Competitive Innovations in 9th Edition – an Early Look at Winning Lists

An article by    Competitive Play Meta Analysis Warhammer 40k        0

After a long hiatus, the tournament scene is tentatively starting up again. Majors in many countries are still likely to be out of the picture for the forseeable future, but local COVID restrictions and regulations have advanced to the point that – in some regions – it’s possible to run RTTs or a small GT, meaning that we’re starting to see our first results for 9th Edition.

Now – we’ve not been shy about our stance that shutting down the tournament scene and the ITC was the right thing to do in the early stages of the pandemic, and we’ve discussed extensively what we should do about the fact that events are starting up again in terms of coverage. Our current stance is that there are many places where it still wouldn’t be safe to run an event, and even within regions where it is theoretically possible, organisers should be demonstrating that they are following government guidelines and taking proportionate steps to ensure attendees are safe before we’ll do any serious coverage of their event. That’s going to be a judgment call that we aren’t always going to get right, but that’s what we’re aiming at. We’re also keen to amplify any especially good practice around COVID safety measures, as pragmatically people are going to start running stuff again now the metaphorical dam has been breached, so better that they follow good practice.

With that in mind if you’re an event organiser and you want to let us know about the precautions you’re taking for your event, do let us know at contact@goonhammer.com. This is especially relevant in the UK or US, which are both some of the largest competitive scenes and also the places where running an event safely will require serious biosecurity measures for the foreseeable future. If we can be confident that COVID measures for an event have been properly considered, then we’re much more likely to look at it for list reviews and results analysis.

 

What We’re Looking At

With that out of the way, the good news for you hungry tournament fans is that there were two events this past weekend that fit the bill. The Adelaide GT in Australia took place in a region with low COVID infection rates and acknowledges government guidance in the pack, while the Vanguard Tactics Grand Series in the UK took extremely extensive precautions (which you will hear about in detail from our roving reporter Corrode) and had their safety plan signed off by local government.

That gives us the most exciting of things – juicy new data that we can dig into! People are obviously still adapting to 9th, and we’re nowhere near the fully optimised lists of the later parts of 8th Edition, but any list that can jump into a brand new environment and put up a good record definitely has something to tell us.

With that in mind, we’re going to come at this from a slightly different angle than normal. Rather than diving deep into any one list, we’re instead going to have a shorter look at each of the 8 lists that made up the two top fours and highlight anything that’s novel about them and explore why they’re well tuned to attack early 9th.

Astute readers will have noted that we’re cutting this at the top fours. Now I swear I had steeled myself to manually trawl through BCP to get the details of these out, but happily the heroic folks over at 40kstats have started up their coverage again, making that blessedly unnecessary. If you want to hear their takes on these first few events, make sure you go and have a listen to their now-resumed weekly podcast.

With all that out the way, on to what you’re really here for – the analysis!

 

The Lists

Taken from:

Alex Harrison’s Salamander Successors – 1st Place Vanguard Grand Series

Salamanders Aggressors

Salamanders Aggressors. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Adeptus Astartes Salamanders Successor) [49 PL, -4CP, 1308pts] ++

+ Configuration +
Detachment Type: Stealthy and Long Range Marksman

+ Stratagems +
Trust Of Prometheus [-1CP] Exemplar of The Promethen Creed [-1CP] Chapter Master [-2 CP]

+ HQ +

Captain on Bike [6 PL, 150pts]: Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Warlord, Trait: Never Give Up, Relic: The Salamanders Mantle, Extra Warlord Trait: Forge Master

+ Troops +
Intercessors [5 PL, 100pts] . 5x Intercessors: 5x Assault Bolters

Scouts [4 PL, 70pts] . 5x Scouts: 3x Boltguns, 2x Bolt Pistol and CCW

+ Elites +
Aggressors [10 PL, 225pts] . 5 Aggressors: 5x Auto-Bolt Gauntlets, 5x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers

Aggressors [10 PL, 240pts] . 6 Aggressors: 6x Flamstorm Gauntlets

+Fast Attack+
Outriders [6PL, 135pts]

3x Outriders: Heavy Bolt Pistol, Astartes Chainsword, Twin Bolt Rifle

Land Speeder Tempest [8PL, 80pts]: Assault Cannon, 2x Tempest Salvo Launcher

+Heavy Support+
Devastator Squad [6PL, 120pts] .5x Devastators: 4x Grav Cannons, 1 Armorium Cherub

+ Dedicated Transport +
Drop Pod [3PL, 68pts]: Storm Bolter

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Adeptus Astartes – Salamander Successors) [33 PL, 685pts] ++

+ Configuration +
Detachment Type: Stealthy + Long Range Marksman

+ HQ +
Lieutenant with Jump Pack [6PL, 90pts]: Bolt Pistol, Close Combat Weapon, Relic: Obsidian Aquila

+Elites+
Aggressors [5 PL, 120pts] . 3 Aggressors: 3x Flamstorm Gauntlets

+ Heavy Support +
Eradicators [5 PL, 120pts] . 3x Eradicators: Melta Rifles

Eradicators [5 PL, 120pts] . 3x Eradicators: Melta Rifles

Eradicators [5 PL, 120pts] . 3x Eradicators: Melta Rifles

Relic Scorpius Whirlwind [12PL, 235pts]: Scorpius Multi Launcher

Note: A reader has pointed out that this list needs to spend 1 more CP than it seems to have – Trust of Prometheus doesn’t give you a relic, it merely allows a successor to take one of the Chapter relics instead of Special Issue Wargear or a regular Marine relic. We have confirmed with the TO that this was caught and fixed prior to game 1 in this instance, but watch out for it when compiling your lists!

The Standout Features

  • Salamanders! 9th edition has immediately fixed the issue we had while compiling Start Competing: Space Marines where we literally couldn’t find a highly successful list sticking to the Salamanders supplements (Rob’s Note: It also helps that 9th edition gave space marines an actual good melta unit).
  • Flamestorm Aggressors. Long maligned over their boltstorm brethren, this list really makes these work.
  • Eradicators. Literally as many of them as possible. This is fine.
  • Grav Devs in a drop pod. Salamanders have a few good stratagems for them in particular.
  • The blasted Relic Scorpius. I swear I would be counting the days to the new FW indexes if we had a release date.

Why It Works in 9th

First up – why are the Salamanders here suddenly? A few reasons. First of all, one of the things they’re notably good at is taking and holding objectives, which 9th rewards. They have defensive strats they can pop to make units harder to shift, and the warlord on bike here is T7, -1 to wound and can make himself ObSec with Never Give Up, which is a hell of a thing. If the upcoming Primaris Bike Chaplain is followed up by more bike characters, look for those to get used in a similar role. The Obsidian Aquila on the Lt. is also a pretty potent buff to be able to cart around, with 6+++s being particularly effective on 3W models.

Secondly, there are suddenly units that really make some of their abilities shine. Eradicators are the obvious one here – long-ranged tactical doctrine melta weaponry with +1 to wound attached to some pretty durable bodies is real good, but they’re proving to be pretty good everywhere. The units that really shine here are the Aggressors. Long-ranged marksmen on these combines extremely well with the ability to come in from tactical reserves, as on most mission maps opponents are going to have to be in strike range of the board edge to contest objectives. When they arrive, they can be further amped up by the Salamander Doctrine and the Relentless Determination (I think this works? Slightly unclear from the wording) and Flamecraft stratagems, letting them count as stationary and throw out a truly eyebrow-searing number of flamer shots at +1 to wound, barbecueing pretty much anything. With a few squads of these in reserves, basically nowhere within 17″ of the table edge is even slightly safe for your opponent, and on the new small boards that’s a really bit deal.

Bringing up the rear, we have the Grav Devs and the Scorpius. The Scorpius, along with some other Space Marine friends that we’ll get to, is proof that nothing short of staking the existing Forge World Indexes through the heart, burning the pages and burying the ashes at the crossroads at midnight is going to stop units from them being over – represented in competitive play – time and time again, the response to a big upheaval has been “find the Forge World units that got off too lightly”. Anyway, with Obscuring terrain making it easier to hide and access to The Crucible of Battle to make it really sing, the Scorpius is as great as ever here. Grav Devs are a bit more of a meta call – lots of Marine players are high on them because they went down a lot in points and the kind of unit they really prey on, elite multi-wound INFANTRY, is very popular in early 9th (as you can see in this very list). This puts them in a target-rich environment in general, and they also benefit from several of the stratagems already listed, Relentless Determination for the turn they come in in particular.

Finally, this list is a total nightmare to pick Secondaries against. It doesn’t have enough targets for any of the kill ones, punishes you for coming mid-board, and can meddle with Actions or flags via the mobile characters or tactical reserves.

All told, this list does a great job of showing how 9th changes some of your motivations when building a list, and suggests that Salamanders should have real play in the new edition.

Alex Petford’s Nurgle – 2nd Place Vanguard Grand Series

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Note: we’ve had a few comments pointing out an issue with this list – because the Warlord isn’t in a DEATH GUARD detachment, they aren’t Poxmongers so the Ironglot furnace isn’t unlocked. Some shuffling around is needed to sort it, or the army could eat the loss of 2cp.

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Starting Command Points: 4 (Patrol 2CP, Spearhead 3CP, Extra Relic 1CP, Contaminated Monstrosity 1CP, Accelerated Entropy 1CP)

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Nurgle) [31 PL, 520pts] ++

Death Guard Daemon Prince of Nurgle [9 PL, 195pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, Hellforged sword, Wings

+ Troops +

Nurglings [6 PL, 80pts] 4 x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 80pts] 4 x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 80pts] 4 x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

+ Elites +

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]: 6. Arch-Contaminator, Fugaris’ Helm, Warlord

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [61 PL, 1,020pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ HQ +

Sorcerer [6 PL, 90pts, -1CP]: 4. Blades of Putrefaction, 5. Putrescent Vitality, Ironclot Furnace

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [13 PL, 180pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife, Blight Grenades, Krak Grenades
. 9x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 9x Blight Grenades, 9x Boltgun, 9x Krak Grenades, 9x Plague knife

+ Elites +

Biologus Putrifier [4 PL, 65pts]

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [6 PL, 69pts, -1CP]: Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Contaminated Monstrosity

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 160pts, -1CP]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger, Accelerated Entropy

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 160pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 160pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

+ Dedicated Transport +

Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill [8 PL, 136pts] 2x Storm Bolters

++ Patrol Detachment 2CP (Chaos – Daemons) [27 PL, 460pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle

+ HQ +

Daemon Prince of Chaos [9 PL, 200pts]: Malefic talons, Wings, Fleshy Abundance
. Nurgle

+ Troops +

Nurglings [6 PL, 100pts] 5 x Nurgling Swarms: 5x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 80pts] 4 x Nurgling Swarms: 5x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 80pts] 4 x Nurgling Swarms: 5x Diseased claws and teeth

++ Total: [119 PL, -3CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Nurglings sir, hundreds of them. ObSec swarms are a popular early 9th element, but Nurglings might be the best.
  • Entropy Cannon Poxmonger PBCs. We did try to warn you
  • The Blight Grenade Bomb in a Drill.

Why It Works in 9th

Really this list is showing off two strands of novelty – changes for 9th and Death Guard changes from War of the Spider that didn’t have time to be shown off in 8th.

Starting with the 9th edition specifics, any tough, durable objective holder goes up in value a lot, but Nurglings really take the cake. They did very well out of the point changes (either staying the same cost or going up by 2 per base, depending on which number is correct), are paradoxically very resilient to Blast weapons, and can outright start the game sitting on multiple objectives.

For this list, that means they buy time while the new WotS elements do their work. The Poxmonger Plagueburst crawlers, including one upgraded with Accelerated Entropy, are a complete nightmare – yes they’re still BS4+, but they don’t take move/shoot any more and each shot that connects has a high chance of doing some real damage, plus they can be babysat by either of the two Daemon Princes, thanks to the DAEMON keyword. They don’t alpha strike reliably, but because they themselves are so tough (here T8, 4++, 5+++) they’re likely to stick around for a lot of the game, allowing them to rack up value over the course of it. As more of a point-and-click tool, you have the Plague Marines and (presumably) Biologis Putrefier in a Drill. The Drill itself got away with a criminally low point change in Chapter Approved, making it highly competitive in most armies that can take it, but the real prize here is the Plague Marines. Thanks to Overwhelming Generosity, they can now let rip with Blight Bombardment on the turn they arrive, which gives them a pretty high chance of just outright deleting something pretty hefty straight away, especially if you get them in the Arch Contaminator aura. Expect to see this combo a lot.

The combination of a durable early claim on objectives with nasty spike damage makes this army a real threat. I don’t love that we’re two armies in and both are using both range tricks out of Deep Strike to do something horrific, but the tradeoff is that both lists contain stuff that was nowhere to be seen on the top tables pre-9th.

Speaking of things previously nowhere to be seen on the top tables…

 

Adam Shepherd-Jones’ Custodes – 3rd Place Vanguard Grand Series

Custodes NMM

Custodes NMM, Credit Silks

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


+++ 9th Custodes (Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition) [111 PL, -1CP, 2,000pts] +++

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [111 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Battle Size [12CP]: 1. Combat Patrol (0-50 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points) [12CP]

Detachment CP

Shield Host: Solar Watch

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Open the Vaults (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot [5 PL, 100pts] +

Vindicare Assassin [5 PL, 100pts]

+ HQ [16 PL, -1CP, 281pts] +

Shield-Captain [7 PL, 103pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts], Misericordia [3pts], Sally Forth, The Swiftsilver Talon, Warlord

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, -1CP, 178pts]: Captain-Commander [-1CP], Misericordia [3pts], Salvo Launcher, Unstoppable Destroyer
. . Auric Aquilis

+ Troops [11 PL, 199pts] +

Custodian Guard Squad [11 PL, 199pts] . . Custodian [3 PL, 52pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts], Misericordia [3pts] . . Custodian [3 PL, 49pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Custodian [3 PL, 49pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Custodian [3 PL, 49pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts]

+ Elites [31 PL, -1CP, 485pts] +

Allarus Custodians [23 PL, 325pts] . . Allarus Custodian [5 PL, 65pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Allarus Custodian [5 PL, 65pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Allarus Custodian [5 PL, 65pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Allarus Custodian [5 PL, 65pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts] . . Allarus Custodian [5 PL, 65pts]: Guardian Spear [5pts]

Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought [8 PL, -1CP, 160pts]: Eternal Penitent [-1CP], 2x Lastrum Storm Bolter

+ Fast Attack [34 PL, 655pts] +

Venatari Custodians [14 PL, 275pts] . . Venatari Custodian [3 PL, 55pts]: Venatari Lance
. . Venatari Custodian [3 PL, 55pts]: Venatari Lance
. . Venatari Custodian [3 PL, 55pts]: Venatari Lance
. . Venatari Custodian [3 PL, 55pts]: Venatari Lance
. . Venatari Custodian [3 PL, 55pts]: Venatari Lance

Vertus Praetors [20 PL, 380pts] . . Vertus Praetor [5 PL, 95pts]: Salvo Launcher
. . Vertus Praetor [5 PL, 95pts]: Salvo Launcher
. . Vertus Praetor [5 PL, 95pts]: Salvo Launcher
. . Vertus Praetor [5 PL, 95pts]: Salvo Launcher

+ Heavy Support [14 PL, -1CP, 280pts] +

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, -1CP, 280pts]: Eternal Penitent [-1CP], Illiastus Accelerator Culverin [25pts], Spiculus Bolt Launcher [10pts] . . Telemon Caestus [45pts]: Twin Plasma Projector [15pts]

The Standout Features

  • Custodes are good again, awooo!
  • Solar Watch adds a mobility boost to help the army maneuvre early on.
  • The Telemon is specced for a mixed range/melee build to allow it to contribute to more of a ruckus!

Why It Works in 9th

Custodes come into 9th with the massive advantages that their points barely increased (or in the case of the Allarus you see here, went down), they picked up some incredible new tools from WotS, and their core sell of everyone being ObSec and nails hard is really good in 9th as long as you have the mobility to tag objectives.

Thanks to the Solar Watch relic and the Vertus/Venetarii units this army can definitely do that, and thanks to the truly absurd array of cost-effective defensive stratagems the Custodes have (see our review for a rundown) they aren’t easy to move once they’re there. The Emperor’s Auspice, in particular, shuts down a huge number of the ways that an enemy army might plausibly take down a unit of Vertus Praetors. One thing that really hammers home how powerful some of these defences are is that this army doesn’t even bother to run full-sized units of its various things, preferring to go a bit wider on the table and trust to Auramite/nonsense stratagems to get the smaller units through enemy turns. That seems like a smart way to do things, as it gives you quite a bit of extra flexibility in list building and you now have the CP to make it work. Like the previous one, this list also ends up very resilient to secondaries.

The final things to draw attention to are the Vindicare Assassin and the Shield Captain with Unstoppable Destroyer. The Vindicare is, I assume, here to help unpick powerful buff characters that might help the enemy muster a response, plausibly swapping out to a Callidus in some games. This army can keep them safe a bit better than most, as if they hug the Telemon they’re probably not getting shot out any time soon. Finally, Unstoppable Destroyer already looked wild in 8th but it really comes into its own in 9th. Stapled to an ObSec character that can charge in the opponent’s turn, it gives you a monstrous amount of leeway to sneak onto an extra objective and rack up additional primary points.

Custodes seemed like a force to be reckoned with coming out of Chapter Approved, so it’s good to see that put into practice here. I think this is a strong model for anyone looking for a way to make the faction work.

 

Matthew Truel’s Harlequins – 4th Place Vanguard Grand Series

Harlequins Troupe. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [103 PL, 1,997pts, -5CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [7 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Player of the Twilight, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Warlord, Webway Dance

Troupe Master [4 PL, 70pts]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, The Twilight Fang

+ Troops +

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Humbling Cruelty, Shrieker Cannon

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Cegroach’s Lament, Harvester of Torment, Shrieker Cannon, Mythic Role (-1cp included at top of list)

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

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [13 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [9 PL, 165pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [9 PL, 165pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

The Standout Features

  • Harlequins performing at a high level is another change from 8th…
  • …but actually this list looks the most like something you might have thrown down in the previous edition, just probably capping out at 3-2

Why It Works in 9th

Harlequins came out of the point changes looking pretty solid. They took a minor hit on the bikes, but got off lightly on Troupes, especially tooled up ones, and saw no increase at all on Starweavers, which is critical to making fusion Troupes viable.

This list goes pretty much all in on that, running as Soaring Spite to allow the army to stay highly mobile while throwing out a tonne of ranged damage, while also being incredibly resilient on the first turn thanks to Foes of the Mind providing wide-ranging -1 to wound. A bunch of the other new tricks help you keep the opponent guessing and rip them to shreds once the game is going, but really the sell here is that you have some very powerful units (now relatively aggressively costed) that can take an early punch and then zip around to a large proportion of the board to start doing some damage. All this comes together with the fact that you have one fewer turn to worry about running out of steam in (always a risk for elite armies like Harlequins) to make this style of list much more threatening than it was in 8th in the right hands.

There’s one final specific thing worth mentioning too – you know how two of the lists above trade on range tricks out of Deep Strike? Veil of Illusion shuts that nonsense right down, and if those continue to be popular I’d be considering swapping Cegorach’s Lament out for the Shadowstone just to get wider coverage on it. Being powerful now with tools to adapt to how the metagame is looking is a great place to be, and I’m faintly dreading the prospect of having to paint up some more Harlequins myself.

 

Andy Penn’s Orks – 1st Place Adelaide GT

Credit: FlamingFig

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

CLAN – DEATHSKULLS

OUTRIDER (-3CP)

HQs

WARBOSS on BIKE [110] (100) Relic :- da Killy Klaw (10) WARLORD – MIGHT IS RIGHT

(-1 CP) da Biggest Boss (+ 1 Att and wound & +4 inv)

DEFFKILLA WARTRIKE [125] 2nd Relic (- 1 CP) da Fixer Upper

FAST ATTACK

3 MEGATRAKK SCRAPJETS [330] (90 each) 2 twin big Shootas (20)

3 MEGATRAKK SCRAPJETS [330] (90 each) 2 twin big Shootas (20)

SHOKKJUMP DRAGASTA [110] (100) rokkit (10)

KUSTOM BOOSTA BLASTA (90)

BOOM DAKKA SNAZZWAGON [90] (85) big Shootas (5)

10 WARBIKERS [280] (270) Nob w/ Power Klaw (10)

HEAVY SUPPORT

BONEBRAKER [195] (160) Deff Rolla (20) 2 big Shootas (10) Rigger Grots (5)

(- 1 CP) FORTRESS (+3 save +5 inv)

BONEBRAKER [185] (160) Deff Rolla (20) Rigger Grots (5)

FLYER

BURNA BOMMBER [155] (125) 2 Super shots (20) Twin big Shootas (10)
Army total 2000
Spend six pre game CP on OUTRIDERS, FORTRESS, DA BIGGEST BOSS & a 2nd relic

The Standout Features

  • Orks!
  • All (well, almost all) vehicles all the time!
  • Pure Deathskulls – no mixed Clan nonsense here.
  • The Flying Headbutt Burna Bomber of Doom flies to war.
  • A big Warbiker squad of all things.

Why It Works in 9th

This list is a delight – it’s totally different to most Ork lists we saw in 8th, with the only one that was even vaguely in the same ballpark being the Deathskulls buggy list from the Alliance Open last year. Even that had quite a different plan, able to make use of the powerful shooting of Shokk Attack Guns to strip out enemy threats, but with those banished to the island of over-nerfed units, what’s an Ork to do?

Accelerate to ramming speed, apparently. This army gets up in an opponent’s face and trades on the fact that it’s got a wide range of threats that can disperse around the board and operate largely independently (off the back of Deathskulls re-rolls) to dominate the table. The Megatrakk Scrapjets are especially well suited to the current metagame, as they pack a huge amount of flat damage three shooting to deal with Gravis, so it makes sense that they’re out in force. The Bonebreakers have a part to play as well, and I honestly wonder if part of the reason this list succeded is that against non-FLY units it can literally body block large swathes of the table from being accessible – your opponent can’t hold the objectives if they physically can’t get to them. While some all-in FLY lists exist, in general the stock of it has gone down, so that becomes more of a viable plan.

Last on the list, we have the Bikers and the Bomber. The Bomber is pretty obvious – armies can end up much more clustered mid-table in 9th, so being able to drop a massive mortal wound bomb is pretty spicy, especially with a bunch of valuable Gravis stuff kicking round. The Bikers I assume are a horde-clearing option – this list feels a little vulnerable to tarpitting if it runs into enemies who are still on a horde plan, so having a unit that can throw down a big volley with More Dakka and plausibly punch up against light vehicles with Wreckers is handy.

Orks had a rough time of the point changes, so it’s good to see some real kunnin’ put into a list that can still kick enemies in the teef.

 

Jack Plant’s Space Wolves – 2nd Place Adelaide GT

Please dont' nerf me GW until I can get played in a game

Credit: Kevin Stillman

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Space Wolves) [116 PL, -1CP, 1,999pts] ++

+ Stratagems +

Trophies of Fenris [-1CP]: Trophies of Fenris – 1 Extra Relic

+ HQ +

Primaris Wolf Priest [6 PL, 85pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, Saga of the Bear, Tale of the Wolf King and the Lord of the Deeps, Warlord, Wolf Tail Talisman

Ragnar Blackmane [6 PL, 125pts]

Wolf Priest [6 PL, 105pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, Bolt pistol, Jump Pack, Morkai’s Teeth Bolts, Tale of the Wolf King and the Lord of the Deeps

+ Troops +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Incursor Sergeant
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Incursor Sergeant
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades

Assualt Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . 4x Assualt Intercessor: 4x heavy Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, astartes chainswords
. Assualt Intercessor Pack Leader

Assualt Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . 4x Assualt Intercessor: 4x heavy Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, astartes chainswords
. AssuaIt intercessor Pack Leader

+ Elites +

Wulfen [22 PL, 273pts] . 5x Thunder hammer & Stormshield: 5x Storm Shield, 5x Thunder Hammer
. 5x Wulfen
. Wulfen Pack Leader: Frost claws

Wulfen [22 PL, 367pts] . 7x Thunder hammer & Stormshield: 7x Storm Shield, 7x Thunder Hammer
. 7x Wulfen
. Wulfen Pack Leader: Frost claws

Wulfen [22 PL, 367pts] . 7x Thunder hammer & Stormshield: 7x Storm Shield, 7x Thunder Hammer
. 7x Wulfen
. Wulfen Pack Leader: Frost claws

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [6 PL, 136pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Ironhail Heavy Stubber, Shield Dome

Impulsor [6 PL, 136pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Ironhail Heavy Stubber, Shield Dome

The Standout Features

  • ObSec Wulfen.
  • ObSec Wulfen.
  • Have you noticed that there are ObSec Wulfen in this list?

Why It Works in 9th

Yeah so for this one we’re going to need to wait and see if the next FAQ brings a hurried correction before deciding whether this teaches us anything about the likely 9th metagame, but as it stands Space Wolves get Objective Secured on all units in their detachments, and ObSec Wulfen are, and this is going to shock you, a complete nightmare to deal with. Between their reasonable resilience, ferocious damage output and ability to take enemies that try and prise them off an objective with them, they’re ideally placed to dominate Primary objectives, and this list doesn’t give up much in the way of Secondaries either.

To be strictly fair, the Wulfen aren’t the only good thing here – the stock of Infiltrators and Incursors, durable units that can start the game on objectives, feels pretty high as we start the edition, and the Impulsor remains good despite its point increase. Getting ObSec certainly doesn’t hurt it either!

Finally, Ragnar himself remains one of the deadliest killers in the 41st Millenium, able to grind through targets both big and numerous, especially when backed up by two hype men in the form of Wolf Priests. Don’t let him touch anything you want to live.

Of the lists covered in this piece, this probably is the one that has the most risk of hitting a bad matchup and faceplanting. Many players are skating a bit light on pure anti-horde early in the edition, relying on Blast for double duty from other guns, and that helps this list as high rate of fire AP0 weapons are the way to kill Wulfen. However, if it came up against, say, way too many Flamestorm Aggressors firing max shots it would quite probably have a bad time.

Be wary of that if this takes your fancy, and keep an eye on whether Salamanders turn out to be the real deal or an early fad, but otherwise enjoy this while it lasts/until it’s confirmed as intentional and you get to be really smug and then enjoy it even more.

 

Gabe Dell Olio’s Drukhari – 3rd Place Adelaide GT

Drukhari Wracks. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [12 PL, 14CP, 235pts] ++

Detachment Type: Kabal of the Black Heart Raiding Force [4CP]

+ Stratagems + Alliance of Agony [-1CP] Prizes from the Dark City (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Archon [4 PL, 85pts]: Hatred Eternal, Huskblade, Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Blaster, The Djin Blade, Warlord
Drazhar [6 PL, 105pts]

+ Troops +
Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 45pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle . Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [53 PL, 985pts] ++
Detachment Type . *Custom Coven*: Dark Technomancers, Masters of Mutagens
+ HQ +
Haemonculus [5 PL, 85pts]: Electrocorrosive whip, Hexrifle, Master Regenerist, The Nightmare Doll, Warlord
Haemonculus [5 PL, 85pts]: Electrocorrosive whip, Hexrifle

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 75pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive whip, Hexrifle . Wrack with special weapon (up to 1 for 5 models): Ossefactor . 3x Wracks: 3x Haemonculus Tools
Wracks [3 PL, 70pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive whip, Hexrifle . 4x Wracks: 4x Haemonculus Tools Wracks [3 PL, 70pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive whip, Hexrifle . 4x Wracks: 4x Haemonculus Tools

+ Heavy Support +
Reaper [9 PL, 150pts] Reaper [9 PL, 150pts]

+ Dedicated Transport +
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [41 PL, -2CP, 780pts] ++
Detachment Type . *Custom Coven*: Dark Technomancers, Masters of Mutagens
+ HQ +
Haemonculus [5 PL, 80pts]: Haemonculus tools, Hexrifle

+ Troops +
Wracks [3 PL, 70pts] . Acothyst: Haemonculus tools, Hexrifle . Wrack with special weapon (up to 1 for 5 models): Ossefactor . 3x Wracks: 3x Haemonculus Tools
Wracks [3 PL, 70pts] . Acothyst: Haemonculus tools, Hexrifle . Wrack with special weapon (up to 1 for 5 models): Ossefactor . 3x Wracks: 3x Haemonculus Tools
Wracks [3 PL, 70pts] . Acothyst: Haemonculus tools, Hexrifle . Wrack with special weapon (up to 1 for 5 models): Ossefactor . 3x Wracks: 3x Haemonculus Tools

+ Heavy Support +
Reaper [9 PL, 150pts]

+ Dedicated Transport +
Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Disintegrator cannon
Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Disintegrator cannon
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

The Standout Features

  • The Technomancer Reapers are the real deal huh. I can’t decide if I’m happy or mad about that.
  • OK seriously though, this list is actually very smart in how it leans even further onto Technomancers.

Why It Works in 9th

So lets go back a few weeks and zoom in on the Goonhammer offices, late at night, as Corrode and I morosely consider the state of Drukhari after their point changes. Almost everything had gone up in cost substantially, and crucially a lot of their options to get anti-tank onto the table look very overcosted, and Kabalites are eye-wateringly expensive. Just as we were at our lowest point, something Corrode said reminded me of a weird fact about Reapers – unlike Ravagers, they can be taken as Covens or Wych Cult instead of just Kabals, and that opened up the exciting prospect of using them with Dark Technomancers – perfect on a high-shot gun. We mathed some stuff up and it quickly became clear that it was a lot better than most other options for getting anti-tank on the table, to the point where it might just be a bit of a saving grace for the faction.

The outlook seems positive on that – this list takes the initial core of “run Technomancer Reapers” and then amps it up all the way to 11, packing deadly Venoms that will scythe through 2W models with the damage boost and the extra wounds from Masters of Mutagens, and then even going all the way to filling those Venoms with Wracks toting special weapons, which I honestly think is genius. Pro tip – keeping your characters alive suddenly becomes really hard when they’re being shot at by a bunch of +wound 2D sniper rifles being shot out of flying transports. It even brings a couple of Raiders (another way to buy my affection, Raiders 4 lyfe), who get to enjoy spitting out three damage disintegrator shots, guaranteed to make Gravis units sweat.

Finally, it gets to start the game on 12 CP thanks to Raiding Force (suddenly a great ability in 9th) and has access to Agents of Vect to shut down a lot of enemy nonsense using them.

Note: Technically they still haven’t clarified on the Ynnari/Drahzar/Black Heart thing, but here it’s essentially irrelevant as if it mattered Drahzar could just be in the final Patrol.

I love this list as an incredible swerve to get round the difficulties Drukhari have, and it’s mean, able to bully both elite armies and anyone leaning on swarms thanks to the sheer volume of D2 shooting it brings to bear.

 

Tyson Whitelaw’s Ultramarine Successors – 4th Place Adelaide GT

Ultramarines 4th Company Mortis Contemptor

Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Battalion Detachment [96 PL, 2,000pts, 7CP] ++

**Chapter Selection: Myrmidons (Ultramarines Successor: Long-range Marksmen, Master Artisans)
+ Stratagems +

Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]: Number of extra Relics 1

+ No Force Org Slot +

Vindicare Assassin [5 PL, 100pts]

+ HQ +

Primaris Chaplain [4 PL, 85pts, -2CP]: Litanies 2. Catechism of Fire, 5. Recitation of Focus, Litany of Hate, March for Macragge, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Stratagem: Master of Sanctity, Warlord Trait; Wise Orator, Seal of Oath, rosarius, absolver bolt pistol, crozius arcanum

Primaris Chapter Master (Indomitus) [5 PL, 105pts, -2CP]: heavy bolt pistol, master crafted power sword, relic shield, iron halo, frag and krak grenades, Warlord Trait; Master of Strategy, Stratagem: Chapter Master, The Vox Espiritum, Warlord

Primaris Lieutenants (Indomitus) [4 PL, 90pts]: Primaris Lieutenant (Indomitus): neo volkite pistol, master crafted power sword, storm shield, frag and krak grenades

+ Troops +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Incursor Sergeant
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired Combat Blades, 4x Smoke Grenades

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Incursor Sergeant
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired Combat Blades, 4x Smoke Grenades

Intercessor Squad [10 PL, 200pts]: Bolt rifle
. 9x Intercessor: 9x Bolt pistol, 9x Frag & Krak grenades
. Intercessor Sergeant: Chainsword

Intercessor Squad [10 PL, 200pts]: Bolt rifle
. 9x Intercessor: 9x Bolt pistol, 9x Frag & Krak grenades
. Intercessor Sergeant: Chainsword

+ Elites +
Aggressor Squad [10 PL, 225pts]: 4x Aggressor, Aggressor Sergeant
. Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [13 PL, 210pts]: Cyclone missile launcher, 2x Twin lascannon

+ Heavy Support +
Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought [9 PL, 210pts]: Cyclone missile launcher
. Two twin lascannons: 2x Twin lascannon

Relic Leviathan Dreadnought [16 PL, 365pts]: 2x Heavy flamer, 3x Hunter-killer missile, Storm cannon array, Storm cannon array
++ Total: [96 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Relic and Mortis Contemptors, standout winners from the points changes, terrorising the battlefield.
  • Long Range Marksmen and the Ultramarine Litany combining to give Boltstorm Aggressors some real reach, or make them terrifying out of Reserves.
  • A Leviathan Dreadnought still lurking around looking real mean.

Why It Works in 9th

The big improvements this list picks up compared to playing it in 8th is how much easier of a time it has getting set up early on. Now that move/shoot is built in to vehicles, the Dreadnoughts can much more comfortably move on the first turn without giving up their firepower, while the Aggressors can combine Tactical Reserves with the Ultramarine Doctrine to deploy and throw out the big damage straight away, rather than having to take the risk of waddling up the board.

The Leviathan is also much more likely to find early targets. With smaller boards and more pressure to take the centre straight away, hiding back out of its (boosted) range isn’t going to be an option for a lot of opponents, allowing it to start throwing out its absurd damage right off the bat. It picked up a bigger increase in cost than the others, but also sees some very tangible benefits that more than make up for it here. Rapid Redeployment also helps you set up that all important first turn round of shooting.

And honestly? That’s kind of it here – you just have some incredibly powerful Forge World Dreadnoughts amped up by the flexibility of the Ultramarine stratagem sheet, and that’s enough to give you an army that can tangle in the big leagues. Good news for the many, many Ultramarine and Contemptor fans on the Goonhammer staff.

 

What’s Next

Change is what makes writing about competitive 40K exciting, and I’m delighted that for every single one of these lists there’s a clear way in which 9th either changes how powerful they are, or has heavily informed the list design. I’ll be watching with interest as more events start reporting, so stay tuned for more dives into the metagame. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, give us a shout at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

Leave a Reply

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