Competitive Innovations in 9th: Lakes of Blood & Gladiator Gaming Teams

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

As promised, it’s back to list reviews this week, with two events firing down under over the weekend, providing us poor, starved analysts the juicy information that we so crave. The Lakes of Blood event in New Zealand gives us our regular dose of insights into where the singles scene is at right now, while over in Australia the second run of the Gladiator Gaming Teams event took place, this time bulked up to five rounds and with 48 total players participating across 12 teams. While we mostly focus on singles here at Competitive Innovations, the review we did of the first Gladiator Gaming event was extremely well received and we’ll be including them (and maybe other team series once things open up) going forward. Team events do create some quite different list-building incentives, meaning that not everything we see from them will be applicable to the singles world, but the flipside is that team players are far more likely to come to the table with something weird, wonderful and (title drop) innovative, and sometimes these builds go on to succeed in the wider metagame. Given that team play looks set to become an even bigger part of the scene in the near future, I think it’s definitely going to be worth keeping an eye on what they’re getting up to!

Just before we get onto the event results, a reminder that I’m always looking for tips about upcoming events, especially in COVID-safe areas. Gazing into my crystal ball (i.e. the event listings in BCP and DUP) it looks like we have a relatively quiet few weeks coming up, so if there’s something you think I might have missed, let me know at contact@goonhammer.com.

With that out the way, on to the lists. We’ll take a look at the top four for Lakes of Blood first, then move on to a team breakdown for the Gladiator Gaming event after that.

Lakes of Blood

Like last week’s event, the player numbers here meant that, once the dust settled, only the top four players had scores of 4-1 or better, which means no “best of the rest” section. If you want to take a look at the rest of the field, lists can be found on Down Under Pairings.

Haydn Korach – Harlequins – 1st Place

Credit: Etienne Chaize

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [87 PL, 1,534pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Masque Form: The Frozen Stars: Hysterical Fury

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

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

+ HQ [14 PL, 261pts, -2CP] +

Shadowseer [6 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: 6: Player of the Twilight, Domino Shroud, Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Shards of Light, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP], Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Warlord

Troupe Master [4 PL, 70pts, -1CP]: Choreographer of War, Darkness’ Bite, Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP], The Twilight Fang

Troupe Master [4 PL, 76pts]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades

+ Troops [54 PL, 918pts] +

Troupe [10 PL, 170pts] . Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [10 PL, 170pts] . Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [10 PL, 170pts] . Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 162pts] . Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Caress [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [10 PL, 176pts] . Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 20pts]: Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 70pts] . Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player [1 PL, 14pts]: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

+ Fast Attack [15 PL, 275pts] +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [5pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [5pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [5pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [5pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [5pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts]

+ Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 80pts] +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [24 PL, 465pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration [-2CP] +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ HQ [6 PL, 115pts] +

Shadowseer [6 PL, 115pts]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite

+ Troops [10 PL, 190pts] +

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

+ Dedicated Transport [8 PL, 160pts] +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

++ Total: [111 PL, 7CP, 1,999pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Harlequins continue to demonstrate that they’re fully able to adapt to a shifting metagame.
  • Frozen Stars foot Troupes provide flexible damage output.
  • Small Soaring Spite detachment maintains some mobile melta power.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Harlequins show absolutely zero interest in relinquishing their strong standing in the metagame, but just like last week it’s important to note that there are changes afoot in exactly which builds are succeeding. Specifically, with the metagame trending ever harder towards tough, multi-wound infantry, some of which reduce incoming damage, we’re seeing fewer Skyweavers, more foot Troupes and the Frozen Stars Masque on the rise.

Skyweavers have been a staple of the metagame all edition, and they’re never going to vanish entirely because their mix of mobility and durability helps a lot with board control, but they aren’t cheap and to go all-in on them you want them to have good targets. Up till now the extreme breadth of what they can kill efficiently (hordes, vehicles, 2W models without damage reduction) has meant they’ve always performed, but some newer lists really do answer “none of the above” to which ove those they’re packing, so spending nearly 800pts just on these is a bit less teneble. Expect more lists that pack between 5 and 10 (OK yes, I know last week’s technically had 11 smart ass). It’s very notable that this list has chosen to pack a second detachment with some Soaring Spite melta boats as its mobile firepower/character screens instead, as CP are always at a huge premium in Harlequins so you don’t spend them lightly.

The Skyweaver’s loss is the foot Troupe’s gain, however, especially in Frozen Stars. There’s simply nothing in the game that is happy about catching a full hit from one of these units, and when you need the multi-damage on one of the non-kiss squads you can always deploy Murderous Entrance to really blend stuff. A shift towards melee crunch over ranged fire also makes it easier to get foot Troupes into combat safely, especially when (as here), you’ve packed the Domino Shroud/Veil of Illusion trick to potentially no-sell a vital round of shooting from an unwary opponent. It’s going to be really tough to stop some of the clowns getting off favourable charges, and that’s often all Harlequins will need to start taking control of the game.

The only risk with that kind of build is not having stuff to occupy far-flung objectives, but I’m assuming that’s the thinking behind the extra, non-melta boat (and being Frozen Stars gives them a bit of extra punch if they need to fight enemy harrassment units as well). Like so many Harlequin lists this edition, you end up with something that can engage with pretty much every aspect of the game, is tuned to what’s currently going on in the metagame, and will utterly crush the unwary when piloted effectively. Congratulations to Haydn for doing just that.

Dan Hayden – Adepta Sororitas – 2nd Place

Battle Sisters

Battle Sisters. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [105 PL, 1,999pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Order Convictions: Order: Bloody Rose

+ Stratagems +

Open the Reliquaries [-2CP]: 2x Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ No Force Org Slot +

Death Cult Assassins [1 PL, 26pts] . 2x Death Cult Assassins: 2x Death Cult power blades

Repentia Superior [2 PL, 40pts]

+ HQ +

Canoness [3 PL, 60pts]: Blessed Blade, Bolt pistol, Relic: Blade of Admonition, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Blazing Ire

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

Triumph of Saint Katherine [10 PL, 195pts]

+ Troops +

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

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

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

+ Elites +

Hospitaller [2 PL, 40pts, -1CP]: Heroine in the Making, Relic: Litanies of Faith, Warlord Trait: 4. Beacon of Faith

Preacher [2 PL, 35pts]: Chainsword, Laspistol

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 80pts] . 5x Sisters Repentia: 5x Penitent Eviscerator

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

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

Zephyrim Squad [8 PL, 162pts] . 8x Zephyrim: 8x Bolt pistol, 8x Frag & Krak grenades, 8x 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, 150pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Combi-flamer
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [10 PL, 184pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Combi-flamer
. 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 w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 150pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Combi-flamer
. 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: [105 PL, 9CP, 1,999pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Bloody Rose Sisters remain in hot pursuit of the metagame’s top spot, with most of the usual suspects on show.
  • Hand flamer Seraphim provide some extremely cost-effective tools to counter opposing Action units.
  • Combi-flamers in the Retributor squads turn on Holy Trinity.
  • Surprising lack of defensive tools doesn’t seem to hold the amry back.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

The usual suspects are very much at it again this week it seems! Just like Harlequins, Sisters performing strongly isn’t going to be a surprise to anyone, and again like with the clowns their extremely potent array of tools allows them to comfortably adapt to the metagame. The extent of the tweaks here is maybe a bit smaller but there are still some key differences.

With tougher and tougher targets in the metagame, tweaking the Retributor squads a little so they can all activate Holy Trinity helps, especially because in doing so you get a free simulacrum, which means you can always drop an Act of Faith for a six on a melta damage dice when you punch through the invuln of one of the game’s big nasties. That helps against Death Guard but is a bit weaker against Dark Angels or hordier lists, but that’s where some of the other elements come in. Zephyrim are obviously just good on rate, but in Bloody Rose they’re extremely effective against anything with Transhuman-like abilities, and here get to enjoy the full Triumph support that really makes them sing. Hand-flamer Seraphim, meanwhile, are a surprisngly punchy add-on against anything packing horde bodies, because now Deadly Descent lets them shoot twice with the flamers they’ll do real work, including against Harlequins (though watch out for that Veil of Illusion aura). They’re so cheap and so generically useful for Actions and harrassment anyway that I expect to see more squads like this creeping into lists.

The flip side of the offensive stuff is that this list packs far fewer defensive tools than many builds we’ve seen – no Celestine, no Imagifier, no Indomitable Belief. In line with what I said about foot Troupes, I think part of that is that there are simply fewer lists out there in the metagame right now that are aiming to sweep you from the board with long-ranged firepower, and in many matchups the mixture of power armour, Rhinos and being split into smaller squads is going to pull you through. Doing this also untethers you a bit, and lets you play a more mobile game. It’s not the first list we’ve seen that’s made that call, and it’ll be interesting to see if it continues – especially if Drukhari land and turn out to be as shooty as they were in the earlier parts of their 8th Edition run. For now, however, you don’t appear to need these tools to be able to get a swing in with your damage dealers, and here the Hospitalier can also jump in and revive a key model (which can make a big difference if that model was packing a multi-melta.

So – just like the Harlequins, some tuning for the metagame in clear evidence, and a much deserved second place finish as a result of it.

Alex Dugmore – Blood Angels – 3rd Place

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [59 PL, 8CP, 1,145pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

**Chapter Selection**: Blood Angels

+ Stratagems [-2CP] +

Relics of the Chapter [-2CP]: 2x Number of Extra Relics [-2CP]

+ No Force Org Slot [3 PL, 40pts] +

Company Veterans [3 PL, 40pts] . Company Veteran [20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades
. Company Veteran Sergeant [20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades

+ HQ [15 PL, -2CP, 290pts] +

Chapter Master [8 PL, -1CP, 155pts]: 2. Artisan of War, Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chapter Master [2 PL, 40pts], Frag & Krak grenades, Jump Pack [1 PL, 25pts], Lightning Claw (Pair) [5pts], Master-Crafted Weapon, Rites of War, Stratagem: Angel Exemplar [-1CP], Visage of Death, Warlord

Sanguinary Priest [7 PL, -1CP, 135pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary [1 PL, 15pts], Frag & Krak grenades, Jump Pack [1 PL, 30pts], Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], Teeth of Terra

+ Troops [5 PL, 105pts] +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts] . 4x Incursor [84pts]: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades
. Incursor Sergeant [21pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Occulus bolt carbine, Paired combat blades

+ Elites [8 PL, 200pts] +

Death Company Marines [8 PL, 200pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 15pts] . Death Company Marine [37pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer [15pts] . Death Company Marine [37pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer [15pts] . Death Company Marine [37pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer [15pts] . Death Company Marine [37pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer [15pts] . Death Company Marine [37pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer [15pts]

+ Fast Attack [14 PL, 220pts] +

Inceptor Squad [14 PL, 220pts]: 3x Inceptor [135pts], Inceptor Sergeant [45pts], Plasma Exterminator x2 [40pts]

+ Heavy Support [14 PL, 290pts] +

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 145pts]: Melta rifle
. Eradicator [45pts]: Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt [45pts]: Bolt pistol
. Eradicator with MM [55pts]: Bolt pistol, Multi-melta [10pts]

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 145pts]: Melta rifle
. Eradicator [45pts]: Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt [45pts]: Bolt pistol
. Eradicator with MM [55pts]: Bolt pistol, Multi-melta [10pts]

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [72 PL, -4CP, 855pts] ++

+ Configuration [-3CP] +

**Chapter Selection**: Blood Angels

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

+ HQ [7 PL, -1CP, 140pts] +

Librarian [7 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: 2. Unleash Rage, 4. Blood Boil, 6. Wings of Sanguinius, Boltgun, Chapter Command: Chief Librarian [1 PL, 25pts], Force stave, Frag & Krak grenades, Jump Pack [1 PL, 25pts], Psychic Mastery, Smite, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], Tome of Malcador (Null Zone)

+ Elites [58 PL, 590pts] +

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 150pts] . Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 150pts] . Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Frag & Krak grenades

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 150pts] . Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe, Frag & Krak grenades
. Sanguinary Guard [30pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe, Frag & Krak grenades

Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 140pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 10pts] . Vanguard Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Vanguard Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Vanguard Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Vanguard Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Vanguard Veteran Sergeant [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts]

+ Heavy Support [7 PL, 125pts] +

Whirlwind [7 PL, 125pts]: Whirlwind castellan launcher

The Standout Features

  • An unusual spin on Blood Angels, going wide with MSU melee murderers.
  • Heavier ration of Eradicators than normal helps ensure the list can crack open Death Guard.
  • Captain and Librarian tooled up to create massive swings at key moments.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This list, more so than the last two, definitely comes across as a very different beast to what we’ve gotten used to out of Blood Angels. The trend thus far has been for big Vanguard Veteran or Sanguinary Guard units, but this one goes in the other direction entirely by spreading itself wide. Five (six if you count the Inceptors) separate jump pack murder squads (plus some characters) are going to be zooming around, and the reduction in absolute number of bodies frees up some points for them to be backed up by a bit more firepower than normal too, with two units of Eradicators backing up the Inceptors for mid-table use, and a Whirlwind to sit on a home objective and drop Suppression FIre as needed.

This results in some tradeoffs. The big downside is that losing any big melee squads means this list is unlikely to ever end up in a situation where it’s dominating the board with a unit the opponent simply can’t profitably engage. Even some pretty nasty melee combatants have to think twice before going into a full block of Sanguinary Guard, and having that unit to brawl around the board can sometimes allow you to nullify a lot of your opponent’s forces (especially when you can drop fight last at range). The flipside, however, is that if you spend a tonne of points on a big melee block but you get to the table and your opponent turns out to have something that trumps them, you’ve got real problems, because now it’s you that left with a centrepiece unit that isn’t going to be able to pull its weight. With the new, hot codexes both being able to drop some serious trump-card melee bricks (and the looming threat of 2++ Grey Knight Purifiers or getting evaporated by a Harlequin troupe), it looks like gambling on those bigger units wasn’t to Alex’s taste, and he’s gone for smaller squads instead.

Blood Angels support this plan pretty well, because the power of their Chapter Tactic and Doctrine mean that those smaller units are still pretty high-quality melee threats when measured against the global standard, especially late game, meaning a lot of the time this list will still be able to go for the Blood Angel’s primary plan of bullying the opponent in melee. In matchups where that isn’t possible, being able to spread the threats out more and pick enemy bombs apart gradually with the increased shooting presence, then go for the kill once the Doctrine comes online, gives this list a much more solid gameplan. The powerful character tricks it has also helps with that plan – if the opponent has to split their forces up then they end up needing to be constantly aware of the possibility of a jump pack Librarian using Wings of Sanguinius to double move and drop Null Zone, allowing an invuln-dependent unit to be mopped up, or of the Visage of Death/Rites of War captain solo-flipping an objective off some unsuspecting troops.

I honestly really like where this ends up – the loss of pure, brute force is definitely real, but I’m personally a big fan of this more cagey, MSU gameplan (with lots of tricks up the sleeve), and this list looks like a blast to play. Congratulations to Alex for inventing the most Eldar-y Blood Angels list is what I’m saying.

Sean Sullivan’s AdMech – 4th Place

Adeptus Mechanicus - Corpuscarii Electro-Priests

Adeptus Mechanicus – Corpuscarii Electro-Priests
Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [104 PL, 11CP, 1,999pts]
Forge World Choice: Forge World: Mars
Selections: Dogma: Glory to the Omnissiah

HQ [17 PL, -1CP, 325pts]
Belisarius Cawl [10 PL, -1CP, 200pts] – Selections: Arc Scourge, Mechadendrite Hive, Mechanicus Locum [-1CP], Omnissian Axe, Solar Atomiser, Warlord Trait (Mars): Static Psalm-Code

Daedalosus [3 PL, 55pts] – Selections: Eradication pistol, Servo claw

Tech-Priest Manipulus [4 PL, 70pts] – Selections: Magnarail lance, Mechadendrites, Omnissian Staff, Relic: Anzion’s Pseudogenetor, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Engine War): Divinations of the Magos

Troops [25 PL, 409pts]
Kataphron Breachers [10 PL, 140pts] – Kataphron Breacher x4
– Selections: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

Kataphron Breachers [5 PL, 105pts] – Kataphron Breacher x3
– Selections: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

Kataphron Breachers [5 PL, 105pts] – Kataphron Breacher x3
– Selections: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [5 PL, 59pts] – 4x Skitarii Vanguard [36pts] – Selections: 4x Radium Carbine

– Skitarii Vanguard (Arc Rifle) [14pts] – Selections: Arc Rifle [5pts]

– Vanguard Alpha [9pts] – Selections: Radium Carbine

Elites [20 PL, 450pts]

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests [6 PL, 140pts] – 10x Corpuscarii Electro-Priest [140pts] – Selections: 10x Electrostatic Gauntlets

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests [6 PL, 140pts] – 10x Corpuscarii Electro-Priest [140pts] – Selections: 10x Electrostatic Gauntlets

Fulgurite Electro-Priests [8 PL, 170pts] – 10x Fulgurite Electro-Priest [170pts] – Selections: 10x Electroleech Stave

Fast Attack [16 PL, 300pts]
Ironstrider Ballistarii [16 PL, 300pts] – Ironstrider Ballistarius  x4
– Selections: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

Heavy Support [26 PL, 515pts]
Kastelan Robots [12 PL, 250pts] – Kastelan Robot x2
– Selections: Heavy Phosphor Blaster [5pts], Two Heavy Phosphor Blasters [10pts]

Onager Dunecrawler [6 PL, 115pts] – Selections: Icarus Array

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts] – Selections: Belleros Energy Cannon, Broad Spectrum Data-tether, 3x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Disruptor Missile Launcher

The Standout Features

  • AdMech return to the top tables after a quiet few months.
  • Corpuscarii priests and Kastellan Robots provide some well-tuned damage output for the current metagame.
  • Breachers once again prove a very effective mid-table anchor.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

AdMech have been pretty quiet for a while on the Competitive front, so it’s nice to see them back on the top tables, and like the others this list has some definite novelty alongside the more familiar elements. In line with the general trend, this army packs in some sources of reliable, high quantity D1 attacks, here in the form of Kastellan Robots and Corpuscarii priests under the watchful eyes of Belisarius Cawl, Daedalosus, and the exploding 6s option from Divinations of the Magos. Once you add some AP to the priests with Electrostatic Overcharge, the combined volleys here are going to make pretty much anything take a huge pile of saving throws, and the broad applicability of this kind of attack is ever more valuable. Being able to use Infoslave Skull off the Priests might catch some opponents out too, as it being INFANTRY locked makes it fairly rare on the table. They can’t use the strat when they do this, but Cawl’s aura will still function per out-of-phase rules, and that gives you enough firepower to do mean things to Kommandos or Repentia trying to get you.

Now obviously this is an AdMech army so it isn’t only packing small arms – don’t be ridiculous. A crunchy core of Kataphrons pulls triple purpose of providing some reasonably tough ObSec bodies, anti-horde melee and anti-tank firepower, while for nasty non-vehicle targets a unit of lascannon Ballistarii stands ready to do terrible things. We’ve more commonly seen these packing autocannons, but for this list rate-of-fire is very much a solved problem, and it would appear that being able to point at Mortarion or a Keeper of Secrets and drop a volley of 8 lascannon shots that can hit and wound on 2s (via Protector Doctrina Imperative and Pattern Iteration Identified) is a sufficiently compelling attraction to give this rarer build the nod. This kind of firepower being on mobile platforms that can engage at extreme range is also advantageous as fewer lists are packing tools to counter that, frequently giving these the opportunity to rack up a lot of value over the course of a battle.

Some common choices fill stuff out, with a Disintegrator and Dunecrawler providing some more static shooting/backline objective holders and a unit of Fulgurite Priests for some extra melee punch in a pinch, ensuring that this army can cover the table and isn’t dead in any phase.

I like this list and I think it ends up reasonably well placed in the metagame simply because it’s doing something that many other armies are teching away from. Kastellan Robots provide exactly the kind of firepower that many players seem to be assuming they’ll face less of (meaning they’re cutting defences as we saw with the Sororitas), while any list whose plan is “park an indestructible blob mid-table and soak damage” is going to be deeply unhappy when it tries to wear several turns of this army shooting it. Very fast melee armies can probably still overwhelm it (the loss it picked up was against Haydyn’s Harlequins), but overall I think the list is in a surprisingly good place, and I’ll be interested to see if more AdMech make it back onto the top tables in the next few months, following Sean’s example.

Gladiator Gaming Teams Event

Before diving into the list breakdown for the winning team here, if you’re not familiar with how team events work I strongly recommend that you go and take a look at the breakdown I put together (with some helpful advice from team-event expert Innes Wilson) when we covered the first run of the Gladiator Gaming event. The tournament pack was unchanged this time around (other than being five rounds rather than three), so all the same things apply this time around. For those who don’t want to go read the full breakdown, the very short version is:

  • Teams have four players.
  • At the start of each match, a pairing process takes place that allows the teams to have some control over which of their lists faces down which opponent, and on what kind of terrain.
  • Games are scored on a “20-0” system, meaning you get more points the bigger your margin of victory, and can salvage some points for your team from narrow losses.
  • The winning team is decided by the total score across the four games in the match.
  • Each codex can only be used once per team.

For the purposes of looking at lists, this tends to mean:

  • Highly skewed builds that counter specific strategies but die horribly to others tend to have a lot more value, because they help you achieve crushing victories in the games where the pairing system gives you the most choice.
  • Very proactive scoring strategies are powerful, because they allow a list to play a “Defender” role, aiming to ensure that they come away from a losing game against an unfavourable matchup with at least some points.
  • Most teams are going to want to have at least one “all-comers” list that aims to mitigate any weaker matchups, as each team has to put forward one “champion” list that they have minimal control over the pairings for.
  • If you can find away to ensure that all the lists have a similar skew in their defensive profile that can be very powerful, as it can shut down some of the opposing counterpick lists.

That really only scratches the surface of the huge depth here, but the key thing is that when we look at team lists, we need to be asking not just “why is this list good” but also “how does it fit into the team strategy”. With that in mind, when looking at team events, we’re going to look at the whole team compositions, not list-by-list. It’s also worth noting that some of the changes in the January FAQ will have impacted on team strategies a bit, notably:

  • The change to While We Stand We Fight makes it much harder to abuse in some compositions, as you can’t just go low and wide and hide some cheap characters.
  • The change to player two scoring in the final turn means that “defender” builds both want to skew slightly more towards staying on the table the whole way through the game, and also to pack some fast objective grabbers to maximise their scoring if they go second.

For this event in particular, my original plan had been to do full breakdowns of the top two teams. However, the way things worked out, the event had a very clear winning team, then a very close pack of four separate teams all sitting on the next highest score. With that in mind, I’m going to do a full breakdown of the winning team, then a summary view of each of those four other teams and what their overall strategy seemed to be.

If you’d like to view the lists for the event in full, they are available in Down Under Pairings.

The Winning Team – The Strength Cartel

The Lists

Hayden Walduck’s Raven Guard Successors

Army List - Click to Expand

Patrol detachment – Ravenguard successors- Born Heroes, Whirlwind of Rage

HQ:
Captain on bike (100)
– Teeth of Terra
– Mater of Vigilance (-1cp)

Lieutenant in Reiver Armour (75)
– (warlord) Master of Ambush
– Vox Espiritum

Troops:
5x Infiltrators (120)

Fast Attack:

3x Attack bikes + 3x multi melta (165)
3x Attack bikes + 3x multi melta (165)

Vanguard Detachment (-3cp) Ravenguard Successors, Born Heroes, Whirlwind of Rage

HQ:
Primaris Chaplain on bike (140) – Master of Sanctity
– Exhortation of Rage, Canticle of Hate, Litany of Hate
– Swift and Deadly (-1cp)
– Benediction of Fury (-1cp)

Elites:
10x Vanguard veterans (302)
– 10x Storm Shields
– 1x Thunder hammer ( on Sargent)
– 5x Power fists
– 4x astartes Chainswords
– 10x jump packs

10x Vanguard Veterans (298)
– 10x storm shields
– 10x jump packs
– 6x power fists
– 4x astartes Chainswords

Redemptor Dreadnaught (180)
– Macro plasma Cannon
– Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
– Onslaught gatling cannon
– Redemptor Fist

Redemptor Dreadnaught (180)
– Macro plasma Cannon
– Fragstorm Grenade Launchers
– Onslaught gatling cannon
– Redemptor Fist

Fast Attack:
5x inceptors (275)
– 10x plasma exterminators

Wayne Russell’s Death Guard

Army List - Click to Expand

Batallion Detachment: Deathguard – Plague company: Mortarions Anvil

HQ:
Lord of Virulence (120)
– Rotten Constitution
– Warlord: Warp Insect Hive

Malignant Plague caster (95)
– Curse of the leper, putrescent Vitality, Gift of plagues
– Gloaming Bloat
– Plague Chosen: Putrid Periapt

Troops:
10x plague marines (280)
– Plague champion: Plasma gun, plague knife
– 2x plasma guns
– 2x blight launcher
– 2 flail of corruption

10x pox walkers (50)
10x pox walkers (50)

Elites:
5x Deathshroud Terminators (255)
– Champion: 2x plague spurt gauntlets

Foetid Virions: (220)
Biologus Putrifier

Foul Blight Spawn
– Plague chosen: Arch Contaminator
– Revolting Stench Vats
– Vicious Death

Tallyman

Fast attack:

Foetid Bloat drone (135)
– Flesh Mower

Foetid Bloat drone (135)
– Flesh Mower

Foetid Bloat drone (135)
– Flesh Mower

Heavy Support:

Plague burst crawler (175)
– 2x entropy cannons

Plague burst crawler (175)
– 2x entropy cannons

Plague burst crawler (175)
– 2x entropy cannons

Jordan Bennett’s Sororitas

Army List - Click to Expand

Batallion Detachment: Valorous Heart:

HQ:
Canoness (50)
– nullrod
– Warlord: Beacon of Faith

Missionary (45)

Troops:
5x battle sisters (55)
– 1x Chainsword

5x battle sisters (55)
– 1x Chainsword

5x battle sisters (55)
– 1x Chainsword

Elites:
Imagifier (45)
– Heroine In the making: Indomitable Belief
– Tale of the Stoic
– Litanies of Faith

Fast Attack:
5x dominions (60)
– 1x chainsword

5x dominions (60)
– 1x chainsword

5x dominions (60)
– 1x chainsword

Heavy Support:

9x Retributors (216)
– 2x cherubs
– Simulacrum
– 4x multi melta

10x Retributors (230)
– 2x cherubs
– simulacrum
– 4x multi melta

10x Retributors (230)
– 2x cherubs
– simulacrum
– 4x multi melta

Vanguard Detachment – Bloody Rose

HQ:
Canoness (60)
– Blessed Blade
– Blade of Admonition

Elites:
8x Repentia (128)
8x Repentia (128)
8x Repentia (128)

5x Zephyrim (90)
5x Zephyrim (90)

Fast Attack:
5x Seraphim (95)
– 4x inferno pistols

Heavy Support:

Mortifier (60)
– Penitent Flails

Mortifier (60)
– Penitent Flails

Erik Lathouras Chaos Space Marines

Army List - Click to Expand

Batallion Detachment: Word Bearers:

HQ:
Lord Discordant on Hell Stalker (200)
– Bale Flamer
– Walord: Exalted Possession
– Crown of the Blasphemer
– Mark of Tzeentch

Sorcerer (115)
– Jump Pack + Force Sword
– Mark of Tzeentch
– The Malefic Tome
– Weaver of Fates, Warptime, Diabolic Strength

Troops:
5x Chaos Space marines, Chainswords (70)
– Mark of slaanesh

5x Chaos Space marines, Chainswords (70)
– Mark of slaanesh

5x Chaos Space Marines, chainswords (70)
– mark of slaanesh
– Mark of Slaanesh

Patrol Detachment: World Eaters

HQ:
Khan The Betrayer (115)

Troops:
10x Khorne Berzerkers (185)
– 9x Astartes Chainswords
– 1x lightning claw
– Icon of Wrath

10x Khorne Berzerkers (185)
– 9x Astartes Chainswords
– 1x lightning claw
– Icon of Wrath

Fast Attack:
9x Raptors (140)
-8x astartes Chainswords
– 1x lightning claw
– Mark of Khorne

5x Raptors (75)
– 5x astartes Chainswords
– Mark of Khorne

Patrol Detachment: Emperors Children:

HQ:
Sorcerer (115)
– Jump pack + force sword
– mark of slaanesh
– Delightful Agonies, Prescience

Troops:
10x cultists (60)
– mark of slaanesh

Elites:
10x Chaos Terminators (300)
– 8x lightning claw + combi bolter
– 2x reaper autocannon + lightning claw
– mark of slaanesh
– icon of excess

10x Chaos Terminators (300)
– 8x lightning claw + combi bolter
– 2x reaper autocannon + lightning claw
– mark of slaanesh
– icon of excess

The Breakdown

Last time we covered this, the winning team made my job extremely easy by very neatly slotting into the 1x Champion, 2x Counter, 1x Defender paradigm, but the Strength Cartel’s plan is a bit more subtle. Three of these builds wouldn’t massively raise eyebrows at a singles event, while the final one (the Chaos Space Marines) would probably be fieldable if you were very sure the terrain was going to be very heavy on all tables.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Given that this is a team event, that instead gives us our first clue for breaking this down. The CSM list is incredibly nasty at brawling across a table with very dense terrain, and I think in many matchups it could credibly be put up as the first defender with a plan to pick a terrain heavy table. Chaos Terminators are quietly one of the most cost efficient units in a brawling role across the whole game right now, and being able to near automatically charge out of Deep Strike as Emperor’s Children is going to make them tough to avoid, forcing the opponent to be pretty cautious out of the gate. The World Eater Berserkers then fulfil another important Defender role, which is providing powerful angles for Primary denial. The ridiculous amount of fight phase movement you can get out of these with Kill! Maim! Burn! combines with them being Troops in this legion to provide all sorts of sneaky ways to flip objective control, and being able to push them into a mid-board ruin with Apoplectic Frenzy right out the gate helps them start doing this early. A final factor that makes me thing this list is a potential Defender is that it has a strong While We Stand plan even after the changes – it drops onto the two Terminator units and the souped up Discolord, all of whom are rat bastards to flush out of defensive positions, forcing opponents to either commit heavily and risk getting counterattacked out of the game, or to let the army get a free 15pts, severely capping the magnitude of a potential win.

That leaves us with three rather more rounded builds that I wouldn’t immediately raise an eyebrow at in a singles event. However, the Death Guard build is clearly doing something a bit unusual with the Daemon Engines, and the Raven Guard list reveals a skew we’ll talk about in a second on closer inspection, leaving me to conclude that the Sisters list is likely to be the “Champion” a lot of the time. It’s a list that would 100% look like it belonged in any singles top four, has a proactive primary plan and the tools to take out almost any target, a classic all-comers build. The only slight deviations from the norm are the Dominions and the lack of Rhinos, and I assume that’s aiming to reduce the value of any anti-tank that the opponent has chosen to pack in their champion build, as combined with the extra bodies in the Retributors, opponents are going to have their work cut out to get big value out of their own low shot, high damage guns.

Plagueburst Crawler – Credit Beanith

Two builds remain, and ultimately both do have counterpick flavours too them, just not as extreme as some we’ve seen before. The Death Guard build is incredibly punishing against opposing armies that are relying on melee as their primary damage source. By packing lots of hulls the force minimises its vulnerability to attrition from anything other than real damage dealers, forcing the opponent to come and play in melee if they want to take this list out. When they do, they’ll find themselves running into the Revolting Stench Vat aura and trying to push through the re-roll shutdown of Gloaming Bloat, plus have to watch out for heroically intervening Bloat-drones, none of which sounds like much fun. Trying to avoid a fight isn’t a great prospect either, as the no-LOS shooting of the plaguebursts will rack up a serious body count, and ceding the board will allow the Death Guard to go for big points with Despoiled Ground. To take on this list you basically want lots of ranged weaponry that’s hitting at damage 3+, or a massive horde that can bog it down forever, and as long as it can dodge those in the pairings it’s in a good spot.

Speaking of big damage, that seems to be the theme behind the final list. This one wouldn’t look totally out of place in singles, but I’d expect to see the VanVets packing lightning claws instead of power fists and Rites of War worked in somehow, because as it stands this list is not well equipped to fight something like 120 Skarboyz. However, against anything more elite it’s going to do appalling work – every aspect of the setup is tuned for extreme damage, with a good spread of tools to allow it to take swings at pretty much anything. Against “normal” Marines or something like Necrons the plasmaceptors and power fists are fantastic, while against Death Guard the Attack Bikes and Redemptors come to the fore. Even the chapter tactic is all-in on damage dealing, picking the most aggressive combination of melee traits to ensure that almost anything the VanVets hit is going in the bin, especially as power fists get especially large benefits here. This list is overall a massive hammer, and will rack up high scoring wins if pointed at the right nail.

That brings us to the end – but you might have noticed that I highlighted melee hordes as a weakness of both the last two lists. To solve that we can circle right back round to the first list which looks…super great againt melee hordes! Between the volume of attacks that Khorne Berserkers and Raptors bring to the table, Excess of Violence from the Terminators and everything being in power armour or better, this list will go through a Goff horde like a hot knife, and can switch to a counterpick slot if the opposing team is packing such a list. In that case, the Death Guard list could fairly comfortably switch to a Defender role thanks to its durability, or even be snuck into the Champion slot, as I think a lot of opponents will assume the Sisters always go there, and might thus get caught out by the slimy daemon engines popping up instead.

Spotting that extra bit of depth at the end is part of the fun of looking at team events, and it’s clear this configuration performed extremely well, with the Cartel winning all five of their matches for a dominant first place. Congratulations to them, now let’s take a look at some of the friends they crushed along the way.

The Rest of the Best

Sun Tzu

This team fielded:

  • Paul Gurney’s Iron Hands: Skewed towards nasty, crunchy targets with a character Leviathan dread and a Land Raider Achilles with support characters backing them up, and then some melee crunch from Vanguard Veterans and Centurions.
  • Lachlan Carter’s Harlequins: Relatively standard all-comers Soaring Spite build, with two bigger foot units armed with caresses mixed in to close off some potential counters matchups.
  • Liam Hackett’s Necrons: A hybrid of the Eternal Conquerors Canoptek plan with some of the mortal wound spam that’s been increasingly popular for Necrons in the euro team scene, packing a Transcendant C’tan and some plasmancers alongside ObSec Tomb Spyders and scarabs. Also uses Healthy Paranoia to increase the range of its firepower instead of Relentlessly Expansionist.
  • Ben Warrior’s Chaos Space Marines: The possessed spam build that we saw at the LVNo rides out once more, here acting as both an effective counterpick and defensive choice because of how effectively it can rack up primary early on.

A pretty healthy team event breakdown here – the Harlequins are a very effective “champion” choice because of how few bad matchups they have (especially when tuned as here) then the rest can all fulfil multiple roles. The Iron Hands build provides exceptionally high damage output to put up against lists aiming to tank the whole game, and needs specific tools to take down in turn. The Possessed are an extremely effective counterpick, as they’ll utterly overwhelm armies that aren’t ready for them, and as we saw at the LVNo they can also play defender, as even playing into an extremely inclement matchup (Grey Knights) they only lost very narrowly. Finally, Eternal Conquerors is one of the defining ways to build a defender list right now, but it’s worth noting that (in line with my comments about staying on the board) Liam’s build skews a bit more towards durability and inflicting attrition damage on the enemy than blitzing for early primary compared to previous incarnations.

You Just Gotta Send It

This team fielded:

  • Sam Rubino’s Drukhari:  A Covens build combining the shooting of Technomancers with two full Prophets of Flesh Wrack blobs to abuse Dark Cornucopians.
  • Dineeth Liyanagama’s Deathwatch: Storm shields galore, as three proteus kill teams mix up bolter/shield veterans and claw/shield vanvets, backed up by some potent characters, a massive Indomitor kill team and a Corvus Blackstar.
  • Luke Pearce’s Grey Knights: Purifiers, Paladins and Terminators stride to battle, backed up by transports, characters and a small amount of extra shooting.
  • Matthew Mcardle’s Chaos: Big Bird, Beasts and a Bloodletter bomb join forces with Emperor’s Children Terminators for a powerful brawler build.

This team shows less specificity in how each individual list is designed to play (I wouldn’t find any of these lists totally shocking if they turned up in singles), but much more of the team-level skew angle. All four of these lists field a high number of wounds packing invuln saves, so if opposing teams are short of the tools required to chew through that, then they’re going to struggle. It’s not even like the Grey Knight or Deathwatch lists are especially vulnerable to volume firepower either, as they sport a good number of 2+ saves, and my guess is they’re aiming to jump on the grenade of anything that can reliably clear out the Wrack horde. If I had to guess, I’d say the Chaos build is the most likely “champion” choice here, as the Terminator/Beast of Chaos combo is a proven one in singles, and it’s got some choices in it that look like they’re aimed to make sure it can adapt to most matchups.

Daddy’s Girls

This team fielded:

  • Lachlan Gordon: Soaring Spite Harlequins with some foot troupes.
  • Braedon Kilby-Francis:  Warrior-heavy Eternal Expansionist Necrons with the Silent King and some Triarch Praetorians (good for Actions) in support.
  • Alex Terrasson: The Goff Skarboyz spam build that we all know and love.
  • Matthew Kinman: A fairly elite, high damage Blood Angels build featuring Sanguinary Guard, VanVets and some potent characters.

Back to a more conventional team breakdown here – the Harlequins are once again a fantastic “champion” list, and the Blood Angel build can also step into this role when required (though it’s a little bit softer against shooting lists than I’d want for a singles event). The Goff horde is one of the archetypal counterpick lists, because it asks the opponent an extremely difficult question (can you shift 120 Boyz) while having a very strong proactive game plan of its own, while Necron ObSec lists are one of the stronger Defender builds.

Northern 40k Alliance 1

This team fielded:

  • Chris Clarke: A very different way of using Eternal Expansionist Necrons, featuring Skorpekh and the Nightbringer (similar to some of the singles lists we’ve seen previously) alongside a lot of Reaper Warriors, giving the list the option of trying to overwhelm the enemy with early damage as well as playing the objective game.
  • Andy Mulholland: Scion transport spam, featuring a whole bunch of Tauroxes and Valkyries packed with Lambdan Lions, with a big Bullgryn squad to finish things out.
  • Reece Pianta: An all-in 30 Sanguinary Guard build similar to what we saw at the LVNo.
  • William Milton: An unusual Custodes list that goes in on three Contempor-Galatus dreadnoughts alongside a big Allarus blob. Notable that the points are carefully set up so that Trajann, the Allarus unit and a Bike Captain become the While We Stand targets for anyone who can’t chew through the dreads.

Our final team from the runner up bracket is a little bit harder to read in terms of overall strategy, though there’s a clear 50:50 split. There are two extremely aggressive builds (the Necrons and Blood Angels) that can try and overwhelm the enemy, and then two builds that need quite specific offensive tools to chew through (the Custodes and the Scions). Both the Scion and Custodes lists are going to consistently rack up reasonable scores, so given the other two builds are so aggressive my assumption is that the plan is to squeeze big wins out of those two and hold the line for (at worst) close defeats with the other two armies.

Wrap Up

That’s it for this week, and let us know if you’re enjoying the team coverage. We’ll be back with something next week, depending on how events fall, so check back in then, and in the meantime hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

 

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