Competitive Innovations in 9th: Hellstorm RTT Safari

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

For the first time in a few weeks we find ourselves without a new GT to talk about as the 9th Edition evolves, but that doesn’t mean that the fiery coals of innovation aren’t smouldering away across the world, and it wouldn’t do for us to miss any particularly exciting sparks that get thrown out. With that in mind, it’s time to don our pith helmets, grab our chain-machetes and enter into the shadowy jungle that is the world of RTTs in search of exciting new species of list.

OK, if I’m honest that’s overselling the difficulty of the hunt here, because as luck would have it, the choice of where to focus is really, really obvious. While no two-day events fired, Hellstorm Wargaming in the UK put on two separate one-day RTTs on Saturday and Sunday, both with good attendance and some notable names both in the mix and at the top of the standings, there’s no better place to turn our focus for this week, and combining the two events gives us a mighty six undefeated lists to look at.

Now, obviously, however strong the field might be there’s a substantial difference between going undefeated over three rounds than five or six, which is why we generally don’t include them when we’re doing statistical analyses. In a shorter event, a list with bad matchups is much more likely to dodge them, and there’s a much higher chance of simply running good for a few rounds. The flip-side, however, and why they’re stiill a great thing to look at for our purposes, is that players are much more likely to be a bit more experimental. If you’ve got an army that you think has promise but aren’t quite sure about, an RTT is a great place to give it a workout, and that’s especially true if you’re the kind of player hunting for ITC points, for whom GTs and majors are serious business.

Coupled with how early it is in the edition, RTTs are a great place to look for new ideas getting their workout, and today’s lists show some of that off. We’re going to see some stuff that’s familiar and expected and some returning classics, and while some of the choices we might look at and wonder if they’ll hold up if metagame trends continue, in every one there’s something to talk about.

Greg Chamberlain’s Chaos

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [84 PL, 8CP, 1,415pts] ++

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Chaos Lord [5 PL, 80pts]: 6. Arch-Contaminator, Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Ironclot Furnace, Warlord

Malignant Plaguecaster [6 PL, 100pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 4. Blades of Putrefaction

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [7 PL, 125pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher

Plague Marines [7 PL, 125pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher

Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts] . 10x Poxwalker: 10x Improvised weapon

+ Elites +

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]

Noxious Blightbringer [4 PL, 60pts]: Plasma pistol, The Daemon’s Toll

Tallyman [4 PL, 60pts]: Plasma pistol

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [10 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Contaminated Monstrosity

Chaos Spawn [10 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Contaminated Monstrosity

+ Heavy Support +

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

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

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

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [33 PL, -3CP, 585pts] ++

Legion: Alpha Legion

+ HQ +

Master of Possession [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: 4. Master of Diversion, Infernal Power, Mark of Tzeentch, Mutated Invigoration, We Are Alpharius

Sorcerer [7 PL, 115pts]: Bolt pistol, Force stave, Jump pack, No Chaos Mark, Prescience, Warptime

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

+ Heavy Support +

Obliterators [18 PL, 315pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 3x Obliterator: 3x Crushing fists, 3x Fleshmetal guns

++ Total: [117 PL, 5CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Death Guard centric Nurgle continues to perform vastly better in 9th than it did for most of 8th thanks to the combination of easy access to durable objective holders and some extra punch thanks to War of the Spider.
  • Contaminated Monstrosity Chaos Spawn putting in a good showing as a way to put lots of wounds on the board (similar to the Beasts of Nurgle from David Horn’s list last time).
  • Entropy Cannons on the Plagueburst Crawlers, which seems to be an increasibly popular choice for armies that have something else to throw into the mid-board.
  • An Alpha Legion contingent that brings in a Warptime sorceror to help get Spawn into position and a big squad of Obliterators to provide punch.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

We have a mighty three different Chaos lists maining Death Guard to look at today, so it’s good to look at both what’s similar about them and what’s different. The main unifying factor is that all of them are packing three Poxmonger Plagueburst Crawlers accompanied by the Ironclot Furnace. Upgrading their already prodigious defences to include a 4++ makes PBCs a complete nightmare to shift for many armies, and you can use them either as mid-board bullies with the plaguespitters or (as here) nasty attrition pieces. They’re sufficiently tough to reliably off at range that most opponents aren’t going to bother with them as an early target – but once you slap Accelerated Entropy on one of them, and take account of the fact that they’re hitting on 5s at worst while uninjured in 9th, ignoring them is very likely to result in them killing more than their fair share of quality targets over the course of the game, all while squatting on objectives. These seem to be one of the very best units in 9th Edition, so if (inexplicably) you don’t already own three as a DG player, get some.

To make the Entropy Cannon build work you need something that can soak wounds to sit in the mid-board, and here Chaos Spawn fill that role. Contaminated Monstrosity turns these into an exceptionally cost-effective pile of wounds, and once you layer on full hit re-rolls in the fight phase from the Tallyman, they’re genuinely scary to elite infantry in melee as well. Once you layer on The Daemon’s Toll, they’re not even really any less durable than Daemon Equivalents, making them just an outrageously good unit all around.

The last notable thing about the list is the Alpha Legion contingent. Adding in Warptime has always been a good choice in Death Guard, and the Spawn are a good target for it, but obviously the eye catching thing here is the Obliterators. These are presumably chosen because they shore up one of Death Guard’s weaknesses. While, appropriately, Death Guard are very good at gradually grinding an enemy down, their main tool for bringing a large amount of spike damage crashing down on a target is to use the blight grenade combo with Plague Marines, which can be tough to set up. Obliterators obviously sit right at the other end of the spectrum, where they’re extremely fragile for their cost but absurdly destructive, making them an excellent complement to the rest of what the list is doing. With the increased use of Reinforcements in 9th, access to the Alpha Legion’s powerful intercept stratagem (Ambush) on them lets them dominate the board once they drop in. Alternatively, Master of Diversion lets them position wherever is most useful on the table for the first turn, lining up good shots or hiding as needed, and on any good table this list can use them to put opponents in a tough spot.

While spending points on the Obliterators does bring the list’s overall durability down a bit, the other upside it brings compared to buying more Daemon Engines is that it means an opponent can’t max Bring It Down against the army, meaning it’s a real pain to deal with on Secondaries. Assassinate is an option, but the opponent’s going to be gunning for well-protected characters, and overall I think this has a slightly higher chance of denying secondaries than some of the other builds.

One of the things I’m enjoying about reviewing 9th lists is seeing some previously less-used units come to the fore, and this list is a great example, using some neglected tools to great effect. Long may that continue!

Note: One thing I did spot while looking at this is that the Ritual of the Damned FAQ probably needs a second look at the Tactical Perfection FAQ, which lets that ability (and by extension Master of Diversion) pull units from the board into Reinforcements if they have the “natural” ability to do so. That sort of made sense in 8th, but in 9th where picking reinforcements is a separate step to deploying, it probably needs another look. I have no idea if this list was actually using this theoretical interaction (so please don’t start any anti-WAAC witch hunts over it) and it’s enough of an oddity that I’d want a revised FAQ before using it myself, but I know I’d get people pointing it out if I didn’t mention it so – yes I noticed it, no I’m not certain if it’ll stay.

Edit: The player of the list has confirmed to us that they definitely were not doing this, and agree with is that it’s too weird an edge case to try and use right now!

Mike Porter’s Death Guard

Myphitic Blight-Haulers – Credit Beanith

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [106 PL, 1,996pts, ] ++

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Daemon Prince of Nurgle [8 PL, 160pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 6. Arch-Contaminator, Hellforged sword, Ironclot Furnace, Malefic talon, Smite, Warlord

Daemon Prince of Nurgle [10 PL, 195pts, -1CP]: 1. Revoltingly Resilient, 4. Blades of Putrefaction, Hellforged sword, Malefic talon, Plaguechosen, Smite, The Suppurating Plate, Wings

+ Elites +

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 141pts] . Deathshroud Champion: Manreaper, Plaguespurt gauntlets
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlets

+ Fast Attack +

Myphitic Blight-haulers [15 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta

Myphitic Blight-haulers [15 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta

+ Heavy Support +

Defiler [9 PL, 140pts, -2CP]: Battle cannon, Contaminated Monstrosity, Defiler claws, Defiler scourge, Reaper autocannon, Smoke launchers

Defiler [9 PL, 140pts, -2CP]: Battle cannon, Contaminated Monstrosity, Defiler claws, Defiler scourge, Reaper autocannon, Smoke launchers

Defiler [9 PL, 140pts, -2CP]: Battle cannon, Contaminated Monstrosity, Defiler claws, Defiler scourge, Reaper autocannon, Smoke launchers

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

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

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

++ Total: [106 PL, 1,996pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • M O N S T E R M A S H.
  • Myphitic Blight Haulers finally getting their time to shine.
  • Defilers doing work.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

From a list that aims to dodge Bring It Down we immediately swap to one that leans in on it hard.  Forget Troops, forget distressingly spongey Chaos Spawn, this list is all about Daemon-infested robots. The Plagueburst Crawlers aren’t a surprise, but seeing the Blight-haulers out and about warms my heart – I’ve always thought they were a bit underrated, and here they stack on even more powerful ranged anti-tank to go with the Entropy Cannons, and don’t compromise on giving up easy kills thanks to being in units of three. It’s also very notable that these are apparently already good enough to see play in lists, because if their multi-melta gets upgraded to the statline we’ve seen on the Invader ATV datasheet then woof.

Clearly a mere 9 disgustingly resilient Daemon Engines wasn’t quite enough for this list, and it also makes use of the terrible power of Contaminated Monstrosity to whip up some more. Defilers are one of the big success stories of 9th, benefitting from light point changes, being able to move and shoot more effectively and doing OK out of Blast, and once you stick Disgustingly Resilient on them they’re an exceptionally cost efficient tool to bully the board centre with, performing a similar role in this list as the Spawn do in the previous. All these monstrous things are once again toughened up by the Ironclot Furnace, and I’m assuming the Terminators are here either to protect the foot Prince with the relic from snipers against armies that have a shot at offing him and to pop out of Deep Strike to bully an objective the rest of the time.

There’s arguably not masses more to say about this army as it isn’t complicated – just brutal. With only five turns to play with, very few armies are going to be able to outright table this, forcing them to prioritise trying to steal objectives that are going to be occupied by some quite spooky stuff. Monster mash lists tend to have a very devoted following, so expect to see plenty of armies chancing their arm at the same thing now the rubicon has been crossed.

David Irving’s Iron Hands

Credit: Silks

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands) [86 PL, 7CP, 1,640pts] ++

**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands

+ Agents of the Imperium [5 PL, 100pts] +

Culexus Assassin [5 PL, 100pts]: Animus Speculum, Psyk-out Grenades

+ HQ [15 PL, -5CP, 235pts] +

Chapter Master in Phobos Armor [5 PL, -3CP, 100pts]: 2. Lord of Deceit, Bolt pistol, Camo cloak [2pts], Combat knife, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted instigator bolt carbine [5pts], Stratagem: Chapter Master [-2CP], Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], The Ironstone

Primaris Librarian [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: 2) Might of Heroes, 3) Null Zone, 4) Psysteel Armor, Bolt pistol, Force sword, Frag & Krak grenades, Stratagem: Chief Librarian [-1CP] (note: we think this may have been meant to be the Tome of Malcador instead, as the powers come from more than one psychic lore)

Techmarine [5 PL, -1CP, 40pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Master of the Machine, Servo-arm, Stratagem: Master of the Forge [-1CP], Warlord

+ Troops [18 PL, 360pts] +

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 120pts] . 4x Infiltrator [96pts]: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Sergeant [24pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Marksman bolt carbine

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 120pts] . 4x Infiltrator [96pts]: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Sergeant [24pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Marksman bolt carbine

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 120pts] . 4x Infiltrator [96pts]: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Sergeant [24pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Marksman bolt carbine

+ Heavy Support [44 PL, 877pts] +

Repulsor Executioner [19 PL, 371pts]: Auto Launchers, 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launcher [10pts], Heavy Laser Destroyer [40pts], Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon [30pts], Icarus Rocket Pod [5pts], 2x Storm bolter [6pts], Twin Heavy Bolter [30pts], Twin Icarus Ironhail Heavy Stubber

Repulsor Executioner [19 PL, 366pts]: Auto Launchers, 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launcher [10pts], Heavy Laser Destroyer [40pts], Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon [30pts], 2x Storm bolter [6pts], Twin Heavy Bolter [30pts], Twin Icarus Ironhail Heavy Stubber

Thunderfire Cannon [6 PL, 140pts]: Thunderfire Cannon
. Techmarine Gunner [55pts]: Bolt pistol
. . Servo-harness [10pts]: Flamer [5pts], Plasma cutter [5pts], 2x Servo-arm

+ Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 68pts] +

Drop Pod [4 PL, 68pts]: Storm bolter [3pts]

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands) [22 PL, -2CP, 360pts] ++

+ HQ [10 PL, 170pts] +

Chaplain in Terminator Armor [6 PL, 95pts]: 2. Catechism of Fire, Crozius arcanum, Litany of Hate, Medusan Furore

Primaris Lieutenants [4 PL, 75pts] . Primaris Lieutenant [4 PL, 75pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted stalker bolt rifle [5pts]

+ Troops [4 PL, 70pts] +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 70pts] . Scout Sergeant [14pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. 4x Scout w/Boltgun [56pts]: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

+ Heavy Support [8 PL, 120pts] +

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 120pts]: Armorium Cherub [5pts] . Space Marine Sergeant [15pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [25pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Grav-cannon and grav-amp [10pts] . Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [25pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Grav-cannon and grav-amp [10pts] . Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [25pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Grav-cannon and grav-amp [10pts] . Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [25pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Grav-cannon and grav-amp [10pts]

++ Total: [108 PL, 5CP, ++]

The Standout Features

  • Repulsor Executioners out and about in TYOOL 2020
  • The grav pod continues its omni-presence in Marine lists. Thanks GW, I hate it.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Sooo, Repexes basically still have all the problems they had before – they’re potent, but die hard to the firepower some armies bring to the table, and are difficult to hide, so are they really suddenly worth a look again?

I’m not certain – I think there are points for and against.

In their favour, the kind of firepower that preys upon them currently isn’t super popular in the metagame. The old-school drone heavy Tau lists, flyer-heavy Aeldari and Imperial Fist firepower saturation armies were the ones that really dunked on Repexes, and none of those things are super popular right now. Against armies that are hoping to win via attrition like the Nurgle lists we’ve seen, there’s a reasonable argument that Chapter Master buffed Repexes can be a trump card, as the brutal firepower they throw out from the word go will probably mean they win out in that exchange. Large targets that a dedicated opponent can dunk out in a turn are also a bit less of a liability in 9th than in 8th thanks to the shorter game length, especially when they aren’t one of the units you’re planning to contest objectives with. While nowhere near a slam dunk, there are some factors that I could see being argued as making big tanks more appealing. Buuuut…..

The counterpoint has to be that the Space Marine lists we’re seeing do well at the moment are absurdly well tuned to dunk on this kind of target. The shorter game might favour Repexes, but the smaller boards don’t, as they make it very hard to backline them out of range of units like Eradicators. The list does have a nod to defending its precious tanks against the threat of a grav pod in the form of three Infiltrator units, but I’d be very worried that an opponent would just spend the first turn clearing a gap then drop them in later on, and if that unit pops a Repex outright its an absurd swing. I guess the play there could maybe be to stick one of the Repexes into tactical reserves? That way the one you’ve got on the board is definitely Ironstoned up, meaning you’re a lot less vulnerable to grav-style firepower (though Eradicators are still a problem).

Much like some of the stuff we saw in Death Guard, it’s nice to see some old (in this case slightly less, but still) favourites out and about, and though I’m a bit less certain this result would be repeatable, I guess all those players who bought three and dunked them in Nuln Oil need some sort of glimmer of hope for another go.

Mark Pilkington’s Nurgle

Nurglings. Credit: Rob Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Daemons) [13 PL, 237pts] ++

Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle

+ HQ +

Poxbringer [4 PL, 75pts]: Miasma of Pestilence

+ Troops +

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [100 PL, 1,763pts, -5CP] ++

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Chaos Lord [5 PL, 88pts]: 6. Arch-Contaminator, Balesword, Combi-bolter, Ironclot Furnace, Warlord

Daemon Prince of Nurgle [9 PL, 195pts]: 4. Blades of Putrefaction, Hellforged sword, The Epidemicyst Blade, Wings

+ Troops +

Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts] . 10x Poxwalker: 10x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts] . 10x Poxwalker: 10x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts] . 10x Poxwalker: 10x Improvised weapon

+ Elites +

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]

Noxious Blightbringer [4 PL, 60pts]: Plasma pistol, The Daemon’s Toll

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [10 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Contaminated Monstrosity

Chaos Spawn [10 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Spawn, Contaminated Monstrosity

Myphitic Blight-haulers [21 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Missile launcher, Multi-melta

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter, Heavy slugger

++ Total: [113 PL, -5CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Back to Death Guard we go, this time with a variant that seems a bit more invested in tarpitting mid-board.
  • Nurgle Daemons help to kick that off by sticking Nurglings on objectives.
  • Poxwalkers providing a bit of a durability bump over cultists for an extra 10pts per unit.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

While this list re-uses elements we’ve seen in the other two Death Guard lists it does seem to have a slightly different plan – it cuts back a bit on damage output for a variant that is just all-in on clogging up the middle of the table, then punishing anything that comes to try and prise it out via the short-ranged damage output of the Blightspawn and the plaguespitters. That has its upsides and downsides compared to the other variants. The upside is that this list is going to more reliably put something that actually has ObSec onto objectives, so might be able to break ties against other armies that plan to contest the mid-table. The downside is that it ends up a lot more vulnerable to armies like the Repex build – it doesn’t have the outside shot of spiking a turn 1 entropy cannon volley to level the playing field, and will probably find its objective holders firehosed off the board after that.

Weighing the risks and reqards, I think this ends up as an OK metagame call right now, because the style of list that punishes this is the exception rather than the rule. 9th’s heavy objective focus forces players to include some of elements that can tussle for control, but this list will tend to trump a lot of those, making them wish they’d spend the points on ranged threats instead.

I imagine the experience of playing this list is much more stressful than some of the other builds, because not having the comfort of a tool that can reach out and delete something is always a bit of a heart stopping experience, but I can see the power of going full board control, and in skilled hands this is an interesting angle to look at.

Nick Counsell’s Marines/Deathwatch

Deathwatch Raptors Sniper with Stalker Bolt Rifle

Deathwatch Raptors Sniper with Stalker Bolt Rifle Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Salamanders) [43 PL, 828pts, -3CP] ++

+ HQ +

Captain in Phobos Armour [5 PL, 100pts]: Camo cloak, Master-crafted instigator bolt carbine

Captain on Bike [6 PL, 150pts]: Storm shield, Thunder hammer, Forgemaster (-1CP) The Salamanders mantle (-1CP)

+ Elites +

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Bladeguard Veteran Sgt
. 2x Bladeguard Veteran: 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Master-crafted Power Sword, 2x Storm Shield

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Bladeguard Veteran Sgt
. 2x Bladeguard Veteran: 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Master-crafted Power Sword, 2x Storm Shield

+ Heavy Support +

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 120pts]: Armorium Cherub
. Space Marine Sergeant
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp

Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 90pts] . Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle, Camo cloak
. Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: Camo cloak
. Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: Camo cloak

Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 90pts] . Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle, Camo cloak
. Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: Camo cloak
. Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: Camo cloak

+ Dedicated Transport +

Drop Pod [4 PL, 68pts]: Storm bolter

++ Patrol Detachment -0CP (Imperium – Deathwatch) [52 PL, 1,168pts, -0CP] ++

+ HQ +

Watch Captain in Terminator Armor [6 PL, 108pts]: Lord of Hidden Knowledge, Storm Bolter, Storm shield
. The Beacon Angelis
WARLORD

+ Troops +

Intercessors [11 PL, 240pts] . Aggressor
. . Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher: Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. Intercessor Sergeant: Stalker Bolt Rifle, Thunder hammer

Intercessors [13 PL, 280pts] . Aggressor
. . Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher: Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
. Aggressor
. . Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher: Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
. Aggressor
. . Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher: Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor: Auto Bolt rifle
. Intercessor Sergeant: Auto Bolt rifle, Power sword

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [6 PL, 150pts] . Inceptor
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator
. Inceptor
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator
. Inceptor Sergeant
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator

Inceptor Squad [6 PL, 150pts] . Inceptor
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator
. Inceptor
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator
. Inceptor Sergeant
. . Two Plasma Exterminators: 2x Plasma Exterminator

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

++ Total: [95 PL, -5CP, 1,996pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Deathwatch out and about doing things.
  • Plasma Inceptors showing off their power.
  • An actual codex Salamander contingent.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

I initially got very excited on seeing this in the standings because the army listed as Deathwatch, and while I’m a little disappointed it didn’t turn out to be a pure list, it still shows off some good stuff for the alien hunters. One of Deathwatch’s assets is that they have a decent variety of abilities that will allow small units with powerful weaponry to execute a damage spike, and that aligns extremely well with the advent of Eradicators and the big discount on plasma Inceptors. Auto bolt rifles becoming a free upgrade is extremely good for Deathwatch as well, as more shots squeezes more value out of Special Issue Ammunition. The two big Intercessor squads both get to play a more mobile game than some of their brethren in other chapters, with the auto squad being able to advance with relative impunity then unleash hell once in position, and the stalker squad at least being able to move without taking a penalty.

The Deathwatch contingent here is powerful, but they’re aided in anchoring the list by the Salamander component. Eliminators do very well out of Salamander re-rolls, making up for their reasonable point hike in Chapter Approved, while Bladeguard are just all-around good if you want something to push up the board and generate pressure. Rounding it all out, we again have the grav pod, because honestly why wouldn’t you.

This list has tools that can deal with a decently broad range of threats, and it’s definitely notable that even among these strong lists it’s a nightmare to pick secondaries against. It has small units, but they’re all pretty tough and it has angles to contest objectives very effectively, so opponents are going to find themselves very short of options to pick against it. Similar to the previous Death Guard list, it might struggle a bit against lists that are on a plan of just bodying the opponent off the board sharpish, but they are again a bit less common in 9th than 8th.

Although…

Jay Middlecote’s Imperial Knights

Imperial Knights - Armiger Helverins

Imperial Knights – Armiger Helverins
Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Super-Heavy Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Imperial Knights) [105 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

Household Choice: Questor Mechanicus
. House Krast

+ Stratagems +

Exalted Court [-3CP]: Exalted Court: 2 Extra Warlord Traits

Heirlooms of the Household [-3CP]: Heirlooms of the Household: 2 Extra Heirlooms

+ Lord of War +

Armiger Helverins [18 PL, 350pts] . Armiger Helverin: Heavy Stubber
. Armiger Helverin: Heavy Stubber

Armiger Helverins [9 PL, 175pts] . Armiger Helverin: Heavy Stubber

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 490pts]: Character (Knight Lance), Heavy Stubber, Heirloom: Armour of the Sainted Ion, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Mechanicus): Cold Eradication

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 490pts]: Character (Exalted Court), Character (Heirloom of the House), Heavy Stubber, Heirloom: Endless Fury, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon, Warlord Trait (Krast): First Knight

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 495pts]: Character (Exalted Court), Character (Heirloom of the House), Heirloom: Sanctuary, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Meltagun, Thermal Cannon, Warlord Trait: Ion Bulwark

++ Total: [105 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Pure Knights doing good.
  • Triple Questoris, Triple Armiger being chosen over four Questoris, one armiger.
  • Warlord Traits and Relics everywhere.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Imperial Knights came out of the Chapter Approved point changes extremely positively, but general opinion has still trended that times aren’t great for their lists. 9th heavily incentivises holding objectives, and with the relatively small amount of bodies on the board, Knights obviously aren’t fantastic at this. That being said, metagame trends we’re seeing at the moment favour them quite a bit. If your metagame is a sea of Nurgle lists planning to gradually grind opponents down over five turns, then rocking up with three amped up Knights Crusader is a heck of a way to turn the tables – all the same factors that make the Repexes look a bit more appealing apply here, only turned up to eleven.

Against a triple Crusader list, the only valid plan to win a damage race is to have a way to body one of them off the board immediately, and a surprising number of 9th Edition lists just aren’t packing the tools to do that, because the shift in incentives means it isn’t so much of a must-have for every list. In addition, being able to Rotate up to a 4++ and act on full with Machine Spirit Resurgent means you have a pretty decent chance of tanking through the pinpoint firepower that Marines can bring to bear and then punish them for daring to try.

The Helverins provide a strong backup to the Crusaders, presumably being used to hold home objectives while the bigger robots go out hunting. Flat three damage is a premium statline right now thanks to the preponderance of Gravis units in the metagame, and it’s also pretty valuable against Death Guard. Warglaives definitely have their appeal too, but for a list like this where the big Knights are going to go out to play, there’s a definite logic to not pushing more vulnerable units into the teeth of short-ranged fire.

Were I running this at a GT, my biggest concern would be running into someone running Eldar or Tau that hadn’t really got the memo about 9th Edition and killed a Crusader a turn, but beyond that there isn’t a tonne of stuff out there right now that totally shuts this down, which is good news for fans of Imperial Chivalry. You do need to be excessively careful around any of your opponent’s damage spike options, as screwing up and losing a Crusader will consistently leave you high and dry, but the current trends in the game definitely feel like they offer a lifeline to pure Knight players, and this list (which, we should add, is piloted by the 2019 ITC BIF Knight player) is a great baseline for how to use them effectively.

Wrap Up

Watching the new technology turning up in lists week to week continues to be fascinating, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the dive down to the RTT level this week to see what the bubbling cauldron of innovation that is the UK meta right now has thrown up. I’m not 100% sure what we’ll have for you next week, as I don’t have any immediately obvious choices for events to look at lined up – but equally, this weekend I will, myself, be engaging in the exciting sport of socially-distanced garden-hammer, so I’m sure we’ll come up with something! In the meantime, you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com with any comments, questions or suggestions.

 

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