. Mortarion’s Anvil do end up looking pretty good against Custodes, as shutting off Emperor’s Chosen re-rolls is a big deal, and going heavier on Blight Haulers also now looks pretty interesting, but it’s definitely a shame to see the hits hammer home here. Hopefully Orion will be back in future showing off a new and improved build that adapts to changing circumstances, and big props on the win.

Lehann Smith – Adeptus Custodes (old) – 2nd Place

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought
Telemon Heavy Dreadnought. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [96 PL, 8CP, 1,998pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Shield Host: Shadowkeepers

+ Stratagems +

Open the Vaults [-1CP]: Open the Vaults: 1 Extra Relic

+ HQ +

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, -1CP, 178pts]: Auric Aquilas, Captain-Commander, Indomitable Constitution, Interceptor Lance, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Superior Creation, Warlord

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, -1CP, 178pts]: Eagle’s Eye, Interceptor Lance, Lockwarden, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Ten Thousand Heroes

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 156pts]
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 159pts]
. Sagittarum Custodian: Adrastus Bolt Caliver, Misericordia
. Sagittarum Custodian: Adrastus Bolt Caliver, Misericordia
. Sagittarum Custodian: Adrastus Bolt Caliver, Misericordia

+ Elites +

Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought [9 PL, -1CP, 180pts]: Achillus Dreadspear, Eternal Penitent, 2x Twin Adrathic Destructor

Vexilus Praetor in Allarus Terminator Armor [7 PL, 128pts]: Ballistus Grenade Launcher, Misericordia, Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack +

Venatari Custodians [8 PL, 174pts]
. Venatari Custodian: Misericordia
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler: Kinetic Destroyer, Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian: Misericordia
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler: Kinetic Destroyer, Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian: Misericordia
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler: Kinetic Destroyer, Tarsus Buckler

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 255pts]
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher

+ Heavy Support +

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 295pts]: Arachnus Storm Cannon, Spiculus Bolt Launcher
. Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 295pts]: Arachnus Storm Cannon, Spiculus Bolt Launcher
. Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector

++ Total: [96 PL, 8CP, 1,998pts] ++

Archetype

Shadowkeepers (old)

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

The new Custodes book coming out seems to have inspired players of the faction to slam out a last few weeks with their old builds, as I think this is the third week running where we’ve had a “classic” Shadowkeepers showing. This army has been viable pretty much since the Forge World Compendium, so I am thoroughly out of things to say about it, but well done to Lehann for (maybe? for real this time?) givng the Shadowkeepers one last run before the changing of the guard – which as we can see from LVO, doesn’t look like it’s going to be too painful for the Wardens of the Black Vaults.

Carl Haydam – Drukhari – 3rd Place

Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [72 PL, 12CP, 1,225pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]: Hatred Eternal, Warlord

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 90pts]
. 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Incubi [4 PL, 90pts]
. 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Fast Attack +

Scourges [5 PL, 60pts]
. 4x Scourge w/ shardcarbine: 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Shardcarbine
. Solarite: Shardcarbine

Scourges [5 PL, 60pts]
. 4x Scourge w/ shardcarbine: 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Shardcarbine
. Solarite: Shardcarbine

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance

Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [13 PL, -1CP, 235pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Obsidian Rose: Flawless Workmanship

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, -1CP, 90pts]: Ancient Evil, As Detachment (Kabal), Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Obsidian Rose): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 145pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [24 PL, -3CP, 540pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaine’s Agoniser, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 7x Wych: 7x Hekatarii Blade, 7x Plasma Grenades, 7x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Hydra Gauntlets: Hydra Gauntlets
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

Wyches [6 PL, 135pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 7x Wych: 7x Hekatarii Blade, 7x Plasma Grenades, 7x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Hydra Gauntlets: Hydra Gauntlets
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [4 PL, 85pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 4x Hellion: 4x Hellglaive, 4x Splinter Pods

Hellions [4 PL, 85pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 4x Hellion: 4x Hellglaive, 4x Splinter Pods

++ Total: [109 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

Archetype

Drukhari Goodstuff

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Extremely classic “go fast and kill things” from the Drukhari here, with re-rolling darklight galore riding around in Raiders and some terrifying melee punches from Incubi, Wyches and a Succubus lurking amongst the pack ready to annihilate anything that’s insufficiently cautious. It’s a little rarer to see the down-the-line Goodstuff plan these days, but it still very much works, great work Carl.

Lord Murray Knox – Drukhari – 4th Place

Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [25 PL, 11CP, 460pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 95pts]: Ancient Evil, As Detachment (Kabal), Blast Pistol, Huskblade, Overlord, The Djin Blade, Warlord
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 145pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 110pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

Raider [6 PL, 110pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [21 PL, -4CP, 432pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult), Precision Blows, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Wyches [3 PL, -1CP, 65pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaine’s Agoniser, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [7 PL, 136pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 7x Hellion: 7x Hellglaive, 7x Splinter Pods

Hellions [7 PL, 136pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 7x Hellion: 7x Hellglaive, 7x Splinter Pods

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [71 PL, -3CP, 1,105pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Artists of the Flesh (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Haemonculus [5 PL, -1CP, 90pts]: As Detachment (Coven), Master Regenerist, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition
. Alchemical Maestro (Custom): Alchemical Maestro

+ Troops +

Wracks [12 PL, 160pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 19x Wracks: 19x Wrack Blade

Wracks [6 PL, 80pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 9x Wracks: 9x Wrack Blade

+ Elites +

Grotesques [12 PL, 175pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

+ Heavy Support +

Talos [18 PL, 300pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters

Talos [18 PL, 300pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters
. Talos: Macro-scalpel, Talos ichor injector
. . Two Drukhari haywire blasters

++ Total: [117 PL, 4CP, 1,997pts] ++

Archetype

Covens Drukhari

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

And like clockwork, we get a representative of the other key Drukhari archetype – Covens. No great surprises here, though it’s a little less all-in than some builds, making sure to keep some points free for Hellions to provide a speedy punch at a key moment, plus some Raider Troops, and a big unit of Wracks in the Artists of Flesh detachment to help ensure the army doesn’t get out-ObSecced. I do think this list is going to need to swap out the haywires for heat lances in a new Custodes world, but it’s still very potent and peformed strongly here, and I like the flexibility. Excellent from Murray.

The Rest of the Best

Seven more players finished with 4-1 records. They were:

  • 5th – Yarik Hansraj – Tyranids: Crusher Stampede, double Dimas, double Barbed Hierodule, no Hive Guard, just smashing.
  • 6th ✪ – Vincent Sparks – Grey Knights: Mostly Dreadknights and Interceptors, but with the unusual inclusion of a medium-sized Paladin squad sporting Armoured Resilience. Gives a definite bit of Infantry crunch in an army where the non-Dreadknights aren’t generally very hardcore, and these get cheaper in Chapter Approved, so we might see more of them.
  • 7th – Jonathan De Waal – Imperium: Cadian Brigade with lots of Infantry, Tank Commanders and Manticores, plus a very small Argent Shroud detachment just to add some melta shots and Ephrael Stern.
  • 8th ✪ – Dave Lindsey – Dark Angels:  Nearly pure Ravenwing with a bunch of Bike, Attack Bikes and Land Speeders, with a Null Zone Librarian to help cut down Crusher Stampede nasties. Doesn’t actually use any of the toys that have dropped in points, but has more options in the new world, with Storm Speeders looking promising, and Black Knights as a maybe.
  • 9th – Matthew Myburg – Imperial Knights: Lots of Armigers and a Crusader (built heavily defensively), using Sanctified Armour and Hounds of War to mitigate any Psychic-heavy matchups.
  • 10th – Charles Salmon – Chaos: Hilarious fun here, mixing up World Eaters (cheap Venomcrawlers to benefit from Kharn’s re-rolls, a Drill full of Khorne Berserkers) with some Khornate monster mash stuff – Be’lakor, Bloodletters and a big old Bloodthirster. Definitely looks like it can do some brutal counterattacking, and the Venomcrawlers/Heldrake are pretty efficient tools to bait the opponent in.
  • 11th – Anton Smit – Imperium: A fairly all-rounder Metalica detachment with a Raven Knight Crusader in tow, spruced up with Knight of the Iron Cog. Would be a little bit concerned about choosing to splash in a single Knight at the moment, as it’s got a huge target on its head when any Crusher Dimachaerons are around.

FactoruM January GT

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

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission

Kevin Nicholls – Iconclast War Dog Spam
vs.
Liam “Corrode” Royle – Talos Drukhari

Retrieval Mission

Thoughts

Apparently outside of LVO Retrieval mission was the hot mission to close your event with this week, and this is another match where it has a fairly big impact. The Armiger Spam list has a strong plan on scoring Stranglehold in this game; the distance to the Chaos backfield and the army-wide Obsec from the balance dataslate makes it easy for them to hold their three “home” objectives while firing off a couple of Dogs per turn to try and steal one at the Drukhari end, where the Drukhari’s much more limited (and much more fragile) Obsec can be avoided or destroyed to help flip a point. On the other hand, slowly feeding a couple of Armigers at a time does help with the Drukhari’s preferred sport of playing keepaway with Herd the Prey; both of these lists can brutally obliterate anything that comes into their half of the table, but the advantage probably rests with the Drukhari who can score a Battlefield Supremacy objective to max just by pushing back rather than having to reach out (except when covenient to try and tie up the Moiraxes). It’s also pretty likely that they walk away from this with maxed out Bring it Down, another mark in their favour, so what are the War Dogs to do?

Lean into the challenges and deny Primary. Unlike in the Grey Knight/Death Guard game above, this is pretty easy for them to do. As mentioned, the Knights can solidy hold on to their home objectives, and flanking Wracks or whatever aren’t going to take them, while a single War Dog pushed forward onto each of the Drukhari’s close objectives each turn scores Stranglehold, keeps the elves at 5 on the primary and forces them to overcommit to clearing the close Knights just to make sure of the Herd points. That stops them ever expanding out, and they’re also pretty likely to lose the damage race thanks to the sheer number of re-rolling melta shots that the Knights bring to bear, and the pulsars from the Moiraxes pounding away too. All the Knights need is one turn where the Drukhari stumble, or for them to just be out of tools to repel intruders by turns four or five, and they can very realistically take this. I will leave the full blow-by blow for Liam to tell, but in the end the Drukhari emerged just on top – but it sounds like it was an absolute blast.

Result

Drukhari Victory 78-73

Liam “Corrode” Royle – Drukhari – 1st Place

Drazhar, the Master of Blades. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [85 PL, 9CP, 1,605pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Gametype: Matched

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder, Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power, Realspace Raid
. *Custom Coven*: Artists of the Flesh (All-Consuming)

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Alliance of Agony [-1CP]

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), Hatred Eternal, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, The Djin Blade, Warlord
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

Haemonculus [4 PL, 70pts]: As Detachment (Coven), Master Regenerist, Stratagem: Alliance of Agony WLT, The Animus Vitae

Succubus [4 PL, 95pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Alliance of Agony WLT, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 145pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wyches [3 PL, 60pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 90pts]
. 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Demiklaives

Incubi [4 PL, 90pts]
. 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Demiklaives

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts]
. 4x Mandrake: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance

Talos [12 PL, 210pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

Talos [12 PL, 210pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [23 PL, -2CP, 395pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Artists of the Flesh (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts]: *Custom Coven*
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

+ Heavy Support +

Talos [12 PL, 210pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

++ Total: [108 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

Archetype

Talos Drukhari

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Frankly, I an disinclined to do any further work here to inflate Corrode’s ego – he’s bound to write about this list and his glorious victory in the next update to his semi-regular series on events he goes to, and you’ll get all the hot details then. The short version is that this is another Talos build that cuts back on Grotesques to maintain a pretty reasonable shooting setup behind the front line, with Trueborn and a Ravager being a severe discouragement to any enemy tanks or crunchy stuff that wants to pop its head up. For dealing with hordes, the two “main” Wrack units can throw out a surprising amount of pain in a hurry, and die way harder than they have any right to in response thanks to the Artists of the Flesh buff. Rounding out with some Incubi, Drazhar and a Succubus for emergency trades gives a list that does almost everything pretty well, and with the amount of practice Liam now has under his belt with the army it’s extremely effective in his hands. Can’t wait to get paired into him in round 2 at the next event we’re both at, it’s just an immutable law of the universe.

The Rest of the Best

Six players finished on 4-1 records. They were:

  • 2nd ✪ – Kevin Nicholls – Chaos Knights: War Dog spam, going with a maxed-out complement of chain-cleaver War Dogs in an Iconoclast detachment and some Moiraxes with the rarer choice of the Graviton Pulsar (admittedly looking pretty good in a heavy-duty meta) in a second Iconoclast detachment from a different house, using Dark Forging on the latter to give them a bit more reach. Gets a bit of a shakeup with the changes to army construction, but some flavour of whoops all War Dogs (maybe with graviton/claw Moiraxes alongside the codex War Dogs) is probably still good.
  • 3rd ✪- Liam Callebout – Aeldari: An Aeldari rainbow here, combining some Craftworld precision pieces/artillery (Shining Spears and Reapers) with Harlequin Bikes and Boats plus a single unit of Artists of Flesh Grotesques to provide a bit of a tarpit. Interesting play, and looks like it was pretty effective from the results, though starting that low on CP must hurt the Harlequins.
  • 4th – George Crabtree – Adeptus Custodes: List missing, though my spies inform me that one of the big gunships was involved.
  • 5th – John Partridge – Drukhari: Covens Drukhari, sporting Dark Technomancers Cronos to back the Artists of the Flesh.
  • 6th – Ben Carlsson – Blood Angels: A fairly elite Blood Angels build including lots of Bladeguard, Plasma Inceptors and a couple of Redemptor Dreads for extra heft. Impulsors for both the Bladeguard units help prevent an early blowout from a lot of Tyranid tricks.
  • 7th – Jack West – Adeptus Custodes: Lots of the fancy new toys on show here, with the staple Praetorian Plate Allarus Captain, Trajann and a tooled-up bike Captain leading bikes, an Achillus dread and a large unit of Aquilion Terminators to war, all as Emperor’s Chosen. Durable and deadly like all Custodes builds, and likely to appreciate the fact that the points changes bring Aquilons more in line with the rest of the faction.

LVnO!

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

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission

Nathan Sgrazzutti – Covens Drukhari with Talos and Cronos, including one unit of Talos specced for anti-infantry.
vs.
Cory Burns – Hive Guard Spam with many devourer Gaunts

Retrieval Mission

Thoughts

Another Retrieval Mission matchup for Talos, and some daunting opposition across the table. Hive Guard into Artists of Flesh are distinctly meh, though with twelve and a Maleceptor they’re going to at least rack up moderate damage over time, and can very quickly eliminate the Raider-riding Trueborn (though those don’t have fantastic targets so that’s more from the point of view of removing a mobile objective unit). More problematic for the Drukhari are the Devourer Gaunts, who will do deeply, deeply unpleasant things to Grotesques, quickly depleting the number of units that the space elves have to work with. That also creates a tough situation on the mission once again, the bugs have agency to come and flip Drukhari home objectives with a sweeping Genestealer play, and the Drukhari struggle to do the same thing back. Except…

The Drukhari do have one thing up their sleeve – a very unusual choice that looks genius in this matchup. One of the Talos units is specced for anti horde work, sporting twin liquifiers, twin splinter cannons and chain flails, and there’s also a clutch of three Cronos in the list. That gives two units that are very resilient to Hive Guard shooting and that can severely trouble a Genestealer charge with overwatch and swing backs. It also means that while the devourer gaunts can smoke Grotesques, if they expose themselves in order to do so then they’re going to die in droves in response, especially if there’s good terrain for the pain engines to stage behind. I normally wouldn’t advocate ever deviating from the injector/heat lance/gauntlet build, but wow it must have felt good to have access to them on turning up for this game, and if gaunt/genestealer heavy lists become big metagame players then maybe that starts becoming more of a choice? Or liquifier Grotesques?

That doesn’t, by itself, give the Drukhari a free pass here, and the Tyranids still have a lot of agency to dictate how the game goes, but it certainly makes it much more palatable from their side. The Hive Mind still triumphed, but by a far narrower margin than you’d potentially have expected, and the specific tools in the Drukhari list stopping the infantry horde just overwhelming them as soon as things get a bit spicy has got to be a big part of that.

Result

Tyranid Victory – 80-69

Cory Burns – Tyranids – 1st Place

Devourer Termagants. Credit: Rockfish
Devourer Termagants. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [114 PL, 1,999pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points) [12CP]

Detachment Command Cost

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ HQ [21 PL, 365pts, -1CP] +

Broodlord [7 PL, 125pts, -1CP]: Monstrous Rending Claws, Power: Paroxysm, Relic: Adaptive Neural Lobe, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast [-1CP], Warlord, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader

The Swarmlord [14 PL, 240pts]: Bone Sabres, Power: Catalyst, Power: Psychic Scream, Prehensile Pincer Tail

+ Troops [57 PL, 872pts] +

Genestealers [16 PL, 208pts]: 4x Acid Maw
. 16x Genestealer [208pts]: 16x Rending Claws

Genestealers [16 PL, 208pts]: 4x Acid Maw
. 16x Genestealer [208pts]: 16x Rending Claws

Termagants [9 PL, 175pts]
. 25x Termagant (Devourer) [175pts]: 25x Devourer [50pts]

Termagants [6 PL, 140pts]
. 20x Termagant (Devourer) [140pts]: 20x Devourer [40pts]

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond [1 PL, 15pts]
. Tyranid Warrior [17pts]: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [17pts]: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [17pts]: 2x Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 75pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond [1 PL, 15pts]
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons

+ Elites [36 PL, 762pts] +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 270pts]
. 6x Hive Guard (Impaler) [270pts]: 6x Impaler Cannon [60pts]

Hive Guard [12 PL, 270pts]
. 6x Hive Guard (Impaler) [270pts]: 6x Impaler Cannon [60pts]

Lictor [2 PL, 37pts]: Flesh Hooks, Grasping Talons, Rending Claws

Maleceptor [10 PL, 185pts]: Massive Scything Talons, Power: Onslaught, Synaptic Link: Focal Essence [1 PL, 15pts]

++ Total: [114 PL, 11CP, 1,999pts] ++

Archetype

Hive Guard Spam

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

suspect we’re going to see Hive Guard spam shuffled out as the new missions rock in, as eating a 60 point increase across two units hurts, but this is a strong (maybe) final outing for the list. In terms of how this functions, it’s pretty similar to Alex’s mixed Hive Mind list from LVO using the threat of Swarmlorded-Genestealers to provide the early pressure, and investing in a second unit of Hive Guard to really push the shooting to the max. It can deploy the same core plan of keeping the opponent in early disarray with Genestealers while mid-ranged Gaunts and the relentless pressure of the Hive Guard do their wicked work, which is definitely a solid plan, but in the new season I suspect the extreme extra flexibility Alex’s list packs in will lure fans of this kind of army across to that option. Still, you can’t argue with results, and Cory’s scorelines here tell the story of a commanding run through the event, with only Drukhari in the finals putting up a serious fight against the might of the Hive Mind.

The Rest of the Best

Four players finished up on 4-1 records. They were:

  • 2nd – Oslind Meloche – Harlequins: A rare showing for a mostly foot Harlequin build running as Frozen Stars, providing massive amounts of deadly melee punch supported by a mobile Bike/Boat contingent. Always going to be a bit terrifying to play both with and against, as it hits hard but is tremendously fragile if caught out – and has a very, very rough time into devourer Gaunts, which it encoutered against Cory in round 3.
  • 3rd – Gordan Sundin – Adeptus Custodes: Pre-Codex Shadowkeepers, with lots of Sagittarum.
  • 4th – Morgan Smerek – Ultramarines: Mostly Guilliman and Tigurius with lots of Dreads, plus an interesting little flex option in the form of combi-melta Sternguard in a drill.
  • 5th ✪ – Nathan Sgrazzutti – Drukhari: Covens Drukhari with a bunch of Talos and some Cronos, plus squeezing in a unit of Trueborn for shooting.

No Respite

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

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission

Michael Duke – Crusher Stampede
vs.
Jordan Palmer-Young – Emperor’s Chosen Goodstuff

Unknown Mission

Thoughts

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find out the mission for this one, and that’s a particular shame for this matchup, because this promises to be brutal (and potentially quite short). Both sides are relatively few in number, so a key swing turn in either direction could end this in short order, especially as they’re likely to be fighting over some of the same Secondaries, though the Custodes feel like they’re faintly ahead on that one just because they should be able to comfortably pick up a decent Bring it Down score – the Dimas have got to die, and from there you can easily build to 8-10+. Emperor’s Chosen also brings the big advantage that they’re one of the only armies where Breaking Through isn’t pure free damage, and indeed gambling on being able to use it from a Harpy then cycle away looks extremely dicey.

From the Tyranid side, there’s two key things to focus in on to push past this. First up, with the Synaptic Imperative stratagem and large monsters, pro-actively flipping a Custodes objective (or holding fast to a home one) is something they can do, and their damage reduction and invuln means that even if a heroic comes in, there’s a good chance of surviving on enough wounds to ride it out. On that note of damage reduction, the bugs have four very clear targets they need to prioritise – the two Bike Squads and the two Achillus dreads, because these are the sources of the big damage that can punch through the Crusher defences. Take the bikes out and avoid getting punked by Achillus dread spears and the rest should fall into place.

That is, of course, easier said than done, though the extent depends on the terrain and the mission map. If a speedy Dima can go eat a unit of bikes out of the gate then that’s extremely good news, as even if an Achillus Dread counter charges that can be two of the four key targets down when the Dima uses Death Surge. With Synaptic Barrier and Catalyst on the one going hunting, killing it is also not a sure thing, of course, and there’s definitely a failure case for Custodes here where they try and counterattack into a Dima, whiff, and get brutally eaten for their troubles. Custodes can, of course, spike their saves too, but nothing in their list is quite as nasty as a rampaging Dima, so it’ll hurt less if that happens.

They need to play carefully, therefore, to avoid getting blown out, and lean into the fact that they have more stuff they can push with thanks to the Crusher build being very top heavy. They can also try and pressure multiple objectives at once without it being as much of an all-in commitment as it is for Tyranids, which in a game that promises to be grindy if neither player screws up could be an advantage. Taking everything together, I think I’d narrowly hand this one to the Custodes on prediction – but the Tyranids beat the spread by a fairly thin margin, taking a victory and continuing to assert the Hive Mind’s dominance over this week’s results.

Result

Tyranid Victory – 74-66

Michael Duke – Tyranids – 1st Place

Credit: PierreTheMime

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [106 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Crusher Stampede

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems +

Bounty of the Hive Fleet [-1CP]: 1 Extra Bio-artefact

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Hive Tyrant [11 PL, 220pts]: Adrenal Glands, Lash Whip and Monstrous Bonesword, Power: Aggressive Surge, Power: Synaptic Barrier, Relic: Biomorphic Carapace, Two Devourers with Brainleech Worms, Wings

Malanthrope [8 PL, -1CP, 150pts]: Relic: Adaptive Neural Lobe, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Strategic Adaptation, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader

The Swarmlord [14 PL, 240pts]: Power: Catalyst, Power: Onslaught

+ Troops +

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 75pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 75pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 75pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Lash Whip and Bonesword, Scything Talons

+ Elites +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 225pts]
. Adaptive Physiology: Enhanced Resistance
. 5x Hive Guard (Impaler): 5x Impaler Cannon

+ Fast Attack +

Dimachaeron [12 PL, 255pts]

Dimachaeron [12 PL, 255pts]

+ Heavy Support +

Barbed Hierodule [14 PL, 275pts]

+ Flyer +

Harpy [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Stranglethorn Cannon

++ Total: [106 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

Archetype

Crusher Stampede

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Tyranids for days this week, and not much left to say about this archetype until we see how it adapts to the new year. This version builds particularly “heavy” in how it sets up big monsters, taking two Dimas and a Barbed Hierodule, and I like the choice of a Malanthrope to go with that – with fewer big nasties on the board, losing one to early shooting would be more of a disaster. Beyond that, business as usually – chuck Dimas at the opponent’s face, rip their favourite toys into tiny pieces, RIP their chances of victory. The fact that this list isn’t packing Lictors at all is particularly instructive to the fact that the mission changes probably aren’t killing this army outright – it already often doesn’t build hard for ROD. Congratulations to Michael for rounding out an excellent week for the Hive Mind.

The Rest of the Best

Five more lists to cover here – the runner up was 4.5-0.5, and the sixth-place player ended 3.5-1.5, but played against Michael in the finals so gets in on that basis. Since both players who entered the final round 3.5-0.5 could have won, they get stars.

  • 2nd ✪ – Josh McMillan – Adepta Sororitas: The ultra grindy Valorous Heart/Martyred Lady combo, sporting loads of Sacresants in the former detachment and some trade shooting in the latter, plus the normal Named Character loadout. Very cool, but also needs complete re-tooling for the new season.
  • 3rd – Todd Hardacre – Tyranids: Crusher Stampede with a Hierodule fiesta, packing two of each alongside the rarer choice of Zoanthropes for a bit of Mortal firepower.
  • 4th – Jake Gunning – Tyranids: Shooting-heavy Crusher Stampede, with two units of Hive Guard and two Barbed Hierodules.
  • 5th – Alex Rymill – Grey Knights: Another showing for the interesting new Grey Knight alternative that forgoes lots of Dreadknights in favour of a wide mixture of the various infantry types and some power-characters, all as pure Prescient Brethren. Got to be worth a good look in the new season.
  • 6th ✪ – Jordan Palmer-Young – Adeptus Custodes: Emperor’s Chosen goodstuff. Yup, gonna do that already, because this is what we’re going to see a bunch of – Trajann, Plate Captain, two each of Achillus dreads and MSU salvo bikes, some troops to hold the line, and a few flex choices, here Wardens and a Blade Champion. Brutally effective, and ran the winning Crusher list very close in the finals.

Wrap Up

What a way to send off 2021, and what a lot of fun we have to look forward to over the next few months. It looks like we’ve got a healthy crop of GTs to look forward to this weekend, where we can start seeing what happens as the new mission pack kicks in, so make sure to check back next week for some hot first impressions and/or me getting mad at events with more cautious rules cutoffs. See you then! Comments, questions, suggestions, incresingly tortured arguments about Custodes being a hammer in a metagame full of nails, all to contact@goonhammer.com.