Competitive Innovations in 9th: Brisbane Open & West Australia Iron Man

An article by    Competitive Play Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

So to answer the first question – yes I contemplated pulling out some second edition army lists and trying to do a bit for Goonhammer 96 week, but the idea of trying to wrap my head around the 2nd Ed. rules rapidly lost its appeal once I reminded myself what even just the weapon profiles looked like. Also, I’m not clear if the idea if putting army lists on the internet even existed in 1996. I was quite small. Instead, I’m taking the coward’s way out and providing you with your regular dose of competitive content so you don’t all stop reading while the rest of the writing team are On One.

I also wouldn’t want to skip out on this week, because we’ve got two juicy events to write about. The Australians have been busy once again, and this past weekend saw two GT-sized events fire – the Queensland Gamer’s Guild Brisbane Open and the West Australia Iron Man. Both have thrown up a nice mixture of familiar tools, spicy brews and returning classics, so there’s lots to get our teeth into – so let’s get into it!

QGG Brisbane Open

The lists for this event can be found in Down Under Pairings.

Michael Mientjes – Aeldari – 1st Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [45 PL, 915pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Craftworld Attribute
. Custom Craftworld: Expert Crafters, Hunters of Ancient Relics

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 135pts]: 0. Smite, 3. Fortune, 4. Executioner, Shuriken Pistol, Witchblade

+ Heavy Support +

Note: The unit cost for the Wraithlords should be 140, but the list as written comes out at 10pts under, so adding 5 to each of these still leaves the army legal and I assume they were added in as a way to blow the last 10pts at the last minute. Put down the comment pitchforks.

Wraithlord [7 PL, 135pts]: Flamer, Flamer, 2x Starcannon

Wraithlord [7 PL, 135pts]: Flamer, Flamer, 2x Starcannon

Wraithseer [8 PL, 170pts]: 0. Smite, 4. Protect/Jinx, D-cannon

Wraithseer [8 PL, 170pts]: 0. Smite, 5. Quicken/Restrain, D-cannon

Wraithseer [8 PL, 170pts]: 0. Smite, 4. Protect/Jinx, D-cannon

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [54 PL, 1,073pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Masque Form: The Midnight Sorrow: The Art of Death

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [6 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Webway Dance

Troupe Master [4 PL, 65pts, -1CP]: Choreographer of War, Darkness’ Bite, Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Twilight Fang

+ Troops +

Troupe [5 PL, 109pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 109pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 109pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 94pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: 6: Player of the Twilight, Death is not Enough, Warlord

Solitaire [5 PL, 102pts]: Blitz, Cegorach’s Rose

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]

++ Total: [99 PL, 1,988pts, 6CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Craftworlds and Harlequins team up to rack up an Aeldari win.
  • Powerful anti-elite shooting from the Wraiths allows the army to soften up tougher lists at range and via Smite attrition.
  • Robot bodies also provide a durable, brawling anvil for the Harlequins to work around.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Harlequins continue to have a perfectly respectable win rate in “pure” builds, but metagame shifts over the last few months have started seeing some significant changes to the tools they’re bringing. The advent of popular lists that are running incredibly durable tarpit brawlers like Deathwing Knights and Blightlords (especially with Stench Vats backup) poses something of a problem to conventional lists, as they can plausibly blunt an attempt to burst them down and leave the Harlequins extremely exposed in response. Harlequins are deadly, but they do have to commit to a close ranged assault do real damage, and that’s become quite a bit riskier recently.

There are two ways that people have been trying to work around that. The first is by shaking up some of the options used in pure Harlequin lists, going much heavier on large foot troops with varied weapons, ensuring that there’s an answer for most targets and several waves of threats to unleash. The other is to do what we see here, and bring in some tools from another Aeldari faction to shake up the game plan.

In this case, the cadre of Wraiths provides something that Harlequins just can’t muster on their own – a brick of hard to shift models that can stride to the middle of the table and chip away at the opponent with attrition damage. D-cannons and starcannons backed by Expert Crafters are both exceptional at chewing through elite infantry and hordes, and three Smites layered on top of the output from the Farseer presents a substantial amount of mortal wound output. For any army that’s planning to park a big brick of something in the middle of the table and stay there this is a nightmare, especially as with T8 the Wraiths are functionally immune to small arms fire and need real commitment to take down. Hordes might pose a threat, but adding flamers to the Wraithlords helms mitigate that at least somewhat, and anything crunchier that wants to come and play better be sure they’re going to down the Wraith they attack in one go, otherwise they’re taking a heavy swing back thanks to Hunters of Ancient Relics.

That provides a solid core and powerful attrition that the opponent is forced to answer, and allows the Harlequins to focus on what they do best, which is using their mobility and spike damage to engage with and eliminate weaker targets around the edges. Running as Midnight Sorrow here helps with that, as it amps up their already considerable mobility and gives them ways to dive into cover after committing murders, denying opponents easier targets. Taken together with the Wraiths that provides an effective gameplan and a challenge for opponents. Either they have to commit to facing down the Wraiths in force, in which case they’re likely to fall behind on wider board control as the Harlequins surround them, or they try and avoid the core and shore up their defences elsewhere, which risks ceding control of the mid-board. Both these options provide a strong path to victory for the Aeldari list, and being able to throw out some ranged damage from durable platforms significantly increases the flexibility of the gameplans it can put together.

It isn’t without weaknesses – Wraiths have a nasty habit of being great until you run into an opponent with the perfect tools to rapidly burst them down, but even then the fact that the Wraithseers can switch to sniping from behind cover for a bit when required is handy, and some of the things that can challenge them are vulnerable to a Harlequin counterattack. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like gambling on your opponent not having a melee answer to the Wraiths, other builds making use of Craftworlds are packing Lynxes and War Walkers, going heavier on the sheer ranged firepower but retaining a heavier Harlequin contingent for contesting the board.

Overall, expect to see this kind of thing more going forwards – especially now Michael has racked up an event win for the strategy. Pure Harlequins remain perfectly viable, especially the heavier foot builds, but if you’re a fan and find yourself losing to Death Guard, consider trying a build like this to give you more angles of attack.

Joshua McGowan – Astra Militarum – 2nd Place

Credit: Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Note: The Patrol here has too many Troops choices. Because they’re all Scions, and I imagine at least one squad per game is going to drop, scramble and die, moving one of the squads to the Battalion fixes it with minimal impact.

++ Battalion Detachment -0CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Regimental Doctrine: Regiment: Vostroyan

+ Stratagems +

Tank Ace

+ HQ +

Tank Commander: Lascannon, Multi-meltas, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

Tank Commander: Lascannon, Multi-meltas, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

Tank Commander: Lascannon, Multi-meltas, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

+ Troops +

Infantry Squad
. . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. . Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad
. . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. . Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad
. . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. . Sergeant: Laspistol

+ Elites +

Platoon Commander: Laspistol

Special Weapons Squad [Legends] . . 3x Guardsman: 3x Lasgun
. . Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Demolition Charge and Lasgun
. . Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Demolition Charge and Lasgun
. . Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Demolition Charge and Lasgun

Wyrdvane Psykers: Gaze of the Emperor
. . 6x Wyrdvane Psyker: 6x Laspistol, 6x Wyrdvane Stave

+ Heavy Support +

Malcador Defender: 2 Heavy Bolters

Manticore: Full Payload, Heavy Bolter

Manticore: Full Payload, Heavy Bolter (-1cp)

+ Flyer +

Valkyries
. . Valkyrie: 2x Heavy Bolters, 2x Multiple Rocket Pods, Multi-laser

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Regimental Doctrine: 55th Kappic Eagles, Astra Millitarum

+ HQ +

Primaris Psyker: Nightshroud, Psychic Maelstrom

Tempestor Prime: Hot-shot Laspistol
Relic distraction charges

+ Troops +

Militarum Tempestus Scions
. . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. . Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions
. . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. . Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions
. . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. . Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions
. . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. . Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

The Standout Features

  • Pure Astra Militarum in a top four!
  • The standard Tank Commander/Manticore/Scion setup is backed by a MEDIUM TANK in the form of a Malcador Defender.
  • Running as Vostroyans rather than the standard Gunnery Experts/Spotter Details lets the list keep the longer range but buff the MEDIUM TANK via Firstborn Pride.
  • Bringing Weirdvane Psykers alongside a Primaris Psyker makes really sure that Nightshroud goes off.
  • Kappic Eagles provide a few neat tricks to interfere with the opponent in an emergency.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Astra Militarum have been in a tough spot all edition, really struggling to maintain the kind of board control needed to reliably score in 9th’s missions and suffering from a lot of their units being fairly anemic. There are still some “good” units are pretty well known at this point – Tank Commanders remain strong, Full Payload Manticores are extremely powerful, and Scions provide some angles on objective play, and lists building around those, usually with Gunnery Experts/Spotter Details on the tank detachment have generally proven to be more effective than others, but still pretty weak compared to the field.

This list uses a lot of those tools, but finds a powerful way to shake things up a bit to its clear advantage. While the big ticket item for guard out of the Forge World Compendium was the Death Korps Pony Club, the mid-tier tanks like the Malcador quietly ended up pretty decently costed, and moving to the Heavy Support slot instead of Lord of War makes working one into lists a lot more viable than a bigger beast like a Baneblade. Plenty of lists are skimping on the ability to reliably pop an 18W T8 model out of the gate, and the Malcador Defender distinguishes itself by packing a lot of heavy bolters (seven in total). When amped up via the application of Firstborn Pride for +1 to hit, this creates some pretty serious damage output, especially considering the amount of damage the rest of the list throws out. Losing the shot re-rolls from Gunnery Experts isn’t fantastic, but Demolisher cannons are so fantastically deadly that it isn’t the end of the world, and having the big tempting target of the Malcador available means that the list can afford to spend a bit more points on each Tank Commander by buying them multi-meltas, since targeting them with anti-tank first now comes with a real cost. The opponent also has to make sure they fully destroy the Malcador if they want it out of the picture, as otherwise Relentless will see it operating on full profile straight away.

To try and make that a bit harder for lists packing moderate shooting, we see the unusual sight of a Weirdvane Psyker squad. These unlock the ability to use Psychic Conclave alongside the Primaris Psyker in order to give a near guaranteed casting of Nightshroud from the latter. I must admit that I’m slightly surprised not to see Psychic Barrier in play as well (after all, if you’re going in on a MEDIUM TANK you may as well go all in), but having some mortal wound output for emergencies is certainly no bad thing, and the psykers providing a unit that can Scramble in emergencies might occasionally be just what is needed. The Kappic Eagles also have a few tricks to potentially protect it, most notably Distraction Charges – if an Eagle squad wraps closely to the Malcador they might be able to ward off enemy charges out of deep strike thanks to this, reducing the chance of it getting straight up punked by a melee nasty (always a worry with this kind of model).

This list doesn’t revolutionise guard or anything, but not every army has to. Instead, it takes the known better tools, adds in a few new ingredients and achieved a good placing, which is just what we like to see here. There are one or two other picks from the Forge World Compendium that I’m kind of waiting to see if anyone will manage to make work (especially the Hades Breaching Drill), and it’s good to see Josh taking the Malcador for a runaround so successfully.

Liam Spires – Chaos – 3rd Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Starting CP 6 Total Points 2000

Battalion Detachment -3CP Chaos – Daemons

Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided

Stratagems

Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

HQ

Keeper of Secrets 240pts, -1CP
. Hysterical Frenzy
. Symphony of Pain
. Smite
. Shining aegis
. Snapping claws
. Soulstealer,
. Witstealer sword
. Exalted Keeper of Secrets: 2. Quicksilver Reflexes

Lord of Change 275pts, -1CP
. Bolt of Change
. Boon of Change,
. Infernal Gateway
. Smite
. Staff of Tzeentch
. The Impossible Robe
. Baleful sword
Exalted Lord of Change – Roll 2

Troops

Nurglings 88pts
. 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings 88pts
. 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings, 66pts
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings 66pts
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings 66pts
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings 66pts
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Fast Attack

Furies 45pts: Mark of Nurgle
. 5x Fury: 5x Daemonic claws

Furies 45pts: Mark of Nurgle
. 5x Fury: 5x Daemonic claws

Supreme Command Detachment +3CP Chaos – Death Guard

Mortarion 490pts
. Miasma of Pestilence
. Gift of Contagion
. Gift of Plagues
. Smite
. Warlord

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP Chaos – Thousand Sons

Magnus the Red 465pts
. Temporal Manipulation
. Warptime,
. Weaver of Fates
. Smite

The Standout Features

  • Right, but what if four big nasties?
  • No Horrors in this build, just Nurglings for days.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This list doesn’t really need any introduction as we’ve talked about similar builds extensively in the last few months, but for those who are just tuning in – Magnus, Big Bird and (especially) new Mortarion are some of the nastiest monsters in the 41st Millenium, and smashing them together in a list alongside something to gum up the board and hold the opponent in place gives you an exceptionally powerful attrition strategy. As your opponent gets bogged down dealing with adorable ObSec plague imps their finest threats get picked apart, and once they’re weakened they find first Mortarion and the Keeper and then the other two big monsters descending upon them to clean up the game. The army leverages the While We Stand We FIght secondary extremely effectively, and is pretty much the poster child for the Attrition gameplan right now.

To look at this specific iteration of it, we therefore want to look at any differences from the standard version, and there are really two. First and most obvious is the presence of a Keeper of Secrets, using points that the “original” build plowed into a big squad of Horrors. Given that it’s packing the Quicksilver Reflexes Exalted Trait and a Shining Aegis for maximum durability, my assumption here is that this aims to provide a brawler unit that can engage out of the gate when needed against opponents that would otherwise threaten to quickly overwhelm the Nurglings without putting one of the WWSWF choices in harm’s way. Being able to commit a big threat early when needed provides a bit more flexibility, and can also tag team with Mortarion for a terrifying early strike in matchups where the opponent lacks the tools to reliably deal with them. Those two palling around with either The Droning or the Gloaming Bloat emanating out from the Daemon Primarch (depending on whether the opponent is relying on re-rolls) can simply overwhelm some lists entirely, and that gives you an extra angle of weakness you can sometimes exploit to grab easy wins. When you can’t – well, a KoS is still an incredibly efficiently costed fast threat, so you’re not really losing anything!

The other important thing to highlight here is that this build takes Mortarion in the Supreme Command detachment. Whether the interaction between Mortarion’s  Daemon Primarch rule and the rules for the Supreme Command detachment let you do what you really want (Magnus in a SupCom for the strats and TSons trait, Morty in a Super Heavy Aux but still your warlord) is hotly debated among players and TOs, and some events (presumably including this one) aren’t allowing that option, forcing you to go with the choice that satisfies the most criteria (Morty in the SupCom). This build did that – and put up an excellent finish anyway, giving a strong indication that the list doesn’t require that setup to be viable. That’s good news for anyone who wants to unleash the most monstrous of Chaos models on the tabletop, and congratulations to Liam for pulling off an excellent result with the army.

Paul Gurney – Iron Hands – 4th Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Starting CP : 8

Faction : Iron Hands

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands) [101 PL, 1,999pts] +
+ HQ +

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Benediction of Fury, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Litany of Hate
Free WL Trait : Wise Orator
Second WL Trait -1CP : Student of History
Free Relic : Benediction of Fury

Techmarine [4 PL, -1CP, 70pts]: Boltgun, Omnissian power axe, Servo-arm
Extra WL Trait -1CP : Adept of the Omnissiah
Extra Relic -1CP : The Iron Stone

+ Troops +

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 120pts] . . 4x Infiltrator: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. . Infiltrator Sergeant

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 130pts]: Helix gauntlet
. . 4x Infiltrator: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. . Infiltrator Sergeant

+ Elites +

Centurion Assault Squad [18 PL, 330pts] . . Centurion: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers
. . Centurion: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers
. . Centurion: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers
. . Centurion: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers
. . Centurion: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers
. . Centurion Sergeant: Centurion Assault Launchers
. . . . Flamers

Vanguard Veteran Squad [14 PL, 289pts]: Jump Pack
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. . Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

+ Fast Attack +

Attack Bike Squad [6 PL, 165pts] . . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. . Attack Bike: Multi-melta

+ Heavy Support +

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 175pts]: Armorium Cherub
. . Devastator Marine Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. . Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. . Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. . Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. . Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

+ Flyer +

Fire Raptor Gunship [22 PL, -1CP, 400pts] . . Two quad heavy bolters: 2x Quad heavy bolter
. . Two twin hellstrike launchers
Relic Tax -1CP

+ Dedicated Transport +

Drop Pod [4 PL, 70pts]: Storm bolter

Land Speeder Storm [3 PL, 55pts]

Land Speeder Storm [3 PL, 55pts]

The Standout Features

  • Never count out the Iron Hands, apparently.
  • A buffed up Fire Raptor provides some truly stupid firepower.
  • Centurion and VanVet bricks challenge for the midboard while the Raptor does its wicked work.
  • Devastators and Attack Bikes provide some precision tools against enemy armour.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

You know every time I start to think we haven’t heard much from Iron Hands in a while somebody slams them down onto the table and reminds us that they’re basically never going to vanish because:

  • They’re generically good at supporting some of the better Codex damage dealers.
  • Army wide 6+++ without even needing an Apothecary is great now every INFANTRY model is >=2W.
  • They have extremely powerful synergy with all flavours of over the top vehicle, so if any chapter is going to support a hideous Forge World nasty, it’s them.

Here we see all three of these characteristics on display in this powerful list, which came within a hair’s breadth of winning the whole event, losing on table 1 in the final round against Michael’s Eldar in a 58-56 nailbiter.

Let’s start with the giant resin elephant in the room – Fire Raptors mount a truly appalling amount of firepower (24 heavy bolter shots, 10 slightly better heavy bolter shots, 4 flat damage three missiles), and Iron Hands support them extremely effectively. Even in its modern state the Ironstone is a tremendous boost to the defences of any tank, and still being able to apply this at the top of the battle round rather than in a Command Phase means you can guarantee it’s on right out of the gate, making a turn one kill tough for anyone not packing massive amounts of high damage firepower (and there I think honestly you just Strategic Reserve it). When the Iron Hands turn swings around, the Fire Raptor will spend its first turn hitting on 2s re-rolling 1s, and because of its size will often be able to just hover in place next to the Techmarine and keep all those juicy buffs for good, but in games where it does need to go out and play you can use Methodical Firepower or Wrathful Machine Spirit to keep it fully stocked with re-rolls as it blasts away. If you have one target your really need dead then you also have the option of Mercy is Weakness to really amp up the damage, and all this adds up to mean that the Raptor isn’t going to be able to be ignored by opponents that want to still have an army by the end of the game.

The downside of Aircraft is, of course, that they do nothing to contest the board, but luckily Space Marines have some excellent options to do that in the form of the ubiquitous claw/shield VanVets and the slightly less common choice of Assault Centurions. The latter feel like they make sense here because of the level of investment that the Raptor represents – you really want something super durable on the ground to ensure you aren’t at any risk of getting wiped off the table, and minimum specced Assault Cents give you some of the absolute best bang for your buck in that regard (and are also no slouches at punching with The Gorgon’s Rage, which gets round their normal unbuffability by not requiring CORE). Add in the Infiltrators and the speeder storms to push up the table as pawns and you have a pretty handy three wave setup heading to the middle of the table, and the Vets and Centurions will happily brawl with pretty much any opposing unit.

The only thing that leaves you without a tool for, which is neutralising targets with damage reduction or excellent saves at range, and that’s where the Devastators and Attack Bikes come in. Seven extra highly mobile multi-meltas that can be used at full effect on turn one will cheerfully liquify a few key targets right out the gate, perhaps eliminating potential threats to the raptor or just taking a chunk out of an opponent’s key tarpit unit. If they’re not needed straight away? They’re more than happy being held back for a counterattack down the line, and essentially complete the job of shoring up the list’s performance against all flavours of targets.

In conclusion: Iron Hands – still extremely powerful when wielded correctly, so congratulations to Paul on putting the build together.

The Rest of the Best

Three more players ended up on a 4-1 record. They were:

  • 5th Place – Kemble Hollis – Tyranids: A heavy monster mash list featuring three Hierodules (two Barbed, one Scythed) backed up by some big shooty bugs and a big unit of devourer Gaunts. Like the previous Hierodule list we saw, it was run as Jormundgandr to unlock cover in the open for the big boys and proper deep strike for the devilgaunts via some Raveners.
  • 6th Place – Danny Giles – Adepta Sororitas: A pretty classic Valorous Heart/Bloody Rose build, with the only major deviation from the norm being a heavier weighting towards Zepyrim (two full squads) rather than Repentia (one unit) as melee threats, and the inclusion of some Arco-flagellents for horde clearing.
  • 7th Place – Steven Wade – Raven Guard Successors: The Born Heroes/Whirlwind of Rage combo strikes again, with a bunch of VanVets and Redemptors angling to dominate the board while Inceptors and Attack Bikes provide shooting backup.

West Australia Iron Man

The lists for this event can also be found in Down Under Pairings.

Note: I’ve been told an extra rule was in play at this event such that the person who lost on table one in the final round would automatically come second, and due to the weird way draws panned out, that means Aaron Thompson should also be here in second place. This will be added later today.

Note 2: Now added.

Jordan Berresford – Dark Angels – 1st Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Player: Jordan Berresford

cp 12-3-1-1-1=6cp

Faction: Dark Angels

Deathwing Vanguard Detachment -3CP

HQ

Ezekiel [7 PL, 125pts]: 1) Mind Worm, 2) Aversion, 5) Engulfing Fear

Elites

Bladeguard Ancient
[5 PL, 85pts]: Pennant of Remembrance

Note: For reasons that we are unclear on this model has a 72pt font attribution to Greg in the version of this list on DUP. We find this confusing and alarming, but also want to thank Jordan for allowing Greg to participate in winning a tournament.

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Deathwing Sergeant: Lightning Claw (Pair)
. Deathwing Terminator w/THSS

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Deathwing Sergeant: Lightning Claw (Pair)
. Deathwing Terminator w/THSS

Terminator Assault Squad [18 PL, 385pts]: Teleport Homer
. Assault Terminator Sergeant w/THSS
. 4x Assault Terminator: 4x Storm shield, 4x Thunder hammer
. 5x Assault Terminator: 5x Lightning Claw (Pair)

Ravenwing Outrider 0cp [58 PL, 1,245pts]

HQ

Lieutenant(s) [16 PL, 320pts] . Ravenwing Talonmaster
. Ravenwing Talonmaster: Arbiter’s Gaze (-1cp), Rites of War, Hero of the Chapter (-1cp)

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 140pts]: Litany of Faith (Aura), Canticle of Hate (Aura), Master of Sanctity, Warlord, Wise Orator

Elites

Ravenwing Apothecary [6 PL, 115pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Hero of the Chapter(1cp)
. Black Knight Bike: Astartes grenade launcher

Fast Attack

Attack Bike Squad [6 PL, 165pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Attack Bike Squad [4 PL, 110pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Attack Bike Squad [4 PL, 110pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Bike Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . Biker Sergeant: Lightning Claw
. 2x Space Marine Biker w/Chainsword: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Twin boltgun

Bike Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . Biker Sergeant: Lightning Claw
. 2x Space Marine Biker w/Chainsword: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Twin boltgun

Bike Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . Biker Sergeant: Lightning Claw
. 2x Space Marine Biker w/Chainsword: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Twin boltgun

Total: 96 PL, 2,000pts

The Standout Features

  • The Deathwing/Ravenwing builds start to really flex their muscles.
  • Attack bikes dominate as the Ravenwing damage dealer of choice.
  • Vanilla Assault Terminators are favoured over Knights to keep costs down.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Dark Angels had a slightly slower start competitively that we expected but players have now really started hitting their stride, and this winning list shows off one of the two extremely effective templates the book gives you (the other being pure Ravenwing). Because of the huge incentives to run the pure detachments, a Deathwing/Ravenwing combo looked like a no-brainer out of the book, and sure enough players have started finding loadouts that really get the job done.

At the centre of most of these are Attack Bikes and a big block of some flavour of Terminator that can carry Storm Shields, which can be any of Deathwing Terminators, Assault Terminators or Deathwing Knights. This list plumps for the Assault option, which gives a healthy balance of price, durability and damage output, and gets the nod over the “basic” Deathwing unit because it can take a Teleport Homer, which probably won’t get used most games but is very attractively priced for something that can be super clutch so why not. This unit is supported by an Ancient with the Penant of Rememberance, because the only thing better than ObSec Terminators with perma-transhuman is ObSec Terminators with perma-transhuman and -1D. With Ezekiel’s exceptional debuffs and an Apothecary supporting them as well, this unit represents one of the toughest bricks to shift in the entire game, giving the army a very solid core to work around.

A setup like that is best supported by plenty of damage dealers, and for this list that’s where the Ravenwing come in. Attack bikes are one of the best Marine units just generally so putting a free invulnerable save on them is, of course, excellent, and the extra reach they get from Speed of the Raven on turn one ensures they can reach out and hit the juiciest of valuable targets. If hordes are your problem then two Talonmasters provide some excellent high-output dakka, and the smaller bike units are no slouches at taking off some models here either.

The primary purpose of those, of course, is objective play – they’re very fast, pretty tough for the cost and get free ObSec even when they range far away from the Rites of War Talonmaster thanks to the detachment rules, making them excellent board control units. They’re backed up in this regard by the last real piece of the list, the Deathwing Command squads. These are fantastic utility/scrambler units because they’ve got native Deep Strike, their tough as nails and are honestly a genuine threat to many units even in their tiny numbers. They represent yet another great upside for picking Dark Angels, and seeing a couple of units in most lists isn’t surprising. Thanks to the Rites of War Talonmaster, they also provide a nasty angle on Stubborn Defiance in any matchup where picking up Death on the Wing doesn’t seem feasible – if there’s a home objective behind a wall, you can park one of these units on the objective and then stick the Talonmaster on the far side able to see the battlefield. The Bodyguard ability from the Command Squad stops the Talonmaster getting shot, and Rites of War makes the Command Squad eligible for the secondary, so if your opponent can’t reach out and stop you you get easy points for minimal effort, presumably while your opponent grumbles mutinously.

Essentially that’s the list – it’s a whole bunch of tools that are extremely effective at their jobs coming together to form a classic “durable centre, flanking damage dealer/board control” setup. Lists like it are popping up on top tables all over, but as far as I’ve seen Jordan has led the charge in terms of actually taking a trophy, so congratulations!

Aaron Thompson – Adepta Sororitas – 2nd Place

Adepta Sororitas Sister Superior

Adepta Sororitas Sister Superior. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Order Convictions: Order: Bloody Rose

+ Stratagems +

Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ HQ +

Canoness [3 PL, 50pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Null Rod, Relic: Beneficence

Missionary [3 PL, 45pts] . Autogun and Laspistol

Triumph of Saint Katherine [10 PL, 195pts]

+ Troops +

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 3x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Simulacrum
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 3x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Simulacrum
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 3x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Simulacrum
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

+ Elites +

Imagifier [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Litanies of Faith, Warlord, Warlord Trait: 4. Beacon of Faith

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 112pts] . 7x Sisters Repentia: 7x Penitent Eviscerator

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 128pts] . 8x Sisters Repentia: 8x Penitent Eviscerator

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 144pts] . 9x Sisters Repentia: 9x Penitent Eviscerator

Zephyrim Squad [8 PL, 126pts] . 6x Zephyrim: 6x Bolt pistol, 6x Frag & Krak grenades, 6x Power sword
. Zephyrim Superior: Bolt pistol

Zephyrim Squad [8 PL, 144pts] . 7x Zephyrim: 7x Bolt pistol, 7x Frag & Krak grenades, 7x Power sword
. Zephyrim Superior: Bolt pistol

+ Fast Attack +

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 83pts] . 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Hand Flamers
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Hand Flamers

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 83pts] . 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Hand Flamers
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Hand Flamers

+ Heavy Support +

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 160pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 140pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 140pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

+ Dedicated Transport +

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

++ Total: [106 PL, 11CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Bloody Rose goodstuff reminds everyone that it’s still extremely great.
  • Hand flamer Seraphim continue to show off their utility value.
  • Zephyrim/Triumph combo is as great as ever.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

A late entry here, since the event used an unusual mechanism to decide second place, but luckily for me I know exactly how to sing from this particular hymnbook. All sorts of Sororitas builds have been succeeding recently, some mixing Valorous Heart and Bloody Rose, some going heavy on Mortifiers and others even dipping in to Martyred Lady, but straight up Bloody Rose was the original hit out of the book, and a second place finish here serves to remind us that it’s still great. Repentia and Zephyrim are at their absolute best souped up with an extra attack and AP, and packing a lot of melee units alongside the Triumph gives you exceptionally powerful Act of Faith synergy.

Being Bloody Rose also lets you exploit an option that’s been on the uptick more recently, which is hand flamer Seraphim. These are incredibly cheap for what they do, and because they can essentially double shoot the turn they arrive, adding a point of AP via the Bloody Rose conviction makes them a super attractive choice. In matchups where the flamers aren’t good you’re totally fine using them for objective play, and where they are they substantially shore up your anti-horde capabilities at a very low price point – so if you’re running with the Rose, give them a try.

That’s the only really unique thing to highlight here – beyond that, you all know by now that these units are exceptional, Bloody Rose brings a lot of them up to their maximum performance, and Sisters continue to look like the faction to beat.

Sebastian Zalek – Necrons – 3rd Place

Doomsday Ark

Doomsday Ark. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Necrons – Strikeforce – Grand Tournament ( 7CP – 2000PT – 0PT )

Necrons Spearhead Detachment ( 3CP – 2000PT )

SUB-FACTION: Mephrit

HQ

WARLORD: Catacomb Command Barge (180) Resurrection orb
TRAITS: Enduring Will
RELICS: Voltaic Staff

Catacomb Command Barge (155) Warscythe
TRAITS: Merciless Tyrant
RELICS: Voidreaper
STRATAGEMS: Dynastic Heirlooms, Rarefied Nobility

ELITES

C’tan Shard of the Nightbringer (370)
POWER S: C’tan Shard of the Nightbringer – Gaze of Death, Sky of Falling Stars

Triarch Stalker (150) Twin heavy gauss cannon

HEAVY SUPPORT

Annihilation Barge (125)
Annihilation Barge (125)
Annihilation Barge (125)

Doomsday Ark (190)
Doomsday Ark (190)
Doomsday Ark (190)

FLYER

Doom Scythe (200)

STRATAGEMS
Rarefied Nobility (1CP)
Dynastic Heirlooms (1-3CP)

Total Command Points: 5/12

Reinforcement Points: 0

Total Points: 2000/2000

The Standout Features

  • An extreme left-field shooty Necron list provides an alternative angle on the book.
  • Annihilation Barges provide decent firepower thanks to the dynastic code and effective CCB screening.
  • The Nightbringer threatens a deadly countercharge to anything that gets too close.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Necrons have been seeing a bit of a dropoff from their early popularity because while their two main strategies (Novokh and Eternal Expansionists) are still decent, they’re struggling a bit to keep up with some of the newly invigorated builds other factions are sporting after the January update. WIth that in mind, it’s extremely cool to see a wholly new Necron setup go out and perform, providing a quite different angle to any of the other lists out there.

Mephrit’s Dynastic code is, on paper, extremely good – extra range and extra AP obviously spice pretty much anything up – but the focus on melee options and reaper warriors has left it sorely underused outside a few attempts at building around Tomb Blades. This army eschews those in favour of a list entirely comprised of hulls and monsters, making it extremely resistent to small arms fire and plausibly able to grind a lot of opponents out of the game thanks to the damage it can deal. Annihilation Barges aren’t quite good enough on their base rate, but sticking a point of AP on their main gun substantially broadens out their target options, making them pretty good once you start building up a critical mass as here. More subtly, they also provide extremely effective screening for the Catacomb Command Barge, making it difficult for the opponent to get shots on them. These are both great damage dealers here – the Voltaic Staff is a fantastic ranged relic, while the combo of Voidreaper and Merciless Tyrant provides some real melee oomph on the second one. I must admit I’m not clear on why there’s a Resurrection Orb on the first barge given there are no targets for it in the list, but since the list cheerfully got to second place despite being essentially down 30pts lets just call it an incredible power move.

Providing some more substantial firepower we have a trio of Doomsday Arks – not as ubiquitous as they were in 8th but still pretty good all-rounders thanks to having a strong mix of anti-horde and anti-elite firepower. They also take up an enormous amount of space, allowing this list to do a better job of warding away enemy deep strikers than you might expect from an all-hull build. They’re backed up at range by a Triarch Stalker, a choice I whole-heartedly endorse, as especially in a list with so much dakka being able to set up re-roll 1s on a key target will really help bursting things down. This list feels like it’s very well positioned against Death Guard because of how effectively it can grind down their key units without really having to get close to them, and this level of focus fire helps a lot with that.

Just in general, this list has a pretty strong plan of gradually expanding to fill space while grinding the opponent into dust, and many lists aren’t packing the kind of anti-tank needed to stop that. More mobile melee forces can pose a problem for that strategy though, and that’s where the Nightbringer, comes in. Whether being held behind a wall for a counterpunch or being thrown out into the mid board as a speedbump for enemy nasties, this helps shore up the army’s ability to counter some kinds of assault, and is an especially strong deterent to monster melee units like Keepers of Secrets.

The final piece of the list is the Doom Scythe, which lets it reliably start racking up Engage on All Fronts in games where it can’t afford to take Purge the Vermin. I am a little concerned that it’s often going to struggle to pick a third Secondary, as it doesn’t really have any line on Shadow Operations and is thus super-reliant on either a mission or kill Secondary being “live” in a given game, which is somewhat alarming in a list that gives up maximum Bring it Down itself. It’s certainly tricky to see how you’d get enough stuff in to handle Scramblers without compromising on some of the threats, but I do wonder whether subbing in a single unit of Deathmarks or something to use for Ancient Machineries in some games might be worthwhile. The other swap I’d consider (especially with 30pts floating) is bringing Tesseract Arks instead of Doomsdays, partially because they’re a bit better against popular targets and partially because only being 10 wounds takes away the full BiD vulnerability.

Still, all of that is nitpicking and I don’t want to take away from Sebastian’s achievement here – piloting such an unusual build to a 4.5-0.5 finish is very, very cool, and I’ll be fascinated to see if more people start to give Mephrit a go off the back of it.

Dave Horne – Craftworlds – 4th Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Craftworlds custom battalion, expert crafters and master of concealment

HQ

Autarch Skyrunner (105) laser lance (5) twin shuriken catapult, warlord seer of the shifting vector, relic shimmerplume of achillral 110pts

Farseer (115) singing spear (5) shuriken pistol relic (-1cp) falchous wings
Powers: smite, guide, doom

warlock skyrunner (65) shuriken pistol, witchblade, twin shuriken catapult
Powers: smite, protect/jinx

Troops

4 dire avengers (44) avenger catapult, plasma grenade, dire avenger exarch (11) two avenger catapult
Exarch power: shredding fire 55pts

5 Rangers (65) ranger long rifle, shuriken pistol 65pts

5 Rangers (65) ranger long rifle, shuriken pistol 65pts

Fast Attack

2 hornets (160) 2x hornet pulse laser each (20) 180pts

2 hornets (160) 2x hornet pulse laser each (20) 180pts

4 shining spears (140) laser lance, twin shuriken catapult, shining spear exarch (35) star lance (5) twin shuriken catapult
Exarch power: expert hunter, withdraw (-1cp) 180pts

Heavy Support

Lynx (220) starcannon (5) crystal targetting matrix (5) lynx pulsar 230pts

Lynx (220) starcannon (5) crystal targetting matrix (5) lynx pulsar 230pts

9 dark reapers (315) reaper launcher, dark reaper exarch (35) tempest missile launcher (10)
Exarch powers: crack shot, rain of death (-1cp) 360pts

Dedicated Transport

Wave serpent (130) twin starcannon (30) twin shuriken catapult 160pts

Total 2000pts

The Standout Features

  • Hell yeah pure Craftworlds in a top four.
  • Forge World nasties and Fire and Fade Reapers get things done.
  • Cheap troops let you squeeze that much more into the army.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

I am an unashamed elf enthusiast, and it’s good to see that the mixture of the January FAQ and the power of the Craftworlds Forge World options are finally getting some Asuyani detachments onto the top tables, in this case an actual honest to goodness pure list.

What Eldar finally have access to again is the ability to put down serious damage output, and spread that across threats that are hard enough to deal with that they don’t just get trivially rolled over by enemy armies. This list showcases most of the big movers in that regard (with only Wraithseers being missing). Lynxes are very much the new resin hotness, and they’re especially good with the Craftworld trait on show here. Adding Crafters re-rolls to their big gun makes them very reliable sources of big damage, and with their speed, 16W and the 2+/5++ they have at range once you factor Masters of Concealment in they’re non-trivial to shoot out of the sky. Against opponents that threaten to pull that off, you can simply Cloudstrike both of them and play a bit more cautiously out of the gate, as with the Dark Reaper unit and four Hornets you still have some excellent firepower right off the bat. Reapers are the next “new” thing that’s been driving improvement, as the clarification that they really, definitely can Fire and Fade back into a transport makes it massively easier to use them with impunity, and their damage output is as great as ever. You do need to be cautious to make sure your opponent can’t rush them down with melee threats, but the sneaky subtletly of the setup is that you can actually move them around the board at quite a clip – you can get them out, move them in a direction you want to go, jump the Serpent over them then get back in after. Harder to pin down and harder to eliminate with units like Hive Guard is a winning combination, and while eye-wateringly expensive, they’re rapidly proving that there’s something to them now this change is in effect.

A unit that has far less to prove is Shining Spears. These are great. They’ve been great for ages, but having actual worthwhile shooting to back them up again makes them all the greater, as an opponent that overextends to try and take out one of the shooty units is going to find themselves suffering a brutal counter-charge, especially as they’re backed up here by a Bike Autarch, no slouch in combat themselves. Just like the Nightbringer in the Necron list, this means that just throwing caution to the wind and bull rushing this army isn’t safe, and with so much powerful melee around in 9th any shooty build needs something sitting in that slot.

Finishing things up, we have troops and Psykers. The Craftworld Psykers have always been pretty strong, and here this list gets to pull one of my favourite moves by taking a cheap Faolchu’s Wing Farseer, as it doesn’t need the extra mobility of the jetbike and has plenty of hulls to keep them safe. The troops, on the other hand, have gotten much better recently, as the hefty discounts the January FAQ handed out have moved them to price points you’re actually interested in. A minimum Dire Avenger squad provides an excellent on-table Scrambler setup for turn one, and two cheap, ObSec deep strike squads from the rangers really help with finishing that secondary off and really any flavour of objective play. They also synergise very effectively, again, with the Craftworld Trait – two units with Crafters Re-rolls starts to head towards a point where you can spike a character with a bit of luck, while Concealment lets them claim their 3+ save in the open, making them a little less fragile.

Is a lot of this still a bit less spicy than you’d like? Absolutely, but it’s great to see players like Dave finally being able to pull together lists that are strong enough to actually get somewhere in the right hands!

Lachlan Rigg – Custodes – 5th Place

Custodes Telemon Dreadnought

Custodes Telemon Dreadnought. Credit: CrabStuffedMushrooms

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion 0CP (Adeptus Custodes: Shadowkeepers)

HQ

Captain-General Trajann Valoris [10 PL, 190pts]

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, 175pts]: Hurricane bolter
· Stratagem (-1CP): Captain-Commander – Indomitable Constitution
· Warlord: Superior Creation
· Relic: Auric Aquilis

Troops

Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 159pts]: 3 x Sagittarum Custodia w/ 3 Misericordia

Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 156pts]: 3 x Sagittarum Custodia w/ 2 Misericordia

Custodian Guard Squad [11 PL, 208pts]: 4 x Custodian w/ 4 Sentinel Blades and Shields

Fast Attack

Venetari Custodians [16 PL, 330pts]: 6 x Venetari Custodians w/ 4 Kenetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler

Heavy Support

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector
· Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector
· Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector
· Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

The Standout Features

  • My what a lot of Telemons.
  • Shield Custodians provide a central anvil that the Telemons can push out from.
  • Venetari and a super Bike Captain provide more mobile threats.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

If Eldar did pretty well out of the Forge World Compendium then Custodes made out like absolute bandits. They already had great options here in 8th, but 9th has pushed these to new heights. Sagitarrum are nice solid troops, Venatarii are just phenomenal all rounders now they can have a 2+ save, and Telemons, hoo boy. In 8th a dual-gun shooty Telemon was generally the pick, but 9th provides much greater incentives towards flexibility and mid-board capability, so in recent Custodes builds the Caestus build has been on the rise. Three of them, all amped up with an extra attack via Eternal Penitent, is a truly monstrous force to push up the table, able to carve through anything elite like it’s tissue paper and still handle hordes reasonably well thanks to their shooting (backed by Trajann’s re-rolls) and the support the other units provide. Flat damage four on the fists is especially relevant right now, as it means they can one-shot Death Guard Terminators even through Disgustingly Resilient, and the mixture of extreme durability (T8 2+/5++) and extreme threat is a real problem for any strategy that relies on having their tarpit hold.

Outside of the Telemon durability, this list packs a major tarpit of its own in the shield Custodian squad, the one non-Character codex unit that makes it into the build. As one of the few units in the game that still gets a squad-wide 3++, being able to layer The Emperor’s Auspice and other defensive tricks on top of this unit makes it absurdly tough to shift, and given that the opponent’s second choice for engagement is often going to be a Telemon that makes this army a terrifying golden wall to face down. Being Shadowkeepers helps with that plan, as it puts one more defensive tool (Grim Responsibility) into the arsenal to ensure opponents can’t find a crack to drive a wedge through. That’s important, because obviously the drawback of having such strong units is that they’re few in number, meaning if an opponent can manage to make magic happen and pop a couple of units in one round things can turn pretty fast.

Finishing things out, we have the super Shield Captain of doom. Tougher than most main battle tanks, fast, deadly and ObSec. That’s it, that’s the explanation – y’all know that stuff is good by now.

Custodes have been slightly quieter than they were early on in 9th recently, but our data suggests that their win rates have stayed very strong, and there’s been a recent uptick in high performing lists like this one. I also think that this kind of build in particular is going to be extremely well positioned if Drukhari are as good as they look, as Shadowkeeper Telemons feel like a huge problem for them. Lachlann has put together something truly vicious here, and I think it’s got real legs going forward.

The Rest of the Best

Due to a draw in some early rounds and the way the pair up/pair downs went in round 5, one more player finished on a 4-1 record. They were:

  • Robert Hortin – Chaos – 5th Place: A very cool brew here making use of the power of Souburner Petard Decimators, who look extremely strong post the Forge World Compendium update. Here, three of them as Iron Warriors are backed up by a Daemons detachment using Bloodletters and Fiends to tie the enemy up and zone them away from the Daemon Engines while they reap their toll.

Wrap Up

It’s good to see things busy again, and the good news is that with vaccine rollouts proceeding well and organisers having a pretty good handle on policies, we should hopefully be able to start taking a look at US events again soon as well. With that in mind, the other exciting announcement we’ve got is that later this week we’ll be publishing an update to our competitive tier list, setting the stage for where we think the various factions sit as we head into a newly energised scene (at least in places where it’s safer, us poor Brits are stuck for a few months yet). Check back in later this week for that, and we’ll see you then. Any comments, questions or suggestions to contact@goonhammer.com as ever.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.