Competitive Innovations in 9th: Ratcon 2021 & Comic Quest GT

Results are rolling in once more, and this week we’ve got two events to look at – a major in Australia (featuring the debut of the Drukhari codex) and the top 8 pod of a special GT that’s been running in the US. We’re going to be gradually returning to our posture from the autumn of reporting on US events where they comply with local regulations and clearly address safety in their event packs, and the Comic Quest GT (run by Dicehammer) is a perfect standard bearer for this. You can see full details on their website, but what they’ve basically done is staggered an event over several separate days of play, reducing the number of players present at any one time, and they’ve also run the event entirely outside. We’re very impressed by how the organisers have gone above and beyond here, and couldn’t think of a better tournament to re-start US coverage with.

With all that in mind, if you want to let us know about an event you’re running or attending and the safety precautions that are in place, or about events happening in regions outside COVID hot zones, please do get in touch at contact@goonhammer.com so we can take a look at the packs and add them to the schedule.

On to the lists!

Ratcon 2021

All the lists for this major can be found in Down Under Pairings.

This event was using modified missions with some special themed secondaries in place of the standard mission ones, so bear in mind that the results here may have been skewed slightly from what you’d normally expect – though ultimately the secondaries still mostly want you to do things that standard ones do, so all these lists would still be viable elsewhere.

There was also some fairly heavy presentation scoring at this event. This didn’t affect 1st or 2nd place, but the player in overall 7th actually had the third-highest battle point score. Since 3rd and 4th on overall score were the next highest BP scores, I’ve gone for the easy compromise here of doing a writeup for the 7th place list as well.

Matt Morosoli – Drukhari – 1st Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Patrol – Cult of Strife (0CP, 275pts)

[HQ1]Succubus (60) Agonizer (0) Adrenalight [60] [Tolerated Ambition, -1CP] Quicksilver Fighter, Free Relic – Tryptych Wip

[TR1]9 Wyches (90) Hekatrix W/Agonizer (15) Bloodbrides (20) Shardnet & Impaler (10) Adrenalight [135] [EL1] 5 Incubi (80) [80]

Patrol – Cult of Strife (+2CP, 488pts)

[HQ2]Succubus (60) Show Stealer (15) Razorflails (0) Adrenalight [75] [WARLORD] – Competitive Edge, [Prizes From The Dark City – Dark Lotus Toxin] [TR2]9 Wyches (90) Hekatrix W/Agonizer (15) Grave Lotus [105] [TR3]6 Wyches (60) Hekatrix (10) Adrenalight [85] [FA1] 14 Hellions (238) Hypex [238]

Patrol – Dark Technomancers (0CP, 1235pts)

[HQ3] Drazhar (135) [135] [TR4] 4 Wracks (32) liquifier (10) Acothyst W/Liquifier (18) [60] [TR5] 4 Wracks (32) liquifier (10) Acothyst W/Liquifier (18) [60] [EL2] 5 Incubi (80) [80] [EL3] 5 Incubi (80) [80] [FA2] 5 Scourges (60) 4 Blasters (40) [100] [FA3] 5 Scourges (60) 4 Blasters (40) [100] [DT1] Raider (85) Disintegrator Cannon (5) Grisly Trophies (5) [95] [DT2] Raider (85) Disintegrator Cannon (5) Grisly Trophies (5) [95] [DT3] Raider (85) Disintegrator Cannon (5) [90] [DT4] Raider (85) [85] [DT5] Raider (85) [85] [DT6] Raider (85) [85] [DT7] Raider (85) [85]

The Standout Features

  • Repeat major winner Matt helps the Drukhari codex burst onto the scene with style!
  • Cult of Strife, Drahzar, Technomancers, Incubi and Raiders show up as the tools to watch early on.
  • Grisly Trophies pops up as a surprisingly cost-effective Ld tool.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Drukhari are here kids, and they mean business. This list provides a pretty good tour through some of the options that are showing strong promise out of the gate, so let’s break it down.

First up, in terms of Obsession choice, the Cult of Strife and Dark Technomancers. Cult of Strife isn’t especially surprising – the rules just in the Codex are great, and layering the extra stratagems and hilarious character combos from the Book of Rust makes them potentially the strongest of any Drukhari subfaction. Dark Technomancers has been a little bit more of a surprise, as on paper it caught a reasonable nerf in the transition to the new book. However, two things have turned out to make that not matter – it’s now extremely good with auto-hit weapons like Liquifier guns, and it’s strong on vehicles with a single deadly gun.

That brings us on to the next point – Raiders. Venoms are still seeing use, but Raiders have overwhelmingly jumped to being the dominant choice now. This isn’t super surprising, as they’ve got a lot of things going for them now. They’re extremely cheap for a now-T6 fast hull with an invuln (while at price parity, the Venom looks less cost-efficient), bumping the transport capacity to 11 lets you bundle a lot of stuff into them (handy with Murderous Descent), and there are a number of good synergies with the single large gun they mount. Technomancers is one, but they’re also excellent with the re-rolls from either the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose or the Kabal of the Black Heart (where they can also do a nasty early bully charge with the boosted Power from Pain and Enhanced Aethersails). Going wide with these once you’ve stacked some source of re-rolls or damage boosts looks like a strong core to build a Drukhari list around.

Of course, you need to put some stuff in Raiders, and here that’s a mix of Incubi, Wyches and Liquifier-toting Wracks. Incubi and Wyches are just good now, with the big squad of Bloodbrides being especially handy to blending hordes, or punching up against more durable targets with Art of the Kill and No Method of Death Beyond Our Grasp. Also able to trap anything they touch 2/3rds of the time with their shardnet, they’re an extremely mean bully unit once you can get them into touch (hence the Raiders). Incubi just murder stuff. It’s less complicated, but they absolutely do, especially with Drahzar around boosting them. He’s also a stupendous killer. Lots of killing going on here. Weird that.

A few more things round the list out. Hellions looked outrageous on paper, and sure enough here they are, though not in a full squad. 14 seems like a decent number – it means they’re still going to blender pretty much anything they hit, and can use Eviscerating Fly-by for an average of 7 wounds against INFANTRY, enough to delete a key buff character. They also love the re-rolls of Art of the Kill, and I’d expect to continue to see them appearing in CoS lists. Scourges are another cool unit to see out and about, and I’m gradually resigning myself that I’m going to have to carefully re-kit all of mine with Blasters. They’re maybe a little pricier than you’d like on pure damage output/durability terms, but combining in the fact that their natural deep strike helps them shore up objective play appears to get them over the line.

Last but not least, two Succubi show up, sporting two of the nastier things you can do with them. The Razorflails/Black Lotus/Competitive Edge build is unlikely to be long for this world, but is extremely potent as long as it kicks around, while the Tryptych Whip is just an exceptionally powerful relic by itself, combining with Quicksilver Fighter for a truly stupid number of attacks (though I should say that Blood Dancer will actually add more hits on average, and if you expect lots of Death Guard or Custodes Precision Blows can be better). Both of these models can punch outrageously above their cost, making them very deadly thorns lurking among the relatively wide coverage this list achieves, and can strike at huge distances thanks to army-wide Advance and Charge from turn 2.

Just in general, the sheer number of deadly, fast threats this list presents is going to be a nightmare headache for opponents to deal with, and while practice will certainly improve people’s ability to deal with it, the power level is real and should make Drukhari a force to be reckoned with going forward. Congratulations to Matt for getting the party started.

 

Adam Napier – Necrons – 2nd Place

Necron Warriors w/ Gauss Reapers. Credit: Rockfish
Necron Warriors w/ Gauss Reapers. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Necrons) [97 PL, 2,000pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Dynasty Choice: Circumstance of Awakening: Relentlessly Expansionist, Dynastic Tradition: Eternal Conquerors, Dynasty: <Custom>

+ No Force Org Slot +

Bound Creation [2 PL, 40pts] . Cryptothralls
. . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Bound Creation [2 PL, 40pts] . Cryptothralls
. . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Bound Creation [2 PL, 40pts] . Cryptothralls
. . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Dynastic Advisor [6 PL, 110pts] . Chronomancer: Arkana: Countertemporal Nanomines, Entropic Lance

Dynastic Advisor [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP] . Technomancer: Dynastic Heirlooms, Relic: Voltaic Staff

+ HQ +

Chronomancer [4 PL, 80pts]: Entropic Lance, Relic: Veil of Darkness

Chronomancer [5 PL, 105pts]: Arkana: Hypermaterial Ablator, Entropic Lance

Overlord [6 PL, 140pts, -1CP]: Dynastic Heirlooms, Relic: Orb of Eternity, Resurrection Orb, Voidscythe, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 2): Eternal Madness

+ Troops +

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

+ Elites +

Canoptek Reanimator [4 PL, 80pts]

Canoptek Spyders [4 PL, 75pts] . Canoptek Spyder: Gloom Prism, Two Particle Beamers

Canoptek Spyders [4 PL, 75pts] . Canoptek Spyder: Gloom Prism, Two Particle Beamers

+ Fast Attack +

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 120pts] . 8x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 8x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 120pts] . 8x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 8x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 120pts] . 8x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 8x Feeder Mandibles

++ Total: [97 PL, 2,000pts, 10CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Extreme objective skew proves a winning formula for Necrons.
  • Chronomancers and Warriors show just what an iconic duo they are.
  • The Canoptek Reanimator shows it’s really worth it at the new price tag.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

It is an inevitable part of us publishing a Tier List update that someone will immediately take one of the factions we talked down and put in a stellar performance with it, and sure enough here are Necrons undefeated at a major. Eternal Expansionists has been vying with Novokh as the standout way to play Necrons since the book dropped, and as the quality of Necron threats start to maybe look a little bit less stellar compared to the field, it makes sense that the uniquely potent skew strategy that this Dynastic Code lets you play gets more time in the spotlight.

Scoring in 9th is heavily objective focused, so if you can reliably seize control of a critical mass of the objective markers on the table and refuse to let go, you can be tough to beat. Being able to take a pre-game move with massive bricks of Warriors and field giant Scarab bricks with Objective Secured puts an opposing list under serious pressure – if they can’t either put up numerous ObSec units of their own or chew through the considerable blocks of wounds the Necrons are fielding, it’s probably just going to lose when a skilled pilot is at the helm of the skeletons.

Neither of these things is a trivial task. While the damage output of this list is pretty low, gauss reapers will make a horrible mess of many opposing troop choices, and even Scarabs are moderately threatening to very squishy targets. Marines with Rites of War or ObSec Deathwing can perhaps be more of a problem, but in general the prevalence of tools that really trump this part of the Necron plan have been on the downswing – most notably, Rites of War-packing White Scars have spectacularly fallen off in popularity. That helps with the second part of the plan here as well. The list packs a Chronomancer for every Warrior blob, meaning that as soon as the shields go up it’s very hard for opponents to entirely burst down one of the squads out of the gate, and the most reliable tool for doing this with impunity (Chapter Mastered White Scars Plasmaceptors) just aren’t as common right now – Death Guard tanking the stock of Inceptors has strong positive knock-ons for Necrons.

For anything else, an invulnerable save, Reanimation Protocols and the Nanoscarab Beam of the Reanimator (which can also help with early defence via Reanimation Prioritisation) makes the Warrior blocks some of the toughest things to chew through in the game, helping ensure that once that iron grip on the objectives is in place, it stays locked in. A Technomancer to repair chip damage to the units and the Orb of Eternity to punish an opponent who takes a swing at one of the squads and misses complete the durability equation, and the list rounds out with some Canoptek Spyders for mid-table space control and some denies plus lots of Cryptothralls for objective utility, ensuring it can score on all angles.

That’s kind of it – it clearly works, given it pulled through a major undefeated. I do wonder how repeatable that would prove, as the army’s plan is extremely linear and there are some lists that will counter it. I’d worry a bit about running it into Dark Angels, the Cult of Strife or foot Frozen Stars, as the latter two can detonate Warrior blocks and the Dark Angels can put up ObSec blobs that can smash into the Warriors while grinding the list out with Talonmasters. Skilled play and the right mission will mitigate this, but if Drukhari explode in popularity I think there’s a risk that they’ll replace White Scars as a predator that keeps these builds down.

Potential risks in the future don’t take away from the achievement here, however, and it’s also worth saying that low damage output lists like this are extremely unforgiving to mistakes in some matchups, meaning that they need considerable skill to navigate to an undefeated spot, so well played to Adam.

 

Adam Camilleri – Dark Angels – 3rd Place

Ravenwing Dark Talon
Ravenwing Dark Talon. Credit: Greg Chiasson

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [52 PL, 7CP, 1,035pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Bolter Fusillades, Dark Angel Successor, Master Artisans

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Lieutenant(s) [16 PL, -1CP, 320pts] . Ravenwing Talonmaster: 1. Brilliant Strategist, Arbiter’s Gaze, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter
. Ravenwing Talonmaster

+ Troops +

Infiltrator Squad [12 PL, 250pts]: Helix gauntlet
. 9x Infiltrator: 9x Bolt pistol, 9x Frag & Krak grenades, 9x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Sergeant

+ Fast Attack +

Attack Bike Squad [2 PL, 45pts] . Attack Bike: Heavy bolter

+ Flyer +

Ravenwing Dark Talon [11 PL, 210pts]

Ravenwing Dark Talon [11 PL, 210pts]

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [46 PL, 2CP, 965pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Dark Angels

Deathwing Vanguard Detachment [3CP]

+ HQ +

Lieutenant(s) [8 PL, 160pts] . Ravenwing Talonmaster: Heavenfall Blade, The Imperium’s Sword, Warlord

+ Elites +

Bladeguard Ancient [5 PL, 85pts]: Pennant of Remembrance

Ravenwing Apothecary [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter
. Black Knight Bike: Astartes grenade launcher

Terminator Assault Squad [9 PL, 220pts]: Teleport Homer
. Assault Terminator Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. 4x Assault Terminator w/THSS: 4x Storm shield, 4x Thunder hammer

Terminator Assault Squad [18 PL, 385pts]: Teleport Homer
. Assault Terminator Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. 4x Assault Terminator w/THSS: 4x Storm shield, 4x Thunder hammer
. 5x Assault Terminator w/x2LC: 5x Lightning Claw (Pair)

++ Total: [98 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Chaos reigns as the Outer Circle and the Inner Circle team up in the same list.
  • Dark Talons confirm their status as one of the game’s most worthwhile Flyers, especially when amped with the Fusilades/Artisans tactic.
  • Actual Deathwing proves too much of a temptation to pass up alongside it, with a Pennant Assault Squad here to act as the ultimate tarpit.

Note: it’s been pointed out in the comments that combining a successor and a regular dark angels detachment should switch off the Deathwing  1st company detachment rules (ObSec and the CP refund), because your whole army needs to be *either* Dark Angels or a single successor to switch those on. Unclear if this was caught or not (given I didn’t spot it, clearly an easy mistake to make).

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

It says a lot about the Dark Angels book’s incredible power that you can take two very different angles it provides you, forgo another (the superdoctrine), slam them all together in a single list and pilot it to a top four slot at a major. This Supplement is a lot.

So, let’s start with the non-standard half first – the Successors. This detachment is fundamentally after our own Gunum’s heart, as he’s been piloting the same combo as the infamous Outer Circle, and one of the big reasons for that is just how strong the Bolter Fusilades/Master Artisans combo is with Dark Talons. Extra hits from the hurricanes and re-rolls on the rift cannons (which are fantastic in the current metagame) is a winning combination, and don’t forget that while you lose Jink, you still have access to High-Speed Focus to throw up a 4++ on a plane that catches some heavier attention. Add in the stasis bombs to trap opponents in combat with either the Deathwing or (if they’re incautious) the Infiltrators, and these provide a lot of utility. Infiltrators and Talonmasters make up the rest of the detachment, with both getting more benefit from the Successor trait than they would from mainline Dark Angels thanks to their bolt weapons, and the Talonmasters provide some exceptional attrition damage.

For the Deathwing half of the equation, the OG unforgiven wins out. First up, it’s worth highlighting that this does count as a 1st Company detachment, as the requirement for building one of these is that all models are either DEATHWING or INNER CIRCLE. That means you can sneak Ravenwing characters in, and this list goes ahead and does just that for a third Talonmaster and a Ravenwing Apothecary. It also lets you cheap out on a Deathwing Ancient by instead picking a Bladeguard Ancient. It’s only 15pts, but hey, every little helps when you want to squeeze multiple units of ObSec Terminators in. Sure enough, the remainder of the list is filled out with two Terminator Assault squads, one main anvil unit to get buffed up by the Pennant of Rememberance and control the table, and one troubleshooting unit to be a massive headache for opponents. Both of these have enough storm shields to be incredibly hard to shift, and the main unit mixes in enough lightning claws to get the attack volume needed to engage most targets. The flagged up blob with Inner Circle and an Apothecary is straight up one of the hardest things in the game to remove, and the roving unit is vastly tougher and more deadly than most things that combine Deep Strike and ObSec.

That gives the list an extremely strong core and good objective capabilities, and mixing that up with an excellent mix of attrition and elimination units out of the Outer Circle creates a tried and true list recipe. The incredible strength of the tools Dark Angels have to build around is near-certain to keep them operating at the top of the metagame, and that players like Adam are putting new spins on things down and racking up good finishes is a great sign for longevity.

 

Boyd Morall – Space Wolves – 4th Place

Credit: Starvolt

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Space Wolves) [106 PL, 2,000pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Space Wolves

+ Stratagems +

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

Thane of the Retinue [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Bjorn the Fell-handed [10 PL, 180pts]: Multi-melta

Librarian [6 PL, 125pts, -1CP]: 2. Murderous Hurricane, 3) Null Zone (Aura), 3. Tempest’s Wrath, Combi-melta, Force axe, Jump Pack, Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Tome of Malcador

Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf [7 PL, 140pts, -1CP]: Combi-melta, Hunter, Resolve of the Bear, Stratagem: Warrior of Legend, The Armour of Russ, Thunder hammer, Warlord

+ Troops +

Grey Hunters [8 PL, 142pts]: 4x Astartes Chainsword
. Grey Hunter Pack Leader
. 4x Grey Hunter w/Bolt Pistol: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Wolf Guard Terminator Pack Leader: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

Grey Hunters [8 PL, 143pts]: 4x Astartes Chainsword
. Grey Hunter Pack Leader: Astartes Chainsword
. 4x Grey Hunter w/Bolt Pistol: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Wolf Guard Terminator Pack Leader: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 105pts]: Astartes Grenade Launcher, Bolt rifle
. 4x Intercessor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Intercessor Sergeant: Morkai’s Teeth Bolts

+ Elites +

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 140pts] . 3x Bladeguard Veteran: 3x Frag & Krak grenades, 3x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 3x Master-crafted power sword, 3x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Judiciar [5 PL, 85pts]

Murderfang [8 PL, 150pts]

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 180pts]: 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Heavy flamer, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator

Wulfen Dreadnought [7 PL, 125pts] . Fenrisian Great Axe and Blizzard Shield
. . Blizzard Shield: Blizzard shield, Storm bolter

+ Fast Attack +

Fenrisian Wolves [2 PL, 35pts] . 5x Fenrisian Wolf: 5x Teeth and claws

Thunderwolf Cavalry [14 PL, 325pts] . Thunderwolf Cavalry: Storm shield, Thunder hammer
. Thunderwolf Cavalry: Storm shield, Thunder hammer
. Thunderwolf Cavalry: Storm shield, Thunder hammer
. Thunderwolf Cavalry: Storm shield, Thunder hammer
. Thunderwolf Cavalry Pack Leader: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [7 PL, 125pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

++ Total: [106 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Dreadnought-heavy Space Wolves round out our top four.
  • The Tempestas discipline and accompanying tricks continues to prove one of the strongest Marines have.
  • Grey Hunters with a heavy-duty pack leaders provide some excellent objective holders.
  • Hard-hitting Thundercav squad rounds out the list.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Nothing makes any good Space Wolves player madder than seeing Dark Angels on top, and that seems to have inspired a flurry of list building among those loyal to Russ. While actually toppling the Unforgiven isn’t happening just yet, this burst of activity has produced some good results and brought one of the better things about the Space Wolves supplement to the fore, which is Dreadnoughts. The combination of sticking a heroic on all of them, extra hits on 6s in the Assault Doctrine, and being able to amp them to 2+ saves in the open with Cloaked by the Storm takes a bunch of already good units and pushes them to being great. You aren’t even limited to mainline Dreads like the Redemptor either (though they’re clearly awesome) – Wolves get a bunch of unique options, which this list takes all of. Wulfen Dreadnoughts with the shield and Murderfang are both cost-efficient, hard to clear wrecking balls, while Bjorn has been seeing more and more play, providing as he does a neat combination of a re-roll aura, hard to clear shooting and counter-charge potential. If you’re a fan of punch-bots, Wolves are the place to be, and if you’re a Wolf player without any Dreadnoughts, you should probably go ahead and get some.

The Dreadnoughts aren’t alone here, mind. Fans of Wolves other unique toys will be delighted to see a roving unit of ThunderCav, fully loaded with hammers and shields, ready to slam into anything that needs some serious killing. As well as being a powerful offensive option, Rites of War and not one but two ways of making the opponent’s melee threats fight last means that if you need to get stuck in to a prolonged melee on an objective they can do that as well. Also on the wolf theme, the list makes use of the ability to buy cheap objective/Engage on All Fronts fodder in the form of Fenrisian Wolves, a real bonus this supplement gives you.

The final unique trick it makes use of is something that I honestly think has been badly underexplored, which is augmenting some troops with tooled up Wolf Guard pack leaders. 9th Edition storm shields make Terminator models so hard to clear when they’ve got Light Cover, and since this army is already planning on setting up cover in the open for its main block, they can either effectively slog alongside that, or hunker down in some ruins with essential impunity. I’m surprised this hasn’t been tried with Long Fangs yet (maybe for a single on-board squad, as obviously not riding a drop pod is one of the downsides), and it’s good to see use made of this unique, flavourful option in the wild.

This list ends up as a super effective example of a big brawl gameplan – it can advance up to the mid-table as a durable block, then unleash multiple deadly threats that can roll around kicking in whatever needs to die (the Bladeguard being another option for this on top of the dreads and ThunderCav. It’s a good, proper Wolf plan, and great job to Boyd for landing a strong finish with it.

 

Dean Sinnbeck – Chaos – 7th Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Patrol Detachment – Emperor’s Children

HQ

Daemon Prince with Wings, hellforged sword, Warptime

Sorceror, force sword, Prescience, Delightful Agonies

Troops

20 Noise Marines, 2 blastmasters, 17 sonic blasters, bolter on the sergeant

Elites

10 Terminators, 2 combi-bolters, 6 combi-meltas, 2 reaper autocannons, 10 lightning claws

10 Terminators, 2 combi-bolters, 6 combi-meltas, 2 reaper autocannons, 10 lightning claws

Patrol Detachment

HQ

Keeper of Secrets, Hysterical Frenzy, Shining aegis, Symphony of Pain

Keeper of Secrets, Cacophonic Choir, Phantasmagoria, Shining aegis

Troops

10 Daemonettes

10 Daemonettes

The Standout Features

  • The Slaanesh dream of Emperor’s Children and Daemons team continues to put up strong showings.
  • Terminators and KoSs provide superb brawlers with the huge Noise Marine unit providing shooting backup.
  • Non-Exalted Keepers ensure the army has plenty of CP to play with.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

As mentioned, this is the bonus write up because Dean picked up the highest battle point score of the 4-1 players, and since this is a column aimed at the competitive side of the game we want to make sure we’re covering all the lists that performed on pure gameplay.

Also, selfishly, it isn’t going to take very long – this is just the latest entry in a genre of lists that have been putting up repeated excellent performances in Australian majors, and while it’s got a couple of innovations we’ll talk about in a sec, the basic formula is pretty standard. As we talked about last week, Chaos Space Marines do have some excellent tools, and the Emperor’s Children make some of the best use of them, but they’re held back by atrocious Troops choices and having a very narrow set of datasheets that are actually worth it. With that in mind, taking the best bits of the factions and closing the gap with Daemons is an obvious choice, and Slaanesh is a natural pairing, especially for brawler-heavy lists like this as it means you keep the asset of army-wide Fight First.

Daemonettes are the cheap, basically fine troops that CSM are woefully lacking, and Keepers of Secrets, even non-Exalted, are best in breed brawler units that are extremely diffcult to put down, and can act as the tip of the spear for a list that’s relying on the Terminators to come in from deep strike and do the heavy lifting mid-late game. It’s quite rare seeing non-Exalted ones in lists, but the Emperor’s Children are quite CP hungry, so I think it makes sense as a call, as does the choice to kit them out with the Shining Aegis. These don’t have to last the whole game but adding an FNP on top of their baseline defences should keep them in contention till the other stuff can engage, or run interference for the Noise Marines early on.

Once the beat drops, the Noise Marines start blasting and the Terminators show up, things get viciously unpleasant for the opponent. Noise Marines throw out a stupendous amount of damage when they fire with Excruciating Frequencies, and unlike some list sporting Terminators, these have been kitted out for some extra shooting too, sporting combi-meltas. My assumption is that this is a nod to the Death Guard matchup, as that’s one of the few places where the Noise Marines are a bit naff – high volume flat D2 shooting with no AP is about the worst possible thing to try and kill blocks of Death Guard Terminators with, whereas a bunch of melta to soften the target up before a lightning claw charge is much more reasonable. Having that increased target breadth (especially remembering that the Terminators can double shoot with Endless Cacophony too) mitigates the risk of running in to opposing brawler units that trump the ones here, which is vital when dominating the board is so central to the plan.

The only downside of doing that is that it leaves the overall unit count in the list pretty low. This means it can potentially hit problems if it runs into a foe that can quickly burst through several of the large units (and given the only loss picked up was in the finals against Matt’s Drukhari, that’s looking like it’s maybe a real threat going forward), but there’s quite a bit of room to iterate (I think you could get away with only tooling up one Terminator unit, for example), and enough flexibility and power here that I think variants on this theme will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Rest of the Best

As ever with a five-round major there were a whole bunch of lists in the X-1 bracket nipping at the heels of our top four – ten more players, in fact!

I’ve listed these in overall results order, so do remember that the order on VP scored was slightly different.

They were:

  • 5th Place – Shane Kennedy – Drukhari: A second Drukhari list lands just outside the top four, this one a Black Heart-heavy realspace raid packing a tonne of transports ferrying Kabalites, a big unit of Wracks and plenty of Incubi, backed up by Scourges and Ravagers for shooting support. Also worth noting the use of the Dark Creed for the Coven contingent, stacking with trophies on the Raiders for a severe Ld hit.
  • 6th Place – Leigh Strom – Deathwatch: A list to watch here – we’ve had plenty of feedback from fans of Primaris Deathwatch kill teams and this list shows that they do, in fact, mean business. Sporting the powerful five-model Outrider unit you can pull together with a Fortis team, and two Indomitor teams where Heavy Intercessors soak wounds for Eradicators or Plasmaceptors, and rounding out with a Drop Pod combi-flamer/frag cannon squad, this list has a slightly terrifyingly low model count, but the units it does have are seriously tough to shift. The only concern I have here is that the BP score was pretty low, suggesting the low ground coverage does make racking up high scores challenging.
  • 7th Place – Dean Sinnbeck – Chaos: See above.
  • 8th Place – Jeremy Martino – Adepta Sororitas:  A fairly standard Bloody Rose list, packing lots of Repentia backed up by Zephyrim and Retributors, with a large Celestian squad (a strong option in BR) being the main unique standout.
  • 9th Place – Tristan Bone – Orks: Go-wide Deathskullz at its finest, mixing a bunch of buggies with some Boyz in transports, and a big unit of Smasha Gunz tor robust anti-tank and also to shore up the WWSWF plan.
  • 10th Place – Jason Chevalier – Death Guard: While Drukhari are the big new hotness this weekend, the Terminus Est Assault Force makes respectable showing here, notably featuring a bunch of Possessed. (TheChirurgeon’s Note: We’ll talking about this army in more detail later this week)
  • 11th Place – Ryan Toddie – Necrons:  A triple-C’tan (Nightbringer and two Transcendent) list provides a very different spin on Necrons, with lots of Rad-Wreathed/Arise Against the Interlopers Wraiths providing some durable brawlers to back them up.
  • 12th Place – Joshua Brodie – Adepta Sororitas: Mixed Sisters here, with the standard Bloody Rose tools backed by some Valorous Heart Exorcists.
  • 13th Place – Josh Britcher – Tyranids: A fairly standard iteration of the double-Dimachaeron builds that have been generating a lot of chatter – Swarmlord two Dimas, a bunch of gaunts, and some Hive Guard and an Exocrine backing it all up.
  • 14th Place – Rhys Cunningham – Orks: Another Deathskullz list, featuring a bunch of hulls, Ghazghkull and a couple of Burna Bommers.

 

Comic Quest GT

As mentioned, this event was staggered over multiple days, with four pods feeding players into a top 8, who then played an additional three rounds on the final day this weekend. Because this was staggered over several weeks, the Drukhari Codex wasn’t live for it, as it wasn’t out early enough for the first day of play and the same rules were in place throughout.

Junior Aflleje – Blood Angels – 1st Place

Sanguinary Guard
Sanguinary Guard. Credits: That Gobbo

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [82 PL, 1,430pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Blood Angels

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Captain on Bike [8 PL, 140pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chapter Master, Rites of War, Teeth of Terra, Warlord

Librarian [6 PL, 115pts]: 3) Null Zone (Aura), 6) Psychic Fortress (Aura), 6. Wings of Sanguinius, Bolt pistol, Force sword, Jump Pack, Tome of Malcador

+ Troops +

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

+ Elites +

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 240pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 240pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [14 PL, 275pts]: 4x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant, Plasma Exterminator x2

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 150pts]: Heavy melta rifle
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 150pts]: Heavy melta rifle
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [35 PL, 570pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Blood Angels

+ HQ +

Sanguinary Priest [7 PL, 135pts, -1CP]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Icon of The Angel, Jump Pack, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter

+ Troops +

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

+ Elites +

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

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 210pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe

++ Total: [117 PL, 2,000pts, 7CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Mid-sized Sanguinary squads pilot to a tournament win.
  • Eradicators and Plasma Inceptors ensure that there’s a pretty wide set of key targets the opponent needs to tackle.
  • Null Zone Wings Librarian provides huge reach for invuln shutdown in a pinch.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Blood Angels have been doing just fine recently, and while this list doesn’t massively shake up any trends we’ve been seeing with them, there’s a few things worth calling out. Punching stuff with vicious flying men is pretty much always core to the Blood Angels plan, and this list doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The individual Sanguinary Guard squads here are a bit heavier than other examples we’ve seen recently (though still not going as far as the 3×10 builds we’ve seen in the past), and to pay for that the list hasn’t gone for the MSU of hammer Death Company that have been a fairly common sight. That (plus leaning on Plasmaceptors, always excellent in Blood Angels) leaves the list with a lot of D2 weaponry, which could plausibly leave it vulnerable against Death Guard. Junior has clearly spotted that, and has headed it off at the pass by packing not one but two units of heavy melta Eradicators, who are fully loaded for blowing enemy Deathshrouds and Dreadnoughts to bits. Obviously this does reduce their effectiveness somewhat while on the move, but because the list is already sorted for games where fast killers are what’s needed, I think it’s a strong choice, and there’s always the option of using Chapter Master on one unit and Steady Advance on the other if you need a turn of higher accuracy in an emergency. If that’s going in to a high value target with an invuln, the list can also spring one of its nasty surprises in the form of the Librarian, who can cover an extremely large distance before dropping Null Zone thanks to having a jump pack and Wings of Sanguinius. Big nasties that hunt in packs have to be extremely careful against this list, as getting NZed then losing one big threat in shooting and another in melee is a very real prospect.

That covers most of the points in the list, with the remainder being Infiltrators, always strong in melee marines as they can either bait early engagements or screen out enemy deep strikes to prevent them getting the drop, and a unit of Bladeguard. The latter may look pretty tiny, but in Blood Angels that small unit will horrendously butcher mid-quality enemy units if allowed to, meaning they’re an effective roving headache that can happily go onto objective utility duty instead if not needed. The strength of the chapter tactic really shines through here, and small units still being very scary will continue to be one of Blood Angels’ biggests assets.

Overall, this build is fast, deadly, and ready to go after targets of pretty much any flavour, leaving it well positioned to rise to the top when piloted well. Congratulations to Junior on the win.

 

Matthew Geyer – Salamanders – 2nd Place

Salamanders Primaris Chaplain on Bike. Credit: Rockfish
Salamanders Primaris Chaplain on Bike. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Adeptus Astartes – Strike Force – Grand Tournament ( 9CP – 2000PT – 0PT )

Adeptus Astartes Battalion Detachment ( 3CP – 2000PT )
SUB-FACTION: Salamanders

HQ
WARLORD: Captain on Bike (110) Power fist
TRAITS: Forge Master, Rites of War (Aura)
RELICS: The Salamanders Mantle
STRATAGEMS: Exemplar of the Promethean Creed

Librarian (115) Jump pack
PSYCHIC POWERS: Null Zone, Veil of Time

Primaris Chaplain on Bike (140)
UPGRADE: Master of Sanctity
TRAITS: Wise Orator
LITANIES: Mantra of Strength
RELICS: Benediction of Fury
STRATAGEMS: Hero of the Chapter

TROOPS
Assault Intercessor Squad (95)
1x Assault Intercessor Sergeant
4x Assault Intercessor

Assault Intercessor Squad (95)
1x Assault Intercessor Sergeant
4x Assault Intercessor

Incursor Squad (105)
1x Incursor Sergeant
4x Incursor

ELITES
Aggressor Squad (200)
1x Aggressor Sergeant
4x Aggressor

Company Veterans (40)
1x Company Veteran
1x Company Veteran Sergeant

Primaris Apothecary (95)
UPGRADE: Chief Apothecary
TRAITS: Selfless Healer
STRATAGEMS: Hero of the Chapter

Vanguard Veteran Squad (280)
1x Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Lightning claw, Jump pack, Storm shield
9x Vanguard Veteran: Lightning claw, Jump pack, Storm shield

FAST ATTACK
Attack Bike Squad (55) Multi-melta

Attack Bike Squad (55) Multi-melta

Inceptor Squad (165)
1x Inceptor Sergeant: 2x Plasma exterminator
2x Inceptor: 2x Plasma exterminator

HEAVY SUPPORT
Eradicator Squad (150)
1x Eradicator Sergeant: Heavy melta rifle
2x Eradicator: Heavy melta rifle

Eradicator Squad (150)
1x Eradicator Sergeant: Heavy melta rifle
2x Eradicator: Heavy melta rifle

Eradicator Squad (150)
1x Eradicator Sergeant: Heavy melta rifle
2x Eradicator: Heavy melta rifle

STRATAGEMS
Exemplar of the Promethean Creed (1CP)
Hero of the Chapter (1CP)
Hero of the Chapter (1CP)
Relic of the Chapter (1CP)

Total Command Points: 6/15
Reinforcement Points: 0
Total Points: 2000/2000

The Standout Features

  • Salamander goodstuff reminds us that it’s still at least fine.
  • Relentless Determination ensures Eradicators can take up good firing positions and stay effective.
  • Strength of the Primarch lets Vanguard Veterans become horrific blenders against everyone except Death Guard.
  • Born Protectors lines up some nasty tricks with Aggressors and the VanVets.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Melta seemed to have been the order of the day at this event, with not one but two Salamanders lists getting in to the top four, once again immediately calling into question whether their star has fallen quite as far as it looked. This list does a good job of showing off the Salamanders’ still considerable strengths. Up front, they obviously support melta-toting MSUs extremely effectively, and this list goes as far as packing three units of heavy melta Eradicators to exploit this, ensuring that any elite opposing army planning to try and weather the storm with tarpit units is going to have a very bad time. These obviously need protection while they do their work, and that’s provided here by a unit of flamer Aggressors and some Vanguard Veterans, ready to take the bit board and settle in to fend off the foe. Born Protectors makes trying to do anything near Aggressors extremely spooky, while the VanVets can become absurdly deadly in a pinch via Strength of the Primarch and The Crucible of Battle. This will often take them all the way to wounding on 2s with re-rolls, very nice if you need to slice through their counterparts in a mirror match, and at least getting you to decent numbers against Death Guard. These brawlers are also going to be ObSec most of the time thanks to Rites of War Captain, meaning that an opponent who chooses not to engage with them risks falling behind on scoring.

The Salamander speciality for small shooting units sees a little bit more use as we get to the tail end of the list, with a MSU of Plasmaceptors and two individual attack bikes showing up to reap the benefit of the free wound re-rolls. The latter have been intermittently turning up in Marine lists as position holders to lock in Engage easily, but they’re obviously particularly good in Salamanders as once you put a MM on them they threaten to trivially make back whatever you spent on them if they’re ignored.

The main remaining highlights (outside of troops and a unit of Company Veterans for objective play) are the Chaplain and Librarian, here kitted as a smash character and a Null Zone bearer respectively. Seeing Null Zone + melta in both the top two lists here is pretty noteworthy, and given a lot of top meta armies are leaning heavily on invulns right now, it seems plausible that more Marine players are going to pick this tech up and run with it. The Smash Chaplain is less complicated or surprising, but will always be a pretty strong choice, and the fact that they’re D4 once buffed up is especially relevant in a world where Death Guard are still looking pretty strong.

The main challenge for Salamanders is that they don’t have fantastic support for running highly mobile forces, and whether lists like this can continue to thrive if Drukhari become an army to beat is an open question. For this event, however, they were clearly extremely well suited, and I do like the combination of tools at play here – it goes wide enough to at least plausibly contest the board against faster armies, and has enough melee counterpunch that opponents can’t just overwhelm it with impunity. Well done Matthew, and I’ll be watching lists like this closely to see if they can punch back up to Tier 2 over the next period of play.

 

Jason McKenzie – Adeptus Mechanicus – 3rd Place

Serberys Raider
Serberys Raider. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [108 PL, 8CP, 1,998pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Forge World Choice
. Forge World: Mars: Dogma: Glory to the Omnissiah

+ Agents of the Imperium [4 PL, -2CP, 70pts] +

Inquisitor [4 PL, -2CP, 70pts]: 3) Dominate, 6) Castigation, Alpha-Class Psyker [-1CP], Blackshroud, Frag & Krak grenades, Inferno pistol [5pts], Malleus – Psychic Mastery, Malleus – Warding Incantation, Ordo Malleus, Power sword [5pts], Stratagem: Inquisitorial Mandate [-1CP] . Psyker: Smite

+ HQ [16 PL, -2CP, 305pts] +

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

Tech-Priest Enginseer [2 PL, -1CP, 35pts]: Laspistol, Mechanicus Locum [-1CP], Omnissian Axe, Servo-arm, Warlord Trait (Codex 5): Chorister Technis

Tech-Priest Manipulus [4 PL, 70pts]: Mechadendrites, Omnissian Staff, Relic: The Omniscient Mask, Transonic cannon

+ Troops [9 PL, 195pts] +

Skitarii Vanguards [3 PL, 65pts] . 2x Skitarii Vanguard [18pts]: 2x Radium Carbine
. 2x Skitarii Vanguard (Transuranic Arquebus) [38pts]: 2x Transuranic Arquebus [20pts] . Vanguard Alpha [9pts]: Radium Carbine

Skitarii Vanguards [3 PL, 65pts] . 2x Skitarii Vanguard [18pts]: 2x Radium Carbine
. 2x Skitarii Vanguard (Transuranic Arquebus) [38pts]: 2x Transuranic Arquebus [20pts] . Vanguard Alpha [9pts]: Radium Carbine

Skitarii Vanguards [3 PL, 65pts] . 2x Skitarii Vanguard [18pts]: 2x Radium Carbine
. 2x Skitarii Vanguard (Transuranic Arquebus) [38pts]: 2x Transuranic Arquebus [20pts] . Vanguard Alpha [9pts]: Radium Carbine

+ Elites [7 PL, 115pts] +

Cybernetica Datasmith [3 PL, 45pts]: Gamma Pistol, Power fist, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Engine War): Divinations of the Magos

Sicarian Ruststalkers [4 PL, 70pts] . Ruststalker Princeps (Razor) [14pts]: Chordclaw, Transonic Razor
. 4x Sicarian Ruststalker (Razor/Chordclaw) [56pts]: 4x Chordclaw, 4x Transonic Razor

+ Fast Attack [32 PL, 638pts] +

Serberys Raiders [6 PL, 144pts] . 8x Serberys Raider [128pts]: 8x Cavalry Sabre, 8x Clawed Limbs, 8x Galvanic Carbine
. Serberys Raider Alpha [16pts]: Archeo-revolver, Cavalry Sabre, Clawed Limbs, Galvanic Carbine

Serberys Raiders [6 PL, 144pts] . 8x Serberys Raider [128pts]: 8x Cavalry Sabre, 8x Clawed Limbs, 8x Galvanic Carbine
. Serberys Raider Alpha [16pts]: Archeo-revolver, Cavalry Sabre, Clawed Limbs, Galvanic Carbine

Sydonian Dragoons [20 PL, 350pts] . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Taser Lance [10pts] . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Taser Lance [10pts] . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Taser Lance [10pts] . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Taser Lance [10pts] . Sydonian Dragoon [4 PL, 70pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Taser Lance [10pts]

+ Heavy Support [40 PL, 675pts] +

Kastelan Robots [24 PL, 375pts] . Kastelan Robot [125pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster [5pts] . . Two Heavy Phosphor Blasters [10pts]: 2x Heavy Phosphor Blaster [10pts] . Kastelan Robot [125pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster [5pts] . . Two Heavy Phosphor Blasters [10pts]: 2x Heavy Phosphor Blaster [10pts] . Kastelan Robot [125pts]: Heavy Phosphor Blaster [5pts] . . Two Heavy Phosphor Blasters [10pts]: 2x Heavy Phosphor Blaster [10pts]

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

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

++ Total: [108 PL, 8CP, 1,998pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A surprisingly brawly AdMech list brings back a classic in the form of Sydonian Dragoons.
  • Dragoons and Raiders run interference while Robots and Skorpii do their wicked work.
  • Skitarii and Ruststalkers play objectives while the opponent is distracted.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This list is probably the most unusual of the four from this event – it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Sydonian Dragoons out and about in the wild, as losing the ability to set their lances up to explode on 4s with Conquerer Doctrina Imperative left them a bit anemic output wise, especially when AdMech has so many good shooting options to draw on for damage. Nevertheless, here they are, and I have to assume that their inclusion is down to the other asset they provide – exceptional blocking ability. Their bases are absolutely massive and they come in a squad of five, meaning you can control a considerable amount of space with them and prevent your opponent being able to charge your precious Kastellan Robots. With two full squads of Serberys Raiders as well, this list can saturate a huge amount of the board with high-wound bodies, making it a real slog for opponents to try and chew through, and I’m sure there are some especially hideous things you can do with Tactica Obliqua when there are neatly spaced Dragoon bases about. They’re also made scarier in melee by the presence of the Omniscient Mask relic, which means that while they’re still not swinging like they did in the glory days, you get a comfortable average of 20 hits from them, enough to at least severely worry a lot of targets.

You could, of course, choose to use Ironstriders for some of this instead, but they’re a bit easier to shoot out thanks to not having hit modifiers, and are also easily shut down with a bully charge (at least assuming your opponent can afford the Cognis Overwatch). Not having to worry about that lets the list take Divinations of the Magos instead of Fabrications of the Artisan, maximising the damage output of the Kastelans. And hoo boy do they have damage output – this list goes fully in on supporting them via the aforementioned Warlord trait, Cawl and a Datasmith, meaning that shifting into Protector Doctrine and out again is on the table, and when they’re on double shots and sitting in the buff auras, Wrath of Mars on them is going to melt many targets into slag. Backed up by a couple of Skorpii as well, even though this list isn’t packing as many big guns as some AdMech armies it still has more than enough to win a shooting match against a lot of 9th edition builds – and I think that’s the overall thinking behind why it is how it is. If it can keep the shooting assets safe it’s got the firepower to grind the enemy off the table, so rather than investing further into firepower after hitting that critical mass, it goes hard on controlling the table and loading up a bit of melee punch (Raiders aren’t slouches either in a re-roll bubble) to increase the number of ways it can play the game. Finish things out with some troops and a unit of Ruststalkers for objective play and you’ve got a flexible, durable list that can pull some tricks not normally available to AdMech while still keeping an extremely respectable spread of multi-purpose firepower. Obviously AdMech are next on the list for a big shakeup, so who knows how things will look in a few (?) weeks, but for now Jason has put together something pretty cool, and it really showcases how surprisingly deep the existing range is.

 

Logan Heath – Salamanders – 4th Place

Salamanders Aggressors
Salamanders Aggressors. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Salamanders) [97 PL, 2,000pts, 6CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Salamanders

+ No Force Org Slot +

Company Veterans [3 PL, 40pts] . Company Veteran: Astartes Chainsword, Boltgun
. Company Veteran Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Boltgun

+ HQ +

Lieutenants [5 PL, 90pts] . Primaris Lieutenant: Obsidian Aquila
. . Neo-volkite pistol, Master-crafter power sword and Storm Shield: Neo-volkite pistol

Vulkan He’stan [7 PL, 135pts]

+ Elites +

Aggressor Squad [12 PL, 240pts]: 2x Flamestorm Gauntlets, 5x Aggressor, Aggressor Sergeant

Aggressor Squad [6 PL, 120pts]: 2x Flamestorm Gauntlets, 2x Aggressor, Aggressor Sergeant

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, 95pts, -1CP]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Lord of Fire (Aura), Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Exemplar of the Promethean Creed, Warlord

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [8 PL, 175pts, -1CP]: Cyclone missile launcher, 2x Twin volkite culverin

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [8 PL, 175pts, -1CP]: Cyclone missile launcher, 2x Twin volkite culverin

Servitors [2 PL, 30pts]: 4x Servo-arm

+ Fast Attack +

Attack Bike Squad [6 PL, 165pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Inceptor Squad [14 PL, 330pts]: 5x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant, Plasma Exterminator x2

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [14 PL, 270pts]: Melta rifle
. 5x Eradicator: 5x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 135pts]: Melta rifle
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

++ Total: [97 PL, 2,000pts, 6CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Dreadnoughts and melta weapons abound in a second Salamanders showing.
  • Stupendous amounts of killing power on all angles, with a Plasmaceptor squad in tow as well.
  • Aggressors once again help out with anything that gets too close.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Much more so than the other Salamanders list, this army has one plan – annihilation. This list is extremely uncomplicated, and something of a throwback to what we saw in early 9th, featuring all three flavours of high-damage Gravis Marines, multiple FNP bubbles to keep them safe, and even Relic Contemptors showing up in Sallies lists again. I like the tech here of sticking a missile launcher on top to leverage the Salamander re-rolls, and the mortal wound output from two of these raining down volkite fire in a Lt. bubble is nothing to be sniffed at, helping to chip away at targets that might otherwise have a small chance of shrugging off what this list is packing, though realistically event the biggest nasties in the game are going to struggle to soak up a full Eradicator squad with full hit and wound re-rolls from Vulkan’s Forgefather ability.

Absurdly lethal though it is, I do feel like it’s missing something like the Vanguard Veterans to really shine – it’s well past the saturation point of heavy firepower where opponents without an answer are going to get blown to bits, but it’s lacking any infiltrating models to seize early board control, and doesn’t have a speedy, reactive threat to counter-charge into enemy melee units. Opponents are going to have a way to shut down significant amounts of the damage output, or they’re going to explode violently, so loading to counter ways they might try that seems sensible. I think you can cut back on shooting threats a bit, keep the overwhelming force angle and find points for some board control elements, similar to the thinking on the AdMech list.

All that being said, the scores this list picked up even when it lost were seriously hefty, suggesting that even the most well-tuned opposing force is still put under considerable pressure by the amount of damage they’re facing down. If you told me I had to take Salamanders to an event tomorrow I’d probably go with the other option, but this list does provide a timely reminder that when it comes to killing at mid ranges, Salamanders are still top dog in the Marine world.

 

Next Time: Another Team Event

Next week it’s team event time again, as Gladiator Gaming put on the third run of their ever-mightier team tournament series, this time seeing a hefty 14 teams throwing down over five rounds to decide the champions. The field is incredibly stacked, with plenty of the players we’ve seen dominating the Australian singles scene over the last few months grouping up to try and claim the title, so make sure to check back in next Wednesday to see how the last few books have impacted on the team metagame. Until then, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions let us know at contact@goonhammer.com.