Competitive Innovations in 9th: Triple Major

An article by    Competitive Play Goonhammer Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

The majors keep coming and they don’t stop coming. Another week brings us another clutch of all star top fours from Australia and the United States, with an ever-more-prepared playerbase continuing to try and stop the youthful Drukhari menace, who keep driving around in their fast cars playing loud music, littering and causing extensive property damage.

The good news is, while their win rate remains eye-watering (outside a notable downward blip in Utah) top players do seem to be finding some builds that have some real game into the matchup, and a mere one in three of the twelve lists we’re looking at today feature Drukhari (and there’s quite a bit of tinkering going on in those builds). That means there’s plenty of other cool stuff to sink our teeth into alongside them, including what I believe should be the final instance of a faction breaking into a top four for the first time in the edition. Lots to talk about, lots of lists to get through, so let’s waste no more time and hop to it.

Objective Secured – War Calls GT

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

Like a lot of recent Australian events, War Calls was using the “top table rule” – meaning that once the pairing for table one in the final round was locked in, the winner of that would be first and the loser second overall, even if that latter got leapfrogged on points. Here there was a draw in the final, so the win went to the player who’d gone into it ahead, and meaning that the players in third and fourth did have more battle points than the one in second.

Lachlan Rigg – Adeptus Custodes – 1st Place

Custodes Telemon Dreadnought

Custodes Telemon Dreadnought. Credit: CrabStuffedMushrooms

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion 0CP (Adeptus Custodes: Shadowkeepers)

HQ: Trajann Valoris [10 PL, 190pts]

HQ:Shield Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, 175pts]: Hurricane bolter

  • Stratagem (-1CP): Captain-Commander – Indomitable Constitution
  • Warlord: Superior Creation
  • Relic: Auric Aquilis

Troops: Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 159pts]: 3 x Sagittarum Custodia w/ 3 Misericordia

Troops: Sagittarum Custodians  [7 PL, 156pts]: 3 x Sagittarum Custodia w/ 2 Misericordia

Troops: Custodian Guard Squad [11 PL, 208pts]: 4 x Custodian w/ 4 Sentinel Blades and Shields

Fast Attack: Venetari Custodians  [16 PL, 330pts]: 6 x Venetari Custodians w/ 6 Kenetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler

Heavy Support:  Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector

  • Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

Heavy Support: Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector

  • Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

Heavy Support: Telemon Heavy Dreadnought [14 PL, 260pts]: w/ Illiastus Accelerator Culverin, Spiculus Bolt Launcher, Telemon Caestus: Twin Plasma Projector

  • Stratagem (-1CP): Eternal Penitent

 TOTAL: 102 PL, 8CP, 1,998pts

The Standout Features

  • Imagine a gigantic golden boot stomping on an elf face, forever. Seriously, this list got three wins and a draw against Drukhari over six rounds.
  • Investing heavily in Venetari gives the army a powerful ability to dictate when  a swing turn happens.
  • Shield Custodians provide a tremendously effective core anvil.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

This is a list I’m very happy to see on top, because Telemons have been one of the units highest on my list of potential Drukhari counters since they landed. Being T8, -1D and having a good invuln combines with the array of defensive stratagems that Custodes have access to (notably the Emperor’s Auspice and Grim Responsibility) to make these extremely difficult for Drukhari to take down. Because all that defensive goodness is attached to a mobile, murderous platform that can’t really be ignored (especially with Eternal Penitent), running lots of Telemons gives you a near-unequalled ability to bully Drukhari out of the mid board, making their path to victory much, much steeper.

The answer from the Drukhari side of things is to try and avoid the Telemons and pick off other elements, and that’s why I really like the use of a large Venetari squad here. These are, obviously, just straight up excellent on their own merits, but their natural deep strike and speed on the table means that you can control when and where they get committed to the battle, and aim to do massive damage when they arrive. Four hyper durable units (the Telemons and the shield Custodian squad) puts up quite the brick wall, meaning that opponents are going to be constrained in where they can attack, and being able to reinforce whatever semi-weak spot they try and push at with a brigade of pistol toting birdmen makes it very difficult to work around this army. It should also preserve the ability of the Sagittarum to blast away with relative impunity for a lot of the game, as with the opponents biggest guns likely concerned with trying to down at least one Telemon they’re likely to be left alone most of the time.

Two great characters finish things off. Trajann needs little introduction, but is very much at his best when babysitting a bunch of Telemons, as they trivially screen him and benefit from his re-rolls in two phases. The super bike captain of death is also a truly fantastic model, one of the most durable characters in the game and another unit that plays especially well into Drukhari since sticky ObSec models is one of the few things they don’t have in abundance. He’s great in almost any matchup, but being excellent into one of the game’s hottest builds makes him even more valuable right now.

Now, many lists we’ve looked at recently have clearly had some anti-Drukhari tech in them, but not then actually been tested in the matchup. Here quite the opposite is true – Lachlann played against a mighty four Drukhari players over six rounds, since unsurprisingly they clustered at the top of the bracket pretty quickly and he then had to chew through them. Over those games, he picked up three wins and then held out next entrant to a draw at the last – and since he entered that game undefeated while Luke didn’t, became the overall champion. An extremely impressive result, terrible news for whichever poor soul mans the Telemon machine at Forge World, and a very interesting datapoint in the whole “how to stop the elves” discussion. Congratulations Lachlann

Luke Stewart – Drukhari – 2nd Place

Drukhari Kabalite Warriors

Drukhari Kabalite Warriors. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Note: I have transcribed this from the original, which made the extremely violent decision to use html battlescribe output. There is always some risk that minor mistakes have been introduced in doing so. The issue that isn’t me is that it wasn’t clear from the original whether the Succubus or the second Archon were the actual warlord, I’ve assumed the Archon. Either way, the correct number of CP was still spent to buy all upgrades, so it largely comes out in the wash.

Patrol Detachment – Kabal of the Black Heart

HQ

Archon, Master Archon – Splintered Genius, Tolerated Ambition, Ancient Evil, Extra Relic, Helm of Spite, venom blade – 80

Drazhar – 135

Troops

10 Trueborn, 2 blasters, 1 dark lance – 135

5 Kabalites – 40

5 Kabalites – 40

Elites

5 Mandrakes – 75

Dedicated Transport

Raider, dark lance, shock prow – 90

Raider, dark lance – 85

Raider, dark lance – 85

Raider, dark lance – 85

Raider, dark lance – 85

Raider, dark lance – 85

Patrol Detachment – Cult of Strife

HQ

Succubus, Master Succubus – Show Stealer, Competitive Edge, The Tryptych Whip, Tolerated Ambition, Extra Relic – 75

Troops

10 Wyches, Adrenalight, shardnet and impaler, blast pistol – 115

10 Wyches, Adrenalight, shardnet and impaler – 110

Fast Attack

10 Reavers, 3 heat lances, 3 grav-talons – 245

Patrol Detachment – Kabal of the Obsidian Rose

HQ

Archon, Master Archon – Splintered Genius, Warlord, Hatred Eternal, the Djin Blade, blast pistol – 90

Troops

10 Trueborn, 2 blasters, dark lance – 135

5 Kabalites, blaster – 50

Elites

5 Incubi – 80

5 Incubi – 80

Total – 2000pts, 10CP

The Standout Features

  • No Technomancers? No problem.
  • Double Trueborn across the two re-roll Kabals and a heat lance sniping Reaver unit provides exceptional ranged damage.
  • Doubling up on larger Wych units gives an anti-horde solution.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

So judging by the header of this army list (always a bit more colourful at Aussie events) Luke made the very deliberate decision to bypass Technomancers and the Razorflail super Succubus to prove a point – and I guess well done on that!

Dark Technomancers probably is the single biggest issue with the Drukhari book, but as this build shows the pushed transports are also extremely good and there’s a lot of depth to play with. The unique innovation seen here is the choice to bring two units of Kabalite Trueborn, packing two different Kabals into the list (both the re-roll ones, unsurprisingly) so that it can take two Master Archons to unlock them. Especially given that one set of Trueborn is sporting the range boost from Obsidian Rose, this means that the baseline ranged capability here is appreciably nastier than is normally seen in Drukhari, with a total of twelve darklight shots reaching out to murder things each turn from the Kabalite contingent. That ranged capability is even further enhanced by the presence of the heat lance sniper Reaver unit, something that’s been growing in popularity, as it turns out adding three BS2+ melta shots attached to a unit that’s perfectly happy doing an emergency slam into melee really helps with the army’s flexibility. If AdMech take off hard I expect Reavers and Hellions to maybe drop off in popularity (as both are extremely vulnerable to some good AdMech units) but in the world we’ve been living in up till now the Reavers make a lot of sense. They’re particularly well sutied to lists like this that are investing more in firepower in general, as having some of that investment be in a unit that can flex to a melee role helps avoid creating any vulnerabilities. If opponents lack a way to pin them down, they also combine well with the two Trueborn squads on While We Stand, We FIght.

That’s obviously not quite enough close assault capability by itself, however, and the other slightly unusual thing this list does compared to normal Drukhari builds is bring two 10-model Wych units (both with shardnets) alongside the near-mandatory Incubi. The presence of the shardnets is a giveaway here – with fewer units that want to be in the enemy’s face, tools that can disrupt an aggressive enemy’s plans are at an even higher premium here than in other Drukhari builds, so packing units that force opposing units that can’t chew through 4++ chaff efficiently to play cautiously makes sense. They will, of course, also happily blender enemy hordes to death, always a useful capability to have around.

I like the direction this list takes and also like how clearly it demonstrates that the Drukhari faction will be just fine even if Technomancers takes a big hit. Ironically, I think it probably matches up better into the winning Custodes list than a Technomancer-based army would thanks to the higher count of true anti-tank guns – Techno-wracks don’t really cut it against Telemons, but enough powerful shots to switch targets as defensive stratagems go up just might. I would have loved to watch the final here, as playing these two lists to a draw suggests a truly epic confrontation. Great job to Luke on a second place finish.

Shane Horvath – Dark Angels – 3rd Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

This list is entitled “The Fast and the Furious, Caliban Drift”. I feel you need this information so that it fully makes sense.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Dark angels ++
Ravenwing Outrider Detachment

+ HQ +

The Rock (8 PL, 160pts)
. Ravenwing Talonmaster: Arbiter’s Gaze

Vin “Sammael” Diesel (8 PL, 150pts)
(its Sammael just in case you didn’t get it)

+ Elites +

Jason “I got you bro” Statham (6 PL, 115pts)
Ravenwing Apothecary: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Warlord
. Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

Honda Civics with Spoon engines, t66 turbos with NOS and Motec exhaust systems AKA Ravenwing Black Knights (18 PL, 360pts)
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Black Knight: Corvus Hammer
. Ravenwing Huntmaster: Corvus Hammer

Paul “definitely not walking” Walker (5 PL, -1CP, 85pts)
Ravenwing Champion: Blade of Triumph, Chapter Command: Chapter Champion, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Imperium’s Sword

. Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

+ Fast Attack +

Attack Bike Squad (6 PL, 165pts)
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Bike Squad (9 PL, 125pts)
. Biker Sergeant: Lightning Claw
. 3x Space Marine Biker w/Chainsword: 3x Astartes Chainsword, 3x Frag & Krak grenades, 3x Twin boltgun

Outrider Squad (6 PL, 150pts): Outrider Sgt
. 2x Outrider: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Twin Bolt rifle

Outrider Squad (6 PL, 150pts): Outrider Sgt
. 2x Outrider: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Twin Bolt rifle

Storm Speeder Thunderstrike (9 PL, 175pts)

Storm Speeder Thunderstrike (9 PL, 175pts)

+ Flyer +

Nephilim Jetfighter [10 PL, 190pts]: Avenger mega bolter

1x Extra relic (-1CP)

1x Extra WL trait (-1CP)

++ Total: [100 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Pure Ravenwing once again gets the goods for Dark Angels.
  • Unusual choices like the Nephilim and the Storm Speeder shine in a skewed metagame.
  • Upgraded Ravenwing Champion proves alarmlingly murderous.
  • ObSec bike units remain an exceptional bonus.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

As ever, a contractual “Hell Yeah” for Dark Angels putting in the work. In this case it’s once again the forces of the Ravenwing, combining some of their familiar assets (a Talonmaster, the Apothecary, Attack Bikes, ObSec bikes, Black Knights as a brawler unit) with some new tricks.

Most eye-catching among those is the presence of a brace of Storm Speeder Thunderstrikes. In general, every flavour of Storm Speeder is on the list of stuff we’re hoping gets a bit of a cut in the new Chapter Approved, but like a lot of things it turns out that slapping an invulnerable save on them for (essentially) free makes them a much more worthwhile consideration. In the metagame we have right now, the fact that the Thunderstrike is packing a twin Icarus Rocket Pod alongside anti-tank main guns makes them very desireable – it’s quite literally the perfect gun for Raider and Ravager hunting without being terrible in any matchups. This list didn’t actually run into any Drukhari to test the theory, but the value looks very good on paper, and the presence of these high damage units makes this list even better at pulling off the powerful Death on the Wind secondary than the average Ravenwing army. A lot of the same things could be said about the Nephilim Jetfighter – in a lot of lists this takes second place the Dark Talon, but when you’re flying into elf-infested airspace the output here is extremely handy.

Outside of the unusual gun platform setup, the other novelty here is the Ravenwing Champion. I honestly have to admit that I vaguely thought they weren’t eligible for the Chapter Champion upgrade but nope, they are, and sticking the Triumphant Blade and Imperium’s Sword on one gives you an eye-wateringly deadly and highly mobile killing machine, more than capable of chopping most enemy CHARACTERs into tiny pieces and having a good go at ripping the average tank apart. It’s not a particularly complicated model but it’s exceptionally effective, and being able to go fast provides a completely different dimension than the average footslogging champion.

We love seeing Ravenwing out and about, going fast and killing things and this list is a formidible addition to that cannon – and definitely one to watch going into the point changes, as its use of the Storm Speeders could allow it to become even better. Nicely done here!

Daniel Norrish – Drukhari – 4th Place

Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++Patrol Detachment [25 PL, 515pts] ++

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ Stratagems +

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

Statagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP]: Additional Warlord Trait

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, 75pts]: Adrenalight +1A (Combat Drug), Precision Blows, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, 115pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Power Sword, Plasma Grenades, Splinter Pistol
. 8x Wych: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Wych: Shardnet and Impaler, Plasma Grenades

Wyches [6 PL, 100pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Plasma Grenades, Splinter Pistol
. 9x Wych: 9x Hekatarii Blade, 9x Plasma Grenades, 9x Splinter Pistol

+ Fast Attack +

Reavers [9 PL, 225pts]: *Random x 2* (Combat Drug)
. Arena Champion: Bladevanes, Splinter Pistol, Splinter Rifle
. 5x Reaver: 5x Bladevanes, 5x Splinter Pistol, 5x Splinter Rifle
. 3x Reaver with special weapons: Bladevanes, Heat Lance, Splinter Pistol, 3x Grav-talon

++ Patrol Detachment [44 PL, 665pts] ++

Obsession: Kabal of the Obsidian Rose: Flawless Workmanship

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition [-1CP]: Additional Warlord Trait

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts]: Ancient Evil, Blast Pistol, Huskblade, The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Obsidian Rose): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster

+ Elites +

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

+ Heavy Support +

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

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal

++ Patrol Detachment [41 PL, 820pts] ++

Obsession: Kabal of the Obsidian Rose: Flawless Workmanship

+ HQ +

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

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster

+ Heavy Support +

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

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

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [5 PL, 85pts]: Bladevanes, Dark Lance, Kabal

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

Command Points:
12CP to start
0CP cost for patrols
+2CP for warlord in patrol
-2CP for 2 additional warlord traits
-1CP for 1 additional relics
Starting CP: 11CP

The Standout Features

  • Another Technomancer-less Drukhari list skews towards shooting, this time with Ravagers.
  • Similar Wych Cult loadout to the second place list suggests this is a good way of supporting a more ranged-focused build.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Sometimes the playerbase takes mercy on your humble correspondent in weeks where he has to write up three majors and this is one of them – this is another Drukhari build that strays from the beaten path, but does so in a pretty similar direction to Luke’s – more shooting. Here, instead of two units of Trueborn, three Ravagers join the battle line, alongside a whole bunch of small Kabalite units with a Blaster each, somewhat echoing the Venom Spam builds of old (only with Raiders instead, because in the new book why wouldn’t you). The result is a truly spectacular amount of anti-tank shoooting – fourteen dark lances, five blasters and three heat lances – ready to completely obliterate any sort of elite or heavy-armoured force, including their fellow Drukhari.

The complementary Wych Cult forces used here are also pretty similar – the Reaver block shows up again, really hammering home the value of its flexaibility, and two full wych units also appear (though only one with a shardnet). If I’m honest, I definitely would have cut the power sword from the first Wych unit and the blast pistol from the Archon to buy a second shardnet here, as the value they add is considerable, but it’s quite possible this was just a case of playing strictly to WYSIWYG, and No Escape is still extremely threatening without the boost to its success rate.

Fundamentally this looks to me like a pair of successes for a single Drukhari archetype, with the heavier shooting contingent and the flexibility of the Wych Cult units letting the army control the range of engagement a bit more than Technomancers can. It may prove that these builds can’t outshoot the AdMech forces currently being cooked up, but it’s equally possible that being able to quite comfortably delete a block of Ironstriders at high range if you win the roll off will prove key. It’s certainly interesting food for thought as we head into a possible metagame shift (between AdMech and CA), and congrats to Daniel for rounding out our first top four.

The Rest of the Best

After six rounds of play, two more players ended up on 5-1 records, and one more on 4-1-1, who gets included on the basis that it’s the same scoreline as the second place finisher (thanks to the top table rule).

  • 5th – Mitch Byrne – Slaanesh: A very novel build here – an Emperor’s Children detachment featuring a large unit each of Terminators and Bikers providing the hammer for a Daemonnette horde (no less than 115 of them) surrounding the Masque and a Contorted Epitome. Honestly – into a Drukhari world this seems like a really good choice, large hordes of invuln-toting chaff infantry is something the elf menace aren’t great at taking out (one of the reasons that Skitarii horde builds are probably one of the things to watch out of the new AdMech book), and army-wide fight first here also makes it very difficult to profitably engage with them, given that Daemonettes are more than capable of shredding glass cannon units like Incubi. Very novel and also extremely powerful looking.
  • 6th – Dave Horne – Drukhari: A slightly off-piste Drukhari list here, featuring an actual Realspace Raider detachment made up of the Kabal of the Black Heart, Cult of Strife and the Dark Creed, with a CoS Patrol featuring Drazhar off to the side to unlock stratagems. To maximise the Realspace benefits, the army goes heavy on blades for hire, maxing out on Incubi units and building one up to a full 10-model brick. Meanwhile, Dark Creed Raiders with Grisly Trophies fly around dropping massive Ld debuffs on the enemy, allowing some Ravagers floating at a distance to trigger morale tests with ease. Cool, a bit different, and for those counting at home that’s 3/3 top Drukhari lists at this event that managed to do well without Dark Technomancers.
  • 7th – Earl Clarke – Imperium: Sadly, here we hit one of those lists that’s going to be all change imminently – it’s an AdMech/Knight combo build featuring a large number of Warglaives as a roving brawler contingent, with a gunline of Kataphrons and Skorpius Disintegrators behind them, buffed by Daedalosus and Divinations of the Magos. The combination here looks strong, since the old AdMech range didn’t really have anything that fit into the role Warglaives fill, but with Mechanicus now losing Canticles when they soup more than a single Knight, and Divinations no longer being a broadly applicable tool, there’s would likely need to be quite a lot of changes here.

The Salty Alliance GT

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

Scott Rumple – Space Wolves – 1st Place

Credit: Starvolt

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Space Wolves) (99 PL, 1,993pts, 7CP) ++

+ Configuration (12CP) +

Detachment Command Cost

+ Stratagems (-2CP) +

A Trophy Bestowed (-1CP)

Relics of the Chapter (-1CP): Number of Extra Relics (-1CP)

+ HQ (20 PL, 395pts, -2CP) +

Chapter Master (8 PL, 155pts): Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chapter Master (2 PL, 40pts), Frag & Krak grenades, Frost Weapon, Jump Pack (1 PL, 25pts), Lightning Claw (Pair) (5pts), Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter

Librarian in Phobos Armour (5 PL, 100pts): 2. Murderous Hurricane, 4. Instincts Awoken, Bolt pistol, Camo cloak, Force sword, Frag & Krak grenades, Smite

Primaris Chaplain on Bike (7 PL, 140pts): 3. Exhortation of Rage, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Absolver Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity (1 PL, 25pts), Crozius arcanum, Frag & Krak grenades, Hunter, Stratagem: Warrior of Legend, The Armour of Russ, Twin Bolt rifle, Warlord, Wise Orator

+ Troops (16 PL, 325pts) +

Incursor Squad (5 PL, 105pts)
. 4x Incursor (84pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades
. Incursor Sergeant (21pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Occulus bolt carbine, Paired combat blades

Infiltrator Squad (6 PL, 120pts)
. 4x Infiltrator (96pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Sergeant (24pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Marksman bolt carbine

Intercessor Squad (5 PL, 100pts): Auto Bolt Rifle
. 4x Intercessor (80pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Intercessor Sergeant (20pts): Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites (47 PL, 933pts, -1CP) +

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought (8 PL, 150pts, -1CP): 2x Twin volkite culverin (10pts)

Wolf Guard (7 PL, 140pts): Jump Pack (1 PL, 10pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard Pack Leader (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)

Wolf Guard (7 PL, 173pts): Jump Pack (1 PL, 10pts)
. Wolf Guard (35pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield (4pts), Thunder hammer (12pts)
. Wolf Guard (35pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield (4pts), Thunder hammer (12pts)
. Wolf Guard (35pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield (4pts), Thunder hammer (12pts)
. Wolf Guard (23pts): Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard Pack Leader (35pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield (4pts), Thunder hammer (12pts)

Wolf Guard (7 PL, 140pts): Jump Pack (1 PL, 10pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)
. Wolf Guard Pack Leader (26pts): Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw (3pts), Storm shield (4pts)

Wolf Guard Terminators (9 PL, 165pts)
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard Terminator Pack Leader (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield

Wolf Guard Terminators (9 PL, 165pts)
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Wolf Guard Terminator Pack Leader (33pts): Lightning Claw, Storm shield

+ Fast Attack (5 PL, 95pts) +

Cyberwolves (1 PL, 15pts)
. Cyberwolf (15pts): Teeth and claws

Invader ATV Squad (4 PL, 80pts)
. Invader ATV (4 PL, 80pts): Bolt pistol, Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Twin auto bolt rifle

+ Heavy Support (7 PL, 175pts) +

Long Fangs (7 PL, 175pts): Armorium Cherub (5pts)
. Long Fang (38pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Long Fang (38pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Long Fang (38pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Long Fang (38pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Long Fang Pack Leader (18pts): Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades
. . Boltgun and Bolt Pistol: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

+ Dedicated Transport (4 PL, 70pts) +

Drop Pod (4 PL, 70pts): Storm bolter

++ Total: (99 PL, 7CP, 1,993pts) ++

The Standout Features

  • Go wide clawmarines, but angrier.
  • Storm shield + claw Terminators give wolves access to a uniquely durable all-purpose unit.
  • Drop Pod Long Fangs and a VolCon ready to open things up at a key moment.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

One of the best options Space Marines appear to have for dealing with Drukhari is going wide with lightning claw/storm shield Vanguard Veterans, as these units are very well pitched into the elf menace. They don’t put too many eggs into any one basket, but each unit is more than capable of scything through any of the relatively lightweight units Drukhari field. Running lots gives you plenty of angles of attack without opening up any one, obvious place for the opponent to strike at you.

Space Wolves do that especially well and can even go one better thanks to one of their unique datasheets. Claw/shield Wolf Guard are essentially VanVets, and being able to boost their wound rolls with Savage Strike and punish opponents who stray too close with Counter Charge cranks their utility even higher. Murderous Hurricane also reduces one of the risks of going wide with small units, which is the risk of getting Counter-Offensived if you try and gank something. Drop fight last on them from range and that problem is immediately gone.

While strong against Drukhari overall, VanVets/basic Wolf Guard are still very vulnerable to liquifier guns, however, and that’s where Wolf Guard Terminators come in. Thanks to being (similar to Deathwing units) Terminators But More, Wolf Guard have the option to strap the claw/shield build into place here too, giving you models that are very cheap for how durable and deadly they are, and that line up especially well when being liquified. With an effective 1+ starting save they still get to roll 3+s when soaked with dangerous chemicals, and having three wounds means that it takes two unsaved shots to down a model. That adds up to an expectation that a full boat drive-by only deals about three unsaved wounds, which equates to only one model down – compared to four or five dead power armour/storm shield models. Not bad for only five more points a pop. The only thing I’d wonder about here is, once you’re committed to bringing these, whether grabbing the Tome of Malcador or a Chief Librarian upgrade so you can have Storm Caller up as well – getting these cranked all the way to a 0+ save against shooting would be a huge asset both against Drukhari and a lot of what AdMech are going to be bringing to bear.

Between these, Phobos units and a couple of extremely nasty characters this list can make the mid-board an extremely unpleasant playground for the opponent, especially with army-wide heroic and the aforementioned Counter-Offensive making it very hard to utilise finesse positioning to contest objectives. That’s clearly the core plan of the army, but it makes sure it has some options for opening transports up in an emergency in the form of a VolCon and multi-melta Long Fangs in a drop pod. The former is just generically excellent right now (and being able to put up a re-roll bubble with Wisdom of the Ancients can sometimes be clutch), while Long Fangs are one of the best flavours of devs to drop-pod in thanks to access to Keen Senses, letting them cheerfully ignore move/shoot penalties or any dodgy elf stratagems.

It’s honestly really encouraging to see this list on top of a major, because it’s a very clear evolution of Space Wolf strategies that were doing well a few months back to slot into the new meta, suggesting there’s some real enduring life in the book. Congratulations to Scott, and hopefully other Jarls of Fenris are paying attention.

Nicolas Wenker – Death Guard – 2nd Place

Poxwalkers. Credit: Rockfish

Poxwalkers. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) (102 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts) ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Harbingers

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay (-1CP): Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Malignant Plaguecaster (5 PL, 95pts): 3. Plague Wind, 5. Curse of the Leper

Typhus (9 PL, 165pts): 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 4. Putrescent Vitality

+ Troops +

Poxwalkers (5 PL, 95pts)
. 19x Poxwalker: 19x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers (5 PL, 95pts)
. 19x Poxwalker: 19x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers (5 PL, 95pts)
. 19x Poxwalker: 19x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers (5 PL, 90pts)
. 18x Poxwalker: 18x Improvised weapon

+ Elites +

Blightlord Terminators (20 PL, -1CP, 410pts)
. Blightlord Champion: Bubotic Axe, Champion of Disease, Combi-bolter, Plague Skull of Glothila
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Reaper autocannon
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Reaper autocannon
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

Deathshroud Terminators (7 PL, -1CP, 150pts)
. Deathshroud Champion: Champion of Disease, Plaguespurt gauntlet, Reaper of Glorious Entropy
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators (7 PL, 150pts)
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators (7 PL, 150pts)
. Deathshroud Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foul Blightspawn (5 PL, -1CP, 85pts): 2. Living Plague, Plaguechosen, Revolting Stench-vats, Viscous Death

Tallyman (4 PL, 70pts): 4. Arch-Contaminator, Tollkeeper, Warlord

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler (9 PL, 175pts): 2x Entropy cannon, Rothail volley gun

Plagueburst Crawler (9 PL, 175pts): 2x Entropy cannon, Rothail volley gun

++ Total: (102 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts) ++

The Standout Features

  • Poxwalkers and Terminators for days.
  • Typhus heads up the Harbingers, making the pox blob a much more genuine threat.
  • The ever-more-standard Stench Vats and Tollkeeper character duo help anchor the Terminator line.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Typhus is honestly really, really good in the new Death Guard book and it’s great to see him getting some airtime here. Many Death Guard lists have been (reasonably successfully) adapting to the current metagame by going wide with Daemon Engines, but another element that’s been creeping up in popularity has been running more Poxwalkers out front, as some popular factions are skimping a bit on anti-horde. This list escalates that nearly as far as it can go, packing as many Poxwalker units as its content of CORE BUBONIC ASTARTES units allows, and thanks to running with Typhus and as Harbingers, turning them into a real threat as well as an annoyance.

Combining The Wrathful Dead (full hit re-rolls from a Pox unit) with Mutant Strain (mortals on 6s to hit with poxwalkers, at a cost of taking mortals on a 1) threatens some extreme mortal action if a substantial part of a unit swings, and with so many units it’s going to be very difficult for an opponent who wants to avoid this fate to operate, at least in the early turns. Typhus boosting them up to S4 makes them a bit more useful even when Mutant Strain isn’t up, and the sheer number of the things also makes it far more likely that at some point in the game you’ll either be able to get big value from The Dead Walk Again or punish an opponent with Curse of the Walking Pox. They’re not the toughest things in the world, but there’s enough wounds here that the opponent is gonna need at least some time to deal with stuff, and you can use that to establish the much more conventional Terminator Death Star mid-board. The final thing having so many walkers helps with is Spread the Sickness – you’ve got a lot of extremely expendable models here, and can shamble pretty far across the board over the average game.

Investing big in the pox blob is the standout here – as alluded to above, the rest of this cleaves pretty closely to one of the conventional ways to build Death Guard. One massive Blightlord unit (here quite likely to be able to be screened by Cloud of Flies if you really needed) flanked by a trio of ever dependable Deathshroud squads, with Plaguebursts and the best two buff/debuff characters backing them up. You know it, you love it, and it’s a proven effective core that this list gives a different flavour to thanks to bringing a horde to go with. For my money, Death Guard might be the best designed codex of the edtion thus far, because it allows you to put together incredibly on-brand builds like this that are highly effective without being oppresive, and need careful planning to use successfully. Big congratulations to Nicholas for doing just that, and taking the second of the two undefeated slots at this event.

Aaron Knafla – Thousand Sons (!) – 3rd Place

Thousand Sons Aspiring Sorcerer

Thousand Sons Aspiring Sorcerer. Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) (69 PL, 6CP, 1,240pts) ++

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Time

Relics of the Thousand Sons (2 Relics) (-3CP)

+ HQ +

Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch (9 PL, 170pts): Glamour of Tzeentch, Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Weaver of Fates

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch (10 PL, 195pts): Gaze of Fate, Hellforged sword, Hourglass of Manat, Warptime, Wings

Sorcerer (5 PL, 95pts): Dark Matter Crystal, Force stave, Warpflame Pistol, Prescience, Warptime

+ Troops +

Rubric Marines (6 PL, 90pts)
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Inferno Bolt Pistol, Temporal Manipulation
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

Rubric Marines (6 PL, 90pts)
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Inferno Bolt Pistol, Temporal Manipulation
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

Rubric Marines (6 PL, 90pts)
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Inferno Bolt Pistol, Temporal Manipulation
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

+ Elites +

Scarab Occult Terminators (20 PL, 375pts)
. Scarab Occult Sorcerer: Inferno Combi-bolter, Temporal Manipulation
. 9x Terminator: 9x Inferno Combi-bolter, 9x Power sword

+ Heavy Support +

Mutalith Vortex Beast (7 PL, 135pts)

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) (24 PL, 3CP, 465pts) ++

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Magic

Magnus the Red (24 PL, 465pts): Bolt of Change, Death Hex, Doombolt, Infernal Gateway, Warlord

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) (14 PL, -3CP, 295pts) ++

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Magic

+ HQ +

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch (10 PL, -1CP, 195pts): Arcane Focus, Devastating Sorcery, Gift of Chaos, Infernal Gateway, Magister, Hellforged Sword, Wings

+ Troops +

Tzaangors (4 PL, 100pts): Brayhorn
. Twistbray: Tzaangor blades
. 9x Tzaangor w/ Tzaangor blades: 9x Tzaangor blades

++ Total: (107 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts) ++

The Standout Features

  • No, really!
  • Phenomenal Cosmic Power!
  • Itty bitty model count.
  • Reviving Rubrics and Scarabs via the Cult of Time makes those models go a bit further.
  • A Mutalith Vortex Beast that I’m pretty sure is here just to be a thicc character shield.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

To the best of my knowledge this is the first time we’ve covered a pure Thousand Sons list in the entire of 9th Edition, and it’s definitely the first time one has top-foured at a major, so massive, massive congratulations to Aaron right out of the gate for pulling off an achievement that, if you’d asked me to bet on it, I’d have said no one would manage this side of a new book.

So, how did he manage it? Well, in a manner that we always love to see here at Competitive Innovations, he found some angles to mitigate the army’s weaknesses just that bit more than those who had gone before while still playing to their strengths, and was rewarded for doing so.

The massive asset that Thousand Sons have is that their characters are excellent. Magnus and Ahriman are exceptional named characters that turn up frequently in soup, while Daemon Princes of Tzeentch are straight up Daemon Princes++, sporting sturdier defences and better psychic output for the low, low price of zero additional points. Cults of the Legion also provide a pretty deep well of upgrades to draw on, and being able to take Tzeentch powers also provides some big value. All good stuff. Scarab Occult Terminators are also, in line with many fancy Terminator flavours, just a straight up good unit these days, and have the additional spice that you can comfortably get them to a 3++ and still technically get them to a 2++ against D1 weaponry on strict RAW.

Your basic problem is that that’s it, and the fact that the only thing you have that’s more efficient at cranking out damage than everyone else is Characters is a big problem in 9th. Now that screening Daemon Princes requires proximity to a valid unit, it’s way harder to keep them safe while they do their work, and with your damage output being psychic-based anything that constricts your movement can impact on your targeting as well. Scarab Occults are great, but you can only really support one unit with the strats, so that’s not going to cut it – so what do you do.

Enter, it would appear, the Mutalith Vortex Beast. This unit is nothing to write home about offensively, sporting a bizarre array of extremely marginal powers, but that’s not what we care about here. It doesn’t need to accomplish anything other than being a relatively durable large-based MONSTER at an attractive price, as that give you a third anchor point besides Magnus and the Scarabs where you can park a Daemon Prince for a bit while they blast away. This provides a significant bump to the army’s flexibility on the table, something that’s further helped by the Cult of Time Rubricae, as their ability to refresh models discourages opponents from trying to chip away at them.

Getting that extra protection in on the cheap lets this list invest very heavily in its Character firepower, bringing two Tzeentch DPs and a Sorceror alongside the named duo. Both of those Princes are loaded out in ways that help cover weaknesses or provide lines of attack too – the Cult of Magic one provides some heavy splash damage to ruin the day of an enemy battle pile if allowed, while putting the Hourglass of Manat on the Cult of Time one lets him break away from the pack and go hunting with Warptime if needed, leaning on the hourglass to get him through the opponent’s attempted vengeance on the subsequent turn.

Really, that’s the key thing here – by finding a way to actually protect the characters more cost-effectively, the army squeezes out just enough points to actually have options on the table, letting the faction’s (very real) strengths come to the fore for once. Once again, a massive well done to Aaron on the success.

Timothy Bouta – Adepta Sororitas – 4th Place

Credit: Starvolt

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) (71 PL, 1,433pts, 12CP) ++

+ Configuration (12CP) +

Order Convictions: Order: Bloody Rose

+ HQ (11 PL, 225pts) +

Canoness (3 PL, 55pts): Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Inferno pistol (5pts), Null Rod, Relic: Beneficence, Warlord, Warlord Trait: 5. Indomitable Belief

Celestine (8 PL, 170pts): The Ardent Blade

+ Troops (12 PL, 165pts) +

Battle Sister Squad (4 PL, 55pts)
. 4x Battle Sister (44pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior (11pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades

Battle Sister Squad (4 PL, 55pts)
. 4x Battle Sister (44pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior (11pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades

Battle Sister Squad (4 PL, 55pts)
. 4x Battle Sister (44pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior (11pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites (20 PL, 473pts) +

Sisters Repentia (6 PL, 144pts)
. 9x Sisters Repentia (144pts): 9x Penitent Eviscerator

Sisters Repentia (6 PL, 144pts)
. 9x Sisters Repentia (144pts): 9x Penitent Eviscerator

Zephyrim Squad (8 PL, 185pts)
. 9x Zephyrim (162pts): 9x Bolt pistol, 9x Frag & Krak grenades, 9x Power sword
. Zephyrim Superior (23pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Power sword, Zephyrim Pennant (5pts)

+ Heavy Support (24 PL, 490pts) +

Mortifiers (12 PL, 245pts)
. Anchorite (3 PL, 65pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails

Mortifiers (12 PL, 245pts)
. Anchorite (3 PL, 65pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails
. Mortifiers (3 PL, 60pts): 2x Heavy bolter, 2x Penitent Flails

+ Dedicated Transport (4 PL, 80pts) +

Sororitas Rhino (4 PL, 80pts): Storm bolter

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) (26 PL, 561pts, -3CP) ++

+ Configuration (-2CP) +

Order Convictions: Order: Valorous Heart

+ HQ (3 PL, 65pts, -1CP) +

Canoness (3 PL, 65pts, -1CP): Brazier of Holy Fire (10pts), Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Heroine in the Making (-1CP), Inferno pistol (5pts), Warlord Trait: 4. Beacon of Faith

+ Troops (4 PL, 55pts) +

Battle Sister Squad (4 PL, 55pts)
. 4x Battle Sister (44pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior (11pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites (1 PL, 26pts) +

Death Cult Assassins (1 PL, 26pts)
. 2x Death Cult Assassins (26pts): 2x Death Cult power blades

+ Fast Attack (4 PL, 95pts) +

Seraphim Squad (4 PL, 95pts)
. 2x Seraphim (30pts): 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior (15pts): Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons (25pts): 2x Inferno Pistols (10pts), Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons (25pts): 2x Inferno Pistols (10pts), Frag & Krak grenades

+ Heavy Support (14 PL, 320pts) +

Retributor Squad (7 PL, 160pts): 2x Armourium Cherub (10pts)
. Retributor Superior (14pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)

Retributor Squad (7 PL, 160pts): 2x Armourium Cherub (10pts)
. Retributor Superior (14pts): Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon (34pts): Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta (20pts)

++ Total: (97 PL, 9CP, 1,994pts) ++

The Standout Features

  • Valourous Heart/Bloody Rose Sisters remind everyone, once again, that they haven’t really gone anywhere.
  • Heavy Mortifier contingent provides excellent horde sweeping capabilities.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Not too many surprises that we need to talk about here – Sisters had a pretty good run at the top of the metagame, and plenty of the units that drove that feature above. Timothy (a returning CI star, having previously excelled with his Tyranids at a previous Utah GT) has packed in a very broad range of Sisters best units here, giving him tools for every occasion and some real flexiblility in terms of game plan. Mortifiers are the main standout – these go in and out of fashion, but definitely work well with the setup here. When you’re packing multiple units of Repentia with the tools to push them all the way to a 4++ you want to be able to demand that your opponent face you in the mid board, and Mortifiers give you a durable unit that’s extremely chilled out about pushing right into the enemy’s face, and that also gives you a far better solution to pure hordes than anything else in the range. I worry slightly they may be a casualty of Drukhari/AdMech struggling for dominance, as anything that murderises Raiders does a number on them to but there’s a real flipside that they’re near best-in-breed anti-horde units

The Rest of the Best

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

  • 5th – Derek Holder – Adeptus Custodes: An unusually go-wide Custodes list that combines a bunch of small units of Sagittarum and Allarus with a scattering of vehicles, including a pair of Palls Grav Attacks. A slightly larger unit of Venatari provide a rapid response capability for the all-important Drukhari matchup.
  • 6th – Marshall Peterson – Necrons: Your actual honest to goodness C’tan span list out in the wild makes me a very, very happy Wings. The dynamic trio of the Nightbringer, Void Dragon and a Transcendent float ominously to war surrounded by a trio of plasmancers to really double-down on mortal wounds and a massive carpet of Scarab Swarms.
  • 7th – Benjamin Cromwell – Necrons:  GW said in the previews that you’d be able to run an all Destroyer Cult list and, well, here it is. Mephrit Lokhusts team up with Novokh Skorpekh and Ophydians to really double down on purging the living from the universe. Facing down an army where literally everything has 3+ wounds does create some unique challenges for opponents, and clearly that combined with the sheer deadliness of the army to allow Benjamin to pull off a very impressive result.
  • 8th – Rich Kilton – Orks: Returning for the first time in a while, here we see the Ghazghkull Boyz horde in action, making the slightly unusual decision to run the Boyz blobs as Deathskulls. I assume that’s a sop to Drukhari, where being able to go up to S5 has minimal impact (you already wound lots their infantry on 3s and it doesn’t get you up to hurting Venoms on 4s), and that the value provided by access to an inbuilt 6++ gave this Clan the nod. A mx of Grots, Mek Gunz and Kommandoes and Stormboyz finish things off.
  • 9th Rich Mahoney – Necrons: A second showing for C’tan themed build here, this time only running two star gods (Nightbringer and Transcendent) but being able to use the points freed up by that to invest in a decent clutch of Wraiths and a single larger Warrior blob to provide more durable board control.
  • 10th – Joseph Shurtleff – Adeptus Custodes: A Shadowkeepers list going hard on mid-sized threats, splitting its points across decently chunky units of Venatari, Allarus and shield Custodians, with four Vertus Praetors and a Telemon backing them up. Vertus Praetors feel a bit underexplored (and goodness knows there’s enough of them painted up out there in the competitive world) so it’s good to see them getting a runaround, and this list succeeds very effectively at presenting no easy targets.
  • 11th – Aaron Fyffe – Dark Angels: All three wings of the Dark Angels on show here, as this list goes wide and purchases small Deathwing Squads, multiple Nephilim Jetfighters and Outrider units but rounds it all out with a trio of basic Tactical Squads in a Patrol. It’s nice to occasionally see Greenwing on the table, and on tables with good terrain they give this list access to cheap Stubborn Defiance fodder while the rest of the list does its thing. Also notable here is an incredibly tooled up Terminator Chaplain swinging the Mace of Redemption around, ready to really slam the enemies of the Unforgiven.
  • 12th – Colin Ward – Blood Angels: A nasty looking pressure build to round this event out, with a full Death Company squad flying to war alongside a couple of Invictors (looking good in the current meta) and lots of Phobos models. That’s a whole bunch of units that can be in the opponent’s face right out of the gate when the moment demands, but also plenty of flexibility to adapt to different matchups via cunning deployment. A big unit of Sanguinary Guard provides a powerful second wave of melee, and a trio of solo-ATVs provides chunky back line position holders and incidental firepower to close things out.

The Alamo GT

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

Sean Nayden – Aeldari – 1st Place

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [37 PL, 725pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

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

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 90pts]: Ancient Evil, Blast Pistol, Huskblade, Overlord, Warlord
. Splintered Genius (Custom): Splintered Genius

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

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 65pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip, Liquifier Gun
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Liquifier Gun
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 90pts]: Coven, Dark Lance, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Coven, Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Coven, Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

Venom [4 PL, 75pts]: Coven, Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [34 PL, 655pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

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

+ HQ +

Warlock [3 PL, 50pts]: 0. Smite, protect/jinx, Shuriken Pistol, Witchblade

+ Heavy Support +

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 105pts] . 2x Dark Reaper: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Reaper Launcher
. . Exarch Power: Rapid Shot

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 105pts] . 2x Dark Reaper: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Reaper Launcher
. . Exarch Power: Rapid Shot

Dark Reapers [5 PL, 105pts] . 2x Dark Reaper: 2x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Reaper Launcher
. . Exarch Power: Rapid Shot

Night Spinner [8 PL, 145pts]: Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 145pts]: Twin Shuriken Catapult

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [32 PL, 620pts, -4CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Ynnari

+ No Force Org Slot +

Shrine of the Whispering God [-1CP]

+ HQ +

The Yncarne [15 PL, 290pts]: 4. Unbind Souls, 6. Ancestors’ Grace

+ Elites +

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

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, 90pts]: Dark Lance, Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Wych Cult

++ Total: [103 PL, 4CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Third time’s the charm for the anti-Drukhari Aeldari special.
  • Yncarne throws a gigantic curveball into high precision mid-table showdowns.
  • High-speed Liquifiers apply pressure from the get go thanks to double Fire and Fade.
  • Super efficient Aeldari shooting dictates the flow of battle.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Reasonably sure I’ve already made the “bad elf with a gun” joke somewhere on here so now I need to find new material. Trust the Ynnari to know about dead elves? We’ll workshop it.

Anyway – after a couple of consecutive large events where a good run has been derailed by a tragic accident involving Mark Hertel’s AdMech, Sean has blasted to the top spot here with the latest iteration of the triple elf spectacular, squeezing some of the best stuff out of Drukhari, Craftworlds and Ynnari.

Drukhari first – Liquifier Wracks and a couple of superb characters, plus one Raider for the Wracks and a trio of Venoms for the Incubi, presumably chosen because it makes it much easier to hide everything this list needs to on the board, and because it gives a bit of anti-monster firepower). Dark Technomancer Wracks are, as we’ve discussed, probably the nastiest single thing Drukhari get, and here bringing a second Raider in the Ynnari detachment lets Sean pull off an especially mean trick that he helpfully pointed out in the comments of our Dallas article. A very handy thing you can do with open topped transports (and something I was a big fan of when i used a Raider in 8th) is to shoot the transport first then use Fire and Fade to move closer, getting more of the passenger shots in range. Now that Drukhariversion of Fire and Fade has been re-badged as Cruel Deception you can activate both that one and the Ynnari F&F on the same turn. Packing two Wrack Squads into each Raider, and packing a PGL on each so you’ve got something you can shoot when advancing, means that you have outrageous threat range on both, able to reach out and assail opponents from a truly eye-watering distance.

The Yncarne, a new addition since the Dallas iteration of this list, works super well with this plan because once you start making thrusts like that they threaten to punish your opponent for trying to respond. Once the Raider is in the opponent’s lines, your opponent really has to completely wipe both it and all the passengers out to properly shut down the threat the liquifiers present, but that gives Sean three separate unit death procs (plus the reach of the disembark) he can potentially use to move the Yncarne, waiting and gauging whether the opponent has enough damage output left to threaten the death god before making the call to go for it or not. Add in the skirmishing line of Incubi and Venoms as well and there’s some absurd granularity in the options of where the Yncarne can pop up in any given turn, making an already tricky army even tougher to deal with. The extreme punch of the Incubi also help ensure this list can pull an Yncarne that’s gone deep into the opponents lines back to relative safety in the fight phase, and if all else fails and the Yncarne is miles out of position there’s even the galaxy brain move of trying to use Dark Technomancers to self-destruct one of the Venoms either in the shooting phase or when firing Overwatch.

Finishing things up, the Craftworld contingent has been dialed back a little to make space for the Yncarne, and to reflect the fact that Irrylith isn’t needed for While We Stand when the Yncarne is about. The detachment is cut down to to the core – 3×3 Dark Reapers, an exceptionally effective glass cannon shooting tool thanks to Expert Crafters, and the Night Spinners, proving a second and third WWSWF choice in games where either keeping the Yncarne safe seems possible or taking 10 is fine, and adding a weight of unavoidable, reasonably efficient firepower helps to dictate the pace of the mirror.

Drukhari were everywhere at this event (as you’ll see when we go through the Best of the Rest section) so it’s no surprise that a list tailored to smash the mirror, with Sean’s experienced hand at the wheel, won out. I do continue to be concerned that what this list gains in the mirror it loses out in the AdMech matchup, which could be about to be an even bigger issue than it was already, but I strongly suspect Sean is already tinkering away at a V3 to smash that as well. Congratulations to him for landing the win.

Jony Velazquez – Death Guard – 2nd Place

Credit: TheChirurgeon

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [97 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Inexorable

+ HQ +

Death Guard Sorcerer in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 115pts]: 4. Putrescent Vitality, 5. Curse of the Leper, Combi-melta, Force axe

Lord of Contagion [7 PL, 145pts]: Ferric Blight, Manreaper and orb of desiccation, Virulent Fever, Warlord

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [6 PL, 115pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife
. 3x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 3x Blight grenades, 3x Boltgun, 3x Krak grenades, 3x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ flail: Flail of corruption

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts] . 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

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

+ Elites +

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

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

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 155pts] . Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 155pts] . Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 155pts] . Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foul Blightspawn [4 PL, 75pts]: Revolting Stench-vats

+ Fast Attack +

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

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

Myphitic Blight-haulers [7 PL, 140pts]: Myphitic Blight-hauler

+ Heavy Support +

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

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

The Standout Features

  • Another member of the Dallas top ten pushes up to an undefeated finish.
  • Perfect example of go-wide Death Guard
  • Extra Plague Marine unit helps with secondaries and positional play.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Death Guard continue to prove surprisingly resilient in the new metagame, with Jony’s build (a minor iteration on his list from the Dallas Open) providing an excellent showcase of how to succeed with them right now. Between the newfound independence that BS/WS3+ gives to Daemon engines, and MSUs of Deathshroud Terminators providing cost effective, durable units that you can drop in wherever is needed, you get surprisingly good board coverage and can adapt to what’s being thrown at you.

In the Inexorable in particular, you also get particularly good support for running Volkite Contemptors, and that’s big money right now. Being able to deploy the Ferric Blight and -1T via a forward ranging Bloat Drone and Flash Outbreak makes these already pushed shooting threats hyper deadly, and in particular positions their stats to be absolutely perfect for eradicating Raiders. They become a true universal shooting threat and do a massive amount to level the playing field against Drukhari. Bloat-drones in general are pretty good in any sort of board control matchup too thanks to the Dark Cravings stratagem, which makes them extremely tough to dodge. Add in the omnipresent Revolting Stench Vats backing up the Terminators and you’ve got a very tough to crack central anvil that can gradually grind through the opponent.

We already looked at a previous iteration of this list in the Dallas writeup, and the key change since then is that a previous five-model Blightlord unit has been downgraded to a third squad of Deathshrouds, and one of the Poxwalker units has been bumped up to a Plague Marine squad. This gives the list access to a slightly more durable objective holding unit that can plausibly be chucked into Strategic Reserves, and also increases it’s ability to push for Despoiled Ground if it really has to, though it still ends up pretty high risk.

Picking up an undefeated run here really highlights how high-quality this list is, and it feels like it should continue to have game even int an AdMech world. Great job to Jony on taking second.

Matthew Allee – Drukhari – 3rd Place

Credit: Wings

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

CURSED BLADE patrol
Drazhar (warlord) – 135

5 wyches – Grave – 50
10 wyches – Grave, Impaler – 110
11 wyches – Grave, Impaler – 120

Raider – Chainsnares – 90
Raider – Chainsnares – 90

STRIFE patrol
Succubus – Adrenalight, Master, Trip Whip, Comp Edge – 75
Succubus – Adrenalight, Razorflails, Lotus, Prescision Blows – 60

10 wyches – Adrenalight, Bloodbrides, Impaler – 130
20 wyches – Grave, Impalerx2 – 220
20 wyches – Grave, Impaler – 210

CURSED BLADE patrol
Succubus – Grave, Razorflails, Animus Vitae – 60

5 wyches – Grave – 50
10 wyches – Grave, Impaler – 110
10 wyches – Grave – 100

3 reavers – Painbringer – 60
3 reavers – Painbringer – 60

Raider – Chainsnares – 90
Raider – Chainsnares – 90
Raider – Chainsnares – 90

The Standout Features

  • Another massively out there Drukhari build revives the Wych Cult hordes of 8th.
  • Impalers everywhere sow confusion while the murder Characters pick off high value targets.
  • Cursed Blade Raiders rack up serious attrition by bumping stuff in combat.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Our final undefeated list from the Alamo GT is Drukhari – but cut out the theatrical boos, because this is a gigantic curveball. Wych spam isn’t totally without pedigree – you occasionally saw builds running 40-60 Wyches in 8th, often alongside tricksy units like the Yncarne, but this build really takes it to another level. Just over a hundred lethal killers backflip and twirl to war, and boy are you going to have a bad time against it if you don’t have the right answers.

The reason Wych spam works is that once you hit combat they’re surprisingly durable, picking up a 4++. However, until then they’re very vulnerable, but the mixture of the extreme efficiency the Raider now brings to the table plus the Webway Portal stratagem let you work around that extremely effectively. My assumption here is that the two big Strife units go into the Webway (ready to take advantage of their charge boosts and a re-roll each on turns 2 and 3) while the five 10/11 model units ride the Raiders along with the characters. That leaves only the two small Wych units and the Reavers footslogging, all easily hidden, meaning that the actual attack surface on this army out the gate is a bunch of Raiders. Even if the opponent makes a good start and pops a few boats they’re still going to have a lot of pressure zooming into their face pronto, and then things become a real headache for them.

Up close, this army has three damage dealing configurations (other than the characters that mostly blender stuff). The Strife units packing Adrenalight are clearly intended to flatten whatever they hit after arriving using Art of the Kill then pop Invigorated by Evisceration to throw up a 4++ for the counterpunch – very annoying to deal with. The Cursed Blade units are just loaded up to be independent – natural S5 thanks to their Obsession and Grave Lotus mean that they’ll predictably chew through a bunch of stuff. Finally, the Cursed Blade Raiders are surprisingly good at picking up some attrition damage. Chain snares makes any Raider capable of doing at least something, but Cursed Blade pushes their strength up to a mighty 8 and means that when opponents swing back at them they’re likely taking a few mortals in response. Given that opponents are often going to get caught in combat with the various shardnet wielding units, you’ll often be able to lock these safely in combat alongside them, and being able to rack up some grinding attrition while doing so is very valuable.

The final thing worth drawing attention to is the smart use of the Animus Vitae here. This mostly hasn’t got too much airtime, but in this build specifically being able to tick Power From Pain up by a battle round, specifically deploying it in BR2 to get the +1 to hit a turn early for some big melee damage, can be really useful. You’re throwing so many attacks that army-wide +1 to hit for a turn is big value, and don’t have liquifiers to fall abck on for a spike turn like other builds, so it’s a good trick to have in the pocket.

It’s great to see Drukhari players mixing things up and exploring the full breadth of what the book can do, and it’s certainly more interesting to see builds that are off the beaten path succeed than just seeing the same templates over again. Great work here from Matthew.

Robert Moreland – 4th Place

Skorpius Dunerider. Credit: Rockfish

Skorpius Dunerider. Credit: Rockfish

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [105 PL, 2,000pts, 12CP] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Forge World Choice
. Forge World: Stygies VIII: Dogma: Shroud Protocols

+ HQ [7 PL, 115pts] +

Tech-Priest Dominus [5 PL, 80pts]: Macrostubber, Omnissian Axe, Volkite Blaster, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Engine War): Divinations of the Magos

Tech-Priest Enginseer [2 PL, 35pts]: Laspistol, Omnissian Axe, Relic: Anzion’s Pseudogenetor, Servo-arm

+ Troops [9 PL, 135pts] +

Skitarii Rangers [3 PL, 45pts] . Ranger Alpha [9pts]: Galvanic Rifle
. 4x Skitarii Ranger [36pts]: 4x Galvanic Rifle

Skitarii Vanguards [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Skitarii Vanguard [36pts]: 4x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha [9pts]: Radium Carbine

Skitarii Vanguards [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Skitarii Vanguard [36pts]: 4x Radium Carbine
. Vanguard Alpha [9pts]: Radium Carbine

+ Elites [26 PL, 550pts] +

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests [6 PL, 140pts] . 10x Corpuscarii Electro-Priest [140pts]: 10x Electrostatic Gauntlets

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests [6 PL, 140pts] . 10x Corpuscarii Electro-Priest [140pts]: 10x Electrostatic Gauntlets

Fulgurite Electro-Priests [8 PL, 170pts] . 10x Fulgurite Electro-Priest [170pts]: 10x Electroleech Stave

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

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

+ Fast Attack [24 PL, 450pts] +

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

Ironstrider Ballistarii [8 PL, 150pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius [4 PL, 75pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, Twin Cognis Lascannon [10pts]

+ Heavy Support [24 PL, 450pts] +

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

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

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

+ Dedicated Transport [15 PL, 300pts] +

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 100pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 100pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 100pts]: Broad Spectrum Data-tether, 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

++ Total: [105 PL, 12CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • A final glorious huzzah for early 9th AdMech.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Rounding off our final top four of the week we get what’s mostly going to be a last huzzah for old-school AdMech. We’ve got a few more weekends where the old book is still going to be in play (most notably, the Atlantic City Open has a very early rules cutoff that excludes new AdMech) but in terms of innovation we’re winding down. With that in mind, this list is a perfect showcase of one of the two top builds from the current book, which is the Stygies yacht club. Very similar to the list piloted to success by Mark Hertel, this build provides an exquisite mix of powerful shooting from the tanks and Ironstriders (and look for their stock to go to the moon shortly), board pressure from the boats full of priests that can pre-game move, and a very durable target profile thanks to being primarily hulls and sporting a -1 to hit at a distance. It’s a fantastic list, but there’s not too much new to say about it compared to similar successful builds from recent events – the main difference from the Hertel is cutting a Fusilave and the Raiders for even more raw killing power in the form of a third Ironstrider unit, sacrificing some utility but making it even tougher to weather the AdMech storm. I suspect we’ll see builds like this again at the ACO, and I suspect the Fusilave option will probably win out thanks to the breadth of utility, but if you run into Drukhari builds similar to the Aussie ones from this week, the extra las will come in handy. The only thing I’d definitely change about this variant is swapping to the 2×8 Fulgurite/1×10 Corpuscari priest loadout, as you definitely want to be able to drop WWSWF on your backline units when needed.

Just because a list is proven good, of course, doesn’t make it easy to play, and the Stygies builds in particular demand excellent judgement about when to push early and when not to. Congratulations to Robert for steering the not-so-metaphorical boat to a fourth place finish.

The Rest of the Best

You know the drill kids – it’s a major, it only had five rounds, meaning that there’s a positive avalance of contenders nipping at the heels of our top four – 18 more players on 4-1. These are going to be a bit briefer than normal, make sure to go check out the full lists on BCP if you want more details.

  • 5th – Josiah Cook – Drukhari: Largely a standard Black Heart/Cult of Strife/Technomancers build following the successful template from Dallas, with the main point of interest being investing all its flex points into a full Hellion unit accompanied by three Reavers to be Deadly Rivals hype-men.
  • 6th – Jeff Ptak – Dark Angels: Nearly full Deathwing here, acting as a counterpoint to the Ravenwing list from Australia. Two of the popular cyclone missile mixed squads, a massive block of Knights and CHARACTER backup.
  • 7th – Georg Bobkov – Chaos: A Chaos horde shows up in the US as well, this time mixing Daemonettes, Bloodletters and Cultists. With literally ever model being either 1W chaff or a LoSir eligible character this army almost completely shuts down high value shooting, and is threatening enough in melee to be very tough to engage with.
  • 8th – Nate Goodfellow – White Scars: Lots of VolCons and lots of VanVets. It’s clearly the formula that works for Scars right now.
  • 9th – James Carmona – Chaos: A good placing for a very Chaos Space Marine heavy list here that combines Emperor’s Children Terminators, Noise Marines and Iron Warriors Decimators in a Daemonsmith aura to provide flexible but consistent damage output. A small Daemon contingent for utility units completes the recipe.
  • 10th – Dane Mercer – Drukhari: Another BH/CoS/Technomancers recipe, this time with the flex points split over a Hellion squad and a heat lance Reaver unit.
  • 11th – Steven Schirmer – Imperial Knights: Three Magaeras, three Warglaives and a lone Helverin to stay on a home objective, all as House Krast. Probably the most obvious route for a high-end Imperial Knight list, but no less potent for that.
  • 12th – Jose Capestany – Space Wolves: Two Redemptors and Bjorn are the centerpiece of this Wolf list (following a pretty standard template), and they’re backed up by a whole bunch of Primaris goodies and Wolf Guard.
  • 13th – Paul Silas – Asuryani: Extreme Expert Crafters skew on show here in a build packing almost every efficient source of a small number of high value shots, going so far as to add Vypers!
  • 14th – Myles Branaum – Tyranids: Hilarious skew on show here – three Dimachaerons, the Swarmlord and a Scythed Hierodule as an absurdly brutal push contingent with two squads of Hive Guard and an Exocrine backing them up. Incredibly light on anything else, but so brutal it often won’t matter.
  • 15th – Michael Dehoyos – Asuryani: Another Crafters list but a bit less extremely skewed than the last. This one packs two big blocks of Shining Spears as roving killers, while a heavy contingent of Dark Reapers, including a full unit popping in and out of a Serpent, provides firepower.
  • 16th – Nathen Fennel – Drukhari: Something slightly different on show here using a custom Dark Mirth/Mobile Raiders Kabal detachment absolutely stuffed with Venoms as the centrepiece, with a mix of Red Grief and Cult of Strife backing it up. It certainly looks intensely annoying to play against, so good Drukhari energy there.
  • 17th – Colin McDade – Aeldari: Harlequins backed up by the 3×3 Dark Reaper/2x Night Spinner contingent favoured by Nayden. Harlequins with Craftworld shooting is a proven combo, and updating to the latest Asuryani hotness in that detachment makes sense.
  • 18th – Michael McKibben – Drukhari: Standard Black Heart and Cult of Strife stuff, but switching out Technomancers for a Dark Creed detachment sporting Grotesques for a bit more melee punch.
  • 19th – Matther Tweedel – Drukhari: Dark Technomancers and lots of Cult of Strife, including 2×10 Hellions.
  • 20th – Mark Cimmerian – Drukhari: Another Wych-heavy build, this time forgoing Technomancers entirely in favour of two big Cursed Blade Hellion squads sporting Painbringer, units that will be total nightmares to chew through.
  • 21st – Frankie Giampapa – Adepta Sororitas: A fairly teched spin on Sororitas here that goes wide with lots of Valorous Heart MSUs sporting a multi-melta each, backed up by the more familiar Retributors and Bloody Rose Repentia. Very challenging to fully unpick the damage output of, which I suspect was valuable in the meta.
  • 22nd – Wyatt Turk – Death Guard: Closing things out, Mortarion enters the fray accompanied by a bunch of go-wide elements – PBCs, small Deathshroud units and Greater Blight-Drones.

Wrap Up

What a weekend, and while Drukhari continue to outperform any faction that we’ve seen before this edition, it’s good to see a healthy clutch of other lists performing too, especially at Utah. Next week, I’m going to be taking one week off this column, but we’re hoping to have someone in place to take the reigns for an edition. I’ll be back at the helm on the 9th June taking a look at the results from the Bugeater GT, getting hyped ahead of the ACO. Any comments, questions or suggestions to contact@goonhammer.com, and we’ll see you soon.

 

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