Competitive Innovations in 9th: Spring Up GT and War for the Wooden Spoon

The floodgates have well and truly opened this week, with an absolute blockbuster schedule of events that put a wide range of armies that have been painstakingly developed over lockdown to the test alongside new contenders Drukhari.

The sheer volume of events poses a challenge for this column’s format, because simply put in the time we have available we simply can’t get to everything. With that in mind, what we’re going to do this week (and in any future weeks where we get this many results in) is as follows:

  • Cover two to three of the larger events fully on the Wednesday.
  • Do a quickfire tour through other events on the Thursday, hitting up all the remaining GT-plus tournaments in the style of the “Best of the Rest” sections from the main article, and including some overall thoughts about takeaways from the weekend.

We’ll see how that goes over the next few months and work from there once we’ve got a better handle on whether this level of tournament activity is going to be sustained. While many players have now been vaccinated, many still haven’t, so we’re also still very keen to see good COVID policies in place for events, and events with clear, strong COVID guidelines and those taking place in regions with relatively good numbers will take priority for the Wednesday column. With that in mind, if you’re running/attending an event and want to highlight good policies, do let us know at contact@goonhammer.com.

WIth that out of the way, this week we’re putting the spotlight on smaller GTs put on by two of the largest TO groups in the US – the Spring Up GT from the Renegade Open team, and the War for the Wooden Spoon event put on by the Iron Halo organisers.

Renegade Spring Up GT

You can find all the lists from this event in BCP.

James “Boon” Kelling – Drukhari – 1st Place

Credit: Boon

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [32 PL, 14CP, 640pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ 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 +

Grotesques [6 PL, 135pts] . Grotesque w/ Liquifier Gun: Liquifier Gun
. Grotesque w/ Liquifier Gun: Liquifier Gun
. Grotesque w/ Liquifier Gun: Liquifier Gun

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

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

+ Configuration +

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

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ HQ +

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

+ Troops +

Hekatrix Bloodbrides [8 PL, -1CP, 130pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaines’s Agoniser, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 8x Hekatrix Bloodbride: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Hekatrix Bloodbride w/ Hydra Gauntlets: Hydra Gauntlets

+ Elites +

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

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [58 PL, -2CP, 1,080pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

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

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 140pts] . 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: Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 55pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Sybarite: Phantasm Grenade Launcher, 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

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 140pts]: 3x Dark Lance

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

Raider [5 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Splinter racks

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

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

++ Total: [105 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Our very own Boon gets it done with a powerful Drukhari list using a mix of the “common” tools and some of his own unique flair.
  • Raiders full of liquifiers, Incubi and Wyches provide a core of raw power for the army.
  • The subtle tricks of the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue provide some very flexible backup.
  • Tooled up characters and a thousand cuts from vehicle upgrades bring everything together into a real nightmare to deal with.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Look, all I can say is that you can check last week’s article and writing about this event was already on the schedule before one of our team won it. Aeldari specialist Boon joined the rest of us in getting extremely hyped for Drukhari, and is now leading the charge in showing off just how nasty they can be. We will, naturally, be forcing him at splinterpoint to share some of his own thoughts later in the week, but for now let’s dive into the list.

If you’ve paid attention to the competitive grapevine, the first few things you see in this army aren’t going to be massively surprising. Dark Technomancers and liquifier guns are pretty much made for each other, and with careful planning you can pack as many as five of them into a single Raider (the Grotesques here take up 6 slots, so now Raiders hold 11 models they can team up with a Wrack unit).This makes them highly mobile and a pain to kill, and the torrent of reliable firepower these throw out will do horrendous amounts of pain to anything elite that isn’t either sporting damage reduction or T8, and comes at a volume where it’s at least OK against a horde. If a big horde unit really need to be punted, Cult of Strife Bloodbrides are a fantastic tool for that, sporting a veritable avalance of attacks that can pick up full wound re-rolls, cheerfully dusting most medium-large units and being able to Fight again if really needed. They’re backed up in a fight by Incubi, who efficiently cleave through almost anything, and also a trio of extremely nasty melee characters. with Drahzar being especially horrific thanks to being the Warlord and thus having full re-rolls for everything. So far, so standard, and building in these tools will definitely stand you in good stead with Drukhari.

Where things diverge from other builds we’ve seen so far is in the Kabal choice. The extreme power of Raiders in the new book has lead a lot of players to use either Black Heart or Obsidian Rose for re-roll support, but Boon’s passed on that in favour of the Poisoned Tongue, which provides access to more subtle power. The big standout here is the Insidious Misdirection stratagem, a super Phantasm that not only lets you re-deploy three units of your choice (which remember, can be transports packed with dudes) but also straight-up pull them into Strategic Reserves for free if you don’t fancy having them on the board. This gives the list an exceptional ability to respond to the way the first turn dice end up, because it can fully commit to the board ready to deal a devastating first strike if the roll goes well, and pull valuable but fragile power pieces like the Ravager and Trueborn boat into reserve if it goes against you. One of the few downsides of Raiders is that their massive sails mean that you need Obscuring terrain to really hide them on most tables, and you’re only going to have so much space to do that on most boards. Being able to use this strat to ensure against blowouts really helps give the list the consistency you want when you’ve got a five or six game gauntlet in front of you to take the prize, and it aligns well with the use of Venoms in the list too, as they give you something that’s much easier to hide on the table.

While that’s the main draw of the Poisoned Tongue, it isn’t quite the only trick they have. Venoms are usually a little underwhelming overall compared to Raiders at the same price, but there’s much more of a place for them when you boost their poison to 3+ and allow them to debuff your opponents’ combat attrition rolls when they kill models. One of the more subtle tools the Drukhari have been exploiting is the surprising power of the Grisly Trophies on Raiders – it turns out that like the Hemlock before it, applying -2 Ld in a reasonably large space (here just because of the size of the Raider) from a fast hull is the point at which morale debuffs actually start to do real work, and this list being able to judiciously combine that with -1 to Combat Attrition gives it another angle on either picking up hordes or making losing a few models really painful to non-Marine elite armies. Between the Venoms and Trueborn, landing this where it’s needed should be something the list can do pretty consistently. Speaking of vehicle upgrades, phantasm grenade launchers also got a substantial tune up in the new book, and strapping them to every available surface as this list does provides you with a surprising clip of mortal wound output, especially, once again, in combination with the Grisly Trophies. 

The final unique capability that the elements of this list combine to give is a nastyangle on While We Stand, We FIght. This lands on the Ravager, Trueborn and either Drahzar or the Grotesques, and because all of these could theoretically be pulled off the table using Insidious Misdirection (if you put the Grots in a Kabal Raider) they can be completely alpha strike proof, and in the case of the Trueborn and Ravager operate at significant range. While the inherant fragility of individual Drukhari means this will always be a little more of a gamble than for some armies, but equally forcing the opponent to overextend themselves to try and land a kill is frequently going to put them at risk of being brutally ganked by the characters and Incubi – sometimes the value of WWSWF comes from the plays it forces, not just the points. With Mandrakes also shoring up the Scramblers game and various Battlefield Supremacy options to draw on, this rounds the list out with a reasonable breadth of secondary choices to go in on.

All things considered, if you love eldar trickery this list has me pretty convinced the Poisoned Tongue are worth swapping out the re-roll power of other choices for, and also shows off a lot of the tools that make Drukhari strong in general. Congratulations to Boon on the big win!

Ben Cherwien – Drukhari – 2nd Place

Drukhari Kabalite Warriors
Drukhari Kabalite Warriors. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Note: There is currently some disagreement online as to whether you can take Dark Lotus Toxin using Prizes from the Dark City if your actual Warlord isn’t Cult of Strife. Our general editorial stance is that you can’t, similar to how things have generally been ruled for CSM legion relics, but that isn’t a universally held opinion, and indeed a list published on WarCom did so, meaning it’s not 100% clear right now. Make sure to check with your TO before including it till the FAQ (hopefully) straightens things out. If it does end up being the case that you can’t, this list can just straight swap to the same Succubus build as the previous army.

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [16 PL, 315pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

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

+ HQ [7 PL, 135pts] +

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

+ Troops [9 PL, 180pts] +

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts], Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts] . 3x Wracks [24pts]: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts], Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts] . 3x Wracks [24pts]: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts], Wrack Blade
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon [18pts]: Liquifier Gun [10pts] . 3x Wracks [24pts]: 3x Wrack Blade

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [60 PL, 1,125pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration [10CP] +

Obsession: Kabal of the Obsidian Rose: Flawless Workmanship

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

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

+ HQ [5 PL, 90pts, -1CP] +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts, -1CP]: Ancient Evil, Blast Pistol [5pts], Huskblade [5pts], Overlord, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP], The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Obsidian Rose) [1 PL, 15pts]: Splintered Genius [1 PL, 15pts]

+ Troops [8 PL, 135pts] +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 135pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn [60pts]: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon [25pts]: Dark Lance [15pts] . Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon [20pts]: Blaster [10pts] . Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon [20pts]: Blaster [10pts] . Trueborn Sybarite [10pts]: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites [8 PL, 160pts] +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi [64pts]: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex [16pts]: Demiklaives

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi [64pts]: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex [16pts]: Demiklaives

+ Fast Attack [5 PL, 60pts] +

Scourges [5 PL, 60pts] . 4x Scourge w/ shardcarbine [48pts]: 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Shardcarbine
. Solarite [12pts]: Shardcarbine

+ Flyer [9 PL, 200pts] +

Voidraven Bomber [9 PL, 200pts]: Kabal, Voidraven missiles [15pts] . Two void lances

+ Dedicated Transport [25 PL, 480pts] +

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

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies [5pts], Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher [5pts]

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies [5pts], Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher [5pts]

Raider [5 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies [5pts], Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher [5pts], Shock Prow [5pts]

Raider [5 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies [5pts], Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher [5pts], Shock Prow [5pts]

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [27 PL, 440pts, -3CP] ++

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ HQ [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP] +

Succubus [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, Dark Lotus Toxin, Razorflails, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP] . Show Stealer (Strife) [1 PL, 15pts]: Show Stealer [1 PL, 15pts]

+ Troops [8 PL, 130pts] +

Hekatrix Bloodbrides [8 PL, 130pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix [12pts]: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Hekatrix Bloodbride [96pts]: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Hekatrix Bloodbride w/ Shardnet and Impaler [22pts]: Shardnet and Impaler [10pts]

+ Elites [3 PL, 75pts] +

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Mandrake [60pts]: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend [15pts]

+ Fast Attack [12 PL, 280pts] +

Reavers [12 PL, 280pts]: 6 – Splintermind (Combat Drug)
. Arena Champion [30pts]: Heat Lance [10pts] . 8x Reaver [160pts]: 8x Bladevanes, 8x Splinter Pistol, 8x Splinter Rifle
. Reaver with special weapon (up to 1 for 3 models) [30pts]: Heat Lance [10pts] . Reaver with special weapon (up to 1 for 3 models) [30pts]: Heat Lance [10pts] . Reaver with special weapon (up to 1 for 3 models) [30pts]: Heat Lance [10pts]

The Standout Features

  • Aeldari nonsense – it’s back.
  • A similar use of high-quality core units, but a different loadout in the Kabal and flex slots.
  • Obsidian Rose and a Voidraven give the list a substantially heftier punch out of the gate.
  • A heat lance sniping Reaver unit provides some unusual mobile fire support that can pile in to melee or unleash an Eviscerating fly-by on demand.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Drukhari have arrived in the metagame in style, and as this list shows after the first, there’s plenty of depth to the things you can do with them. Some of what we see here overlaps considerably with the first place army, and realistically you’re going to be seeing Drazhar, Incubi, the Cult of Strife core and Technomancers in most lists, but this army explores some other choices for how to fill out from there.

The first thing to highlight in that regard is that the anti-heavy firepower of this army is pretty nightmarish – alongside the five wound re-rolling dark lance shots from the raiders, it adds two more super lance shots from the voidraven, and the mobile melta shooting of the Splintermind Reaver blob. Because of how fast everything is, even on the heaviest boards opponents are going to find their hulls and monsters taking significant damage out of the gate, crippling their ability to respond to the looming elf threat and putting massive momentum in the hands of the Drukhari. Both of the unique standout units here provide heavy psychological threats too – the Voidraven’s bomb is swingy but potentially exceptionally powerful when dropped in the middle of an enemy battle pile, while the Reavers can lash out to either pull an Eviscerating Fly-by on a unit that stands too close or Advance and Charge into damn-near anything on the table once turn two rolls around. Unwary opponents trusting in walls to save them might also have a nasty experience with the Dance of Death stratagem.

There’s been some question marks over whether Reavers would find a place given how strong the competition from Hellions is, and I think this unit is plausibly one of the better use cases for them – being able to hover at a distance plinking away with heat lances on any turn where you don’t need them swooping into the enemy gives you a way to rack up value without going all-in, and also presents a tricky prospect to deal with efficiently – opponents have to chew through 8 basic Reaver bodies before they reach the melta centre. They and the Voidraven also combine to ensure this list has a WWSWF angle too – for opponents that are planning on dealing most of their damage in melee, taking out the plane, bikes and range-boosted Raider mounted Trueborn is going to be extrordinarily tough. Like Boon’s build, this list also brings some dedicated objective utility units in the Mandrakes and bare-bones Scourge squad, meaning that it ends up with a formidible point-scoring plan that’s going to need active attention to de-rail – no mean feat while suffering under overwhelming Drukhari assault.

Overall, this army ends up as a bit more of just an outright killing machine than the Poisoned Tongue list, but such things are relative – any Drukhari list has an array of cunning plays at their disposal, and I’m sure Ben’s extensive experience playing the extremely tricky melee marines of the Black Templars stood him in good stead in racking up this second place finish (dropping his only game to Boon in round 2).

Logan Tillman – Death Guard – 3rd Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [100 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Plague Company: Mortarion’s Anvil

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Gifts of Decay [-1CP]: Additional Relics [-1CP]

+ HQ [15 PL, -1CP, 280pts] +

Death Guard Daemon Prince [10 PL, 185pts]: 5. Rotten Constitution, 6. Gift of Plagues, Foetid Wings [2 PL, 35pts], Hellforged sword [10pts], Malefic talons, Smite, Suppurating Plate, Warlord

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 4. Arch-Contaminator, 4. Putrescent Vitality, Blight grenades, Corrupted staff, Krak grenades, Plaguechosen [-1CP], Smite

+ Troops [6 PL, 150pts] +

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts] . 10x Poxwalker [50pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts] . 10x Poxwalker [50pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts] . 10x Poxwalker [50pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

+ Elites [38 PL, -2CP, 775pts] +

Blightlord Terminators [20 PL, -1CP, 400pts] . Blightlord Champion [-1CP, 40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Champion of Disease [-1CP], Combi-bolter, Plague Skull of Glothila
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts] . Deathshroud Champion [50pts]: Manreaper, Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator [100pts]: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts] . Deathshroud Champion [50pts]: Manreaper, Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator [100pts]: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, -1CP, 75pts]: Blight grenades, Gloaming Bloat, Krak grenades, Plague sprayer, Plaguechosen [-1CP], Revolting Stench-vats, Unholy death’s head grenade

+ Fast Attack [14 PL, 270pts] +

Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 135pts]: Fleshmower [5pts], Plague probe

Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 135pts]: Fleshmower [5pts], Plague probe

+ Heavy Support [27 PL, 525pts] +

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugger, Plagueburst Mortar

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugger, Plagueburst Mortar

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugger, Plagueburst Mortar

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

The Standout Features

  • Mortarion’s Anvil live up to their name with a brick wall of Terminators and Daemon Engines.
  • Full Blightlord unit provides a near-unassailable block with Revolting Stench Vats backup.
  • Arch Contaminator turbo-charges the army’s damage output into anything that gets too close.
  • Foetid Bloat-drones can take Gloaming Bloat for a ride out into enemy territory to shut down shooting.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

The advent of Drukhari means playing any list reliant on soaking up the enemy’s attack gets a whole lot scarier, but Death Guard are certainly better placed than most to give it a go, as -1D is strong against some key Drukhari tools (notably Incubi and liquifier guns), and having invulns on many key units helps a lot with the attrition from Dark Lances. The combination of the ever-present Revolting Stench-Vats and the Gloaming Bloat also go a long way towards blunting the offensive of wicked spiky space elves (and anyone else who comes knocking) – losing both charge bonuses and re-rolls significantly reduces the threat they present, and makes running into the Terminator blocks in particular a very spooky experience. They’re also tough to entirely avoid – they take up a lot of space, and can Heroic via Relaptic Assault, meaning picking off other units around the edges isn’t a safe option, meaning they’ll dominate the game once they’ve arrived in the mid-board. Add in the ability to blow hordes apart with Virulent Rounds, and you’ve got a unit that’s active on a whole bunch of different angles, and is excellent at picking up 5pts for WWSWF to boot.

The list isn’t going to be sitting idle if an opponent is hesistating to get stuck in with Terminators. Three PBCs provide a very reliable clip of attrition firepower, threatening to blast key objective holders to bits with their mortars and spike enemy vehicles with entropy cannons, while the Bloat-drones and (optionally) deep striking Deathshrouds provide an angle on roving around the board, bringing the exciting gift of the Gloaming Bloat into the middle of the opponent’s firebase in some matchups or just being a massive nuisance in others. The Bloat-drones also provide a comic counterpunch to enemy Raiders that hover too close, because if they Dark Cravings into combat they have a pretty reasonable chance of just trashing one outright, which would be extremely funny. The world’s thiccest Daemon Prince finishes things off as far as unusual tools go, providing a wrecking ball that can stride into combat with even the nastiest enemy melee units and expect to give a reasonable account of himself.

Notable by his absence is Mortarion, and I think that’s likely to be a fairly common choice – the risk of having to play him into a wall of re-rolling Dark Lances just feels like a bit much to justify the inclusion, and not taking him lets you spend the points on going a bit wider and spread things like Arch Contaminator out to other units. All things considered, this looks like a Death Guard list that’s conscious of the threat of Drukhari and has had a go at planning for them – so did it pay off?

Sadly, we didn’t get to find out – the Death Guard dodged the elfy menace on the way to their 4-1 finish. They did rack up a frankly eye-watering 100pt win against a Bloody Rose/Martyred Lady Retribs Sisters list, however, which is certainly up there as damage dealing armies go, suggesting that there’s definitely some merit to how things have been put together here. In fact, all four of this army’s wins were 100pts, which indicates that against any opponent that doesn’t have a plan to overcome it where its strong, it’ll roll straight over them.

The big question for Death Guard remains whether Drukhari are just operating on a whole other level of damage dealing that’ll punch through anything they can put up. If any builds can, I think this one is a pretty reasonable candidate, so I hope Logan achieving a strong third place here encourages him to take the list out to play again – science demands it.

Tyler Devries – Imperium – 4th Place

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Ebon chalice spearhead -3 cp

HQ

50 Canoness, terrible knowledge, wl trait -1 cp

Heavy Support

160 x5 Retributors, x4 mm, 2 cherubs
160 x5 Retributors, x4 mm, 2 cherubs
150 x5 Retributors, x3 mm, 2 cherubs, x1 similarcirum, x1 combi flamer

Dedicated Transport

80 Rhino

Dkok outrider detachment -3cp

HQ

45 dkok Pony Commander
45 dkok Pony Commander

Elites

60 dkok Command Squad
60 dkok Command Squad
60 dkok Command Squad

Troops

45 x5 Scions, plasma pistol

Fast Attack

135 x9 dkok Ponies
135 x9 dkok Ponies
135 x9 dkok Ponies

DA patrol 0 cp

HQ
160 Talon Master (warlord) Rites of War
160 Talon Master, relic- Arbiters Gaze

Troops

120 X5 infiltrators

Elites

150 Contemptor, x2 twin volkites -1 cp
90 Deathwing Command Squad, x2 TH/SS

The Standout Features

  • The pony club rides to war with a diverse case of tier 1 tools lined up behind it.
  • Endless robot horse wounds + shooting tools that are very hard to stop – a very strong combo.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

We’ve talked about Death Korps ponies pretty extensively in the past – in fact, they’re currently pretty much the standard bearer for the position holder unit role, as their combination of excessively cheap wounds and decent speed means they can reliably swarm to the mid-board and then force your opponent to wade through them to have any chance of getting into the game.

To prevent them from succeeding at that, you want to maximise the damage you’re doing to them while minimising the elements of your force they can engage with that aren’t ponies. To this end, Talonmasters make a lot of sense, as they benefit from character screening and put out hugely reliable attrition firepower, pretty much exactly what you want. They also benefit from a very sneaky trick you can pull with Deathwing command squads, which is putting those behind an Obscuring/opaque wall and having the Talonmasters floating around on the far side but still within 3″. From pictures I’ve seen of the (excellent) terrain at this event, there would have been plenty of places this could be set up, allowing the Talonmasters to get good sightlines without opening themselves up to return firepower, exaclty what you want here. The Dreadnought is likely less long for the world, as it can’t be perfectly screened, but as long as it does kick around it can operate on high gear, as Dark Angels make it lethal if it stands still thanks to boosting its hits, and the wound re-rolls of 1 from the Talonmaster go a long way.

That takes care of attrition for the long game, leaving one remaining ingredient for the classic position holder list – some early elimination threats to take out anything that threatens to carve through the ponies too quickly. Adepta Sororitas Retributors ably step up to this plate, with two Rhino-mounted units for a first turn punch and a Holy Trinity squad to (presumably) come in from Strategic Reserves to punk something in the mid-game. The list even goes with the Ebon Chalice to ensure that it has a 6 in its miracle pool via Terrible Knowledge, guaranteeing that its first melta strike will hit like an absolute truck into a unit like Mortarion or a Keeper of Secrets. There’s not really anything to keep the Retributors alive after that, but they’re one of the most reliable units in the game for trading up out the gate thanks to their cherubs, so anything they achieve beyond that point is essentially a bonus. The only possible deviation from that plan is that in some games one unit might end up skulking, because the WWSWF choices in the list are the two Talonmasters (easy to protect) and one Ret squad, and there will certainly be some games where passing up on shooting (or at least holding it for the late game) is worth it for the points. It’s certainly a nice bit of flexibility to have!

There’s not too much more to say here, because this is an extremely classic (but clearly effective) 9th Edition plan all round – gum up the board, spike their best stuff, grind out the rest. Like all pony lists, it’s a little vulnerable to any opponent that combines the ability to smoke a couple of squads fast and maneuvre around the rest, which is maybe a bit of a concern with Drukhari on the prowl, but it really can’t be overstated how steep the challenge of bursting the riders down is, and this is another setup I’ll be interested to see played into the spiky elves as they become a bigger part of the metagame.

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 5th Place – Jeremiah Petit – Adeptus Custodes: Score another one for “lists I really want to see play against Drukhari” – this vicious Custodes build combines two Telemons with many of the fast elements the faction provides, including three units of Venatari (one big) and three Pallas Grav-Attacks. “Just dodge the Telemons” is the normal Drukhari plan against them, but it seems plausible that tag teaming them with faster elements could prove a winner, and the list looks reasonably well suited to taking on the rest of the metagame too. One to watch.
  • 6th Place – Scott Blegen – Necrons: A list after my own heart here – two big Novokh Warrior blocks, the Nightbringer and the Silent King. Perfection, and Scott’s only dropped game was on top table round five. Necrons had a very good weekend in general, bucking recent trends, and seeing lists like this doing well is very encouraging, as we’ll talk about more tomorrow.
  • 7th Place – Charlie Andre – Dark Angels: A hilarious skew iteration of Dark Angels here that just goes all in on Deathwing bricks – three big Terminator units and a large Bladeguard squad. Pure Deathwing has had a bit of a harder time cutting through than Deathwing/Ravenwing mixes up till now, but this list is definitely a fearsome prospect to shift, and perhaps squeezing extra bodies onto the table in the form of the Bladeguard did enough heavy lifting.
  • 8th Place – Logan Payne – AdMech: A notable showing here for a pure Metalica AdMech Battalion, combining the shooting of Skorpii with powerful in-your-face elements like Fulgurite priests to take maximum advantage of Blaring Glory and its ilk.
  • 9th Place – Marvin Sims – Orks: Rounding out the 4-1s we have an Evil Sunz list that combines some very fluffy picks like Trukks, warbikers and Nob Bikes with a clanking horde of Killa Kanz. I do need to note that this list has what I assume is a mistaken copy/paste from an old build in that it’s got the Kult of Speed Specialist Detachment listed, which you obviously can’t take in the 9th GT missions. Outside that, like a lot of Ork builds this puts up a big wall of expendable hulls, and while Drukhari maybe do that better now, Orks are still very good at it.

Iron Halo War for the Wooden Spoon

You can find all the lists for this event in BCP.

Connor Mac Cormick – Drukhari – 1st Place

Drukhari Mandrakes. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Note: The same comment about the Dark Lotus Toxin applies here. In this case, even if you did have to fix it making one of the Succubi the warlord is essentially cost-free.

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [23 PL, 12CP, 470pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ HQ +

Drazhar [7 PL, 135pts]: The Executioner’s Demiklaives

+ Troops +

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

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

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

+ Elites +

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

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

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [43 PL, 2CP, 765pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ HQ +

Archon [4 PL, 70pts]: Ancient Evil, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, The Helm of Spite, Warlord

+ 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: Demiklaives

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

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

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

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

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

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

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [38 PL, -5CP, 765pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

Raiding Forces – CP Refund [2CP]

+ Stratagems +

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

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

+ HQ +

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

Succubus [4 PL, -1CP, 75pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, Dark Lotus Toxin, Razorflails, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Hekatrix Bloodbrides [8 PL, -1CP, 125pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaines’s Agoniser, Plasma Grenades, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 9x Hekatrix Bloodbride: 9x Hekatarii Blade, 9x Plasma Grenades, 9x Splinter Pistol

Wyches [3 PL, 50pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

Wyches [3 PL, 50pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Elites +

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

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

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [11 PL, 255pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive, Splinter Pods
. 14x Hellion: 14x Hellglaive, 14x Splinter Pods

++ Total: [104 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A triple showing for Drukhari is rounded out by a list using the Black Heart and yet another set of flex choices.
  • A second Succubus provides another powerful melee killer, backed up by even more MSUs to flumox the opponent.
  • A large Hellion unit provides an incredibly broad melee threat.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Drukhari’s blockbuster weekend continues with a second tournament win, and mercifully for your correspondent once we get to three armies with a reasonable amount of overlap in the tools in the same article, writing them up gets a bit faster. We’ve still got liquifiers in (lots of) Raiders, we’ve still got Cult of Strife Bloodbrides, and Drahzar is still running around with a whole bunch of Incubi.

There are differences, however. First up, we see out third Kabal choice, with the old school goodness of the Kabal of the Black Heart providing an alterntive source of Raider re-rolls and access to Agents of Vect to give opponents headaches. As well as a new kabal, we see a third different pick for a flex unit in the Hellions. These don’t need a huge amount of explaining if we’re honest – they’re fast, hit like a truck with Cult of Strife re-rolls or Eviscerating Fly-by, and because they start out on the key breakpoint of S4, you can afford to take random drug picks as here if you want a chance to really high roll with Hyperstimm Backlash in a game where you hit the right choices. They’re super nasty, most codexes would kill to have access to them, and the fact that they’re just one of your many valid choices says a lot about where Drukhari are right now.

The other thing to call attention to with this army is just how wide it goes with MSUs – outside the Hellions and the near-mandatory Bloodbrides, it’s five model squads everywhere, including three units of Mandrakes. This has upsides and downsides – the advantage is that it massively reduces your vulnerability to any one unit getting bursted off the table, and with the Mandrakes potentially allows you to put pressure on opponents right out of the gate. The downside is that it makes your secondary game a bit weaker – units like Trueborn and Grotesques that can just hit the threshold for WWSWF while hiding in boats are a real asset, and this list will be a bit easier to score Grind them Down against than the others. My gut feel is that the lists packing WWSWF options will win out, but again the fact that both routes are aggressively viable out of the same book is a real strong sign.

Drukhari then – a whole myriad of ways to make your opponent’s life incredibly difficult, and congratulations to Connor for his victory here.

BamBam Hunter – Chaos – 2nd Place

Armiger Moiraxes
Armiger Moiraxes. Credit: That Gobbo

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +2CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [25 PL, 2CP, 490pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Inexorable

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

Mortarion [25 PL, 490pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 3. Plague Wind, 6. Gift of Plagues, Host of plagues (pick 1 warlord trait at start of first battleround) Warlord (3 default WL traits)

++ Super-Heavy Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Chaos Knights) [64 PL, 9CP, 1,240pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Dread Household: Bold Tyrants, Custom Household, Harrying Packs (Infernal)

+ Lord of War +

War Dogs Moirax [24 PL, 465pts] . War Dog Moirax: Character (Traitoris Lance), 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock

War Dogs Moirax [24 PL, 465pts] . War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock

War Dogs Moirax [16 PL, 310pts] . War Dog Moirax: 2x Graviton pulsar
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Graviton pulsar

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [13 PL, -3CP, 258pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Word Bearers

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Sorcerer [6 PL, 115pts]: Bolt pistol, Death Hex, Force stave, Jump pack, Mark of Nurgle, The Malefic Tome, Warptime

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: Mark of Nurgle
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: Mark of Nurgle
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [1 PL, 23pts]: Chaos Spawn, Mark of Nurgle

++ Total: [102 PL, 8CP, 1,988pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • The tried and true power of Infernal Moiraxes team up with Mortarion for a whole new skew build.
  • Turbo-charged lightning locks look real good against a lot of the metagame.
  • Unfailable Warptime and Death Hex provide a toolbox of emergency tricks to swing games.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Amidst the Drukhari hell we appear to be entering into, it’s nice to see some other emerging technology as well – especially something that feels like it has real game against the elf menace. One of the few things Drukhari kind of struggle with is popping lots of either invulnerable-toting or T8 hulls at range, and this list is well set up to exploit that, with Mortarion more than able to tank the six re-rolling Dark Lance shots most of the builds have for a turn, and if the lances turn elsewhere they’re looking at clipping through one or maybe two Wardogs if they’re lucky. In return, this list does damage. I’ve had the misfortune of playing against a wall of lightning locks on multiple occasions and it isn’t fun, with -1D being really the only defence that works. That does relevantly exist in the metagame, which is probably why two of the Moiraxes are packing graviton pulsars – Blightlords or Deathwing with the Pennant do not like having D4 grav dropped on their head. The custom household that’s used here makes this part of the army even more flexible – increasing their AP up close helps against Terminators that are either in cover of packing shields, while allowing the Knights to fall back and shoot helps avoid getting bumped and locked up by enemy transports or overwhelmed by hordes. Against anything that isn’t just going to steamroll them in a fight, these are going to be a pain to take down, and likely win a damage race.

Against opponents who are going to try and steamroll them, Mortarion is a very powerful counterplay. He can both messily kill many enemy elites and drop massive, incredibly disruptive debuff bubbles on the enemy, with both of the stalwarts of The Droning and Gloaming Bloat feeling very strong here in various matchups, especially amped up with Gift of Plagues. In some game the ability to fire Mortarion forward with Warptime will also be highly relevant – while going all-out with him can be high risk, this list racks up so much damage from attrition firepower that if he locks up the opposing forces for a couple of turns it can build up overwhelming advantages. In games where more caution is needed, Warptime also allows him to join the fray in a hurry, and I suspect more of the time an initial foray of War Dogs to the mid board is going to aim to bait the enemy closer so he can strike. The same Sorceror also brings Death Hex to the fray, which combines with the close-range AP boost on the Moiraxes to allow the army to drop catastrophic damage on a crucial target on a swing turn. All in all, Mortarion lines up very well with the puppers – it gives the list a reasonably uniform defensive profile on its threats, and all of them can stay mobile while getting stuff done.

The other thing the combo here does is makes this yet another list with a good angle on WWSWF, something that’s quickly becoming a key part of successful builds. From each of the two Moirax trio units you can keep one of the three safely back on home objectives while the others go hunting, meaning that your opponent has to reach out and do substantial damage to this force or swing for Mortarion to start cutting the score. Add in two units of Cultists as well and this list becomes far more flexible in what it can pick secondary-wise than you might expect for a build with so many Lord of War choices.

Variations on this list have been tried before, and it’s good to see a player pick it up and run it to its full potential – congratulations to BamBam.

Kyle McCord – Imperium – 3rd Place

Bladeguard Veterans
Bladeguard Veterans. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [32 PL, 555pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Forge World Choice
. Forge World: Stygies VIII

+ HQ +

Tech-Priest Dominus [5 PL, 82pts]: Phosphor Serpenta, Relic: Phosphoenix, Volkite Blaster, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Engine War): Divinations of the Magos

+ Troops +

Skitarii Rangers [3 PL, 45pts] . Ranger Alpha: Galvanic Rifle
. 4x Skitarii Ranger: 4x Galvanic Rifle

+ Fast Attack +

Serberys Raiders [4 PL, 64pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 3x Serberys Raider: 3x Cavalry Sabre, 3x Clawed Limbs, 3x Galvanic Carbine

Serberys Raiders [4 PL, 64pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 3x Serberys Raider: 3x Cavalry Sabre, 3x Clawed Limbs, 3x Galvanic Carbine

+ Heavy Support +

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [30 PL, 8CP, 570pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Regimental Doctrine: Gunnery Experts, Spotter Details

+ Stratagems +

Imperial Commander’s Armoury [-1CP]: 1 additional Heirloom of Conquest

Tank Ace [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Tank Commander [12 PL, 240pts]: Lascannon, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon
. 2 Plasma Cannons

Tank Commander [12 PL, 240pts]: Lascannon, Master Mechanic, Relic: Kurov’s Aquila, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon
. 2 Plasma Cannons

+ Troops +

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor: Chainsword, Plasma pistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor: Chainsword, Plasma pistol

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [50 PL, -3CP, 875pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Dark Angels

+ HQ +

Lazarus [6 PL, 110pts]

+ 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

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

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

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

+ Fast Attack +

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

++ Total: [112 PL, 5CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Guns.
  • Seriously – just the minimum amount of stuff required to hold the opponent up in the mid board while the gun show gets things done.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This one is another fantastic curveball. This army takes some incredible 8th Edition energy and modernises it for 9th, clearly with some success. Back when more detachments were good and you could win games just by blasting your opponent to bits while gradually advancing them, Imperium lists that teamed up Tank Commanders, Skorpiii and some third hyper-efficient gun platform were a reasonably common sight, ready to ruinously punish any opponent who couldn’t stand up to a hail of firepower.

9th means you can’t quite just run that plan straight up, but once you add the concessions to modernity this list is sporting you’ve got a credible strategy. Redemptors make sense as a third choice of platform, as their ability to contribute in melee as well as at range gives the army a bit more flexiblity in how it engages (and access to D4 plasma in a pinch is no bad thing). By itself that wouldn’t be enough to deal with the focus on the mid-baord that 9th demands, but the tag team of Serberys Raiders and Deathwing Bladeguard help with that a lot. These units stand out as being disproportionately annoying speed bumps for their cost thanks to the high wound count and Tactica Obliqua on the Raiders and the Deathwing having their perma-Transhuman and access to Line Unbreakable to shut down horde assaults. Together, these units buy enough time for the shooting to rack up a real kill count, hopefully ensuring that anything that remains once the Redemptors get stuck in doesn’t have the oomph to take them out. Lazarus also ensures that opponents leaning on mortals have a tougher time chewing through the Bladeguard or Dreads, as both are considerably more vulnerable to smites than most conventional damage deealers. It’s an unusual choice, but one that lines up pretty effectively with the options in use here.

Some Scions for objective play finish things off, and there’s not that much more deep stuff to say here. This list has a very clear plan that the tools support extremely well, and seems to have worked very effectively, with its only loss coming by the agonising margin of a single point. I’d be slightly worried that the non-Master Mechanic Russ is too obvious of a value pinata for enemy shooting to target out of the gate, but the list is still very deadly after it loses that first unit, so I suspect it’s probably survivable. It’s always good to see a new spin on an old standby, so great job to Kyle on this finish.

Jason Merten – Adepta Sororitas – 4th Place

Celestine. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [56 PL, -4CP, 1,090pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Order Convictions: Order: Valorous Heart

+ HQ +

Canoness [3 PL, -1CP, 60pts]: Blessed Blade, Bolt pistol, Heroine in the Making, Relic: Litanies of Faith, Warlord Trait: 4. Beacon of Faith

Palatine [3 PL, 45pts]: Bolt pistol, Rosarius

+ Troops +

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 65pts] . 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Simulacrum
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Combi-melta

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

+ Elites +

Celestian Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . 2x Celestian: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Boltgun, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Celestian Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
. Celestian w/ Simulacrum
. Celestian w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

+ Fast Attack +

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 95pts] . 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols

+ Heavy Support +

Exorcist [9 PL, 195pts]: Exorcist Missile Launcher

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 145pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Hand Flamer
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 140pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [7 PL, 130pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Heavy flamer
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

+ Dedicated Transport +

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [46 PL, 11CP, 910pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Order Convictions: Order: Bloody Rose

+ Stratagems +

Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ No Force Org Slot +

Repentia Superior [2 PL, 40pts]: Bolt pistol, Relic: Iron Surplice of St Istaela, Warlord, Warlord Trait: 5. Indomitable Belief

+ HQ +

Celestine [8 PL, 170pts]

Triumph of Saint Katherine [10 PL, 195pts]

+ Troops +

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

+ Elites +

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

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 112pts] . 7x Sisters Repentia: 7x Penitent Eviscerator

+ Heavy Support +

Mortifiers [3 PL, 65pts] . Anchorite: 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails

Mortifiers [3 PL, 65pts] . Anchorite: 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails

+ Dedicated Transport +

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

++ Total: [102 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Sororitas – still good.
  • The Palatine makes an splash and increases the value of the Valorous Heart.
  • The named character club comes out to play once more.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Sisters need little explanation at this point – they were reigning metagame champions before the Drukhari arrived, and people pretty much know what they’re capable of. They do, of course, have one new tool in their arsenal, which is the Palatine, on show here and to my eyes changing the maths on how relatively good some options are. A re-roll 1s aura for wounds is obviously fantastic just generally, but it plays especially well with shooty melta weaponry and Exorcists. Previously, if you wanted this aura you had to take Martyred Lady, leaving the more natural choice of Valourous Heart for shooty options on the bench, but now the Palatine makes it incredibly easy to enjoy the best of both worlds, raising the stock of Exorcists in particular (as they have less other synergy with Martyred Lady). I must admit I’m slightly surprised by the lack of an Imagifier to really lean on the Valorous Heart trait, but it’s possible the calculation is just that most stuff in the metagame right now is either AP-1 or more chunky. I guess we’ll see whether that assumption survives the prolliferation of liquifier guns!

While the Valorous Heart form this list’s core, packing at least some Bloody Rose Repentia is near mandatory, and this list goes in on just that, even making sure to bring a Superior with Indomitable Belief to amp them up to a 4++ alongside Celestine. She’s joined by the Triumph of St. Katherine, a powerful tool that’s always at its best in this kind of mix and match list because of how much it rewards you for being active in lots of phases. With two of the Retributor squads set up for Holy Trinity as well, this list can drop some absurd spike damage on demand, adding up to a whole bunch of diabolical tricks to swing a game at a key moment.

As a top player in the metagame, Sisters are going to be one of the places people go looking for answers to the Drukhari menace, and it’ll be interesting to see if a more universal shift to including at least some Valorous Heart units ramp up. Great job Jason for giving us some food for thought.

The Rest of the Best

Two more players finished on 4-1 records at this event:

  • 5th Place – Benjamin Schneider – Adepta Sororitas:very unusual Sisters build here, making the bold choice of bypassing Bloody Rose entirely in favour of making its mid-board threats durable with Valorous Heart and Ebon Chalice for a reliable clip of miracle use at range, finished up with the same named character tag team and a unit of Mortifiers. It’s very out there and frankly likely to just bamboozle some opponents, but the idea of having Zephyrim ignoring AP-2 while they operate definitely has some reasonable appeal.
  • 6th Place – Robert Moreland – Adeptus Mechanicus: Another unusual combination to close things out here, with no less than three different Force Worlds represented. Data Hoard Breachers, Ryza Destroyers and Pteraxii (taking advantage of Plasma Specialists and the boosts to melee respectively) and Lucius Corpuscarii priests and Raiders come together to forge a powerful alloy that once again packs both serious heft and enough unusual curveballs to overwhelm many opponents.

Wrap Up

Big things are afoot once more, and as mentioned at the start this isn’t all we’ve got for you this week – tomorrow we’ll have a lightning roundup of the rest of the huge number of torunaments that took place alongside some overall thought, and we’re also going to be taking a deeper look at the new Drukhari menace in particular. Stay tuned to Goonhammer for all your competitive updates, and if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com.