Competitive Innovations in 9th: Look Who’s Outside Again

An article by    Competitive Play Goonhammer Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Another weekend that feels like a transition from one metagame reality to another – not least because I finally got to go to an in-person event for the first time since February 2020.

The AdMech FAQ landed last week, and while I’m not massively convinced it’s going to knock them off the top spot (more on that in a second), it does dial them back a little and opens up some new lines of attack against their top builds, which gives a bit of breathing room. The Ork codex is in a weird twilight phantom zone where it’s sort of released and sort of isn’t, and we’ve had the announcement of not one but two (!) new codexes that are about to land, bringing a 9th edition update to two of the game’s most potent psychic armies.

That means there’s lots of twists and turns coming up, but there’s was still plenty of 40K played this past weekend, and that’s what we’re here to talk about. Let’s hit it, taking a quick look at some thoughts on the AdMech FAQ, going through the three GT+ events from the weekend, then finishing with a quick look at what I got up to (since sadly the event I attended narrowly missed GT numbers).

AdMech FAQ

Skitarii Marshal

Skitarii Marshal. Credit: Pendulin

With a weekend to further digest it, my current feeling is that the AdMech FAQ isn’t going to dislodge them from the tip top of the metagame, but does at least have three significant positive impacts for playing against them:

  1. The extent to which either of the Skitarii strats will just end games over turns one and two is substantially reduced. They’re still horrendous, but games going longer gives you more chances to find ways to pull back.
  2. With the significant reduction in the reliability of Ironstriders (and a likely reduced number in lists), going for a VEHICLE-heavy plan to try and circumvent Skitarii’s damage output feels a bit more viable. This might run into a problem if everyone just pivots to Mars, mind, as the Ironstriders aren’t much worse there as long as you take them in twos.
  3. The (bigger than hoped) hit to Acquisition at Any Cost means that scattering damage among lots of units and looking for morale to do some work is quite a bit more viable.

The reason I don’t think we’re going to see enough movement on the win rates is because a bunch of stuff in this book is flat out too efficient. Infiltrators (especially) and Serberys Raiders are pushed on price to outrageous degrees, Skitarii (in both regular and Veteran flavour) are still too dang cheap, and Fusilaves are outrageously better bombers than anyone else gets for no obvious reason. Both Mars/Lucius lists (whose only serious downside is not being able to run a Veteran Cohort) and Veteran Cohort builds can largely shrug and roll on as is, and are still going to be giant headaches to deal with. Don’t get me wrong – I seriously appreciate that changes were made this quickly and really like several of them, but without changes to the price of at least the Fusilave and Infiltrators I think they’ll end up falling short of what was needed.

The last thing to quickly touch on is the impact of taking CORE off Ironstriders, which Pendulin put out an excellent editorial on yesterday. From an entirely dispassionate competitive point of view I think this change is healthy, but Pendulin is absolutely right that taking it away is painful for everyone else (part of the reason I didn’t expect it would happen). My feeling is that the Ironstrider datasheet and the AdMech book basically boxed GW into a corner where for game balance purposes this felt like the only safe choice – as laid out in the article, the list of things in the AdMech book that interact with SKITARII CORE is absolutely outrageous, and when you have so many variables as to how the Ironstriders could perform in any one game, it’s almost impossible to come up with a fair price for them. Add that to their guns being D3+3, which means they rarely spike down in effectiveness once you give them any sort of re-rolls, and going for the nuclear option may have been the only way to be sure, though I think Pendulin may also be right that just stopping the Skitarii Marshall’s aura(s) from working on them could plausibly have been enough.

As the editorial covers though, this really highlights how warping the CORE keyword can be, and the fact that the way to play them is now essentially “in Mars” also shows up how in a CORE world the faction traits that give re-rolls are pretty much the only way to competitively use many VEHICLES across the whole game. It feels like something of a re-think is needed, and honestly with a lot of abilities now being activated by choosing a unit in the command phase, importing Age of Sigmar’s rule that you can only issue one command ability to a unit per phase might be a better way to achieve what CORE seems to be trying to do when it comes to non-Aura abilities.

Showdown at Frogtown (Major)

All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

Brad Chester – Drukhari – 1st Place

Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [35 PL, 770pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ HQ +

Succubus [3 PL, 60pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, The Triptych Whip, Warlord
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, 110pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Wych: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

Wyches [6 PL, 110pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Wych: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

+ Elites +

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Mandrake: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Mandrake: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [7 PL, 170pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 9x Hellion: 9x Hellglaive, 9x Splinter Pods

Hellions [7 PL, 170pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 9x Hellion: 9x Hellglaive, 9x Splinter Pods

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [60 PL, 8CP, 976pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue: The Serpent’s Kiss

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 136pts] . Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, -1CP, 85pts]: Ancient Evil, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Animus Vitae
. Splintered Genius (Poisoned Tongue): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 135pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Fast Attack +

Scourges [5 PL, 80pts] . Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Shredder
. Solarite: Shardcarbine

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [13 PL, -4CP, 250pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [3 PL, -1CP, 60pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Dark Lotus Toxin, Precision Blows, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition
. Razorflails

+ Troops +

Wyches [3 PL, 50pts]: 3 – Hypex (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Fast Attack +

Reavers [3 PL, 60pts]: 3 – Hypex (Combat Drug)
. Arena Champion: Splinter Rifle
. 2x Reaver: 2x Bladevanes, 2x Splinter Pistol, 2x Splinter Rifle

++ Total: [108 PL, 4CP, 1,996pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Brad switches to the Poisoned Tongue to take a victory in the age of robot hell.
  • Animus Vitae provides an extra spike against opposing hordes.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Brad gets it done with Drukhari again, successfully adapting to the Skitarii-infested metagame to triumph. Drukhari are still firmly one of the best armies out there, of course, so the units on show here aren’t likely to be too surprising (though it is worth noting that he’s added more Hellions, which is in line with general trends), but what does stand out is the choice to switch to the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue. This trades the extra reliability of the Black Heart or Obsidian Rose for access to the incredible Insidious Misdirection stratagem, and when a build with alpha strike shooting as brutal as AdMech’s exists, that’s what you need. Being able to redeploy on the table after the roll off has always been great, but being able to pull units to Strategic Reserves is incredible, and lets you adapt on the fly very effectively. Consistency and adaptability is what secures tournament wins, and that’s what this choice brings to the table. I also like the inclusion of the Animus Vitae, because just flat dropping five mortals on Skitarii blobs is very handy!

The question when looking at this list, given the AdMech FAQ that arrived last week, is whether you still want Poisoned Tongue going forward. On the one hand, outside of Mars the alpha strike reliability of the common or garden las chicken has been considerably cut down, which weakens the alpha into vehicles quite a bit. Having said that, Mars builds are on the rise already, and redeploys are also likely to be good against the speedy melee pressure that Veteran Cohort lists can apply out of the gate. More subtly, with the change to Acquisition at Any Cost, Poisoned Tongue Venoms start looking pretty legit against the Mechanicus – they’re good at picking up Lucius models, the 2W stuff in particular, and without access to an easy area-of-effect auto-pass on morale the Combat Attrition modifiers these apply when they pick up models are potentially quite significant. It’ll depend on exactly where the AdMech builds end up, but I can certainly imagine a world in which we see more of this. In the meantime, congratulations to Brad for adding another event win to his considerable list of achievements.

Matt Estrada – Adeptus Mechanicus – 2nd Place

Tech-Priest Manipulus. Credit: Rockfish

Tech-Priest Manipulus. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [101 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ Stratagems [-5CP] +

Stratagem: Archeotech Specialist [-2CP]: 2x Archeotech Specialist [-2CP]

Stratagem: Artefactotum [-1CP]: Artefactotum [-1CP]

Stratagem: Host of the Intermediary [-1CP]: Host of the Intermediary [-1CP]

Stratagem: Mechanicus Locum [-1CP]: Mechanicus Locum [-1CP]

+ HQ [14 PL, 245pts] +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Control Stave, Mechanicus Locum, Radium Serpenta, Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Programmed Retreat

Tech-Priest Manipulus [5 PL, 95pts]: Artisans [1 PL, 25pts], Magnarail lance, Manipulus Mechadendrites, Omnissian Staff, Relic: Raiment of the Technomartyr

Tech-Priest Manipulus [6 PL, 105pts]: Logi [2 PL, 35pts], Magnarail lance, Manipulus Mechadendrites, Omnissian Staff, Relic (Lucius): The Solar Flare, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Lucius): Luminescent Blessings

+ Troops [24 PL, 505pts] +

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts], Omnispex [5pts] . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle, Host of the Intermediary, Warlord Trait (Codex 5): Firepoint Telemetry Cache
. 19x Skitarii Ranger [152pts]: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts] . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle
. 4x Skitarii Ranger [32pts]: 4x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts] . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle
. 4x Skitarii Ranger [32pts]: 4x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [4 PL, 85pts]: Omnispex [5pts] . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle
. 9x Skitarii Ranger [72pts]: 9x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts], Omnispex [5pts] . 19x Skitarii Vanguard [152pts]: 19x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha [8pts]: Radium Carbine

+ Elites [16 PL, 340pts] +

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser) [17pts]: Flechette Blaster, Taser Goad
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser) [68pts]: 4x Flechette Blaster, 4x Taser Goad

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser) [17pts]: Flechette Blaster, Taser Goad
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser) [68pts]: 4x Flechette Blaster, 4x Taser Goad

Sicarian Ruststalkers [8 PL, 170pts] . Ruststalker Princeps (Blades) [17pts]: Artefactotum, Chordclaw, Relic: The Omniscient Mask, Transonic Blades
. 9x Sicarian Ruststalker (Blades) [153pts]: 9x Transonic Blades

+ Fast Attack [28 PL, 515pts] +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [12 PL, 215pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 65pts]: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

Ironstrider Ballistarii [12 PL, 215pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 65pts]: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

Serberys Raiders [4 PL, 85pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts] . 4x Serberys Raider [64pts]: 4x Cavalry Sabre, 4x Clawed Limbs, 4x Galvanic Carbine
. Serberys Raider Alpha [16pts]: Archeo-revolver, Cavalry Sabre, Clawed Limbs, Galvanic Carbine

+ Flyer [14 PL, 300pts] +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 150pts]: Chaff Launcher [20pts], 4x Cognis Heavy Stubber

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 150pts]: Chaff Launcher [20pts], 4x Cognis Heavy Stubber

+ Dedicated Transport [5 PL, 95pts] +

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 95pts]: 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

++ Total: [101 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Lucius nonsense gets in some final rides pre-FAQ.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This right here, of course, is exactly the kind of build you need Insidious Misdirection against – unless you can hide your whole entire army, if you lose the roll off those Ironstriders are going to blast a couple of high value targets out of the sky, the Fusilaves are going to nuke any infantry you actually deploy, and a teleporting Skitariii unit is going to fully ruin your day.  There’s not really anything new to talk about here, with the exception that it’s maybe worth highlighting the 10-model Ruststalker unit as something that’s becoming ever more of a fixture (and whose stock goes even higher if you take the Veteran Cohort route). High volume, high quality D1 attacks are the most universal answer the game has available, and with Orks about to hit the metagame with access to a whole bunch of -1D units and other AdMech horde builds going nowhere, large units of either Ruststalkers or Infiltrators (who can also rack up a healthy number of swings, but struggle into 2+ save storm shields) seem like a great answer.

How does the FAQ affect this build? That’s honestly an interesting question. My hot take is that you probably won’t see this many Ironstriders in a Lucius detachment any more, as they lose a bit too much reliability and you gain so much by going wide with the quality Skitarii units. I think you’ll probably see more people opting for mixed Lucius/Mars, letting you stick Canticles and re-rolls on your chickens while still retaining the option of Solar Flare teleport strikes and the durability of the big Lucius blobs. That’s especially true because the nerfs to the Skitarii stratagems means you probably don’t want mutliple 20-model blobs of any one flavour of Skitarii most of the time (something this list already has handled), meaning that the minimal Lucius detachment of one blob of each and a supporting character covers a lot of your bases. I don’t think this list is bad post FAQ by any means, but I’d anticipate seeing some changes, and hopefully we’ll see Matt back in a future edition ready to give us some answers about what those are!

Tom Ogden – Adeptus Mechanicus – 3rd Place

Sicarian Ruststalker Princep

Sicarian Ruststalker Princep. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [102 PL, 2,000pts, 12CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Skitarii Veteran Cohort

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Mars

+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Programmed Retreat

Tech-Priest Manipulus [6 PL, 105pts]: Logi, Magnarail lance

+ Troops +

Note: I’ve corrected the PL on these Ranger units to 10, as there appears to be a Battlescribe bug that’s only adding +1 to PL for a 20 model unit when it should be two. The Vanguard are technically correct at 9 because as currently written the PL change isn’t rounded up (though check that with your TOs as I imagine some will be ruling that it does).

Skitarii Rangers [10 PL, 205pts]: Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle
. 19x Skitarii Ranger: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [10 PL, 205pts]: Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle
. 19x Skitarii Ranger: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [9 PL, 185pts]: Omnispex
. 17x Skitarii Vanguard: 17x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha: Radium Carbine

+ Elites +

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Stub/Sword)
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Stub/Sword): 4x Power Sword, 4x Stubcarbine

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Stub/Sword)
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Stub/Sword): 4x Power Sword, 4x Stubcarbine

Sicarian Ruststalkers [4 PL, 85pts] . Ruststalker Princeps (Razor)
. 4x Sicarian Ruststalker (Razor/Chordclaw): 4x Chordclaw, 4x Transonic Razor

+ Fast Attack +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [12 PL, 225pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Ironstrider Ballistarii [12 PL, 225pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

+ Heavy Support +

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

++ Total: [102 PL, 2,000pts, 12CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Exhibit A in “Mars builds are on the rise already”.
  • Veteran Cohort ensures that the melee units can strike at any moment, and the Ironstriders delete any target.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

As predicted, the Veteran Cohort hasn’t outright supplanted the existing AdMech builds but it’s definitely created some new contenders, and this Mars build is one of them. Sticking Canticles and a hit re-roll on all Skitarii units already made Mars the premium place to use units like the Skorpius Disintegrator, and the Veteran Cohort only makes those builds better. They’re generally running fewer Skitarii bodies than Lucius, so the price goes up less, they benefit more from the improved invuln, as they’re saving on it more often, and they’re not as bothered about stacking up relics and traits, so have more juicy CP to spend on the new stratagems. Adding Veteran cohort to a build like this adds durability to its already substantial damage dealing capability, and gives it access to disproportionatly hefty melee spikes out of the small Infiltrator/Ruststalker units, who can rack up frankly disgusting amounts of damage when you stack +2A on them, plus can Advance/Charge as needed.

Now obviously there’s a big change that immediately hits this build which is that the loss of CORE from the Ironstiders means that they can’t use any of the Veteran Cohort strats. That (plus the loss of benefit from re-roll auras) likely disincentivises the use of the three model units, and I’d expect to see the army change to two, two and two to increase the benfits gained from being Mars, and maybe cut one of those units in favour of bulking up the melee threats, who are better than ever in the Cohort. More so than for Lucius, however, the FAQ hasn’t done that much to this kind of list, so expect to see plenty more of it in the near future. Good work from Tom taking a podium placing in the current environment, and I’m sure he’ll be straight out of the blocks post-update.

David Timms – Adeptus Mechanicus – 4th ✪ Place

Kastelan Robots with Cybernetica Datasmith. Credit: Rockfish

Kastelan Robots with Cybernetica Datasmith. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+++ Botz (Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition) +++

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [105 PL, 7CP, 1,997pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ Stratagems [-5CP] +

Stratagem: Archeotech Specialist [-1CP]: Archeotech Specialist [-1CP]

Stratagem: Host of the Intermediary [-2CP]: 2x Host of the Intermediary [-2CP]

Stratagem: Mechanicus Locum [-2CP]: 2x Mechanicus Locum [-2CP]

+ No Force Org Slot [4 PL, 75pts] +

Cybernetica Datasmith [4 PL, 75pts]: Logi [2 PL, 35pts], Mechanicus Locum, Relic (Lucius): The Solar Flare, Warlord Trait (Codex 6): Supervisory Radiance

+ HQ [11 PL, 190pts] +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Mechanicus Locum, Warlord Trait (Codex 5): Firepoint Telemetry Cache

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity

Tech-Priest Dominus [5 PL, 100pts]: Artisans [1 PL, 25pts], Macrostubber, Volkite Blaster, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Lucius): Luminescent Blessings

+ Troops [24 PL, 502pts] +

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 162pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts], Omnispex [5pts] . . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle
. . 18x Skitarii Ranger [144pts]: 18x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts], Omnispex [5pts] . . Ranger Alpha [8pts]: Galvanic Rifle, Host of the Intermediary, Warlord Trait (Codex 2): Battle-Sphere Uplink
. . 19x Skitarii Ranger [152pts]: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether [5pts], Omnispex [5pts] . . 19x Skitarii Vanguard [152pts]: 19x Radium Carbine
. . Vanguard Alpha [8pts]: Host of the Intermediary, Radium Carbine, Warlord Trait (Codex 1): Multitasking Cortex

+ Elites [8 PL, 170pts] +

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser) [17pts] . . 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser) [68pts]: 4x Flechette Blaster, 4x Taser Goad

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser) [17pts] . . 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser) [68pts]: 4x Flechette Blaster, 4x Taser Goad

+ Fast Attack [28 PL, 540pts] +

Pteraxii Sterylizors [4 PL, 95pts]: Pteraxii Sterylizor Alpha [19pts] . . 4x Pteraxii Sterylizor [76pts]: 4x Phosphor torch, 4x Pteraxii Talons

Pteraxii Sterylizors [4 PL, 95pts]: Pteraxii Sterylizor Alpha [19pts] . . 4x Pteraxii Sterylizor [76pts]: 4x Phosphor torch, 4x Pteraxii Talons

Sydonian Dragoons [20 PL, 350pts] . . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Taser Lance [15pts] . . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Taser Lance [15pts] . . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Taser Lance [15pts] . . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Taser Lance [15pts] . . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Taser Lance [15pts]

+ Heavy Support [30 PL, 520pts] +

Kastelan Robots [30 PL, 520pts] . . Kastelan Robot [100pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster, Kastelan Fist, Kastelan Fist
. . Kastelan Robot [100pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster, Kastelan Fist, Kastelan Fist
. . Kastelan Robot [100pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster, Kastelan Fist, Kastelan Fist
. . Kastelan Robot [110pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster, Kastelan Phosphor Blaster [5pts], Kastelan Phosphor Blaster [5pts] . . Kastelan Robot [110pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster, Kastelan Phosphor Blaster [5pts], Kastelan Phosphor Blaster [5pts]

++ Total: [105 PL, 7CP, 1,997pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Guess who can still Solar Flare post-FAQ?
  • Two massive rolling melee deathballs threaten to bowl over any opponent who stumbles on dealing with early threats.
  • Strong secondary game from skewed list design.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Even when a book appears to be “solved” there are players out there ready to throw a gigantic curveball at the metagame with an exciting new angle on it, and that’s just what we have here. Cool tricks with Kastelan Robots and the CORE keyword was something that looked like a lot of fun out of the book, and this list really brings that to fruition, and in a way that’s barely touched by the FAQ to boot. CORE doesn’t let you do everything in the book without the Skitarii keyword as well, but it absolutely does switch on the Solar Flare and the Luminescent Blessings warlord trait out of Lucius, and that means you are go on teleporting a near unstoppable brick of Kastelans right into your opponents lines (likely with Invocation of Machine Vengeance up for a boosted charge via Data-Blessed Autosermon) and just absolutely going to town on them (with full hit re-rolls from Supervisory Radiance). Lucius Skitarii already provide a formidible vice for some lists to break out of, and trying to do so while dealing with this absolute brick of mechanical death is going to be beyond some armies. It isn’t even the only horrific melee threat in the list – while Dragoons haven’t had the play of Ironstriders they also got a lot better in the new book, and taking them as the second melee unit here lets the list benefit from SKITARII-keyed tricks as well (though obviously that mostly goes away post FAQ as Dragoons have got caught in the CORE Ironstrider crossfire).

Investing in these two units does a number of very positive things for the army. First up, it changes the angle of attack considerably from any of the current popular AdMech builds, meaning that opponents with a plan for those might find themselves stymied. Secondly, it’s pretty strong in the mirror – large blocks of vehicles with the Solar Blessing and various save improvement options aren’t going to take too much damage from massed small arms fire, and the Robots are reasonable even against enemy Ironstriders – Luminescent Blessing makes the wound roll a 4+, they’ve got an invuln, and they’re one too many wounds to ever die to a single cognis las shot. Because the Solar Flare is often their delivery mechanism you can also prioritise hiding them in deployment (which is pretty achievable), meaning your only big worry for getting blown out is if your opponent is on triple Fusilave, and even then you can use Benevolence of the Omnissiah and hope to tank it all on the first model. Lastly, this list is exceptional at the Eradication of Flesh secondary, because it has exactly two Vehicle units, both of which are a complete nightmare to shift, so as long as you can pick up one enemy INFANTRY unit a turn (so if your opponent’s list contains at least five INFANTRY units, let’s be honest), you’re cruising to an easy high score.

Obviously with the mandatory horde core and those big units, there aren’t too many points left to go around, but this list spends what it does have sensibly – armies reliant on a few big units tend to want to reduce the chances of the enemy being able to pull an early blowout and to have options to plug backfield gaps in an emergency, which two units each of Infiltrators and Pteraxii cover admirably. This list absolutely slaps, and it’s great to see something different from the AdMech book doing so well – huge congratulations to David.

The Rest of the Best

Five more players achieved 4-1 records at this event. They were:

  • 5th – Jason Sniegowski – Deathwatch: Kill Teams and VolCons – we know it works, and it clearly did here.
  • 6th – Daniel Kennedy – Drukhari: Mostly standard stuff, but with a tech choice of some Prophets of Flesh melee Grotesques in a third detachment. These hit like absolute trucks, and it’s a nice extra little sting in the tail.
  • 7th – Matthew Tarantine – Adepta Sororitas: An extremely vicious Bloody Rose contingent, packed with Sacresants and Repentia, teams up with the flamer and Sacred Rite tricks of the Ebon Chalice for a powerful combination.
  • 8th ✪ – Michelle Mack – Adepta Sororitas: Another mixed-order build, this time going for the resilience of the Valorous Heart alongside the Ebon Chalice, creating a much more grinding, inevitable list.
  • 9th – Joshua Minnich – Disciples of Be’lakor: What’s better than Beasts of Nurgle? Beasts of Nurgle with Locus of Shadows and Volkite Contemptors behind them.

The London Open

The London Opens are a series of mid-sized events put on by the organisers of the London Grand Tournament to exercise their terrain setups and event packs in between the supermajors. I had a great time at the one in 2019, and more are planned later this year, which I’ll be hitting up. This weekend, they were testing out a different tie-break mechanism to what’s normally used – rather than players on an equivalent number of wins being ranked on their VP total, two different metrics are used. The first tie breaker is Path to Victory – the longer you stay undefeated, the better your score on this, as when playing in the undefeated bracket you’re generally getting harder games (as we’ve started highlighting in this column by noting lists that entered the final round undefeated).

If a cut needed to be made between players with the same Path to Victory, VP difference was used – the total VP the player had scored subtracted by the total VP all their opponents had scored. This tends to reward lists that actively engage with and shut down their opponents rather than just grinding a victory out, though I’ve also seen criticism of it in the past that it effectively punishes players for having close games. I think having the Path to Victory as the first tie break should mitigate that downside, as the big concern with using VP differential alone is that if you win five rounds and lose a close final, someone who won four, lost in round five then got a round six match where they happened to get a blowout win would leapfrog you. That won’t happen here because of the win path taking priority, and honestly given how often the lists that earn a TiWP star end up in 5th or 6th place in normal scoring, I think the overall impact will be very positive!

The lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

Alun Perkins – Adeptus Custodes – 1st Place

Custodes Vertus Praetors

Custodes Vertus Praetors. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [100 PL, 2,000pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

Shield Host: Shadowkeepers

+ Stratagems +

Open the Vaults [-1CP]: Open the Vaults: 1 Extra Relic

+ HQ +

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, 178pts, -1CP]: Auric Aquilas, Captain-Commander, Indomitable Constitution, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Superior Creation, Warlord

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, 178pts, -1CP]: Eagle’s Eye, Lockwarden, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Ten Thousand Heroes

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 156pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 149pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Guardian Spear

Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 159pts] . Sagittarum Custodian: Misericordia
. Sagittarum Custodian: Misericordia
. Sagittarum Custodian: Misericordia

+ Elites +

Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought [9 PL, 170pts, -1CP]: Eternal Penitent

Prosecutors [3 PL, 60pts]: Sister Superior
. 4x Prosecutor: 4x Boltgun, 4x Psyk-Out Grenades

Vexilus Praetor in Allarus Terminator Armor [7 PL, 125pts]: Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack +

Venatari Custodians [16 PL, 275pts] . Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 255pts] . Vertus Praetor: Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Salvo Launcher

+ Heavy Support +

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 295pts]: Arachnus Storm Cannon
. Telemon Caestus

++ Total: [100 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • All the Custodes classics team up to conquer London.
  • Juices up the flexibility and mobility by trading out Trajann for a second Bike Captain.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Custodes are performing pretty strongly at the moment and it’s great to see a player convert that into an event win. There’s a pretty solid template that’s in use for successful lists, and you’re pretty much always seeing a 5-model Venatari unit, a Bike Captain, a Telemon and three troops choices out of Sagitarrum and shield Custodians, a template this list sticks to. What makes each individual build stand out is how they choose to spend the points they have remaining after that, and Alun’s build opts to invest in mobility and objective play. What the build is missing compared to most is Trajann, here benched for a second bike captain to provide additional flexible ObSec reach, and its flex points have gone into a squad of Vertus Praetors and some Sisters of Silence. Taken together, this list can exercise aggressive pressure a bit more effectively than the average, as it only needs to leave the cheap SoS unit on a home objective, and has four separate fast, flying ObSec units to move around the table flipping objectives. One of the ways to beat Custodes is to smash one of their flanks and out-control the board, and this list is quite a bit less vulnerable to that thanks to the choices made, at the expense of a little bit of reliability and an extra strat use from Trajann. That’s clearly proven to be a winning formula here, and earned Alun his first place finish after clinching a knife-edge final game against Nassim by a single point. Huge congratulations.

Nassim Fouchaine – Iron Hands Successors – 2nd ✪ Place

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

ARMY FACTION: Adeptus Astartes
TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 5
TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1998
REINFORCEMENT POINTS: N/A
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ==

==Patrol Detachment (-3CP)== Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands Successors; Born Heroes, Whirlwind of Rage ==

HQ 1 Lieutenants [5 PL, 90pts] Primaris Lieutenant: Rites of War, The Vox Espiritum, Warlord
Neo-volkite pistol, Master-crafted power sword and Storm Shield

TR 1 Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 120pts] 4x Infiltrator, 1x Infiltrator Sergeant

EL 1 Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [8 PL, -3CP, 175pts]: Cyclone missile launcher, Merciless Logic, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Stratagem: March of the Ancients, 2x Twin volkite culverin

EL 8 Scout Squad [4 PL, 70pts] 1x Scout Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Astartes shotgun
. 4x Scout w/Shotgun:

HS 1 Devastator Squad [8 PL, 145pts]: Armorium Cherub
1x Devastator Marine Sergeant: 2x Astartes Chainsword
3x Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon
1x Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

HS 2 Devastator Squad [8 PL, 145pts]: Armorium Cherub
1x Devastator Marine Sergeant: 2x Astartes Chainsword
3x Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon
1x Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

==Vanguard Detachment (-4CP)== Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands Successors; Born Heroes, Whirlwind of Rage ==

HQ 2 Techmarine [4 PL, -1CP, 70pts]: Boltgun, Omnissian power axe, Servo-arm, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Target Protocols

EL 2 Company Veterans [3 PL, 48pts] 1x Company Veteran: Astartes Chainsword, Storm shield, 1x Company Veteran Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Storm shield

EL 3 Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 180pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

EL 4 Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 180pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

EL 5 Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 145pts]: Jump Pack
4x Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield, 1x Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Lightning Claw

EL 6 Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 145pts]: Jump Pack
4x Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield, 1x Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Lightning Claw

EL 7 Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 110pts]: Jump Pack
4x Vanguard Veteran: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 1xVanguard Veteran Sergeant: 2x Astartes Chainsword

FA 1 Assault Squad [6 PL, 100pts]: Jump Pack
. 4x Space Marine: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 1x Space Marine Sergeant: 2x Astartes Chainsword

HS 1 Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 75pts]:
. 1x Eliminator Sergeant: Instigator Bolt Carbine
. 2x Eliminators: Bolt Sniper Rifles

HS 2 Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 75pts]:
. 1x Eliminator Sergeant: Instigator Bolt Carbine
. 2x Eliminators: Bolt Sniper Rifles

DT1 Drop Pod [4 PL, 70pts]: Storm bolter

DT 2 Land Speeder Storm [3 PL, 55pts]

++ Total: [108 PL, 5CP, 1,998pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Two top fours in a row with an Assault Marine squad, absolute hero

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

We already talked about Nassim’s list last week, and it hasn’t changed since then, merely inching closer to a glorious first place triumph (since as mentioned, the final came down to a single point). The list remains a veritable swiss army knife of damage dealers, some of which are very hard to stop, and has outrageously reliable secondary plans, making it a real force to be reckoned with. Well done again to Nassim, and I guess everyone start re-evaluating Assault Marines.

Mani Cheema – Adeptus Mechanicus – 3rd Place

Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Rockfish

Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion Detachment -4CP (Adeptus Mechanicus) [49 PL, 995pts]

Forge World: Lucius

-HQ-

Techpriest Manipulus [6 PL, 105pts, -1CP] Holy Order Logi, Warlord, Warlord Trait:Luminescent Blessing, Archeotech Specialists: The Solar Flare
Skitarii Marshall [3 PL, 45pts, -1CP] Mechanicus Locum: Programmed Retreat, Free Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity

-Troop-

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 165pts, -1CP] x20, Galvanic Rifles x20, Omnispex, Ranger Alpha, Host of the Intermediary: Firepoint Telemetry Cache
Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts, -1CP] x20, Galvanic Rifles x20, Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex, Ranger Alpha, Host of the Intermediary: Battle-Sphere Uplink
Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts] x20, Galvanic Rifles x20, Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex, Ranger Alpha
Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts] x20, Galvanic Rifles x20, Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex, Ranger Alpha
Skitarii Vanguard [8 PL, 170pts] x20, Radium Carbines x20, Enhanced Data-Tether, Onmispex, Vanguard Alpha

Outrider Detachment -4CP (Adeptus Mechanicus) [51 PL, 1,004pts]

Forge World: Mars

-HQ-

Tech-Priest Enginseer [3 PL, 55pts]

-Troop-

Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts] x5, Galvanic Rifles x5, Ranger Alpha
Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts] x5, Galvanic Rifles x5, Ranger Alpha
Skitarii Rangers [2 PL, 40pts] x5, Galvanic Rifles x5, Ranger Alpha

-Elite-

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts, -1CP] x5, Flechette Blaster x5, Taser Goad x5, Artefactotum: Temporcopia
Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] x5, Flechette Blaster x5, Taser Goad x5

-Fast Attack-

Serberys Raiders [6 PL, 144pts] x9, Cavalry Sabre x9, Galvanic Carbine x9, Clawed Limbs x9, Serberys Raider Alpha
Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 75pts] Twin Cognis Lascannon
Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 75pts] Twin Cognis Lascannon
Ironstrider Ballistarii [4 PL, 75pts] Twin Cognis Lascannon

-Heavy Support-

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts] Belleros Energy Cannon
Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 145pts] Belleros Energy Cannon

The Standout Features

  • A mixed AdMech list that’s ahead of the curve by combining a Lucius horde with Mars damage dealers.
  • Enginseer to further boost the impact of Skorpii.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Perfect timing on this one from another returning top four star, because this list is pretty much what I’m talking about when I say I don’t think the nerfs went far enough. The incredible boost that the Mars Dogma gives to any Skitarii Vehicles (including Ironstriders even after their nerf) combined with Lucius hordes still being a nightmare to chew through means that builds in this style are still going to be an uphill struggle to defeat in the future. Mani has also imported the tech he was using in his pure horde build from Gibraltar by buying Battle-Sphere Uplink for one of his Ranger units, and that might honestly make this a list where the change to Galvanic Volley Fire sometimes works as an upside rather than a downside, as shuffling to get a unit into position doesn’t incur any penalties. My guess is that we’ll see one of the Skitarii units traded out for things like Infiltrators or Ruststalkers in future iterations, but I’m not certain about that, and think this build would still be absolutely vicious to contend with when thrown down on the table post-FAQ. An exceptional build from Mani as ever to take third place.

Alex Petford – Adeptus Mechanicus – 4th Place

“I’m going to break in the first game!”

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+ REPORTED ARMY FACTION: Adeptus Mechanicus
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 5
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1993
+ POWER LEVEL: 102
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Adeptus Mechanicus
+ TOTAL REINFORCEMENT POINTS: n/a
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Patrol Detachment == Adeptus Mechanicus, Mars [ 37PL, 725 pts] 3CP

HQ: Skitarii Marshall (45), Radium Serpenta (0), Control Stave (0), Archaeotech Specialists – exemplars eternity (1CP) [3PL] [45 pts]

TR: 20 Skitarii Rangers (160), Ranger Alpha (0), Omnispex (5), Enhanced Data Tether (5), Galvanic rifles x20 (0) [8 PL] [170 pts]

FA: 1 Ironstrider Ballistarii (65), Twin Cognis Lascannon (10) [4 PL] [75 pts]

FA: 1 Ironstrider Ballistarii (65), Twin Cognis Lascannon (10) [4 PL] [75 pts]

FL: Archaeopter Stratoraptor (160), Cognis Heavy Stubbers x2 (0), Heavy Phosphor Blasters x2 (0), Twin Cognis Lascannon (0), Chaff Launchers (20) [9PL] [180 pts]

FL: Archaeopter Stratoraptor (160), Cognis Heavy Stubbers x2 (0), Heavy Phosphor Blasters x2 (0), Twin Cognis Lascannon (0), Chaff Launchers (20) [9PL] [180 pts]

== Patrol Detachment == Adeptus Mechanicus, Mars [ 40PL, 778 pts] 2CP

HQ: Tech-Priest Manipulus (70), Magnarail Lance (0), Manipulus Mechadendrites (0), Omnissian Staff (0) [4PL] [70 pts]

TR: 15 Skitarii Rangers (120), Ranger Alpha (0), Omnispex (5), Galvanic rifles x18 (0) [8 PL] [125 pts]

FA: 2 Ironstrider Ballistarii (130), Twin Cognis Lascannon x2 (20) [8 PL] [150 pts]

FA: 8 Serbery’s Raiders (128), Raider Alpha (0), Galvanic Carbine x7 (0), Archeo Revolver (0), Cavalry Sabre x8 (0), Clawed Limbs x8 (0), Enhanced Data Tether (5) [6PL] [133 pts]

FL: Archaeopter Fusilave (130), Cognis Heavy Stubber x4 (0), Chaff Launchers (20) [7PL] [150 pts]

FL: Archaeopter Fusilave (130), Cognis Heavy Stubber x4 (0), Chaff Launchers (20) [7PL] [150 pts]

== Patrol Detachment == Adeptus Mechanicus, Lucius [ 25PL, 482 pts] 2CP

HQ: Tech-Priest Manipulus (70), Magnarail Lance (0), Manipulus Mechadendrites (0), Omnissian Staff (0), Logi (35), Mechanicus Locum – Luminescent Blessing (1CP) [6PL] [105pts]

HQ: Skitarii Marshall (45), Radium Serpenta (0), Control Stave (0), Warlord – Programmed Retreat, Relic – Solar Flare [3PL] 45pts

TR: 20 Skitarii Rangers (160), Ranger Alpha (0), Omnispex (5), Enhanced Data Tether (5), Galvanic rifles x20 (0), Host of the Intermediary – Firepoint Telemetry Cache (1CP) [8 PL] [170 pts]

TR: 20 Skitarii Vanguard (160), Vanguard Alpha (0), Omnispex (5), Enhanced Data Tether (5), Radium Carbines x19 (0) [8 PL] [170 pts]

The Standout Features

  • Mars/Lucius – but with planes!
  • Packing a single Mars Ranger unit provides a powerful Wrath of Mars delivery option.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Rack up another for Mars/Lucius, and seeing representatives of both Glasshammer and Dice Down putting these armies on the table only increases my feeling that this combination is going to be what throws up the final boss of the AdMech codex. That said, what Alex’s build shows is that there are quite a few ways you can go with the combo, as the plan here is very different. Instead of the full horde Lucius detachment you’ve got a punchy minimal option that maximises the threat of the Solar Flare for minimum investment, and the majority of the points go into the Mars toys, most prominently the planes. AdMech planes are the best out there right now, with the Fusilave being the best bomber in the game by a country mile and the Stratoraptor being a damage dealer that’s very tough to dodge and that gets huge benefits from Mars. Both getting to be -1D from their Chaff Launchers is also, obviously, excellent. Like Mani’s list, this army is already running its Ironstriders in packages sized appropriately to get most of what they need from Mars/Canticle re-rolls, so the loss of CORE is unlikely to be a dealbreaker for it, and it’s lists like this with both Ironstriders and planes that are likely to keep the value of tools that pull units into strategic reserves high in the near future.

In addition to that, this list is one of the ones where the new version of Galvanic Volley Fire is sometimes going to feel more like a sidegrade than a strict nerf – it’s packing a full Mars unit of Rangers, presumably for Wrath of Mars, and being able to jump up to 60 shots while engaging at range is going to make that even more reliable and fearsome (particularly if the Exemplar’s Eternity got cut from the Marshall now it no longer affects Ironstriders). It’s another layer of nastiness on top of the Serberys Raiders unit being able to blow it to pop enemy characters, and a strong angle of attack into the mirror to boot.

Ths list has lots of great stuff going on and is another build you still need to be ready for in the next few months. Congratulations to Alex for rounding out the top four.

The Rest of the Best

Two more players achieved 4-1 records at this event. They were:

  • 5th – David Gaylard – Adeptus Mechanicus: Very similar to his winning build from last week, with the only change being the addition of a Sicarian Infiltrator squad instead of some Serberys Raiders.
  • 6th – Henry Bearne – Adeptus Mechanicus: Fairly down the line Lucius horde build, leaning even more towards the horde than most.

NaughtyK GT Weekender

All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

Matt Robertson – Adeptus Sororitas – 1st Place

Sisters of Battle Repentia

Credit: Evan “Felime” Siefring

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Adepta Sororitas
1996 points
8 Starting CP

Bloody rose Vanguard detachment
Saint Celestine 200
8 Repentia 112
8 Repentia 112
5 Repentia 70

Repentia Superior 40
Dogmata beacon of faith, Sigil Ecclesiasticus, litany of enduring faith, verse of holy piety 65
8 sacrescant 7 anointed halberd 1 spear of the faithful 117
7 sacrescant 6 anointed halberd 1 spear of the faithful 103
5 zephyrim, zephyrim 85
5 zephyrim, zephyrim pennant 90
5 retributors 3 ministorum Heavy Flamer, 1 multi melta, 2 armorium cherub 120

Argent shroud Patrol
Morvenn Vahl, Warlord 265
2 crusaders 22
5 sisters 55
5 dominions 4 storm bolters 80
5 dominions 4 storm bolters 80

5 retributors 4 multi meltas 2 armorium cherub 150
5 retributors 4 multi meltas 2 armorium cherub 150
Rhino 80

The Standout Features

  • Mixed Sisters bring the pain at all ranges.
  • Huge damage dealing potential from the Retributors and Dominions soften things up at breakneck speed.
  • Dogmata and Repentia Superior turn each Repentia squad into a missile to be fired at the enemy.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Matt was one of the top Sisters players in late 8th, and I’m delighted to report that he’s back on his nonsense, putting lots of the most powerful tools in the new book to work alongside some classics. Long time Sisters players will likely be delighted to see that plenty of old friends are still here alongside some new hotness – Zephyrim are dangerously fast and deadly out of the gate, making them ideal for early counterattacks, and run as Argent Shroud Retributors are still one of the nastiest ranged threats out there. This build also shows off that they’ve got a bit more breadth now – the squad with three heavy flamers and a multi-melta is a neat trick, as you can use the cherubs to get extra anti-tank value from the lone melta when that’s what you need, but if taking a horde off the table is what’s required you’re set up to pop Cleaned by Fire and (if you even need it now they’re S6) Holy Trinity to unleash some serious purging.

Then, of course, there are the Repentia. Still some of the most horrific damage dealers for their price in the game, and this build is ready to use them like missiles. The Repentia Superior and the Dogmata can collaborate to apply whichever of Hand of the Emperor or The Passion isn’t already active, enable Advance/Charge and boost their invulns, then send them rocketing off to carve through whichever enemy has strayed too close, then hopefully take something with them via Desperate for Redemption. Combined with the incredible shooting spikes it has access to, this list has a lot of the same energy as Drukhari where it’s incredibly hard to stop it getting lots of good trades and building up an insurmountable advantage.

On the subject of shooting spikes, Dominions using Blessed Bolts are every bit as good as we thought and you should be packing multiple units in every list. The fact that they can being a Retributor or Battle Sister squad on a pre-game shuffle in their Rhino is just gravy on top of that. Other new toys on show include Sacresants iwth the halberds, who make a good tag team with Morvenn Vahl, as with her re-rolls they can deck just about anything, so will cheerfully finish off whatever your opponent’s got left after the rest of this army has done it’s wicked work. Finally, Celestine continues to perform exceptionally well in her new role as a roving beatstick, which is reassuring to see as it’s always a bit nerve wracking when a unit gets such a comprehensive change.

Unsurprisingly this list ends up as a fantastic showcase of what the new Sisters book can do, which is no big surprise from Matt, and took a well-deserved victory in a very tough field.

Mike “McFuckadmech”- Aeldari – 2nd Place

Night Spinner

Night Spinner. Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [62 PL, 1,274pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

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

+ HQ [10 PL, 185pts, -2CP] +

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

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

+ Troops [21 PL, 494pts] +

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades

Troupe [6 PL, 134pts] . Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts], Plasma Grenades
. 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 [16 PL, 320pts] +

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

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

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

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

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [38 PL, 723pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration [-3CP] +

Craftworld Attribute
. *Custom Craftworld*: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

+ HQ [7 PL, 135pts] +

Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 135pts]: 0. Smite, 2. Doom, 4. Executioner, Ghosthelm, Psyker (Farseer), Ride the Wind, Rune Armour, Runes of the Farseer, Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

+ Heavy Support [31 PL, 588pts] +

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 106pts]: Inescapable Accuracy
. 2x Dark Reaper [64pts]: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch [42pts]: Tempest Launcher [10pts] . . Exarch Power: Crack Shot

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 106pts]: Inescapable Accuracy
. 2x Dark Reaper [64pts]: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch [42pts]: Tempest Launcher [10pts] . . Exarch Power: Crack Shot

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 106pts]: Inescapable Accuracy
. 2x Dark Reaper [64pts]: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch [42pts]: Tempest Launcher [10pts] . . Exarch Power: Crack Shot

Night Spinner [8 PL, 135pts]: Doomweaver, Explodes (Hover Tank), Hover Tank, Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 135pts]: Doomweaver, Explodes (Hover Tank), Hover Tank, Twin Shuriken Catapult

++ Total: [100 PL, 6CP, 1,997pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Clowns and Craftworlds provide the maximum number of ways to really ruin a robot’s day.
  • High-speed pressure from the Harlequins can surgically annihilate key units and overwhelm available Fall Back/Shoot effects.
  • Massed Blast artillery from the Craftworld detachment chews through hordes like no one’s business.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Sometimes you just really want to ruin the day of anyone who’s plumped for the metagame’s top list, and this army looks ready to do just that. The various indirect fire units amped up with Expert Crafters/Masterful Shots are one of the few things that Craftworlds really have going for them right now, as especially with access to Doom to amp them up when going into a single target they provide a very flexible source of attrition damage. Hordes get savaged by the sheer number of attacks, while heavy vehicles and Imperial Knights suffer death by a thousand cuts. It’s clear here that hordes are the primary focus thanks to the choice to stick to the Crack Shot Exarch Power on the Reapers rather than taking either Rain of Death or Long Ranged fire. If you’re sure that in the games that really matter Blast is going to be on for full you don’t need Rain of Death, and will be throwing around enough dice to get real value from RR1s on top of the Expert Crafters re-roll, so in a metagame as vicious as the north of England’s it feels like a savvy choice. Night Spinners are also just great, love me a Night Spinner.

While their artillery is good Craftworlds, suck at fighting for the mid-board, which is why almost all successful builds with them include either Drukhari or Harlequins to handle that role. Here Harlequins is the option taken, with Soaring Spite providing some lightning fast force projection. This army can redeploy key units onto the line with Polychromatic storm then rocket up the table, with the bikes able to pull off trivial first-turn charges and the various boat passengers unleashing a storm of fusion shots to pick off targets that are too juicy for the artillery. The Harlequins are also all dual-equipped for melee as well, meaning they can adapt to whatever role is needed, and finally the Skystrider Troupe Master is going to be a near-constant headache for opponents to try and play around till he makes a big play.

All that means this army can go all guns blazing out the gate – but the other huge upside of combining the Craftworlds artillery is that it doesn’t have to. Harlequins are at their very nastiest when counter-attacking, and the presence of very reliable attrition damage in the list puts opponents under pressure, both practical and psychological, to move aggressively to try and deal with it. That’s perfect for creating the kind of windows Harlequins can exploit, and allows this list to adapt to plenty of different game plans, always what you’re looking for in a list aiming to win events.

It’s a fearsome concoction overall, and only dropped a game against Matt’s Sisters (who are well tuned to shrug off the offence and punch back). Mike did also rack up a convincing victory against the AdMech menace, showing the value of the tools in the list, and I’m sure the very real and very distinguished McFuckadmech family are proud of him.

Ash Loftus – Adeptus Mechanicus – 3rd Place

Sicarian Infiltrators. Credit: Rockfish

Sicarian Infiltrators. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [42 PL, 813pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Lucius

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Archeotech Specialist [-2CP]: 2x Archeotech Specialist

Stratagem: Host of the Intermediary [-1CP]: Host of the Intermediary

Stratagem: Mechanicus Locum [-1CP]: Mechanicus Locum

+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Exemplar’s Eternity, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Programmed Retreat

Tech-Priest Manipulus [6 PL, 105pts]: Logi, Magnarail lance, Mechanicus Locum, Relic (Lucius): The Solar Flare, Warlord Trait (Lucius): Luminescent Blessings

+ Troops +

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 165pts]: Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle, Host of the Intermediary, Warlord Trait (Codex 2): Battle-Sphere Uplink
. 19x Skitarii Ranger: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Rangers [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex
. Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle
. 19x Skitarii Ranger: 19x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [8 PL, 170pts]: Enhanced Data-Tether, Omnispex
. 19x Skitarii Vanguard: 19x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha: Radium Carbine

+ Elites +

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts]: 4x Servo-arm

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

++ Outrider Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [63 PL, 1,186pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Forge World Choice: Forge World: Mars

+ HQ +

Skitarii Marshal [3 PL, 45pts]: Relic: Raiment of the Technomartyr

+ Elites +

Sicarian Infiltrators [8 PL, 136pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser)
. 7x Sicarian Infiltrator (Flechette/Taser): 7x Flechette Blaster, 7x Taser Goad

Sicarian Infiltrators [4 PL, 85pts] . Infiltrator Princeps (Flechette/Taser)
. 4x Sicarian Infiltrator (Stub/Sword): 4x Power Sword, 4x Stubcarbine

+ Fast Attack +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Lascannon

Serberys Raiders [4 PL, 80pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 4x Serberys Raider: 4x Cavalry Sabre, 4x Clawed Limbs, 4x Galvanic Carbine

Serberys Raiders [4 PL, 80pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 4x Serberys Raider: 4x Cavalry Sabre, 4x Clawed Limbs, 4x Galvanic Carbine

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: Command Uplink

Archaeopter Stratoraptor [9 PL, 180pts]: Chaff Launcher

++ Total: [105 PL, 5CP, 1,999pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Lucius/Mars makes it three top four appearences in one weekend.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

I fear, sadly, that Ash is in the unlucky position of being the third player in the week running a build using the same tools and I’ve rather run out of things to say about it. I’m a fan of the bigger Infiltrator unit as a pressure/Wrath of Mars delivery unit, and with fewer planes mixing up to a Command Uplink on some of them makes sense, but beyond that this is all stuff we’ve seen already, and we know it absolutely slaps. Well done to Ash for drawing it together and making a third place finish.

Jon Shaw – Chaos Space Marines – 4th Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [104 PL, 1,855pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Iron Warriors

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 110pts]: 2. Daemonsmith, Chainfist, Combi-melta, Insidium, Mark of Slaanesh, Warlord

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 200pts]: Baleflamer, Mark of Slaanesh, Techno-venomous Mechatendrils
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: Cursed Earth, Infernal Power, Mark of Tzeentch

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [6 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 19x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 19x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [6 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 19x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 19x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

+ Elites +

Chaos Leviathan Dreadnought [13 PL, 235pts, -1CP]: Grav-flux bombard, 3x Hellforged hunter-killer missile, Leviathan siege drill and meltagun, Mark of Slaanesh
. Two twin volkite calivers

Decimator [9 PL, 160pts]: 2x Decimator butcher cannon, Mark of Slaanesh

Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, 2x Soulburner petard

Decimator [9 PL, 180pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, 2x Soulburner petard

Greater Possessed [4 PL, 65pts] . Greater Possessed: Mark of Slaanesh

+ Heavy Support +

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 110pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

++ Auxiliary Support Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [10 PL, 138pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Legion: Emperor’s Children

+ Fast Attack +

Warp Talons [10 PL, 138pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, Warp Talon Champion
. 5x Warp Talon: 5x Lightning Claw (Pair)

++ Total: [114 PL, 8CP, 1,993pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A proper Daemon Engine fiesta as the Iron Warriors unleash their vehicular might.
  • Daemons galore means that the Greater Possessed brings surprising amounts of extra punch.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Left field lists our some of our favourites here, and this is certainly that. Iron Warriors are one of the two CSM legions that have serious stuff going for them, and in their case it’s the massive boost that the Daemonsmith warlord trait gives to Daemon Engines, with a side order of some neat tricks for vehicles. This list leans into both aspects of that, bringing a trio each of Decimators (probably the best of the Daemon Engines right now) and Venomcrawlers (by far the cheapest), then slamming down a Leviathan Dreadnought to go hog wild with Methodical Annihilation as it unleashes its payload of HKMs. Backing them up, you’ve got a tasty suite of characters – the mandatory (for this build) Master of Possession and Lord Discordant, then the cute choice of an Insidium Chaos Lord and a Greater Possessed. The Insidium turning the Lord into a Daemon means that he gets to join in on many of the fun buffs being thrown around, and with some actual weapons on him he’s low-key pretty nasty.

The Daemon Engine block here can throw out a surprising amount of damage and certainly isn’t bad in a close-up fight, but you do ideally want a chance to soften up the enemy first, hence the wall of Cultists. Sure, they die super easy, but they’ll speed bump at least a little, and it’s been so long since Tide of Traitors was a real metagame consideration that you’ll probably have at least someone accidentally let you pop it off on one of the twenty model squads over the course of five rounds. Weak troops is absolutely a CSM weakness at the moment, so you work with what you’ve got.

With access to Cursed Earth alongside all the damage dealers the Daemon Engines are going to be pretty resilient, and invulns everywhere means that even armies like AdMech will have to put some real effort into taking each one down (especially as Iron Warriors can rapidly heal them), giving this army a good chance of getting some early hits in. The fact that the majority of its key units are vehicles also means that if the opponent runs even slightly short of anti-tank as they get whittled down they’re unlikely to come back – if allowed, this list will build up serious momentum. It’s even got an OK answer to the Skitarii hordes thanks to the soulburners, though any smart AdMech player will obviously go all out to kill them immediately.

It’s a really fun list overall, and a neat show of squeezing value out of a weak book. The only thing I’m a bit leery of is the Auxiliary Support detachment, mostly because while Excess of Violence (the Emperor’s Children’s “Codex” stratagem, which they can use here) does make this unit alarmingly good at cleaving clean through a blob of Skitarii, investing 2CP in the Auxiliary Support to then gamble on a 9″ charge out of Deep Strike feels pretty nerve racking without Entreat the Prince. My understanding is that the player didn’t know at submission that the Aux support wouldn’t unlock the strat, but that this was noticed and prevented down on the day. Presumably with that in mind a different unit would go here in the future! The recipe still clearly worked overall given its success at the event (and Jon was another player who only dropped a game to Matt’s winning list), and it’s a neat way to close out the list reviews for the week.

The Rest of the Best

Two more players achieved 4-1 records at the event. They were:

  • 5th ✪ – Isaac Wright – Disciples of Be’lakor: An impressive TiWP showing for the fancy new Disciples of Be’lakor Army of Renown, making good use of Locus of Shadows to massively boost the resilience of a a Daemon detachment, and bringing along a small CSM contingent to provide objective holders and access to Mortal Boon for its bloodletter blobs.
  • 6th –  David Turner – Chaos: Big Bird and Abaddon team up for a fairly unique mixed Chaos build that leans on the strong shooting of Obliterators behind a wall of Horrors, with some Khorne Berserkers ready to blitz enemy hordes.

What I Did On My Weekend – FactoruM GT

That’s right, as mentioned up front for the first time in forever, I actually got to go to an event this weekend!

Now, long time readers may remember that in the Before Times, I used to do full tournament reports after every event I went to, but since 9th Edition kicked off writing this column has pretty firmly taken over the time slots I used to do that in during the week. We also think that this broad view of what’s going on in the competitive world is generally a bit interesting than me putting out a report on the latest minor iteration of elf bullshit every week. With that in mind, the current plan is that unless I’ve attended a particularly large or notable event, the full tournament reports are going to stay on the shelf for now, and I’ll stick a quick section on the end of this column to cover how things went.

So, that’s the pre-amble done – what did I play, where did I play it and how did it go? The event I attended (along with Goonhammer partner in crime Corrode) was hosted by Vanguard Tactics and FactoruM at their fantastic new venue in Wiltshire, and was a five round event played on boards using the awesome Vanguard Tactics terrain sets (which we’ll be using for our own Goonhammer Open). It narrowly missed GT status, but had a pretty spicy field (perhaps unsurprisingly since most of the VT crew were playing) and I had an absolute blast finally getting some in-person tournament games in again. Factorum are hosting another GT at the end of this month (which I tragically can’t make) and I highly recommend people check it out.

What I Played

Given it was always my favourite build in 8th and is now one of the hottest combinations out there, it’s probably not a huge surprise that the answer to this question was mixed Drukhari/Craftworlds. After frantically finishing the last few models on Thursday night (despite having uh, an entire 18 months since my last event), I packed the following into my cases:

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [41 PL, 742pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Craftworld Attribute
. *Custom Craftworld*: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots

+ HQ +

Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 135pts]: 0. Smite, 2. Doom, 4. Executioner, Ghosthelm, Psyker (Farseer), Ride the Wind, Rune Armour, Runes of the Farseer, Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

+ Heavy Support +

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 106pts]: Inescapable Accuracy
. 2x Dark Reaper: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Tempest Launcher
. . Exarch Power: Rain of Death

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 96pts]: Inescapable Accuracy
. 2x Dark Reaper: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Reaper Launcher
. . Exarch Power: Rapid Shot

Falcon [8 PL, 135pts]: Aeldari Missile Launcher, Explodes (Hover Tank), Hover Tank, Pulse Laser, Transport, Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 135pts]: Doomweaver, Explodes (Hover Tank), Hover Tank, Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 135pts]: Doomweaver, Explodes (Hover Tank), Hover Tank, Twin Shuriken Catapult

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [54 PL, 975pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 80pts, -1CP]: Ancient Evil, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, Venom Blade
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]: Hatred Eternal, The Executioner’s Demiklaives, Warlord

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 135pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Demiklaives

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Demiklaives

+ Fast Attack +

Scourges [5 PL, 80pts] . Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Plasma Grenades, Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Plasma Grenades, Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Plasma Grenades, Shredder
. Scourge with Special / Heavy weapon: Plasma Grenades, Shredder
. Solarite: Plasma Grenades, Shardcarbine

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal, Splinter racks

Raider [6 PL, 100pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal, Shock Prow

Venom [4 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Kabal, Splinter Cannon, Splinter Cannon

Venom [4 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Kabal, Splinter Cannon, Splinter Cannon

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [15 PL, 280pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive: Agoniser, Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Hekatrix Bloodbrides [8 PL, 130pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Plasma Grenades, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Hekatrix Bloodbride: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Hekatrix Bloodbride w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Plasma Grenades, Shardnet and Impaler

+ Elites +

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Mandrake: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend: Baleblast, Glimmersteel Blade

++ Total: [110 PL, 5CP, 1,997pts] ++

This was inspired by some builds I’ve covered in recent months that combine Drukhari’s incredible force projection and trade capabilities with the reliable attrition of Craftworlds better shooting units when the Expert Crafters/Masterful Shots trait is applied. I’m not certain that it’s better than pure Drukhari (in fact it almost certainly isn’t) but given I ran out of time to paint even all the Drukhari stuff I wanted for this list, going for Dark Eldar only isn’t on the cards yet. Also, I have a brand. Love the brand.

As it happens, running out of painting time actually worked in my favour, because what I didn’t manage to finish was the third Raider, and I ended up speed painting a second Venom instead and cutting a second Scourge squad to pay for it. This didn’t end up being as much of a downside as I feared – while it introduced an issue I’ll get to later, the Venoms played extremely well, and having the two Incubi units (plus accompanying characters) being able to operate independently turned out to be a huge boon. It helped that the terrain was extremely good, and there were lots of places on the tables where a Venom could hide out of sight of enemy shooting. At events where I’m expecting good boards I’m now thoroughly a convert, and the improvement to splinter cannons improves their utility quite a bit too.

Overall, I went into the tournament confident that the list was at least reasonably good, and hoping that the rust would quickly fall off once I started playing – let’s find out if it did.

The Games

Round 1 (Sweep and Clear) saw me facing down the Black Templars, with lots of melee threats, a nasty storm shield Terminator block, and some supporting shooting from Inceptors and Eradicators. This was definitely a list where having written about Templars a lot helped, as I knew what to watch out for and that I needed to slam the Vect button on Devout Push ASAP. Despite all that, by the middle of my opponents second turn I was thoroughly convinced this game was going to hell in a handbasket – my shooting turn one whiffed atrociously, and my carefully lined up Forewarded from my Falcon into some arriving Eradicators did a grand total of zero wounds. Along with that, he got off some nasty charges and I wasn’t sure if I could pull back into the game. However, this is where the incredible power of Drukhari’s trade-up potential really kicked in, as my characters and Incubi went wild on the second turn and flipped the momentum my way. A few lucky breaks from there stopped him being able to turn things back round, and the game ended up as a 90-58 win in my favour. I will say that scoreline is unrepresentative – he failed the 2+ on Tenacious Assault on turn 3, which would have probably been worth 10pts off my score and 10pts added to his – not enough to change the result, but an 80-68 scoreline is much more what this felt like!

Round 2 (Surround and Destroy), inevitably, saw me up against Corrode, in an elf showdown. This started well for me as I got first turn and popped a couple of his boats, and his response wasn’t too vicious. However, on turn two I made a mistake that probably threw the game by easing up on the gas and not going for the throat with sufficient vigour. My shooting whiffed pretty badly, but I still picked up a decent amount of stuff and could, if I had wanted to, put an Incubi squad into his Drazhar with Ancient Evil backing them up, but didn’t because in my head he’s way harder to kill than he actually is. With re-rolls from the Archon the Incubi would have got it done on pretty average dice, and if I’d taken Drazhar out there (and also moved my Night Spinner away from his melee stuff in cast things didn’t work out) I could probably have ridden the momentum to victory. Alas, I didn’t make this smart choice, Drazhar butchered the stuff I had committed, and without the Incubi to intercept them Corrode’s Bloodbrides were able to sweep up that flank and roll things up. The other side of the board was better for me, and I was able to rack up some points, but never get back in from there. It ended up as a 56-89 loss, and was definitely educational.

Round 3 (Priority Targets) was up against (old) Orks, a Deathskulls list with a mixture of vehicles and lots of little utility units, plus one big Boyz unit. Here, the shooting my army had was a huge advantage, as I had stuff to pick up his skulking ObSec guys, the range to dictate the flow of battle, and stuff that could pressure him and really blitz through his best things. I racked up some good early damage, handled his arriving deep strikers reasonably well, and though he caught me out on a few occasions with some of the tricks he had available, I was able to create an early lead and ride it through to an 82-64 win.

Round 4 (Overrun) handed me a very favourable matchup in a Black Legion list with lots of Terminators and a Kytan.  Unfortunately, I 100% had the shooting to bully the Kytan off the table fast, my Farseer said no to both his attempts at Warptime, and Incubi using The Great Enemy into Slaanesh Chaos Terminators is one of the most brutally lopsided unit interactions in the entire game right now. With the Demiklaves on the Klaivexd your EV for dead terminators is 9-10, casually picking up nearly 300pts of models with your 80pt unit, no big deal, and this did, in fact happen (with the Ancient Evil Archon to make sure there was nothing he could do about it). This wrapped up as a 96-22 win.

Round 5 (Vital Intelligence) I faced off against the might of the Adeptus Custodes, throwing down against a list with pretty much all the hits you’d expect – Venatari, shield Custodians, a Telemon and some smaller Dreadnought buddies, with Trajann and a Bike Captain to finish. Happily for me, this was probably the most favourable matchup in the fairly spicy 3-1 pool, as this is exactly the kind of game where the Craftworlds/Drukhari combo outperforms the pure lists. Custodes want to beat Drukhari by repelling their attempts at an alpha strike and grinding them back, but that just doesn’t work when there’s a reliable clip of Craftworlds shooting draining your forces. I did some scattered damage turn 1 (and stuck Vect on The Emperor’s Auspice because I’m a terrible monster), and forced him to move out to push me off objectives, and then on turn 2 just picked up enough of his army that there wasn’t a route back into the game. His Telemon heroically held out out to the end despite my best efforts to the contrary, and racked up a very strong body count, but on a Domination mission the damage that had been done to his army meant contesting the primary was impossible. This finished as a 91-35 win.

Results

Big wins in rounds four and five were enough to propel me to 3rd place, starting off the season by adding a new trophy to my shelf, and also achieving my long-delayed revenge for the time Corrode leapfrogged me to take third in a tournament where I’d lost in the finals. I did consider breaking my current rule about focusing on GT+ events in this column just so I could put my own success in the roundup, but on balance I’d rather not go blind.

List Thoughts

Obviously I’m very happy with a third place finish (though getting the best of the available matchups in round five was obviously a big contributor there), and the list performed strongly on its first outing, while still feeling like there was some additional win rate to be squeezed out from more practice. However, it also definitely had a couple issues – ROD coverage wasn’t quite good enough (I’d have taken second place if I hadn’t failed to land the fourth tick in a couple of games) and it felt a little short of drops to control space with. My next event is an RTT this coming weekend so I don’t really have time to paint more stuff immediately, so in the first instance I’m re-racking with some minor tweaks (taking out the Splinter Racks for Grisly Trophies on the Venomsmaking the Succubus the Warlord and buying the Djin Blade and Hatred Eternal for the Archon) to see if practice can close the gap. If not, I’ve got a few options to kick around, most of which involve swapping out the Falcon and Reaper package, as that gives me a cool 340pts to play with. Shadow Weaver platforms are on the menu, as is upgrading one Venom to a Raider so I can pack in a five-model ObSec unit as well as the Incubi (although as mentioned the Venoms did feel way better than expected). Lots to think about after a great weekend, and I’m so hyped to finally be getting out on the tables once more!

Wrap Up

The UK scene is firing on all cylinders right now and it isn’t going to be slowing down this weekend, with at least a couple more GTs firing, so we’ll be back with more hot analysis (plus another trip report from an RTT I’m hitting up) next week. Look, they’ve finally let us out. We have so much Warhammer to catch up on. See you then, comments, questions and suggestions to contact@goonhammer.com as ever.

 

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