Competitive Innovations in 9th: Red River GT

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Goonhammer Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

After last week’s extremely busy schedule of Drukhari-adjacent content, things have been a bit quieter this weekend but we’ve still got stuff to talk about. The Red River GT in Ohio gives us another tasty morsel of competitive content to take a look at, and with only one Drukhari list in the entire field, we’re guaranteed some healthy variety in our diet!

As with last week, I’d like to highlight and compliment the fact that sensible COVID guidance was front and centre in Red River’s event pack, and remind players and TOs that if you want to let us know about precautions you’re taking at an event, or want to highlight a tournament that was especially well run, you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com.

On to the lists!

Red River GT

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

Thomas Ogden – Dark Angels – 1st Place

Dark Angels HQs

Credit: Greg Chiasson

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Outrider Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [66 PL, 1,465pts, -4CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Dark Angels

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Lieutenant(s) [16 PL, 320pts] . Ravenwing Talonmaster: Arbiter’s Gaze
. Ravenwing Talonmaster

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 140pts]: 4. Mantra of Strength, 5. Recitation of Focus, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Reliquary of the Repentant

+ Elites +

Ravenwing Apothecary [6 PL, 115pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer
. Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

+ Fast Attack +

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

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

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

Bike Squad [7 PL, 155pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Biker Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword
. Space Marine Biker w/Chainsword
. Space Marine Biker w/Special Weapon: Meltagun

Ravenwing Land Speeder Vengeance [6 PL, 120pts]: Heavy bolter

Ravenwing Land Speeder Vengeance [6 PL, 120pts]: Heavy bolter

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [27 PL, 535pts, +2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Dark Angels

+ HQ +

Azrael [8 PL, 170pts, 2CP]: 1. Brilliant Strategist, Warlord

Ezekiel [7 PL, 125pts]: 1) Mind Worm, 5) Engulfing Fear, 6) Mind Wipe

+ Elites +

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Deathwing Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. Deathwing Terminator: Lightning Claw (Pair)

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Deathwing Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. Deathwing Terminator: Lightning Claw (Pair)

Deathwing Command Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Deathwing Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. Deathwing Terminator: Lightning Claw (Pair)

++ Total: [93 PL, 2,000pts, 10CP] ++

The Standout Features

  • Dark Angels skew ever harder towards Ravenwing and take a win!
  • Ravenwing elements let the army go very wide and provide deep reserves of potent firepower.
  • Large numbers of powerful characters make it tough to degrade the list at range.
  • Deathwing Command squads bring exceptionally cost effective objective utility, character screening and detachment-filling services to the table.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

We’ve been saying for a while that the true trick to Dark Angels success seems to be to lean much harder into the Ravenwing elements than players originally thought, and this list takes that to its logical conclusion, running the absolute minimum number of Deathwing Terminator models required to make a valid (but still extremely relevant) Deathwing Detachment and then spending the Lion’s share of points on the forces of the Ravenwing. The result is a mobile, deadly list that has firepower to engage with almost any flavour of target while being unusually challenging to interact with in response.

The primary damage dealers here are pretty obvious – you’ve got three units of Attack Bikes (great everywhere, truly outstanding in Ravenwing) for heavy targets or cracking open Raiders, while a couple of Talonmasters provide phenomenal anti-horde performance. A pair of Land Speeder Vengeances can comfortably pitch in to either task, and can do so while staying well clear of any melee reprisals. All of this is going to be packing at least a 5++ most of the time, making plinking through it a challenge for armies that aren’t properly loaded for bear. It’s also all very fast, meaning it can do a reasonable amount to control the range of engagement and can capitalise on any weak spot it opens up. The single squad of basic bikers is obviously especially good for lunging into space, as being in a Ravenwing detachment makes them ObSec. Finally, Azrael’s Chapter Master re-rolls can turbo-boost whatever flavour of killing power is most needed at a given moment, amping up the flexibility.

So far so good, but what seems to be missing from the build on first glance is some sort of anvil unit, and that’s where the sneaky power of the Deathwing Command Squads comes in. This list is unusually heavy on characters, points wise, which would normally be a huge liability in an army without large, solid units to provide Look Out Sir protection. The Deathwing Command Squads massively mitigate this at a bargain price. Because there are three separate units, a storm shield each and an Apothecary in tow, bursting through their Bodyguard protection at a critical time is going to be a gigantic pain to pull off, letting all these powerful leaders operate with relative impunity. That lets this army skew way, way harder towards damage dealers and powerful characters than you can normally safely get away with, and severely narrows the angles on which opponents can interact with the army out of the gate. Big blocks of Deathwing Terminators can be extremely powerful, but they’re not the most maneuvreable unit in the world, and their presence can give opponents a big target to swing for.

This army, by contrast, has its threat profile spread much more evenly and a lot of power wrapped up in models that wiill almost always be fully operational when a close engagement is joined. This list ends up with far more offensive power packed into it than you can normally manage at 2000pts and ensures that more of it is going to get a chance to do something in the average game.

That’s obviously a very strong move in a metagame where the most powerful faction is a bit over-pushed, as it helps close the power gap, and I think of the Dark Angels lists I’ve seen since Drukhari landed, this one is the best loaded out for hunting them. Tragically, the way the pairings landed we didn’t actually get to see what happened in a showdown – Brad’s elf list that we’ll be looking at in a moment got taken out in round four. That means we’ll have to wait for another day to see if the fully arrayed might of the Ravenwing has game against the Drukhari menace – and I hope Thomas keeps running this build so we get to witness that, because this build is really, really clever and the win thoroughly well deserved.

Brad Chester – Drukhari – 2nd Place

Incubi

Incubi. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [47 PL, 11CP, 830pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

+ Stratagems +

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

Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [3 PL, -1CP, 60pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Quicksilver Fighter, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 40pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 40pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. 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 [5 PL, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [35 PL, -5CP, 775pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)

+ Stratagems +

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

Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP]

Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael [-1CP]

+ HQ +

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

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaines’s Agoniser, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 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 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [20 PL, 395pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Dark Technomancers (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Drazhar [7 PL, 135pts]: Hatred Eternal, Warlord

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst: Liquifier Gun, Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst: Liquifier Gun, Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst: Liquifier Gun, Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

+ Elites +

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

++ Total: [102 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • An even more trade-focused Drukhari list than normal passes up on While We Stand to go wider with threats.
  • All-Poisoned Tongue transport loadout give the list super-flexible pre-game redeploys.
  • Bypasses an Archon entirely in favour of an additional Succubus.
  • Packs plenty of utility units to ensure good board control.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

So hilariously, my read on this list is that it’s a Drukhari build designed to trump other Drukhari armies. Not necessarily a bad call, as if you’re gunning for the top tables (as a player of Brad’s calibre is definitely going to be) having a plan for the biggest meta nasty is vital, even if that’s the mirror. Unfortunately, at Red River Brad was the only Drukhari player, meaning that tuning for the mirror went to waste and opened up a vulnerability to a specific kind of counter that he ran into in round four.

So, how does this list differ from the standard Drukhari loadouts? Well, while plenty of the same elements are present, what this list goes especially hard on is the “trading up” angle of the faction. With access to lots of very pushed and very mobile close-engagement units and CHARACTERs, Drukhari are very good at forcing profitable trades, which combined with their ability to dominate early objective play lets them build up a good score while neutralising sufficient portions of the opposing army to prevent a counterattack.

The “conventional” Drukhari builds tend to combine that with some designated While We Stand choices like Trueborn, Courts of the Archon and Grotesques in some of their transports, which puts pressure on the opponent to engage to try and deny points, and further amplifies the value of taking out key threats. This list passes up on that, instead opting for even more powerful trade threats, making that the centrepiece of its plan. No desire for a Trueborn unit means no need to buy an Archon, so a second Succubus leads the “Kabal” detachment (taking advantage of the ability to dodge keyword requirements), while a second large Wych unit and a third Incubi squad are also notable additions on top of the stock builds. The real standouts, however, are two units of Hellions – you see one as a flex unit in some builds, but two is very unsual and their presence here a big hint to the overall way this army leans, which is slamming into the opponent like a monster truck.

Hellions are both fast, broad in what they can target and reasonably independent operators, and that signficantly boosts this army’s ability to engage in brutal throwdowns on multiple fronts at once. In the mirror match specifically they’re also a pain to deal with – their bane is long-ranged D2 weaponry, and while Drukhari do have access to this, it’s mostly being passed up right now, with shorter-range sources like liquifier guns and Incubi being preferred. That means that in such a matchup the Hellions are going to be hugely clutch, as they negate the opposing ability to play a trade game safely. This list’s big counterattack turn is going to significantly outperform that of other Drukhari, and my impression that the plan is to trump the mirror by denying them the ability to use their tools safely. Having all the transports as Poisoned Tongue also helps with that, as it allows the army to carefully tune its positioning for maximum advantage and avoid any traps the opponent might setup.

All well and good into other Drukhari, but there’s a definite cost. Packing lots of Hellions opens up a significant weakness to opponents that are packing a bunch of D2 firepower, which was a problem for this army into the game it lost (against a Chaos list with a Thousand Sons Fire Raptor) and would plausibly have been something of a liability against all the Talonmasters and Vengeances in the winning Dark Angels list. Not having a While We Stand angle also reduces the number of plans this army can play on the table – it’s kind of all-in on being outrageously good at aggressive trading. It’s even better at that than normal Drukhari armies, but if it runs into a game where, for whatever reason, it isn’t able to safely do that it has significantly fewer options to adapt than some of the other builds.

Into a field as heavy on Drukhari as Dallas, that trade might have paid off, but here it ended up not needed, and we’ll have to see how high Drukhari numbers get before assessing whether it’s a worthwhile choice going forwards. I do think 10-model Hellion units are a good meta call if you’re expecting lots of enemy elves, and clearly a second place finish is still extremely good, so the losses to efficiency against the wider field aren’t hurting that much, and congratulations to Brad for the finish.

Daniel Sansone – Chaos – 3rd Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Daemons) [55 PL, 1,045pts, 6CP] ++
Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided
Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ [28 PL, 545pts, -2CP] +
Great Unclean One [14 PL, 270pts, -1CP]: Bileblade [10pts], Doomsday bell [20pts], Fleshy Abundance, Miasma of Pestilence, Nurglings, Smite
. Exalted Great Unclean One [-1CP]: 2. Revoltingly Resilient

Lord of Change [14 PL, 275pts, -1CP]: Baleful sword [5pts], Bolt of Change, Gaze of Fate, Infernal Gateway, Smite, Staff of Tzeentch, The Impossible Robe
. Exalted Lord of Change [-1CP]: 5. Aura of Mutability

+ Troops [27 PL, 500pts] +
Nurglings [6 PL, 88pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms [88pts]: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 66pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms [66pts]: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 66pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms [66pts]: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Plaguebearers [5 PL, 100pts]: Instrument of Chaos [10pts] . 9x Plaguebearer [81pts]: 9x Plaguesword
. Plagueridden [9pts]: Plaguesword

Plaguebearers [10 PL, 180pts] . 19x Plaguebearer [171pts]: 19x Plaguesword
. Plagueridden [9pts]: Plaguesword

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [25 PL, 490pts, 3CP] ++
Plague Company
+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander [25 PL, 490pts] +
Mortarion [25 PL, 490pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 5. Curse of the Leper, 6. Gift of Plagues, Attendant’s claws and teeth, Phosphex bombs, Silence, Smite, The Lantern, Warlord

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [24 PL, 465pts, -3CP] ++
Cults of the Legion: *No Cult*
+ Lord of War [24 PL, 465pts] +
Magnus the Red [24 PL, 465pts]: Glamour of Tzeentch, Smite, The Blade of Magnus, Warptime, Weaver of Fates

++ Total: [104 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A new spin on the big trio and pals brings an Exalted Great Unclean One to the table, quadrupling down on hyper-durable threats.
  • Plaguebearers provide a slightly sturdier core than the traditional Daemonettes, and pair up with Nurglings to force opponents to commit.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

At this point it’s pretty uncontroversial that the trio of Mortarion, Magnus and an Exalted Lord of Change make for a pretty compelling core, and a number of different variations of it have seen modest to good amounts of success. Most recently prior to this we saw Keepers of Secrets riding shotgun, providing some early brawlers that can commit earlier than Mortarion in some matches.

Today’s new variant goes in the other direction, doubling down on durability by adding an Exalted Great Unclean one with the Revoltingly Resilient option, providing it with an eye-watering 4+++. Given the rest of the army’s big threats are pretty robust too, it means that any opponent that’s operating on a damage-oriented strategy is going to have their work really cut out for them once battle is joined, and armies with moderate damage output may find themselves overwhelmed. The presence of a decently sized Plaguebearer blob further skews things towards resilience, as while their glory days are past they’re definitely not trivial to sweep off the table, and packing them instead of more conventional Daemonettes or Horrors helps ensure that (at least once the Nurglings are done) the list has no trivial targets. I am a little surprised not to see a Daemonic Icon in the unit, and were I tweaking this I’d probably cut the fourth base in the first Nurgling unit for one – even with the Doomsday Bell around I feel like you’d rather have that blowout potential than adding one more model to what will often be sacrificial units.

The plan here looks to be pretty much the same as ever – you’ve got some tough to shift stuff to commit early (here the GUO and its Nurgle friends) which occupy the mid-board while an initial volley of psychic death is unleashed, Mortarion slams into the fray mid game, fired forward with Warptime and aiming to take out anything that’s a big threat to him out the gate, and by the time an opponent has prised themselves from out of this mess (if they manage at all) they’re so thoroughly picked apart that they can be overwhelmed by Magnus and Big Bird. It’s pretty tried and true, and lots of armies struggle with it.

How well this plan works into Drukhari, however, is a bit of an open question and in this case that’s where the loss was racked up. I think this specific Drukhari matchup is a tiny bit unlucky for this list, as the fact that it goes wider and deadlier makes it tougher for this army to get the job done with psychic firepower and more likely that the wicked elves can just delete some key threats. However, even though I think Brad’s list was especially bad for the Chaos archtype, open-topped transports are a huge pain in general for armies that do most of their damage in the psychic and fight phase. In psychic, opponents have a lot of agency to control where the damage goes via careful positioning and decisions about where to bail out their models. Meanwhile, unlike in the shooting phase it’s essentially never possible to kill a transport and what’s inside it in your fight phase because they weren’t on the table to declare a charge into.

This makes chewing through Drukhari a chore, and if I was going to run one of these armies I’d certainly be looking at the variants with Horrors to add some action in the shooting phase, or maybe even trying out Exalted Flamers to give me a shot at popping a transport that lived through the psychic phase on a couple of wounds. It’s possible that their numbers are just too underwhelming right now, but I feel like you need to find a way to build these armies where a key transport tanking the psychic phase with 1W left isn’t a total disaster for you.

Food for thought there, and I’ll certainly be interested to see what players like Daniel try next to prepare for the elf menace – because into the rest of the metagame, these armies continue to feel well positioned, and quite capable of putting up good results as we see here.

DJ Timms – Necrons – 4th Place

Skorpekh lord & Destroyers

Skorpekh lord & Destroyers. Credit: Chris Cowie

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Necrons) [97 PL, 11CP, 1,995pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

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

+ No Force Org Slot [5 PL, 95pts] +

Dynastic Advisor [4 PL, 80pts] . . Chronomancer [4 PL, 80pts]: Entropic Lance

Viral Construct [1 PL, 15pts]: Canoptek Plasmacyte [1 PL, 15pts]

+ HQ [16 PL, -1CP, 315pts] +

Chronomancer [4 PL, 80pts]: Entropic Lance

Lord [5 PL, 105pts]: Relic: Orb of Eternity, Resurrection Orb [30pts], Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 3): Immortal Pride, Warscythe [5pts]

Skorpekh Lord [7 PL, -1CP, 130pts]: Dynastic Heirlooms [-1CP], Relic: Veil of Darkness

+ Troops [20 PL, 430pts] +

Immortals [4 PL, 85pts]: Gauss Blaster, 5x Immortal [85pts]

Immortals [4 PL, 85pts]: Gauss Blaster, 5x Immortal [85pts]

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

+ Elites [20 PL, 420pts] +

Skorpekh Destroyers [10 PL, 210pts] . . 2x Skorpekh Destroyer (Reap-Blade) [70pts]: 2x Hyperphase Reap-Blade
. . 4x Skorpekh Destroyer (Thresher) [140pts]: 4x Hyperphase Threshers

Skorpekh Destroyers [10 PL, 210pts] . . 2x Skorpekh Destroyer (Reap-Blade) [70pts]: 2x Hyperphase Reap-Blade
. . 4x Skorpekh Destroyer (Thresher) [140pts]: 4x Hyperphase Threshers

+ Fast Attack [18 PL, 405pts] +

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 135pts] . . 9x Canoptek Scarab Swarm [135pts]: 9x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 135pts] . . 9x Canoptek Scarab Swarm [135pts]: 9x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 135pts] . . 9x Canoptek Scarab Swarm [135pts]: 9x Feeder Mandibles

+ Heavy Support [18 PL, 330pts] +

Lokhust Destroyers [18 PL, 330pts] . . 6x Lokhust Destroyer [18 PL, 330pts]: 6x Gauss Cannon

The Standout Features

  • A fresh spin on Eternal Expansionists takes a great result without the Silent King in sight.
  • Maxing out on Scarabs gives lots of staying power while keeping points free for some real punch.
  • A single protected Warrior squad provides a solid anchor.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Big fan of what’s going on here – it’s been refreshing to see Necrons pushing back after a few rough months, but most lists have been leaning heavily on the Silent King. This army bucks that trend, bringing some familiar ingredients together in a fresh way for a powerful concotion. It also features the very unusual sight of a squad of Lokhust Destroyers, quietly floating their heads above the parapet now there are slightly fewer nasty plasma weapons around.

In general, what this list excels at is pressuring the Primary objective exceptionally well early on. Thanks to maxing out on Scarabs this list has a massive number of speedy ObSec wounds to call on, and can deploy them pretty much wherever they’re needed in the mid board from turn one thanks to the extra reach the pre-game move of Relentlessly Expansionist gives. Unlike some such builds, which focus on building durability to the exclusion of killing power, this list actually has some teeth. Skorpekh Destroyers are one of the many units that struggled during the plasmaceptor hell we used to live in because you really want to run a full six to get the second big weapon – but doing that means they just melt to Inceptors. With fewer of those in the metagame they’re vastly more appealing, and larger units can also squeeze more value out of Whirling Defence – my own experience using them has been that opponents tend to slightly underestimate how hard they are to put down, and that’s something you can exploit mercilessly, especially when a failure to wipe the unit off an objective will often leave you in control of it. The army can also use its “spare” chronomancer to give one of the units a 5++ if they need to go into something nasty, and includes the Plasmacyte for a clutch damage boost and some sneaky shenanigans if you need to soak the overwatch of, for example, a bunch of liquifier guns. I like Skorpekh a lot, and it’s nice to see them operating in what appears to be a great shell for them and a less hostile metagame.

It isn’t only the Skorpekh providing the mid-board crunch – you’ve also got a full squad of Chronomancered Warriors ready to dominate the field. These are another unit where the reduction in Plasmaceptor prevalence is a big win, and I think one big unit is a good call at the moment. You do still basically wand a dedicated Chronomancer for each block you’re packing, so if you start trying to support two and want a spare Chronomancer to boost other things that gets expensive. In the matchups where a big Warrior block with Orb of Eternity backup is going to be a headache for the opponent, one block is enough to cause those headaches, and I think the call to stick to that one is correct, as doubling up leaves you a bit wider open against opponents that have good answers.

Keeping those points free lets the list buy some Immortal units for objective management (never a bad thing, and this list really wants a Battalion for various slots) and this list’s remaining standout unit, which is the Lokhust Destroyers. These are perpetually frustrating, because they’re nearly good but they’re so disproportionately vulnerable to the wrong kinds of firepower that bringing them is always a bit terrifying. Being Expansionists helps because it gives you some agency to hide them or not as needed turn one, and that combines with general metagame trends to make them compelling enough that I can see why they were tried. They’re one of many units where the Raider’s move to T6 is frustrating, but with Extermination Protocols switched on they can still do a whole bunch of damage, and being flexibly able to switch to smoking INFANTRY or something like Hellions is a genuine upside.

The only thing I’d change about this list on an initial pass is swapping out the Skorpekh Lord for a Lokhust Lord with the Voltaic Staff, shifting the Veil of Darkness onto one of the Chronomancers. That keeps the buff aura for all the Destroyers, but frees up 25pts you can spend on either a Hypermaterial Ablator to further protect the Warriors or on upgrading the Lord to an Overlord for a substantially better statline and a slightly better buff. The Lokhust is a little less good in combat than the Skorpekh, but the shooting of the Voltaic Staff is so strong that I’ve found it more than compensates, and giving you something else that can pop open a transport in emergencies is really good.

We do have to come to one elephant in the room which is how this build did against Drukhari, and unfortunately like the previous list it was another swing and a miss. I’d be interested to try the match out, because it definitely feels like there are some angles here, but it’s possible the slightly anemic nature of Necron threats bites just a little too hard. Still – I love this list and it’s making me want to do unwise things like “paint more Skorpekh” so congratulations to DJ on putting together such a cool, innovative build.

The Rest of the Best

Two more players finished up on 4-1 records. They were:

  • 5th – Justin Curtis – Chaos: Big “we wuz robbed” energy here – Justin was the hero took out Brad’s Drukhari list in round four, but ended up with a fairly low scoring loss in round 5 against Thomas’s Dark Angels, narrowly missing a top four slot as a result. Why things played out this way is pretty obvious when you look at the list – Justin packed another new spin on Chaos Soup, combining an anvil of Blightlords (backed by Revolting Stench Vats) with Mortarion and a Thousand Sons Fire Raptor for hefty offensive punch at whatever range is required. The resulting setup looks extremely nasty into Drukhari, as it’s all stuff that they can struggle a it to deal with (while the Fire Raptor is great at killing their stuff), but opens up some weaknesses too. I imagine turning up to the table with a Prescience-enabled Fire Raptor and seeing two units of Hellions was a quasi-religious experience – but that then running in to a wall of Ravenwing multi-melta Attack Bikes was…well also one of those, but of a very different flavour.
  • 6th – Max Couch – AdMech: We’re still somewhat in a holding pattern with AdMech because surely, surely their book has to be landing in the next few weeks at this point, but at least here we’ve got some novelty to go into – this is a pure Metalica list. Lots of small Skitarii and Raider units plus two Fusilaves let the list get all around the board and drop the Forge World’s powerful new stratagems wherever they need to go. A squad of lascannon Ironstriders plus the mandatory three Skorpii add ranged punch, and the result is a list that looks like it can cause a bunch of headaches and play a far cagier game than some AdMech builds we’ve seen.

Wrap Up

Not gonna lie, after last week’s wild ride it’s been nice to have a slightly quieter week, but we’ll be right back to the big leagues next Wednesday, as we’ve got both a Major going down in Maryland and a 50+ player GT being put on down under by Gladiator Gaming, bringing together a lot of the usual suspects from the Australian scene. Will the legendarily innovative Australian metagame throw up a weapon to strike back against the Drukhari menace, or are we in for another weekend of terrifying dominance? Tune in next week to find out, and hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com in the meantime if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.