Competitive Innovations in 9th: Lite Edition

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Whether through coincidence or TOs not wanting to schedule events on the day new books landed, the past weekend was a pretty quiet one on the tournament scene and I’ve not found any two day events to report on. Not wanting to break our streak on these or deny our hungry readers their ration of competitive updates I followed up on a reader tip and hunted through the deeper jungles that are the RTT listings, and found a few larger ones to check out the undefeated lists from.

The results of this were decidedly mixed. The biggest events I picked up were:

  • The Normal Blokes RTT in Brisbane
  • The Game Garrison RTT in Virginia

Both had a healthy number of players, but having gone through the lists, only one really stood out from each event, with the others all being very much in line with things we’ve seen recently, or Marine lists that are massively overturned by the Codex/Index update. With that in mind, I’m going to go ahead and make this a short one – we’ll dig into the two standout lists, and hope next week brings us more events. That’s my cue to remind you all that if you know any events running, especially GT size or larger (but tips on big RTTs welcome), let me know at contact@goonhammer.com.

Just so the other undefeated players don’t feel cruelly denied by me picking out their events and not talking about their lists at all, here are the very brief summaries:

  • Normal Blokes RTT (in DUP):
    • Rory Argent’s Salamander Successors: Salamander Gravis Circus backed up by a grav pod and a Thunderfire. The latter two things obviously need to be shuffled out, and with the flamer changes the list probably revises to pure Salamanders.
    • James Fuller’s Space Wolves: A Space Wolf list leaning heavily on Wulfen and the cheapest Stormfang build. Massively shaken up by the updates, especially the Stormfangs going up 100pts each.
    • Paul Gurney’s Iron Hands: An Iron Hands list built around Tartaros Terminators and FW Dreads. Building around Terminators is almost certainly a good shout going forward, but it’s pretty hard to make meaningful insights into an army where nearly half the points are spent on things that either no longer exist in the same form or are in limbo till the FW book lands.
  • Game Garrison RTT (in BCP):
    • Mark Hertel’s AdMech: Electro priest yacht club, similar to what we saw last week except all as Stygies.
    • Jonas Beardsley’s Imperium: Knights and Scions. Scions remain a good partner for Knights, and are cheap enough that this list squeezes in a Gallant as well as three Crusaders, allowing it to apply max pressure. Follows the trend we’ve seen recently of prioritising defensive relics over Endless Fury.

All good stuff, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Marine players in particular adapt to the new book.

Liam Hackett’s Death Guard – Normal Blokes RTT

Credit: PierreTheMime

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [118 PL, -2CP, 2,000pts] ++

Plague Company: Mortarion’s Chosen Sons

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

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

Malignant Plaguecaster [6 PL, 100pts]

– miasma of pestilence

– blades of putrification

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [23 PL, 400pts]

. Plague Champion: Bolt pistol, Plague knife, Power fist

. 17x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 17x Blight Grenades, 17x Boltgun, 17x Krak Grenades, 17x Plague knife

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

Plague Marines [23 PL, 400pts]

. Plague Champion: Bolt pistol, Plague knife, Power fist

. 17x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 17x Blight Grenades, 17x Boltgun, 17x Krak Grenades, 17x Plague knife

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

Plague Marines [23 PL, 400pts]

. Plague Champion: Bolt pistol, Plague knife, Power fist

. 17x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 17x Blight Grenades, 17x Boltgun, 17x Krak Grenades, 17x Plague knife

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption

+ Elites +

Biologus Putrifier [4 PL, 65pts]

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 85pts]

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

Plague Surgeon [4 PL, -1CP, 65pts]: Alembichal Narthecium, Balesword

Tallyman [4 PL, 60pts]: Plasma pistol

+ Fast Attack +

Myphitic Blight-haulers [7 PL, 100pts]

. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Missile launcher, Multi-melta

Myphitic Blight-haulers [7 PL, 100pts]

. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Missile launcher, Multi-melta

++ Total: [118 PL, -2CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • The endless horde of Plague Marines.
  • You didn’t really need me to tell you that huh?
  • It’s uh, not subtle.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Death Guard players seem to be on a mission to win events with near every plausible permutation of the army before their new book comes out in however many weeks/months, and Liam’s list adds yet another clutch of victories to Nurgle’s tally by asking the question “what if we just went all Plague Marines?”.

Turns out you get a list that looks pretty decent. Going in on Mortarion’s Chosen Sons gives the list access to the Alembical Narthecium, granting re-rolls of 1s and 2s to DR rolls for the Plague Marines, while the Noxious Blightbringer takes time out from chasing round Chaos Spawn to bring the Daemon’s Toll along for a 5++ as well. Stack that all up and you have just an appallingly durable wall of ObSec models lumbering up the board. For those playing along at home, you’re looking at only about ~35% of successful AP-2 wounds thrown at those units actually translating to a point of damage, enough of a barrier to give pause to even some of the natural predators of armies like this. To have any chance of clearing it off the table you basically need to be throwing out huge numbers of attacks in that sweet spot, and while some lists can definitely do it (Bloody Rose Sisters with Mortifiers is probably the best positioned meta list), plenty of other top contenders are going to have real trouble. Harlequins and horde Orks risk bouncing off and getting butchered in response, and even the dreaded Eradicators are going to accomplish a few kills per unit a turn – not really enough.

The list isn’t entirely without teeth either – using the Wyrmspitter and Arch Contaminator it can turn the huge bolter volleys it can pump out into a threat to almost anything, and with a Biologus Putrifier around there’s the constant threat of a super grenade volley deleting something. The list has absolutely stacks of CP to play with too, giving it a massive array of options at any time because of the depth of the War of the Spider rules, and will likely catch at least some players not used to seeing this many Plague Marines in one place out. In particular, Putrid Fecundity further elevates the barrier for what an army needs to be able to do to seriously threaten to clear this out, as it means even a fairly concentrated attack on a single unit risks just bouncing off. The best bet for most opponents is probably to try and remove the two Blight Haulers (presumably here as backline objective holders), forcing one Marine blob to try and hold home objectives, focus everything on taking one blob out and then try and out-position the rest of it. That’s much, much easier said than done, obviously.

Just like with Marines, this list has some unknown amount of shuffling up coming in the near future, but the current rules remain live for a bit longer yet, so if you just really, really like Plague Marines give it a shot.

Ben Cort’s Tau – Game Garrison RTT

Joe Tau Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Joe Tau. Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (T’au Empire) [77 PL, 1,563pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves

+ Stratagems +

Emergency Dispensation (1 Relic) [-1CP]

Veteran Cadre (3 models) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 179pts]: 3. A Ghost Walks Among Us, Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster, Talisman of Arthas Moloch, Warlord
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 179pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [3 PL, 70pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. MV4 Shield Drone: Shield generator

Breacher Team [3 PL, 70pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. MV4 Shield Drone: Shield generator

Strike Team [3 PL, 65pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol + Pulse Rifle: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse pistol, 4x Pulse rifle
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Strike Team [3 PL, 65pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol + Pulse Rifle: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse pistol, 4x Pulse rifle
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

+ Elites +

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [15 PL, 305pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Counterfire defence system, Heavy burst cannon

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 78pts] . Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 78pts] . Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon

XV8 Crisis Bodyguards [9 PL, 222pts]: Cross-linked stabiliser jets, Veteran Cadre
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster

XV8 Crisis Bodyguards [9 PL, 162pts] . Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector

+ Fast Attack +

Pathfinder Team [6 PL, 90pts]: MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone, MV33 Grav-inhibitor Drone
. MB3 Recon Drone: Burst cannon
. 4x Pathfinder: 4x Markerlight, 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse carbine
. Pathfinder Shas’ui: Markerlight, Photon grenades, Pulse carbine, Pulse pistol

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (T’au Empire) [21 PL, 435pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves

+ HQ +

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 180pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Missile pod
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 180pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Missile pod
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [3 PL, 75pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

++ Total: [98 PL, 1,998pts, 8CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • An example of the rare and endangered species that is a Tau list.
  • A go-wide army, aiming to mitigate Tau’s weakness at fighting for objectives by ensuring that any that get freed up by shooting can be seized rapidly, and that a wide variety of Secondaries can be locked in.
  • Eschews any utility characters in favour of pure damage dealing and avoiding giving up Assassinate.
  • Farsight Enclaves proving to be almost certainly the best call if you’re desperate to try and make the army work right now.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Poor Tau. After some hard work by GSC and Tyranids players recently they’re languishing at the very bottom of the ranks of top-table showings, with only Necrons and Craftworlds being similarly bereft, and one of those just picked up a huge upgrade. With no such salvation on the horizon for the forces of the Greater Good, anything that can offer a glimmer of hope is welcome, so this list is worth looking at.

Now, obviously, whenever you look at an unusual and undefeated RTT list you have to bear in mind the possibility that it could just have run good on the day, and you want to see some clear evidence that there’s something “real” underlying it. Happily here there’s good evidence that some serious thought went into optimising this list to try and mitigate the army’s weaknesses. In a similar fashion to the Tyranid list we looked at a few weeks ago, it’s clear that Ben is well aware that Tau are flatly bad at the 9th edition missions, so has set out to design an army that’s the least bad at them possible.

Completely bypassing any of the normal Tau utility characters and just straight up taking four commanders means the army doesn’t leak Assassinate, and picks up four mobile shooting threats in the process. Huge numbers of small units, all with accompanying Drones, means that a large amount of space can be occupied and a number of secondaries come pretty easy, most notably Engage on All Fronts and Deploy Scramblers. Two small Crisis teams give you something mobile that can hustle onto objectives as needed, with Stealth Teams also contributing. Finally, with only a single Riptide it can be kept on a 3++ all game, providing a very hard to kill mobile bully that’s also a pain to charge at or near thanks to the Counterfire Defence System. Having that Riptide be so tough also opens up the option of the While We Stand, We Fight secondary in some matchups, as the designated models would be the Riptide and two Coldstars, essentially guaranteeing at least 10pts in a game where the Tau stay live on the board and making the opponent pick between trying to kill a 2+/3++ battlesuit or giving up the last five points.

In setting up this way, the army flies in the face of quite a lot of conventional list building wisdom – but at this point that’s got to be the right call. Sure, it’s missing either the second Riptide or the Crisis bomb you’d normally expect to see but those clearly aren’t working. Instead, this list aims to ensure it has as many scoring angles as possible going into each game, giving itself the best possible chance of finding a way to rack up enough points to muster a win – the key to 9th Edition success. I’m sure some day soon one brave, noble Tau player is going to smash into a GT top four, and I’ll be interested to see if any elements of this sort of design make it into it when it does.

Tau Riptide

Tau Riptide. Credit: Jack Hunter

Wrap Up

That’s it for this week – a short one I know, but we’ve got some more competitive-aimed treats coming up for you later in the week, and hopefully we’ll be back to regular service on this column next. In the meantime, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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