Competitive Innovations in 9th: Varbergs GT

An article by    Competitive Play Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

Welcome back to another week looking at the evolving landscape of 9th Edition’s competitive metagame. With a few weeks of this behind us, some definite patterns are starting to emerge, and you can see some of my thoughts on that in the article about unit roles we put out earlier this week. The hunt for more data continues however, so with another weekend behind us it was time once again to dive into event results and see what was out there. Among the many one-day RTTs, this week one two-day event did fire, the Varbergs GT over in Sweden, and while it just missed the cutoff to be a formal GT (at 26 starting players), it’s going to give us by far the most robust set of lists to play with. One of the things I’ve been excited about with the adoption of the GW GT2020 pack for competitive play worldwide is that pretty much everyone is on the same page format wise, giving us much wider latitude to look at lists from all over the world without having to add big caveats about the relevance to ITC, and I’m glad to see that paying off so soon.

It did mean I had to find someone to translate and check their COVID guidelines for me, but that is work I am happy to put in for you, dear readers, so without further ado lets look at this week’s batch of lists – the top four from this event.

 

Christoph Fiedler’s Space Marines – 1st Place

The Crimson Khan

The Crimson Khan. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

 ++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Salamanders) [54 PL, 11CP, 1,113pts] ++

**Chapter Selection**: Master Artisans, Salamanders Successor, Stealthy

+ Stratagems +

Trust of Prometheus [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Captain on Bike [6 PL, 150pts]: Forge Master, Storm shield, The Salamander’s Mantle, Thunder hammer, Warlord

+ Troops +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 70pts] . Scout Sergeant: Boltgun, Chainsword

. 4x Scout w/Boltgun: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites +

Aggressor Squad [12 PL, 225pts]: 4x Aggressor, Aggressor Sergeant
. Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets/Fragstorm Grenade Launcher

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 210pts]: Cyclone missile launcher, 2x Twin lascannon

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [6 PL, 150pts]: 2x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant, Plasma Exterminator x2

+ Heavy Support +

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 120pts]: Armorium Cherub
. Space Marine Sergeant: Boltgun
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon and grav-amp

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

Drop Pod [4 PL, 68pts]: Storm bolter

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – White Scars) [45 PL, -5CP, 887pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: White Scars

+ HQ +

Chaplain [6 PL, -2CP, 115pts]: 4. Mantra of Strength, 6. Canticle of Hate, Jump Pack, Litany of Hate, Plume of the Plainsrunner, Power fist, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Stratagem: Master of Sanctity, Strike off the Head, Wise Orator

Kor’sarro Khan [6 PL, 110pts]

+ Elites +

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

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

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

Judiciar [4 PL, 85pts]

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [7 PL, 131pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

Impulsor [7 PL, 131pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

++ Total: [99 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • White Scars and Salamanders – two great tastes that make me grit my teeth together.
  • Artisans/Stealthy with a RelCon and bolter Aggressors rather than Stealthy/Long Ranged with flamestorm Aggressors
  • A very restrained single squad of Eradicators (but the Grav Pod is still here, oh yes).

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

While Iron Hands are obviously still performing very well, Salamanders and White Scars seem to have been the biggest beneficiaries of the switch to 9th out of the Space Marine chapters. White Scars are great at supplying powerful push threats, while Salamanders have great reactive threats, both recipes for success in 9th. This list asks the obvious question – why not take both?

Apparently the answer to that is “why not indeed?”, because the result was an event winning list. This makes a lot of sense – both Chapters can make effective use of their special doctrine, but neither really needs it to do what they’re good at. I had the dubious pleasure of playing against White Scars Bladeguard in Impulsors last weekend and they’re pretty hideous, and this list pares their presence in the list down to a hyper-efficient contingent, with the maximum number of Bladeguard backed by Khan and a Judicar to help them win fights, while a Chaplain zooms around giving out melee re-rolls and speed boosts. All of this is exactly the kind of thing you want from your push contingent in 9th, and does not in any way need boosted melee damage to succeed.

Salamander Eradicators. Credit: Rockfish

Salamander Eradicators. Credit: Rockfish

The Salamanders, meanwhile, have a special Doctrine that’s extremely skippable if you don’t want to lean into it, and this list simply doesn’t. Without it flamestorm Aggressors are a lot less good, so they’re out, and Eradicators drop down to being merely excellent rather than over-the-top good. As any sensible Marine list should do at the moment, it packs the mandatory Grav Pod, and here a Relic Contemptor and Smash Bike Captain fill things out. The Relic Contemptor plays a valuable role here of being able to sit on a home objective blasting away and being tough to shift, while the Smash Bike can join in with the frontline fun or zoom off to pummel a Knight as needed.

I find the hyper-focused Scars detachment here very appealing, and like how the list comes together overall, and if you’re looking to carry out some Marine fusion cuisine of your own I think there’s a lot here to consider. For my money, I’d say the Salamander half is the more replaceable of the two – I think you could comfortably combine the White Scars contingent with Iron Hands, for example, and I think the Scars detachment is what sings out to me as innovative here, but the Salamander loadout is perfectly strong in its own right too.

Well done to Christoph for taking the win.

 

Pär Hylander’s Chaos Daemons – 2nd Place

Credit: RichyP

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Daemons) ++

Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided

+ Stratagems +

Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic)

+ HQ +

Fluxmaster: Gaze of Fate, Staff of Change

Lord of Change: Bolt of Change, Incorporeal Form, Infernal Gateway, Rod of Sorcery, The Impossible Robe, Treason of Tzeentch, Warlord
. Exalted Lord of Change: 5. Aura of Mutability

Poxbringer: Miasma of Pestilence

+ Troops +

Nurglings
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings
. 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Plaguebearers: Plagueridden
. 9x Plaguebearer: 9x Plaguesword

Plaguebearers: Plagueridden
. 9x Plaguebearer: 9x Plaguesword

Plaguebearers: Plagueridden
. 9x Plaguebearer: 9x Plaguesword

+ Elites +

Beasts of Nurgle
. 9x Beast of Nurgle: 9x Putrid appendages

Beasts of Nurgle
. 9x Beast of Nurgle: 9x Putrid appendages

Exalted Flamer

+ Fast Attack +

Furies: Mark of Nurgle
. 5x Fury: 5x Daemonic claws

Screamers
. 3x Screamer: 3x Lamprey bite

Screamers
. 3x Screamer: 3x lamprey bite

266 Reinforcement Points

The Standout Features

  • Pure Daemons in a podium position.
  • Big Bird and the Beasts of Nurgle make another strong showing.
  • Seriously though, even more Beasts of Nurgle than last time.
  • People really starting to lean into the fact that throwaway small units are way safer to include than they were in ITC.
  • A list that actually makes use of summoning points.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Pure Daemons are pretty heavily maligned in people’s 9th Edition rankings, so I’m sure it’ll warm the hearts of their fans to see a pure list doing this well (Rob’s Note: It does!). It does so by leaning into what are probably the two biggest assets the faction has going for it right now: The excellent staying power of Nurgle units (hugely valuable in 9th), and the exceptional power of the fully operational Big Bird. It’s pretty clear that the game plan is to get the two big beast units onto mid-board objectives as quick as possible then have the Bird fly around dropping psychic death onto any position where the opponent tries to castle up.

With damage reduction, a 3++ and a super 6+++, killing the LOC is extremely tricky, and supercharged Infernal Gateways match up very well against some of the threats we’re seeing in 9th – it’s absolutely devastating against the White Scars contingent seen above, for example, thanks to it containing multiple small, valuable units that want to stay together. Even the nastiest shooting list is going to need a whole turn to down this monstrosity, and if they do that means they’re ignoring the 100 wounds worth of Nurgle Beasts on objectives, which isn’t a great strategy for winning on the Primary. In the numbers they’re present, there aren’t really any options for dealing with the beasts other than chewing through them either – thanks to being able to Heroic with the Attention Seekers ability an opponent can’t even use disposable ObSec stuff to deny their scoring, as they’ll just get unceremoniously eaten. Even tougher stuff needs to watch out against a unit this size – popping the Acidic Slobber stratagem will rack up ~5MWs even before you deal with the damage from any failed saves.

Elsewhere, most of the rest of the core of the list is designed to handle goings on in the rest of the board. 10x Plaguebearer units are a good backfield objective holder in 9th – tough enough that they can’t be trivially shot off, and here also able to screen the characters as needed. Meanwhile, the Furies and Screamers can harass stuff that the opponent is trying to hold positions with, and the Screamers can also act as missiles to go after small units like Eradicators. Taken together, these various elements give the army more angles on controlling the board.

The final thing that’s notable, obviously, is the summoning points. What’s interesting to me is that there isn’t really a slam-dunk obvious summon choice – normally a Contorted Epitome is a good guess, but there are no Slaanesh characters here to summon it. That suggests they’ll be being used in a highly adaptive fashion. If I had to guess I’d assume the plan is to kick off by summoning an additional character of some kind to the table, giving a bit more flexibility about where to bring stuff in in future turns. From there, quality options include more Beasts of Nurgle, Tzeentch chariots or lots of Plaguebearers. Alternatively it should be acknowledged that, with a good roll (probably blowing Soul Sacrifice), there is the option of just summoning a Great Unclean one and calling the job a good ‘un. Just saying.

This list seems like a real nightmare to play against because of just how many armies are going to bounce off the Beast blobs, and Nurgle continues to appear to be the most attractive of the Chaos Gods in the current environment.

 

Björn Håkansson’s Blood Angels

Blood Angels Death Company

Blood Angels Death Company. Credit: Jack Hunter

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [101 PL, 2,000pts, 11CP] ++

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ Stratagems +

Armoury of Baal [-1CP]: 1 Additional Relic

+ HQ +

Astorath [8 PL, 110pts]: 4. Mantra of Strength, 6. Canticle of Hate, Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, The Executioner’s Axe

Librarian Dreadnought [8 PL, 143pts]: 1. Quickening, 6. Wings of Sanguinus, Biomantic Sarcophagus, Furioso fist, Furioso force halberd, Smite, Storm bolter

Primaris Captain (Indomitus) [5 PL, 105pts]: 2. Artisan of War, Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Master-crafted Power Sword, Relic Shield, Warlord

+ Troops +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 115pts]: Haywire Mine
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired Combat Blades, 4x Smoke Grenades
. Incursor Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Occulus bolt carbine, Paired Combat Blades, Smoke Grenades

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

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 100pts]: Stalker Bolt Rifle
. 4x Intercessor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Intercessor Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites +

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

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

Death Company [15 PL, 243pts]: Jump Pack
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades
. . Bolt pistol and chainsword: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades
. . Bolt pistol and chainsword: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades, Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Frag & Krak grenades
. . Bolt pistol and chainsword: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Primaris Ancient [4 PL, 80pts]: Bolt pistol, Bolt rifle, Frag & Krak grenades, Standard of Sacrifice

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts]: 4x Servitor, 4x Servo-arm

+ Fast Attack +

Outrider Squad [6 PL, 135pts] . 2x Outrider: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Twin Bolt rifle
. Outrider Sgt: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Twin Bolt rifle

Outrider Squad [6 PL, 135pts] . 2x Outrider: 2x Astartes Chainsword, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Twin Bolt rifle
. Outrider Sgt: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Twin Bolt rifle

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

Eradicator Squad [5 PL, 120pts]: Eradicator Sgt
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Melta rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [7 PL, 131pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

++ Total: [101 PL, 11CP, 2,000pts]

The Standout Features

  • Pure Blood Angels – but no Sanguinary Guard.
  • Lots of new Indomitus options in play.
  • Especially large Eradicator presence.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

One of the things I am low-key enjoying about 9th is how it’s allowing armies that look normal, for a want of a better word, to succeed. While you could have plenty of fun at tournaments with balanced, reasonable looking forces in 8th, top lists frequently looked fairly nightmarish, skewing hard to maximise one capability and aiming to totally shut opponents out of that part of the game. That tended to mean that on the very top tables a balanced list like this one would struggle.

Not so in 9th. Forcing every army to engage with the objective game and have a plan for the full five turns has put balanced lists on the table, and that’s good news for the game. The only thing in this army that would raise any eyebrows in a pickup game is the 3×3 Eradicators, and for the competitive scene to continue to grow and thrive it’s a real asset if players considering trying an event see that lists they could imagine fielding themselves doing well.

That doesn’t mean this list isn’t powerful, mind you. Far from it. It is a bit of a surprise not to see Sanguinary Guard in the army, but they’re very expensive and lose a considerable amount of their ability to occupy space thanks to the coherency changes. Here, the plan appears to be to use the Death Company as an initial hammer via Forlorn Fury (presumably moving them into hiding somewhere if they take the second turn) and then field a wide variety of mid-strength mobile units to sweep up the board behind them and overwhelm the enemy. All the troops can start up the table anyway, and the Outriders can quickly join them (and are obviously potent with the Blood Angel chapter tactic), and a substantial proportion of this list can strike wherever it’s needed most to do damage. All three characters can be especially dangerous in a fight, and Astaroth is a notable steal compared to a Smash Captain, who he can imitate pretty reasonably with Mantra of Strength.

Astorath the Grim, Redeemer of the Lost

Astorath the Grim, Redeemer of the Lost. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Eradicators are worth talking about specifically, as I’ve seen them out in force in several Blood Angels lists, in numbers comparable to Salamanders. While Blood Angels don’t offer anything specific to buff their shooting, I think that the value they’re providing is allowing them to access ranged anti-tank firepower without changing the target profile and composition of the list. Melee-focused blood angels are always going to have major INFANTRY and BIKER contingents, and being able to stick to that while still adding some melta death helps avoid giving obvious targets to your opponent. Like any Blood Angel unit, they can also make a reasonable account of themselves in a fight.

Space Marines of all stripes have it pretty decent right now, but we haven’t seen as many of the non-codex chapters on the top tables, so it’s nice to see the Bangles out and about. Who knows, maybe next week it might be the Dark Angels’ turn? (offer not guaranteed).

 

Daniel Hesselberg’s Grey Knights

Grey Knight Kill Team

Grey Knight Kill Team
Credit: Pendulin

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [117 PL, 1,999pts, 12CP] ++

+ Stratagems +

Armoury of Titan

+ HQ +

Brother-Captain [7 PL, 120pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hammerhand, Iron Halo, Psyk-out Grenade

. Nemesis Warding Stave: Nemesis Warding Stave

. Psilencer: Psilencer (Terminator)

Librarian [6 PL, 115pts]: 6: Lore Master, Armoured Resilience, Artisan Nullifier Matrix, Combi-melta, Crux Terminatus, Empyrean Domination, Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade, Warlord, Warp Shaping

. Nemesis Warding Stave: Nemesis Warding Stave

Lord Kaldor Draigo [10 PL, 190pts]: Edict Imperator, Frag & Krak grenades, Inner Fire, Psyk-out Grenade, Storm bolter, Storm shield, The Titansword

+ Troops +

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

Strike Squad [7 PL, 102pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Gate of Infinity, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight (Psilencer): Psilencer
. 3x Grey Knight (Sword): 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

+ Elites +

Paladin Squad [30 PL, 568pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade, Sanctuary
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Warding Stave: Nemesis Warding Stave
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer
. 5x Paladin (Warding Stave): 5x Nemesis Warding Stave, 5x Storm Bolter
. Paragon: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts]

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts]

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts]

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 155pts]: Astral Aim, Missile launcher, Twin lascannon

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 155pts]: Astral Aim, Missile launcher, Twin lascannon

++ Total: [117 PL, 12CP, 1,999pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Grey Knights still managing to eke out a strong finish.
  • Strike Marines mocking all the internet pundits declaring them dead (i.e. me).
  • Multiple Venerable Dreadnoughts backing them up.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Our final list for this week is arguably the most surprising. Grey Knights have theoretically had a pretty rough transition over from their late-8th dominance, and a big part of that is that going wide with Strike Squads has theoretically become a lot less valid thanks to losing the immunity to escalating Smite costs. That “theoretically” is doing a lot of heavy lifting right now, because while there are some options here that were less commonly seen in 8th, the core of six Strike Squads is all present and correct and still ran to a 4-1 finish. They’re backed up by a massively tricked-out Paladin bomb, adding some hammers on top of the normal configuration, and some Vendreads and Servitors to round things out.

Obviously, one list doing well doesn’t necessarily mean that the consensus opinion of Terminators now being the better troop choice is wrong, but we should definitely have a think about why Strikes might be performing better than expected. For my money, I suspect two main factors:

  • It’s a target rich environment for them. They’re strong against both Daemons and Death Guard, and no slouches against lists favouring elite infantry.
  • The kinds of lists that could just trivially shoot 30 Strikes off the board in a turn have diminished in popularity.

Escalating Smite costs are rough, but Grey Knights have tools to mitigate them for an alpha turn – Empyric Surge backed up by the Artisan Nullifier Matrix should combine with their in-built cast boost to get the number of Smites they can reasonably land pretty high when it matters, and against some lists pulling off a good Smite turn will put you in a very strong position. The large number of Servitor squads serves the dual purpose of being cheap objective squatters/Action units while also pushing up the number of Strikes that can be in reserve. I would expect a reasonably common configuration for this list to be for all six Strike Squads and Draigo to be in reserve while the Dreads, Paladins and Servitors go onto the board with the other two characters, and that maximises the chance of setting up the perfect alpha turn. Having the Brother Captain gives the flexibility to go for an early psychic barrage on the board when needed, but I expect him to focus more on providing the extra range in a mop up phase later in the game.

Grey Knights Credit: Lungboy

Grey Knights Credit: Lungboy

The Paladin bomb will basically do as the paladin bomb does – get buffed up, teleport onto an objective and shout extremely holy obscenities at the enemy daring them to have a go. The Dreads here add some ranged punch in a reasonably durable setup – I assume the idea is to put one behind cover and use Astral Aim while the other uses Duty Eternal to tank incoming firepower. Having something that can threaten a long-ranged element is helpful in 9th even if the value of shooting-focused armies is down a bit, and combined with the fact they further help with drop count issues, they seem like a reasonable choice.

Much like the Daemon list, hopefully this gives some moderate amount of succor to Grey Knight players wondering what to do with 30 Strike Marines. I expect testing of the Terminator alternative to continue, and maybe even to win out, but it would appear that when the metagame lands right there’s still some life in the Strike build.

 

Wrap Up

Another week and another set of lists that doesn’t disappoint in showing off some new things, even as we also start to see some familiar patterns. I will, hopefully, be back next week (I can’t see any big GTs upcoming, but there’s at least one 20+ player RTT in the UK as a fallback), so do tune back in then, and as ever let us know at contact@goonhammer.com if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

 

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