Competitive Innovations in 9th: Too Much Warhammer, Too Often Pt.2

We’re back for this week’s second helping of Competitive Innovations! As we mentioned yesterday, this weekend’s incredibly packed tournament schedule means that the column has once again been split into two parts. If you missed yesterday’s post, and you’re looking to find out about a specific tournament, we’ve divided them up as follows:

Part 1:

  • Frontline Gaming Cherokee Open 40K Champs
  • The Pecking Order: Pecking Wars GT
  • Iron Cage GT
  • Attrition Grand Tournament
  • Leodis February 2022 GT

Part 2:

  • Battle In The Bush 2021(22)
  • Down Under 40k GT Feb
  • Broadsword Wargaming ITC Winter Major
  • Bembel Clash #2
  • Kent Wargames Feb GT

If you missed the first part of our two-parter this week, you can find it here. It’s worth reading, as I’m about to follow-up on Peter “The Falcon” Colosimo’s notes on the meta in my write-up below.

Notes on Custodes and T’au

TheChirurgeon: Yesterday Falcon laid out some great information on the results we’ve been seeing around Adeptus Custodes and T’au armies, each posting around 72% win rates once mirror match games had been removed. This is, to put it lightly, a problem. Falcon compared it to the launch of Drukhari and Iron Hands, only with two such factions dominating at an unreasonable level and that’s accurate – and pushing every other faction to sub-50% win rates at the GT level. But historically it’s worth looking at those armies and how they compared to say, the Castellan lists of 8th edition and what we can learn from those when it comes to balancing these.

Specifically, the Castellan list was easy to balance for one reason: It was heavily dependent on the dominance of a single unit or small set of units. By raising the points cost on the Castellan by about 100 points, Games Workshop opened the game up for other vehicles and made it difficult for Castellan + loyal 32/17 lists to compete. In contrast, when Iron Hands released, we identified no fewer than four distinct builds that were dominating at the competitive level. And likewise with Drukhari, there were multiple dominant strategies and tactics within the winning lists, from Cult of Strife Succubi to Dark Technomancers Liquifiers to Talos/Chronos builds to Raider-heavy builds and the Grotesque builds that would become Thicc City. When it came time to bring these factions to heel, multiple changes were needed, as each new adjustment only moved armies around, causing players to jump to another dominant strategy. The result? Each book required three or more rounds of nerfs before finally resembling something that was competitively reasonable.

So as we stand on the precipice of what are some incredibly necessary adjustments for T’au and Custodes, it’s important to figure out what kinds of problems we’re looking at for each army, and whether we need small point adjustments to several units or if larger changes are required as small changes might just leave us playing Whack-a-Mole for the next year until a faction is in a reasonable place.

Secondary Objectives

Let’s start here since I think we’ll find that this area isn’t a concern, and ruling it out early will be helpful. Whereas Grey Knights and Drukhari can point to Purifying Ritual and Herd the Prey, respectively, as sources of their success, the same does not appear to be true for Custodes and T’au.

Neither faction has a secondary that scores more than 1 point above the average for universal secondary objectives (8 points), and neither faction has a secondary objective being taken more than 20% of the time – compare that to Herd the Prey (53%) and Purifying Ritual (78%). We can rule these out as problems.

The Units

Let’s talk about the units. This is a longer, more painful analysis because it involves manually reading through a ton of lists (thanks, BCP!) to look at every army’s composition. Fortunately this past weekend gives us a reasonable sample to look at: We had 10 events, each with a top 8 filled with x-1 lists, and between them that gives us 80 potential lists to look at. Of those, a whopping 37 (46.3%) were either Custodes (20) or T’au (17), giving us a good sample to sort through to identify potential issues.

Adeptus Custodes

There were 20 Custodes lists in last weekend’s top 8s. Of those, 17 were Emperor’s Chosen, 2 were Shadowkeepers, and 1 was Emmissaries Imperatus. Custodes lists are somewhat varied in that, of the army’s 33 datasheets (including Forge World), 19 saw use in top competitive lists (58%). Considering that list includes units like the Land raider and Aleya, that’s a pretty healthy percentage. There are however, a few units we’d look at as problems here:

  • Vertus Praetors (the jetbikes) were the only unit to show up in every single list (20/20), with an average of 2.3 units per list. They’re clearly a big part of what makes Custodes work.
  • Trajann showed up in 17/20 lists, and is likely undercosted.
  • Captains on Dawneagle Jetbikes showed up in 16/20 lists

Otherwise, few non-troop units showed up in the kinds of volumes to suggest that nerfing them might significantly hinder the army. Sagittarum may be a target here, but I’d suggest that increases on Trajann and the jetbike units is a good starting point, with potentially a change to Emperor’s Chosen (a 5+ FNP?), and I might also recommend drops on Vigilators and Anathema Rhinos, as they’re two of the units in the book seeing no play.

T’au Empire

While I think you can probably solve the Custodes problem with point increases on a few key units (and maybe some kind of adjustment on Emperor’s Chosen to make it worth picking other subfactions), T’au are a different story entirely. There are 34 non-Fortification datasheets for T’au in their Codex (We are excluding Forge World here as they aren’t as important to T’au), and of those, a whopping 27 got used in successful lists this past weekend. That’s 79% – Hell, even Vespid Stingwings showed up in multiple lists (3)! The T’au book has remarkable internal balance; it’s just externally balanced for a completely different game.

Of course, this means that the problem is much harder to pinpoint, and T’au are likely to be more of a whack-a-mole style target. Of the 17 lists we looked at, 8 ran the T’au Sept, 4 were Bork’an, 2 were Farsight – with another 2 being Farsight-allied to take Ethereals, and 1 ran a Custom Sept. Not nearly as uniform as Custodes.

When it came to units there’s a clear favorite among T’au players: Crisis Battlesuits showed up in every list, with an average of 2 units per list if you include Crisis Bodyguards in the math. They clearly need adjustment but we’ll come back to them in a moment. After Crisis Suits, the next target is likely Ethereals, who showed up in 14 out of the 17 lists if you count the two lists running Aun’Va (a special character Ethereal). Beyond that, the picture gets muddy:

  • Coldstar Commanders showed up in 11/17 lists
  • Broadsides showed up in 9/17 lists
  • Shadowsun showed up in 8/17 lists
  • Stealth Suits showed up in 8/17 lists
  • Hammerheads showed up in 6/17 lists
  • Stormsurges showed up in 6/17 lists

Ethereals seem like the obvious next target, in part because of what they do for the army’s other units, where giving CORE units a 5+ ignore wounds/FNP roll with Sense of Stone makes chewing through Battlesuits incredibly difficult. Broadsides are probably the next unit that needs examination after that, and there it may make sense to just remove the unit’s CORE keyword rather than increase their cost, though this doesn’t currently hamper the Stormsurge or Riptide. It’s worth noting that Broadsides and Stormsurges are more likely to show up in Bork’an lists, but were not limited to those lists.

Wargear

Finally that brings us back to the Crisis Suits and, in particular, the wargear options they have. Much has been said about the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector and the ability to shoot without line of sight, and for some T’au armies, the sheer volume of indirect fire they can throw out can be daunting. But it’s less clear that this is the sole issue – AFPs were common in the lists we looked at, but not the only option for Crisis Suits. And even on the suit units, they were equally likely to show up in pairs, i.e. two on the same model, as to be paired with other weapons. It’s likely the cost of the first AFP needs to come up; less clear about the second and third. Plasma Rifles and Cyclic Ion Blasters are also common choices, but rather than increase wargear costs across the board it likely makes more sense to increase the costs of Crisis Suits and Crisis Suit/Coldstar Commanders to begin with.

Ultimately there may be an equal problem here to what Crisis Suits are shooting and that’s the difficulty of killing them. They’re a relatively tough unit to begin with, and once you add in drones and they get goated up on the Ethereal Sauce they’re incredibly difficult to dislodge and liable to return the favor by shooting you in the face. It’s not just that they hit hard or are tough to kill, but rather that they’re both at the same time.

Alright with all of that out of the way, let’s talk about the events.

Battle in the Bush 2021(22)

For our first event today head Down Under, to the Battle in the Bush 2021 event. Yes, it happened in 2022 thanks to a host of delays, but it’s still the 2021 event in name. This two-day, five-round GT had 49 players and thankfully(?) mixed things up by merely giving us two 5-0 finishers – Hayden Ford’s Custodes beat Will Meibusch’s T’au in the final round, while Jack Lavercombe’s Drukhari topped Rowan Kennett’s Crusher Stampede to finish 2nd. You can find the lists in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Mission: The Scouring

TheChirurgeon: Look, this isn’t the top table matchup but we’ve written enough words about Custodes vs. Tau over the past three weeks that it felt like it was time to skip that one and talk about a different, if not entirely novel matchup. Jack Lavercombe was the other 5-0 player, taking on Rowan Kennett’s Crusher Stampede Tyranids in the final round.

Jack's List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [33 PL, 650pts] ++

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

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]: Hatred Eternal, Warlord

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 90pts]
. 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

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

+ Heavy Support +

Cronos [12 PL, 260pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Cronos: Spirit Probe, Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [22 PL, 407pts, 9CP] ++

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)
Raiding Forces – CP Refund
Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]
Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, 95pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, 130pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Wych: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [7 PL, 102pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 5x Hellion: 5x Hellglaive, 5x Splinter Pods

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

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [60 PL, 942pts, -1CP] ++

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power
Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 136pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 136pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)

+ HQ +

Archon [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: Ancient Evil, As Detachment (Kabal), Blast Pistol, Overlord, Power sword, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Animus Vitae

Archon [4 PL, 75pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), Blast Pistol, Overlord, Power sword, The Helm of Spite

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 40pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance
Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance
Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: As Detachment, Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

++ Total: [115 PL, 8CP, 1,999pts] ++

vs.

Rowan's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [110 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Crusher Stampede

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

Detachment Command Cost

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems +

Bounty of the Hive Fleet [-1CP]: 1 Extra Bio-artefact

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Malanthrope [8 PL, -1CP, 150pts]: Relic: Adaptive Neural Lobe, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader, Warlord Trait: Strategic Adaptation

Neurothrope [5 PL, 95pts]: Power: Catalyst, Aggressive Surge, Relic: The Void Crown

The Swarmlord [12 PL, 240pts]: Power: Aggressive Surge, Power: Synaptic Barrier

+ Troops +

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 66pts]: Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: 2x Scything Talons

+ Elites +

Haruspex [8 PL, 155pts]
. Adaptive Physiology: Murderous Size

Hive Guard [14 PL, 250pts]
. 5x Hive Guard (Impaler): 5x Impaler Cannon

Maleceptor [10 PL, 185pts]: Power: Onslaught, Synaptic Link: Focal Essence

+ Heavy Support +

Barbed Hierodule [14 PL, 275pts]

Mawloc [7 PL, 125pts]: Prehensile Pincer Tail

Tyrannofex [9 PL, 160pts]: Acid Spray

+ Flyer +

Harpy [8 PL, 165pts]: 2x Heavy Venom Cannon

Thoughts

James “Boon” Kelling: Imagine a world where Drukhari vs Crusher is the most interesting matchup at an event – don’t think too hard on it.

This is an interesting matchup for several reasons, but mostly because these two lists are diametrically opposed in their strengths and weaknesses. Drukhari in general trade durability for speed, numbers, and a bevy of mid-strength, close-ranged 2D attacks and plays into mission objectives very well. Crusher by comparison relies on few but highly durable, massive units capable of slamming into an objective and immediately imposing their will with heavy damage, mortal wounds, and the capability to stick out multiple rounds of combat. Both are boosted by limited but very high quality shooting, and neither can afford to be out of position due to a lack of durability for the Drukhari or a lack of speed and numbers for the Crusher. Where Drukhari holds the edge is in their superior capability to score on secondaries that can often hinder the Crusher lists.

Jack brings to the table a bit of a personal touch on a common archetype of the Drukhari good stuff builds – just a single block of Cronos but a double block of full-sized (Sslyth and Ur-Ghul) Courts of the Archon that provide surprising durability for a bunch of T3 models and then surrounds them with a bunch of Cult of Strife and unaligned utility units in the Whip/Edge Succubus, Hellions, Wyches, Scourges, Mandrakes, and Incubi. There’s a couple of action and objective sitting Wracks sqauds, a single Raider and a single Venom, some fire support in the twin Ravagers, and then Draz provides the final touch on a list with a lot of flexibility and a lot of sneaky punch.

On the other end of the table Rowan runs a rather irregular Crusher list. Led by the Swarmlord accompanied by a block of Hive Guard, the list otherwise forgoes a lot of standbys in the Flying Hive Tyrants and trades it for a Malanthrope instead. Instead of Dimachaerons or a bevy of Hierodules, Rowan brings just a single Barbed Hierodule and instead surrounds it with some more flexible utility monsters in the Tyrannofex, Mawloc, and Haruspex.  He then rounds out the list with the usual accompaniment of min-maxed Warrior squads boosting the army with their +1 to hit, the Maleceptor with it’s AP boost and dmg re-roll, and high utility Harpy – providing extra mobility and capable of swooping in and stealing an objective from anywhere on the table. It’s a Crusher list that can take advantage of Obscuring terrain but trades some of its high toughness and durability to do so. It also provides a more complex target for the Drukhari to tackle as it has a few more tools and ranged attacks than the typical list.

Ultimately, I give Drukhari the edge in this matchup, but it’s a game where the first turn will really set the tone. Rowan really wants to go first here to take advantage of his Hive Guard’s capability to limit the threat of Jack’s Ravagers or force what is likely a mounted Archon (with Vitae) on the ground and keep him on the back foot and reactive rather than forward positioned with advance and charges on T1 or prepped for T2. By contrast, Jack may gain an overwhelming advantage on T1, even if he can’t draw line of sight to any good targets with his Ravagers, by simply pressing his speed advantage on T1 and putting himself in a position to focus, overwhelm, and chip away at Rowan’s monsters. Each one that falls represents a significant degradation to the capability of the list and without a Dima or Flying Hive Tyrant in the list, there’s nothing that is particularly scary for Jack to fear from a Swarmlord double-move.  For Jack, this will always be a game of opportunistic play – he’ll need to work with what Rowan gives him. For Rowan, this is a game where he largely cannot dictate the combats, but he can choose what tools Jack cannot bring to bear. The question is whether he can do enough, early enough, to stem the multi-faceted scoring capabilities of Jack’s list.

Result

Jack scored a narrow victory, edging out Rowan 82-77.

Hayden Ford – Adeptus Custodes – 1st Place

Vertus Praetor
Vertus Praetor. Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [99 PL, -2CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Type / Shield Host: Adeptus Custodes, Emperor’s Chosen

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Open the Vaults [-1CP]: Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [10 PL, -2CP, 175pts]: (Emperor’s Chosen): Auric Exemplar, 3. Superior Creation, Auric Aquilas, Hurricane Bolter, Misericordia, Stratagem: The Emperor’s Heroes, Stratagem: Victor of the Blood Games, Tip of the Spear

Trajann Valoris [9 PL, 1CP, 160pts]

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 135pts]
. 3x Custodian w/ Guardian Spear & Misericordia: 3x Guardian Spear, 3x Misericordia

+ Elites +

Custodian Wardens [7 PL, 150pts]
. 3x Warden w/ Castellan Axe & Misericordia: 3x Castellan Axe, 3x Misericordia

Vexilus Praetor [6 PL, 105pts]: Castellan’s Mark, Guardian Spear, Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack +

Vertus Praetors [20 PL, 425pts]
. 5x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia: 5x Interceptor Lance, 5x Misericordia, 5x Salvo Launcher

Vertus Praetors [20 PL, 425pts]
. 5x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia: 5x Interceptor Lance, 5x Misericordia, 5x Salvo Launcher

Vertus Praetors [20 PL, 425pts]
. 5x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia: 5x Interceptor Lance, 5x Misericordia, 5x Salvo Launcher

++ Total: [99 PL, -2CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features/Archetype

Archetype: Emperor’s Chosen Jetbikes

  • Trajann, undercosted by about 40 points
  • Lots of Jetbikes – A Jetbike Captain and Three units of 5 Vertus Praetors

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

At this point, we’ve seen this variant of the Custodes list before – the list runs super heavy on the additional mobility and toughness of Cutsodes jetbikes, running three units of five that give up Objective Secured in favor of just being tough as hell and having more firepower. The Salvo Launchers give them the ability to pump out a nasty amount of ranged damage at heavier targets they can then charge in to finish off.

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 3rd – Ewart Searle – T’au Empire: T’au Sept with Shadowsun and Longstrike, with a first loss in round 4.
  • 4th – Alex Rigby – Imperial Knights: Alex lost his first match but went undefeated following, with a list of one Magaera and ten Armigers/Moiraxes.
  • 5th – Michael Duke – Tyranids: Michael’s first loss came in round 4. His Crusher Stampede went a little lighter on the big monsters in favor of Raveners and more Tyranid Warriors.
  • 6th – Siddharth Shirodkar – Adeptus Custodes: Emperor’s Chosen with a Telemon and an Achillus. Notable for including a Culexus Assassin.
  • 7th – Will Meibusch – T’au Empire: Will lost in the final round to Hayden Ford. His list is a Farsight Enclaves battlesuit list.
  • 8th – Joshua Brodie – Adeptus Mechanicus: The Skitarii Veteran Cohort put up a solid fight, losing in round 4.
  • 9th – Justin Lach – T’au Empire: Justin’s T’au list is actually interesting in that it packs three Stormsurges, supporting them with a large number of Strike teams and Kroot. Justin lost in round 2 to Michael Duke’s Crusher Stampede.

Down Under 40k GT Feb

We’re staying in Australia for this five-round, 40-player event in Medowie, which saw T’au and Drukhari squaring off on the top table. Lists for the event can be found in Best Coast Pairings

The Showdown

The Mission: Abandoned Sanctuaries

Matt's List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (T’au Empire) [61 PL, -4CP, 1,127pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves, Show Sept Tenets rule

+ No Force Org Slot +

Crisis Bodyguards [7 PL, 112pts]
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Target Lock
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’vre: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Target Lock
. Shield Drone

Crisis Bodyguards [7 PL, 162pts]
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’ui: T’au Flamer, T’au Flamer, Target Lock
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’ui: T’au Flamer, T’au Flamer, Target Lock
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’vre: T’au Flamer, T’au Flamer, Target Lock
. Shield Drone

+ HQ +

Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, -1CP, 182pts]: 1. Precision of the Hunter, Burst Cannon, High-output Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, Onager Gauntlet, Stratagem: Promising Pupil, T’au Flamer, Thermoneutronic Projector
. Marker Drone
. Shield Drone

Commander in Crisis Battlesuit [9 PL, -1CP, 167pts]: 6. Exemplar of the Mont’ka, Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, DW-02 Advanced Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, Multi-sensory Discouragement Array, Plasma Rifle, Stratagem: Promising Pupil
. Marker Drone
. Shield Drone

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]
. 9x Breacher Fire Warrior: 9x Pulse Blaster, 9x Pulse Pistol

Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]
. 9x Breacher Fire Warrior: 9x Pulse Blaster, 9x Pulse Pistol

+ Elites +

Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 96pts]: Homing Beacon
. 2x Gun Drone: 4x Pulse Carbine
. 2x Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: 2x Burst Cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst Cannon

+ Fast Attack +

Kroot Hounds [1 PL, 24pts]
. 4x Kroot Hound: 4x Ripping Fangs

Kroot Hounds [1 PL, 24pts]
. 4x Kroot Hound: 4x Ripping Fangs

+ Dedicated Transport +

Devilfish [6 PL, 95pts]
. 2x Gun Drones
. . 2x Gun Drone: 4x Pulse Carbine

Devilfish [6 PL, 95pts]
. 2x Gun Drones
. . 2x Gun Drone: 4x Pulse Carbine

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (T’au Empire) [53 PL, 873pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves

+ HQ +

Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit [9 PL, 172pts]: (Farsight Enclaves): Master of the Killing Blow, Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Warlord
. Marker Drone
. Shield Drone

+ Troops +

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

+ Elites +

Crisis Battlesuits [21 PL, 313pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’vre: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Iridium battlesuit, Plasma Rifle, Stimm Injectors, Target Lock
. 4x Shield Drone: 4x Shield Generator

Crisis Battlesuits [20 PL, 328pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’vre: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Iridium battlesuit, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock
. 4x Shield Drone: 4x Shield Generator

++ Total: [114 PL, -4CP, 2,000pts] ++

vs.

Chris's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [119 PL, 9CP, 1,997pts] ++

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder, Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power, Realspace Raid, The Prophets of Flesh: Connoisseurs of Pain
Stratagem: Alliance of Agony [-1CP]
Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]
Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 152pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Lhamean
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)
. Ur-Ghul: As Detachment (Kabal)

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), Hatred Eternal, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, The Djin Blade, Warlord
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

Haemonculus [5 PL, 90pts]: As Detachment (Coven), Diabolical Soothsayer, Stratagem: Alliance of Agony WLT, The Vexator Mask
. Alchemical Maestro (Prophets): Alchemical Maestro

Succubus [5 PL, 95pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Alliance of Agony WLT, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Haemoxytes [8 PL, 140pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. 7x Haemoxyte: 7x Wrack Blade
. Haemoxyte Acothyst: Liquifier Gun, Scissorhand
. Haemoxyte w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. Haemoxyte w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 145pts]: As Detachment (Kabal)
. 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Wracks [6 PL, 85pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. 9x Wracks: 9x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 45pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 45pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

Wyches [3 PL, 60pts]: 3 – Hypex (Combat Drug), As Detachment (Wych Cult)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Elites +

Grotesques [10 PL, 140pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

Grotesques [10 PL, 140pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

Grotesques [5 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver
. Grotesque w/ Monstrous Cleaver

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 130pts]: As Detachment (Kabal), 3x Dark Lance

Talos [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

Talos [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment (Coven)
. Talos: Talos Gauntlet, Talos ichor injector
. . Two heat lances

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 115pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance, Splinter racks
Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance
Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: As Detachment, Dark Lance

++ Total: [119 PL, 9CP, 1,997pts] ++

Thoughts

James “Boon” Kelling: Man. That Tau list eh? Running 10 Crisis Suits and 5 bodyguards to go with multiple Crisis Commanders – it’s little wonder we’re talking about it in the finals. It also brings along some chaff and fast mounted units to secure Engage across multiple rounds and leverages the Breachers for some rapid deploying, hard hitting firepower that can clear an objective at will. If the list has a weakness it’s in the high No Prisoners count (14).

I think if you’re planning to take on a Tau list these days with Drukhari, Chris’s list is pretty close to what you’d want to take to limit the impact of all the piles and piles of bullets coming your way. In our post-thicc world, Chris leverages the shift to Prophets of Flesh that mitigates the impact of S6 and S7 shooting by granting a permanent Transhuman against it (and healing 1W per Grotesque or Talos/Cronos unit each turn) and goes wide with an array of Wracks, Grotesques, and a couple of utility Talos units. The risk that this build embraces is a very high-count on the No Prisoners secondary, and indeed Chris is capable of giving up 13 points and likely a fairly reliable 9 which makes Chris’ own secondary picks essential to score highly on. The trio of Raiders provides limited protection against alpha-strikes, which Matt is bringing in spades with his Airbursting/Flamer Crisis-based units, and the Haemoxyte Liquifiers offer an opportunity to chip out wounds before the Grotesques can move in as the hammer. A Court and the usual trio of characters round out the Realspace Raid – the only oddity I notice is the selection of Diabolical Soothsayer on the Haemonculus, for my money Twisted Animator is the better pick for this list, but I’m sure Chris is looking at something I’m not seeing. The key strength of Drukhari against Tau, particularly a coven-heavy list, is that they frankly do not care about the AP boosts or ignoring cover upgrades that the Tau are toting – it’s a small edge but a key one against a wide array of 1D attacks with an army-wide invulnerable and a heavy dose of 5+ Feel No Pain.

The list is built to weather the utter hail of missiles and plasma that’s coming its way for a turn or two and still punch back with force. However, going second could be devastating depending on how Matt chooses to deploy or reserve his Crisis units. While there’s a fair number of Dark Lances on the board, the combination of cover and shield drones heavily limits Chris’ ability to seriously threaten Matt’s force on T1 which may allow Matt to deploy fully on the board and set the tone of the game. If Matt goes first he has the capability to really pin down Chris if he can pull the difficult to hide Raiders out from under him – and force him to close with Wracks and Grotesques while trying to hold backfield objectives with small units that will wither under a dedicated Crisis team. As with the previous final table matchup, I’d give the edge to the winner of the go-first roll off.

Result

Chris won an absolute nail-biter, 77-76.

Christopher Wright – Drukhari – 1st Place

The List

See the Showdown, above.

The Standout Features/Archetype

  • Prophets of Flesh Grotesques bring some tough board presence
  • A couple of Talos sprinkled in to offer a different shooting dimension
  • A second appearance this week for a big Court – another unit that puts down a lot of volume of wounds that are tough to chew through

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

As mentioned in the introduction, Drukhari have had a series of twists and turns over the last 12 months as different builds are nerfed by FAQs, erratas, and balance dataslates. Chris’ version is adapting to the latest of these, aiming to put the toughest possible bodies on the table to cope with Tau firepower. It gives up a ton of points on No Prisoners – a big danger when a large chunk of your army consists of 3 and 4 wound models with fairly poor saves! – but for the codex it’s a durable build, with a ton of melee output. It also still has meaningful shooting, and the MSU elements that Drukhari excel in and allow them to play the mission better than anyone else.

Chris didn’t have it all his own way – as you can see, he squeaked out a win in game 5 by a single point – but it’s a plan that managed to succeed in the teeth of the Tau guns, so well done.

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 2nd – Matt Morosoli – Tau Empire: See the Showdown, above.
  • 3rd – Josh McMillan – Forces of the Hive Mind: Josh forgoes the Crusher Stampede for a soup list that relies on Neurothropes and 6-model unit of Hive Guard plus devilgaunts for ranged damage while using acolyte hybrids for board control and Purestrain Genestealers for melee. Josh’s only loss was in round 2.
  • 4th – Jorj Sumpner-Johnston – Slaanesh Daemons: Jorj’s list combines three Keepers of Secrets with Shalaxi and Be’lakor and a Contorted Epitome, using Daemonette MSUs to hold objectives. Jorj lost in round 2.
  • 5th – Oscar Curry – Adeptus Custodes: Shadowkeepers with Allarus. Oscar lost in round 4.
  • 6th – Chris Tonge – Adeptus Custodes: Emperor’s Chosen with Dreadnoughts. Chris lost in round 4.

Broadsword Wargaming ITC Winter Major

This two-day, 5-round event took place in Castlebar, Ireland and featured 50 players with two players finishing 5-0. The final round saw two tables of 4-0 players: Paul Quigley’s Tau defeated Daniel Ahern’s to win the event, while Simon Whelan’s Custodes beat Joseph Musgrave’s Genestealer Cults to claim second place. Lists for the event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

The Mission: Tide of Conviction

Paul's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (T’au Empire) [91 PL, 10CP, 1,655pts] ++

+ Configuration +

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

Detachment Command Cost

Sept Choice: Bork’an Sept, Show Sept Tenets rule

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Emergency Dispensation [-1CP]: Additional Relics

+ No Force Org Slot +

Kroot Hounds [2 PL, 30pts]
. 5x Kroot Hound: 5x Ripping Fangs

+ HQ +

Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit [9 PL, 165pts]: 1. Precision of the Hunter, Onager Gauntlet, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer, T’au Flamer, Thermoneutronic Projector, Warlord

Ethereal [4 PL, -1CP, 65pts]: 2. Sense of Stone, 5. Exemplar of the Kauyon, 6. Wisdom of the Guides, Honour Blade, Hover Drone, Stratagem: Promising Pupil, The Humble Stave

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]
. 9x Breacher Fire Warrior: 9x Pulse Blaster, 9x Pulse Pistol
. Breacher Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Pulse Blaster, Pulse Pistol

Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]
. 9x Breacher Fire Warrior: 9x Pulse Blaster, 9x Pulse Pistol
. Breacher Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Pulse Blaster, Pulse Pistol

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

+ Elites +

Crisis Battlesuits [18 PL, 300pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Iridium battlesuit, Multi-tracker, Plasma Rifle, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’vre: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Early Warning Override, Iridium battlesuit, Plasma Rifle, T’au Flamer

+ Fast Attack +

Pathfinder Team [5 PL, 90pts]
. 9x Pathfinder: 9x Markerlight, 9x Pulse Carbine, 9x Pulse Pistol
. Pathfinder Shas’ui: Markerlight, Pulse Carbine, Pulse Pistol

+ Heavy Support +

Hammerhead Gunship [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Smart Missile System, Railgun

Sky Ray Gunship [7 PL, 145pts]: 2x Smart Missile System, 2x Markerlight, Seeker Missile Rack

Sky Ray Gunship [7 PL, 145pts]: 2x Smart Missile System, 2x Markerlight, Seeker Missile Rack

+ Dedicated Transport +

Devilfish [6 PL, 105pts]: 2x Smart Missile System, Accelerator Burst Cannon

Devilfish [6 PL, 105pts]: 2x Smart Missile System, Accelerator Burst Cannon

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (T’au Empire) [17 PL, -1CP, 345pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Sept Choice: Bork’an Sept

Shared Faction Bonus [2CP]

+ Lord of War +

Stormsurge [17 PL, 345pts]: Cluster Rocket System, Counterfire Defence System, 4x Destroyer Missile, Drone Controller, Early Warning Override, Pulse Blastcannon, 2x Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Thunderous Footfalls, Twin Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

++ Total: [108 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

vs.

Daniel's List - Click to Expand

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (T’au Empire) [17 PL, -1CP, 345pts] ++

+ Configuration [-1CP] +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Sept Choice: Bork’an Sept

Shared Faction Bonus [2CP]

+ Lord of War [17 PL, 345pts] +

Stormsurge [17 PL, 345pts]: Cluster Rocket System, Counterfire Defence System, 4x Destroyer Missile, Drone Controller, Early Warning Override, Pulse Blastcannon [10pts], 2x Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Thunderous Footfalls, Twin Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts]

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (T’au Empire) [89 PL, 10CP, 1,653pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

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

Detachment Command Cost

Gametype: Matched

Sept Choice: Bork’an Sept

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Stratagem: Emergency Dispensation [-1CP]: Additional Relics [-1CP]

+ HQ [14 PL, -1CP, 237pts] +

Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit [10 PL, -1CP, 172pts]: 4. Through Boldness, Victory, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [10pts], Dominator Fragmentation Launcher [2 PL, 25pts], High-output Burst Cannon [15pts], Onager Gauntlet, Positional Relay, Shield Generator [10pts], Stratagem: Promising Pupil [-1CP], Target Lock
. Shield Drone [12pts]: Shield Generator

Ethereal [4 PL, 65pts]: 2. Sense of Stone, 5. Exemplar of the Kauyon, 6. Wisdom of the Guides, Honour Blade, Hover Drone [1 PL, 5pts], The Humble Stave, Warlord

+ Troops [9 PL, 180pts] +

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot [60pts]: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot [60pts]: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot [60pts]: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

+ Elites [20 PL, 347pts] +

Crisis Battlesuits [20 PL, 347pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui [45pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Multi-tracker, Plasma Rifle [5pts], T’au Flamer [5pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui [50pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [10pts], Multi-tracker, Plasma Rifle [5pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui [55pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [10pts], Early Warning Override, Iridium battlesuit [5pts], Shield Generator [5pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui [60pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [10pts], Iridium battlesuit [5pts], Plasma Rifle [5pts], Shield Generator [5pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui [55pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [10pts], Plasma Rifle [5pts], Shield Generator [5pts]
. Crisis Shas’vre [1 PL, 70pts]: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector [5pts], Plasma Rifle [5pts], Shield Generator [5pts], T’au Flamer [5pts], Thermoneutronic Projector [1 PL, 20pts]
. Shield Drone [12pts]: Shield Generator

+ Fast Attack [6 PL, 114pts] +

Kroot Hounds [1 PL, 24pts]
. 4x Kroot Hound [24pts]: 4x Ripping Fangs

Pathfinder Team [5 PL, 90pts]
. 9x Pathfinder: 9x Markerlight, 9x Pulse Carbine, 9x Pulse Pistol
. Pathfinder Shas’ui: Markerlight, Pulse Carbine, Pulse Pistol

+ Heavy Support [22 PL, 445pts] +

Hammerhead Gunship [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Smart Missile System [10pts], Railgun

Sky Ray Gunship [7 PL, 145pts]: 2x Smart Missile System [10pts], 2x Markerlight, Seeker Missile Rack

Sky Ray Gunship [7 PL, 145pts]: 2x Smart Missile System [10pts], 2x Markerlight, Seeker Missile Rack

+ Flyer [18 PL, 330pts] +

Sun Shark Bomber [9 PL, 165pts]: Markerlight, 2x Missile Pod, 2x Seeker Missile
. 2x Interceptor Drone: 4x Ion Rifle

Sun Shark Bomber [9 PL, 165pts]: Markerlight, 2x Missile Pod, 2x Seeker Missile
. 2x Interceptor Drone: 4x Ion Rifle

++ Total: [106 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

Thoughts

I’ve been avoiding talking about some of these mirror matches but given the other match with 5-0 hopefuls was Adeptus Custodes vs. Genestealer Cults and we’ve talked about that one a bunch already I may as well bite the bullet and talk about the matchup that has the least variation between lists. There’s even less variation than usual here, as both T’au players were running Bork’an lists featuring a Stormsurge. Though full credit to Daniel – his list is legitimately interesting in that it’s running a much more diverse spread of units, featuring two Sun Shark Bombers. The Sun Sharks give Daniel an added tactical wrinkle here in that they can drop mortal wounds on units in the movement phase and get easier angles on units for markerlights.

On the other hand, Paul’s list is just much more focused, using those 330 points to buy a pair of Devilfish and some Breachers, giving him a better midfield presence against Daniel’s Kroot Carnivores. Otherwise this game features some very similar lists and ultimately whoever gets the chance to be the aggressor first is likely going to take it, since they’ll be able to decimate the enemy and prevent a strong response.

Result

The T’au won so we’re all losers. Specifically, Paul’s Tau, 95-76.

Paul Quigley – T’au Empire- 1st Place

KV128 Stormsurge. Credit: Rockfish
KV128 Stormsurge. Credit: Rockfish

The List

See The Showdown, above. Paul’s running T’au Sept with a Stormsurge supported by a Hammerhead, two Skyrays, and some Crisis suits, with Devilfish Pathfinders and Breachers for mobile board control and support.

Simon Whelan – Adeptus Custodes – 2nd Place

Allarus Custodes by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

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

Stratagem: Open the Vaults [-2CP]: 2x Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armor [7 PL, -1CP, 125pts]: 5. Radiant Mantle, Castellan Axe, Misericordia, Praetorian Plate, Stratagem: The Emperor’s Heroes, Unstoppable Destroyer

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [10 PL, -2CP, 180pts]: (Emperor’s Chosen): Auric Exemplar, 3. Superior Creation, Castellan’s Mark, Misericordia, Salvo Launcher, Stratagem: The Emperor’s Heroes, Stratagem: Victor of the Blood Games, Tip of the Spear

Trajann Valoris [8 PL, 1CP, 160pts] Warlord

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 140pts]
. 2x Custodian w/ Guardian Spear & Misericordia: 2x Guardian Spear, 2x Misericordia
. Custodian w/ Sentinel Blade & Praesidium Shield: Praesidium Shield

Custodian Guard Squad [7 PL, 140pts]
. 2x Custodian w/ Guardian Spear & Misericordia: 2x Guardian Spear, 2x Misericordia
. Custodian w/ Sentinel Blade & Praesidium Shield: Praesidium Shield

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

+ Elites +

Allarus Custodians [3 PL, 60pts]
. Allarus w/ Guardian Spear & Misericordia

Allarus Custodians [15 PL, 300pts]
. 5x Allarus w/ Castellan Axe & Misericordia: 5x Balistus Grenade Launcher, 5x Castellan Axe, 5x Misericordia

Allarus Custodians [3 PL, 60pts]
. Allarus w/ Guardian Spear & Misericordia

Custodian Wardens [7 PL, 150pts]
. 3x Warden w/ Castellan Axe & Misericordia: 3x Castellan Axe, 3x Misericordia

Vexilus Praetor in Allarus Terminator Armor [6 PL, 115pts]: Misericordia, Obliteratum, Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack +

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 255pts]
. 3x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia: 3x Interceptor Lance, 3x Misericordia, 3x Salvo Launcher

Vertus Praetors [12 PL, 255pts]
. 3x Praetor w/ Salvo Launcher & Misericordia: 3x Interceptor Lance, 3x Misericordia, 3x Salvo Launcher

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

The Standout Features/Archetype

Emperor’s Chosen goodstuff, heavy on Allarus

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

It’s not even interesting in the context of this article.

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 3rd – Daniel Ahern – T’au Empire: See the Showdown, Above
  • 4th – Alec Cornelius – T’au Empire: Alec is running a T’au Sept list featuring Longstrike, 3 Hammerheads, and 3 Skyrays. Just truly heinous shit.
  • 5th – Mark Morrow – Orks: Mark’s Goffs list runs Ghaz with support from a unit of Meganobz and many of the usual vehicle offenders – Scrapjets, Rukkatrukks, and Kill Rigs – but runs only minimal troops, preferring to throw heavier hitters at the opponent.
  • 6th – Peter Scott – Death Guard: Sweet jesus, we have a live one! Peter’s list looks a lot like old Death Guard lists, only worse. It’s running 3 PBCs, 2 Fleshmowers, and 2 units of 3 Deathshroud on top of a lot of the traditional characters and a Volkite Contemptor.
  • 7th – Mateusz Oswiecinski – Tyranids: This Crusher Stampede list features barbed and scythed heirodules.
  • 8th – Ralph Risk – Chaos Knights: Ralph is running a single Iconoclast double-thermal Knight Despoiler with the Veil of Medrengard (4++ against ranged attacks) that’s a proper chore to kill, using Vow of Dominance to give it a Transhuman effect and Warp-Haunted Hull for a 5+ FNP against mortal wounds. It’s supported by 10 War Dogs, running a mix of Helverins, Moiraxes, and Armigers. Ralph’s only loss was to event champion Paul Quigley in round 1.

 

Bembel Clash #2

This five-round event in Hirzenhain, Germany saw 36 players compete, with T’au defeating Black Templars on the final table to claim the top prize. You can find lists for the event in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

The Mission: Tide of Conviction

William's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (T’au Empire) [86 PL, 1,514pts, 6CP] ++

Sept Choice: T’au Sept
Stratagem: Emergency Dispensation [-1CP]: Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit [10 PL, 189pts, -1CP]: 1. Precision of the Hunter, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, Stratagem: Promising Pupil, T’au Flamer, The Be’gel Hunter’s Plate, Thermoneutronic Projector
. 2x Shield Drone: 2x Shield Generator

Darkstrider [3 PL, 60pts]

Ethereal [5 PL, 85pts, -1CP]: 2. Sense of Stone, 6. Exemplar of the Mont’ka, 6. Wisdom of the Guides, Hover Drone, Stratagem: Promising Pupil, The Humble Stave
. 2x Marker Drone: 2x Markerlight

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]
. 9x Breacher Fire Warrior: 9x Pulse Blaster, 9x Pulse Pistol

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 60pts]
. 10x Kroot: 10x Kroot Rifle, 10x Quill Grenades

Strike Team [4 PL, 80pts]
. Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Pulse Rifle
. 9x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle: 9x Pulse Pistol, 9x Pulse Rifle

+ Elites +

Crisis Battlesuits [21 PL, 336pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Iridium battlesuit, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’ui: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. Crisis Shas’vre: Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, T’au Flamer
. 2x Marker Drone: 2x Markerlight
. 3x Shield Drone: 3x Shield Generator

Crisis Bodyguards [7 PL, 110pts]
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’ui: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Target Lock
. Crisis Bodyguard Shas’vre: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Target Lock
. Marker Drone

Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 95pts]
. 2x Marker Drone: 2x Markerlight
. 2x Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: 2x Burst Cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst Cannon

+ Heavy Support +

Broadside Battlesuits [17 PL, 314pts]
. Broadside Shas’vre: Heavy Rail Rifle, Stabilised Optics, Twin Smart Missile System
. Broadside Shas’vre: Heavy Rail Rifle, Stabilised Optics, Twin Smart Missile System
. Broadside Shas’vre: Heavy Rail Rifle, Stabilised Optics, Twin Smart Missile System
. 2x Marker Drone: 2x Markerlight
. 2x Shield Drone: 2x Shield Generator

+ Dedicated Transport +

Devilfish [6 PL, 100pts]: Seeker Missile
. 2x Gun Drones
. . 2x Gun Drone: 4x Pulse Carbine

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (T’au Empire) [8 PL, 150pts, 3CP] ++

Sept Choice: T’au Sept

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

Commander Shadowsun [8 PL, 150pts]: 2x High-energy Fusion Blaster, Warlord

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (T’au Empire) [17 PL, 335pts, -1CP] ++

Sept Choice: T’au Sept

+ Lord of War +

Stormsurge [17 PL, 335pts]: Counterfire Defence System, Multi-tracker, Pulse Driver Cannon, Twin Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

++ Total: [111 PL, 8CP, 1,999pts] ++

vs.

Marius' List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Black Templars) [111 PL, 8CP, 1,997pts] ++

Chapter Selection: Black Templars
Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Chaplain Grimaldus [7 PL, 140pts]: 1. Litany of Divine Protection, 2. Psalm of the Remorseless Persecution, Epitome of Piety, Litany of Hate, Warlord

High Marshal Helbrecht [8 PL, 160pts]

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [6 PL, 125pts]: 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Litany of Hate, The Crusader’s Helm

+ Troops +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts][/b] . 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades . Incursor Sergeant

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts] . 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades . Incursor Sergeant

Primaris Crusader Squad [20 PL, 266pts]: Bolt Pistol and Astartes Chainsword . 6x Primaris Initiate w/Chainsword & Heavy Bolt Pistol: 6x Astartes Chainsword, 6x Frag & Krak grenades, 6x Heavy Bolt Pistol . 8x Primaris Neophytes: 8x Frag & Krak grenades . Primaris Sword Brother: Heavy Bolt Pistol, Power sword

Primaris Crusader Squad [20 PL, 266pts]: Bolt Pistol and Astartes Chainsword . 6x Primaris Initiate w/Chainsword & Heavy Bolt Pistol: 6x Astartes Chainsword, 6x Frag & Krak grenades, 6x Heavy Bolt Pistol . 8x Primaris Neophytes: 8x Frag & Krak grenades . Primaris Sword Brother: Heavy Bolt Pistol, Power sword

+ Elites +

Judiciar [5 PL, -1CP, 85pts]: Oathkeeper, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Aurillian Shroud

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [15 PL, 315pts]: Icon of Heinmann, 4x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant, Plasma Exterminator x2

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [15 PL, -1CP, 315pts]: Heavy melta rifle, The Crux Obsidian . 5x Eradicator: 5x Bolt pistol . Eradicator Sgt: Stratagem: Champion of the Feast

++ Total: [111 PL, 8CP, 1,997pts] ++

Thoughts

Marius had a great run getting to this point, beating Death Guard, Tyranids, Crusher Stampede, and Custodes, but this is an incredibly uphill battle for him. The Templars’ only ranged damage here comes from the Eradicators, and up to this point they’ve mostly dealt with melee threats. The big trick the list is packing is putting Champion of the Feast and the Crux Obsidian on the Eradicator Sergeant to give the unit a 4W, T5 model who can tank wounds fairly effectively when you add in a 5+ feel no pain from the Litany of Divine Protection on Grimaldus. And they basically need all of that because they’re really the only threats the army has for taking down the Stormsurge or removing the Crisis squads, unless those chance being close enough to allow a charge. And yeah, if the Crusader squads make it in decent numbers into combat on the mid-table objectives they’ll some real damage, but in a lot of ways they’re paying for effects – like the Judiciar’s fight last ability – that hold little value against the T’au army, whose plan is not to hit back but “just survive long enough to shoot you.”

On the other side, there’s just too much in the T’au list that’s great at removing Marines from the table, and the T’au have the luxury of conceding the middle of the table to the Marines early and then systematically removing them from objectives late.

Result

T’au win, 95-78.

William Fuhrimann – 1st Place

XV88 Broadside Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish

The List

See The Showdown, above.

The Standout Features/Archetype

Bork’an with Stormsurge

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

We’ve covered a ton of these. The list makes use of the superior durability and firepower of the Bork’an subfaction with Experimental Weaponry to power the Stormsurge, and adds in a Supreme Command detachment with Shadowsun for the improved re-rolls. Note that Shadowsun’s Warlord Trait is functionally useless here – she can’t redeploy BORK’AN units.

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 2nd – Markus Promoli – Adeptus Custodes: Emperor’s Chosen goodstuff
  • 3rd – Marius Büttner – Black Templars: See the Showdown, above
  • 4th – Fabian Englert – T’au Empire: Bork’an with Ghostkeels and a Riptide
  • 5th – Christian Endres – Necrons: Nihilakh with Tomb blades and the Silent King.
  • 6th – Patrick Grempel – Necrons: Custom Dynasty with the Void Dragon, the Nightbringer, and lots of Lokhust Heavy Destroyers for support.

Kent Wargames Feb GT

The Kent Wargames February GT was a five-round event with 50 players that took place in the UK. Lists are available in Best Coast PairingsIt’s worth noting that, for some reason, this event chose not to use the updated FAQ rulings for Genestealer Cults and Custodes, including the clarification on the Praetorian Plate.

The Showdown

The Mission: Secure Missing Artefacts

Ross' List - Click to Expand

++ Outrider Detachment -3CP (Orks) [85 PL, 7CP, 1,610pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Army of Renown – Speed Freeks Speed Mob

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

Clan Kultur: Freebooterz

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Deffkilla Wartrike [6 PL, -2CP, 120pts]: Da Badskull Banner (Freebooterz), Speed King (Speed Mob), Stratagem: Big Boss, Stratagem: Extra Gubbinz

+ Fast Attack +

DeffKoptas [16 PL, 250pts]: Boom Boyz
. DeffKopta
. DeffKopta
. DeffKopta
. DeffKopta
. DeffKopta

Megatrakk Scrapjets [15 PL, 300pts]
. Megatrakk Scrapjet
. Megatrakk Scrapjet
. Megatrakk Scrapjet

Rukkatrukk Squigbuggies [18 PL, 330pts]
. Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy
. Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy
. Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy

Shokkjump Dragstas [10 PL, 170pts]
. Shokkjump Dragstas
. Shokkjump Dragstas

+ Flyer +

Wazbom Blastajet [10 PL, 210pts]: 2x Tellyport Mega-Blastas, Stikkbomb Flinga, 2x Supa Shoota

Wazbom Blastajet [10 PL, 230pts]: 2x Tellyport Mega-Blastas, Blastajet Force Field, 2x Supa Shoota

++ Outrider Detachment 0CP (Orks) [26 PL, 390pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Clan Kultur: Freebooterz

Detachment Command Cost

+ HQ +

Warboss on Warbike [6 PL, 115pts]: 4. Brutal but Kunnin, Da Killa Klaw, Power Klaw, Warlord

+ Fast Attack +

Warbikers [8 PL, 100pts]
. Boss Nob: Choppa
. 3x Warbiker w/ Choppa: 3x Choppa, 6x Dakkagun

Warbikers [8 PL, 100pts]
. Boss Nob: Choppa
. 3x Warbiker w/ Choppa: 3x Choppa, 6x Dakkagun

Warbikers [4 PL, 75pts]
. Boss Nob: Choppa
. 2x Warbiker w/ Choppa: 2x Choppa, 4x Dakkagun

++ Total: [111 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

vs.

Dominic's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [105 PL, 10CP, 1,996pts] ++

Order Convictions: Order: Argent Shroud
Stratagem: Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ HQ +

Canoness [3 PL, 65pts]: Blessed Blade, Inferno pistol, Relic: Blade of Saint Ellynor

Celestine and Geminae Superia [10 PL, 200pts]
. 2x Geminae Superia: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Power sword

Morvenn Vahl [14 PL, 280pts]: Warlord

+ Troops +

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 75pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 75pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 75pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 75pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

+ Elites +

Celestian Sacresants [8 PL, 149pts]
. 8x Celestian Sacresant (Anointed Halberd): 8x Anointed Halberd, 8x Bolt pistol, 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sacresant Superior: Bolt pistol, Spear of the Faithful

Celestian Sacresants [8 PL, 149pts]
. 8x Celestian Sacresant (Anointed Halberd): 8x Anointed Halberd, 8x Bolt pistol, 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sacresant Superior: Bolt pistol, Spear of the Faithful

Dogmata [4 PL, 65pts]: 3. Psalm of Righteous Smiting, Relic: Iron Surplice of Saint Istaela

Paragon Warsuits [11 PL, -1CP, 240pts]
. Paragon: 2 Storm Bolters, Multi-melta, Paragon War Blade
. Paragon: 2 Storm Bolters, Multi-melta, Paragon War Blade
. Paragon Superior: 2 Storm Bolters, Multi-melta, Paragon War Blade, Relic: Blessings of Sebastian Thor, Stratagem: A Sacred Burden

+ Fast Attack +

Dominion Squad [5 PL, 90pts]
. Dominion Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter

Seraphim Squad [8 PL, 84pts]
. 5x Seraphim: 10x Bolt pistol, 5x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 70pts]
. 4x Seraphim: 8x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol

+ Heavy Support +

Retributor Squad [9 PL, 152pts]
. Retributor Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

Retributor Squad [9 PL, 152pts]
. Retributor Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Simulacrum

++ Total: [105 PL, 10CP, 1,996pts] ++

Thoughts

If there’s a lucky opponent pull for the Orks, this is it. The Sisters start this match off on the back foot, very much outmatched in terms of speed and facing down an army that is more than capable of taking their bigger units off the table and ignoring line of sight to the Sacresants. Of course, it’s not like the Orks need to take out the Sacresants early – they can focus on using the Rukkatrukks to take out the Retributors if they’re on the table, and then take out the Sacresants. Once the Retributors are gone that takes care of a lot of the Speed Freeks’ worries but there are still options here – pretty much every unit in the sisters army has a multi-melta they can put to good use against ramshackle vehicles.

The biggest challenge for the Sisters is the lack of Rhinos – more than just losing the army some mobility it makes it nearly impossible to protect the Retributors turn 1 and ensures that the Sisters need to go first and/or put Retributors into reserves in order to have a chance at winning. This is a list that will struggle against Ork indirect fire; it’d be an absolute nightmare against smart missiles and airbursting fragmentation projectors.

I’m honestly not sure there’s a path to victory here for the Sisters, who lack the range to realistically threaten most of the Ork army going first and will likely be bodied in return. The best hope is likely going first with the Retributors, firing as they move up the board, hoping to take down a plane. They may also be able to put them in reserves and do this without the Retributors, then have them come on to remove key threats on turn 2, but this assumes the Ork player doesn’t screen them out with bikes. It’s a tough break for a sisters list that had some incredibly good matchup luck to this point, taking down Crusher Stampede, Thousand Sons, and two Custodes lists.

Result

Orks win, 95-46. No moral.

Ross Law – Orks – 1st Place

Megatrakk Scrapjet. Credit: Rockfish
Megatrakk Scrapjet. Credit: Rockfish

The List

See the Matchup, above

The Standout Features/Archetype

Speed Freeks Speed Mob

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

It’s interesting to see a Speed Freeks army still competing after multiple nerfs, particularly one that goes light on bikes. The list still packs the greatest hits from pre-nerf orks, including a pair of Wazboms, a trio of Rukkatrukks, a trio of Scrapjets, and a bunch of Defkoptas. The Speed Mob gives the list a bit more board control, giving it ObSec Warbikers and the Freebooterz Stratagem can further help this. Ross’ Speed Freeks Speed Mob list is one of several we saw show some success this week, picking up wins around the margins as T’au and Custodes clean up everywhere else.  Ross managed to take down a Custodes list en route to the finals, but wasn’t forced to go up against T’au.

The Rest of the Best

Nine players finished up on 4-1 records, so we’ll instead just round out the top five here:

  • 2nd -Michael Cobb – Adeptus Custodes: Emperor’s Chosen Goodstuff.
  • 3rd – Simon Finney – Tyranids: Simon’s Crusher Stampede list doubles up on Dimachaerons and Hive Tyrants for some redundancy.
  • 4th – Darren Cooper – Harlequins: Darren’s list packs four fusion boats and a host of haywire bikes.
  • 5th – Baz Croucher – Adeptus Mechanicus: Baz is running a custom forge world leaning on the benefits of Rad-Saturated forge world (-1 S when shot at from more than 12″ away) and Scarifying Weaponry (+1 AP on Radium weapons).

Next Time: Even More Events, Somehow

That wraps up part 2 of our write-up but come back tomorrow for the electrifying conclusion, featuring even more T’au and Custodes armies dominating the weekend’s many events. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.