Competitive Innovations in the Mortal Realms: Haha Zombies go Brrrrrrrr(ains)

Four tournaments to cover this week readers, all of which have some interesting and unusual showdowns – it’s been a turbulent month in terms of the metagame with what we thought to have been the cream of the crop (KO and Gitz) having to share the crown with some pretenders… let’s see what’s taking the top spots this week.

TRS Torneo Regio Sabaudo 2° Edition

68-player, 5-round Grand Tournament in Casale Monferrato, Piemonte IT on May 06 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission –

Mirko Anzalone – Bloodlords:
Army List - Click to Expand


Mirko ‘Mac’ Anzalone

– Army Faction: Blades of Khorne
– Subfaction: Bloodlords
– Grand Strategy: The Day is Ours!
– Triumph: Bloodthirsty
LEADERS
Bloodsecrator (110)*
Realmgore Ritualist (100)*
– Prayers: Killer Instinct, Unholy Flames
Bloodmaster (110)**
– General
– Prayers: Blood Sacrifice, Bloodbind
– Aspects of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (330)**
– Artefacts of Power: Ar’gath, the King of Blades
Slaughterpriest (110)**
– Bloodbathed Axe
– Prayers: Bronzed Flesh, Killer Instinct
BATTLELINE
Claws of Karanak (100)*
Claws of Karanak (100)*
Blood Warriors (190)***
– Blood Champion
– Icon Bearer
– Paired Goreaxes
– Goreglaive
Bloodletters (360)***
– Bloodreaper
– 2 x Icon Bearer
– 2 x Hornblower
OTHER
Mighty Skullcrushers (200)*
– Skullhunter
– Standard Bearer
– Hornblower
– Ensorcelled Axe
Garrek’s Reavers (70)*
Bloodcrushers (180)**
– Icon Bearer
– Hornblower
– Bloodhunter
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
1 x Bleeding Icon (40)
TERRAIN
1 x Skull Altar (0)
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
**Warlord
***Galletian Veterans
TOTAL POINTS: 2000/2000

vs.

Vittorio Canzani – Pretenders Host:
Army List - Click to Expand


Player Name: Vittorio canzani
Allegiance: Slaanesh
– Host: Pretenders
– Grand Strategy: Glutton for Depravity
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty
LEADERS
Keeper of Secrets (400)*
– General
– Command Trait: Strength of Goodhood
– Shining Aegis
– Artefact: The Crown of Dark Secrets
– Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
The Masque (140)*
Contorted Epitome (190)*
– Lore of the Magnificent: Phantasmagoria
– Aspect of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
UNITS
22 x Blissbarb Archers (300)*
11 x Blissbarb Archers (150)*
11 x Blissbarb Archers (150)*
5 x Blissbarb Seekers (200)*
10 x Slickblade Seekers (400)*
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
Mesmerising Mirror (60)
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment

TOTAL: 1990/2000 WOUNDS: 132

LEADERS: 3/6 BATTLELINES: 3 (3+) BEHEMOTHS: 1/4 ARTILLERY: 0/4
ARTEFACTS: 1/1 ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS: 1/3 ALLIES: 0/400

REINFORCED UNITS: 2/4 DROPS: 1

Thoughts

Quite a mix of units make up the Khorne contingent, combining some of the damage from the Daemon side with the efficiency/durability of the Mortal side. But against this Slaanesh list it’s a lot more about the allegiance abilities – in particular access to Murderlust in order to move units into combat in the hero phase and lock up those Blissbarb archers.

The Slaanesh list wants to largely play keep away and shoot you off the board, with the two significant hammers being the Keeper of Secrets and the unit of 10 Slickblade seekers. That said, the problem Vittorio will have is depravity generation, as outside of the Bloodletter unit there isn’t a significantly large unit that’s also quite easy to kill. Slaanesh typically has the upper hand in mobility in most matchups, but this Khorne list can give it a run for it’s money, and I expect out-of-phase movement shenanigans to be the primary deciding factor here.

Result

Bloodlords Victory – 17 – 3

Mirko Anzalone – Bloodlords – 1st Place

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

See Showdown

Archetype

Bit of everything really

Thoughts

The list proves just how deep a book Khorne players have, as there’s a lot of choice in the ‘chaff’ section of the book that you can tailor to suit your needs. Take the Claws of Karanak – 20 points more than the typical screen in Bloodreavers, but their pre-game move gives them a niche as a means to push out the castle a bit to protect the innards against armies like KO that want to deep strike and unload with 12-18″ range shooting.

There’s some anvils here in the Skullcrushers and the Blood warriors, as well as the typical utility we’ve come to expect from the Khorne hero selection. About the most surprising inclusion here are the Bloodcrushers, who have often been overlooked for the mortal version but do a respectable amount of damage in Bloodlords where their blades do mortal wounds on 5s to hit instead of 6s.

Roberto Callegari – Jaws of Mork – 2nd Place

Skragrott, the Loonking
Credit: Raf Cordero

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Roberto Callegari
Army Faction: Gloomspite Gitz
– Army Subfaction: Jaws of Mork
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Indomitable
– Triumphs: Indomitable

LEADER
1 x Skragrott, the Loonking (210)*

1 x Fungoid Cave-Shaman (90)**
– Artefacts: Moonface Mommet
– Spells: Squig Lure

1 x Squigboss (100)**
– General
– Command Traits: The Clammy Hand

1 x Squigboss (100)**
– Aspects of the Champion: Tunnel Master

BATTLELINE
20 x Squig Hoppers (360)*
– Squig Hopper Boss
– Reinforced x 1

24 x Squig Herd (260)*
– Reinforced x 1

24 x Squig Herd (260)*
– Reinforced x 1

24 x Squig Herd (260)*
– Reinforced x 1

TERRAIN
1 x Bad Moon Loonshrine (0)

OTHER
6 x Sneaky Snufflers (130)*

1 x Marshcrawla Sloggoth (150)*
• Allies

CORE BATTALIONS:
*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage
– (Magnificent: Additional Triumph)

***Galletian Veterans

TOTAL POINTS: (1920/2000)

Archetype

Squigs recursion

Thoughts

The typical core of Gitz buff pieces are here, with the core units to build around here being the Squig Herd and a unit of Hoppers (instead of Bounderz), though no Grinkrak which is often seen paired with Squig Herd units. It’s a board control list that trades very well into most melee armies in the game, and the ability to recycle units has given this style of list game into the alpha strike style KO/Lumineth lists we’ve seen too.

The Best of the Rest

The rest of the top 8 were all on 4-1:

  • Position – Player Name – Faction:
  • 3rd – Vittorio Canzani – Slaanesh: See showdown
  • 4th – Andrea Epis – Ogor Mawtribes: Stonehorn spam that does quite well into the shooting heavy lists that have had success recently
  • 5th – Filippo Vivirito – Ogor Mawtribes: Slight changes but basically the same list as Andrea’s
  • 6th – Giuseppe Dargeni – Unknown: No list submitted on BCP
  • 7th – Luigi Mauri – Unknown: No list submitted on BCP
  • 8th – Gianni Criveller – Lumineth Realm-lords: Helon w/ Teclis & 40 Sentinels

The Really Good GT – Hosted by Team Big Chungus

58-player, 5-round Grand Tournament in Westminster, MD United States on May 06 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission –

Emma Mangels – Vyrkos Dynasty:
Army List - Click to Expand


Don’t let your memes just be dreams, your queen is back – – Army Faction: Soulblight Gravelords
– Army Type: Vyrkos
– Grand Strategy: Lust for Domination
LEADERS
Vampire Lord (130)*
– Spells: Soulpike
– Aspects of the Champion: Tunnel Master
Vampire Lord (130)**
– Spells: Spirit Gale
Belladamma Volga (170)***
– Artefacts of Power: Ulfenkarni Phylactery
– Spells: Vile Transference
Necromancer (90)***
– General
– Command Traits: Spoor Trackers
– Artefacts of Power: Standard of the Ulfenwatch
– Spells: Fading Vigour
Torgillius the Chamberlain (125)***
– Spells: Waste Away
BATTLELINE
Deadwalker Zombies (230)*
Deadwalker Zombies (115)*
Deadwalker Zombies (230)**
Deadwalker Zombies (230)**
Dire Wolves (130)**
– Doom Wolf
OTHER
Corpse Cart (70)*
– Corpse Lash
– Unholy Lodestone
Grave Guard (280)**
– Seneschal
– Great Wight Blade
– 2 x Standard Bearer
– 2 x Hornblower
Corpse Cart (70)**
– Corpse Lash
– Unholy Lodestone
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
**Battle Regiment
***Command Entourage
– Magnificent

TOTAL POINTS: 2000/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

vs.

William Hatch – Legion of Blood:
Army List - Click to Expand


There are only 49 stars on that flag.

– Army Faction: Soulblight Gravelords
– Army Type: Legion of Blood
– Grand Strategy: Lust for Domination
– Triumph: Inspired
LEADERS
Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon (440)
– General
– Command Traits: Doomed Minions
– Deathlance
– Artefacts of Power: Cloak of Mists and Shadows
– Spells: Vile Transference
Neferata (390)*
– Spells: Waste Away
Vampire Lord (130)*
– Spells: Spirit Gale
– Aspects of the Champion: Tunnel Master
Wight King (135)*
BATTLELINE
Black Knights (110)*
Deathrattle Skeletons (255)*
Deadwalker Zombies (115)*
OTHER
Grave Guard (280)*
– Standard Bearer
– Hornblower
– Seneschal
– Great Wight Blade
Grave Guard (140)*
– Standard Bearer
– Hornblower
– Seneschal
– Great Wight Blade
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
TOTAL POINTS: 1995/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

Thoughts

Oh my god Vyrkos can give Zombies a 5+ Ward!?

Okay the longer version is this is two similar board control style lists, but one of them is setup to tarpit and swarm objectives with bodies and the other one wants to smash units that don’t just get right back up. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader which is which.

Result

Vyrkos Dynasty Victory – 12 – 8

Emma Mangels – Vyrkos Dynasty – 1st Place

Deadwalker Zombie. Credit: Skails

The List

See Showdown

Archetype

Zombies go brrrrrrrr(ains)

Thoughts

Vyrkos is so wonky man – between being able to give their command traits and artefacts to unique units, as well as just a set of heroic actions that seem innocuous enough until you look a little closer.

Yasee, GW didn’t put the summonable keyword as a requirement for the Pack Alpha heroic action, meaning that you can add D3 models to any Deadwalkers keyword unit and take it above maximum unit size… which means you can add D3 models to a corpse cart unit or a Korsargi unit. Crazy.

Anyway, Corpse carts give the Zombies back their mortal wound ability they lost in the new book, making them somewhat respectable in melee combat, and with the new mortal wound splashback ability they have, they’ve become Pink Horror-Tier in terms of ‘what the hell I don’t want to deal with that’.

Jacob Brandon – Beasts of Chaos: Allherd – 2nd Place

Beasts of Chaos Gors Credit: Mugginns

The List

Army List - Click to Expand


Army Faction: Beasts of Chaos
– Army Subfaction: Allherd
– Grand Strategy: Desecrating Brayherd
– Triumphs: Inspired

LEADER

1 x Great Bray-Shaman (95)**
– Spells: Tendrils of Atrophy

1 x Great Bray-Shaman (95)**
– Spells: Wild Rampage

1 x Great Bray-Shaman (95)**
– Artefacts: Brayblast Trumpet
– Spells: Wild Rampage

1 x Beastlord (145)***
– General
– Command Traits: Bestial Cunning
– Artefacts: Slitherwrack Helm

1 x Beastlord (145)****
– Aspects of the Champion: Leadership of the Alpha

BATTLELINE

30 x Gors (330)*
– Paired Hacking Blades

30 x Gors (330)*
– Paired Hacking Blades

10 x Gors (110)****
– Paired Hacking Blades

BEHEMOTH

1 x Chaos Gargant (145)

1 x Chaos Gargant (145)

1 x Chaos Gargant (145)

OTHER

1 x Cockatrice (105)**

1 x Cockatrice (105)***

CORE BATTALIONS:

*Galletian Veterans

**Warlord

***Vanguard

****Vanguard

TOTAL POINTS: (1990/2000)

Archetype

Gors on Tour

Thoughts

Speaking of Tar pit style armies, Beasts have their own version in Allherd Gors, which are capable of putting D3+3 models back at the end of each battleshock phase. With access to a 4+ base save this can make them deceptively tanky against armies that aren’t capable of doing 30 wounds through a 4+ save in one turn, and Jacob has brought 70 of the mad goats.

Other than them, the army is just support pieces to help the Gors punch upwards – Chaos Gargants lend monstrous rampages and -1 save for them, and the Shamans are here to throw out rituals and use those lovely spells from their spell lore.

The Best of the Rest

The rest of the top 8 were 4-1:

  • Position – Player Name – Faction:
  • 3rd – Carl Ong – Kharadron Overlords: This Urbaz list retains the 15 Thunderers and an Ironclad with buff pieces core, but runs two Gunhaulers for it’s battleline and says ‘lol’ at the very idea of running Arkanauts even as a screen
  • 4th – Michael Vagenos – Slaves to Darkness: The Ravagers Archaon build that was speculated on when the book came out late last year is finally hitting the tables, spamming a lot of Splintered Fang
  • 5th – William Hatch – Soublight Gravelords: See showdown
  • 6th – Kaleb Walters – Ossiarch Bonereapers: 15 Deathriders and 20 Mortek make up the core, with double Mortarch and a Harvester helping this Crematorians recursion list work
  • 7th – Nicholas Walters – Ironjawz: Bloodtoof piggy spam, with 10 Brutes
  • 8th – Joe Shoemaker – Ironjawz: Bloodtoof piggy spam, with slightly more piggys and 10 Ardboyz

Ragnarok GT May 2023

30-player, 5-round Grand Tournament in Rainham, England GB on May 06 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission –

Hazel Moon – Ogor Mawtribes:
Army List - Click to Expand


Allegiance: Ogor Mawtribes
– Mawtribe: Boulderhead
– Grand Strategy: Ready for Plunder
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Big Chungus (450)*
Frostlord on Stonehorn
– General
– Command Trait: Voice of the Avalanche
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Mount Trait: Rockmane Elder
Queen Divine (330)**
Huskard on Thundertusk
– Blood Vulture
– Mount Trait: Rimefrost Hide
– Prayer: Pulverising Hailstorm

Battleline
Netflix Comedy Special (310)*
Stonehorn Beastriders
– Weapon: Blood Vulture
Lesbian Bed Death (310)*
Stonehorn Beastriders
– Weapon: Blood Vulture
The TERF Eater (310)*
Stonehorn Beastriders
– Weapon: Blood Vulture
White Male Privilege (270)**
Thundertusk Beastriders
– Weapon: Blood Vulture

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Torrbad

Total: 1980 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 85
Drops: 3

vs.

Benjamin Savva – Kastelai Dynasty:
Army List - Click to Expand


Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
– Subfaction: Kastelai
– Grand Strategy: Empire of Corpses
– Triumphs:

Leaders
Prince Vhordrai (470)***
– Lore of the Vampires: Vile Transference
Vampire Lord (130)***
– General
– Command Trait: Undead Bladelord
– Artefact: The Red Casket
– Lore of the Vampires: Spirit Gale
– Aspect of the Champion: Tunnel Master

Battleline
5 x Blood Knights (230)*
5 x Blood Knights (230)***
5 x Blood Knights (230)***

Units
16 x Askurgan Trueblades (360)*
– Reinforced x 1
3 x Fell Bats (85)***
3 x Fell Bats (85)***
3 x Vyrkos Blood-born (90)***
3 x Vyrkos Blood-born (90)

Core Battalions
*Galletian Veterans
**Galletian Command
***Battle Regiment

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 138
Drops: 4

Thoughts

Hazel’s back with her furiously effective Monster truck list, this time going up against a rather thematic and cool Vampire focused list piloted by Ben Savva. The Vampire list functions by momentum – it gains buffs to it’s Vampire units as they slaughter units, with powerful abilities like extra attacks or damage getting unlocked if they beat up particularly large enough units… Wouldn’t you know, that’s all Hazel’s list is.

However (and this is a big however), it requires them to actually kill the unit, and unfortunately for Ben, Stonehorns are very tough prey thanks to their inherent 5+ ward. Ben’s got a lot of punch, but it’s all spread out into multiple units and if he gets stuck in a protracted combat he is likely to get ground down to dust.

Result

Ogor Mawtribes Victory – 28 – 5

Frostlord on Stonehorn from Games Workshop. An ogre riding atop a mighty moss green, ivory horned beast.

Hazel Moon – Ogor Mawtribes 1st Place

The List

See Showdown

Archetype

Monster Trucks

Thoughts

Luckily for me, I already discussed this list last week, so you can just refer back to last week’s article as it’s unchanged – congratulations on the back-to-back wins Hazel!

The Best of the Rest

There were 4 more players on 4-1 records. They were:

  • Position – Player Name – Faction:
  • 2nd – Owen Jackson – Kharadron Overlords (Barak-Urbaz): 30 Thunderers delivered via Bridge and an Ironclad – pretty good
  • 3rd – Philip Springall – Kharadron Overlords: Proving it’s possible to succeed with a more melee focused build, Philip’s running 0 Thunderers and instead 18 Endrinriggers in two Frigates
  • 4th – Luke Skelton – Maggotkin of Nurgle: Fly spam with Be’lakor to give the list another wrinkle
  • 5th – Ben Savva – Soulblight Gravelords: See showdown

Game Knight AoS GT

28-player, 5-round Grand Tournament in London, Ontario CA on May 06 2023. All the lists for this event can be found in Best Coast Pairings.

The Showdown

Matchup & Mission –

Mark Palinski – Legion of Blood:
Army List - Click to Expand


– Army Faction: Soulblight Gravelords
– Army Type: Legion of Blood
– Grand Strategy: Empire of Corpses TRIUMPH: Inspired
LEADERS
Neferata (390)*
– Spells: Waste Away
Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon (440)**
– General
– Command Traits: Doomed Minions
– Deathlance
– Artefacts of Power: Cloak of Mists and Shadows
– Spells: Flaming Weapon
Wight King (135)**
– Artefacts of Power: Amulet of Screams
– Aspects of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
Vampire Lord (130)**
– Spells: Spirit Gale
BATTLELINE
Deathrattle Skeletons (85)*
– Standard Bearer
– Skeleton Champion
Dire Wolves (130)*
– Doom Wolf
Dire Wolves (130)*
– Doom Wolf
OTHER
Blood Knights (460)*
– Kastellan
– Templar Blade
– 2 x Standard Bearer
Corpse Cart (70)*
– Unholy Lodestone
– Corpse Goad
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage
– Magnificent

TOTAL POINTS: 1970/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

vs.

Steven Wiedemann – Lumineth Realm-Lords:
Army List - Click to Expand


– Army Faction: Lumineth Realm-lords
– Subfaction: Zaitrec
– Grand Strategy: Scinari Illumination
– Triumph: Inspired
LEADERS
Scinari Enlightener (170)*
– General
– Command Traits: Loremaster
– Spells: Etheral Blessings, Speed of Hysh, Total Eclipse
Scinari Loreseeker (160)*
– Artefacts of Power: Silver Wand
– Spells: Protection of Hysh
– Aspects of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
Vanari Lord Regent (160)*
– Spells: Protection of Hysh
BATTLELINE
Vanari Auralan Wardens (150)*
– High Warden
– Spells: Overwhelming Heat
Vanari Auralan Sentinels (320)*
– High Sentinel
– Spells: Total Eclipse
Vanari Auralan Sentinels (320)*
– High Sentinel
– Spells: Total Eclipse
Vanari Bladelords (390)*
– Bladelord Seneschal
Vanari Auralan Wardens (150)*
– High Warden
– Spells: Overwhelming Heat
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
1 x Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws (70)
1 x Rune of Petrification (60)
1 x Geminids of Uhl-Gysh (50)
TERRAIN
1 x Shrine Luminor (0)
CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
TOTAL POINTS: 2000/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App

Thoughts

Who would win in a fight, an army of Shiny armoured, glorious wizards… or one cheeky Wight with an Amulet that’s just constantly screaming, and the ability to get back up (potentially) the first two times it’s killed. To be more specific, the Wight King becoming Summonable gives it some really interesting play as it can be resummoned the first time it dies. The Amulet of Screams does D3 mortal wounds on a 3+ to any enemy unit that successfully casts a spell that isn’t unbound within 18″ of the bearer, and as the Wight King can now hide in a Gravesite he can pop out, punish spellcasting and then get resummoned the first time he dies.. but there’s more! Ghurrish Rage means he can just ignore the first time he dies on a 3+ anyway, making him particularly annoying for Lumineth players.

And that’s the crux of this matchup for me – Steven is running a lot of wizards with no Teclis for the 5+ ward, making that little wight a pain in the ass to deal with. 40 Sentinels will certainly help with dealing with the two ethereal Monsters running around, but board control will remain an issue in the full five rounds.

Result

Legion of Blood Victory – 30 – 9

Mark Palinski – Legion of Blood – 1st Place

Neferata
Neferata, the Mortarch of Blood. Credit: chimp

The List

See Showdown

Archetype

Ethereal Hero hammer

Thoughts

The army is centered around three things – it’s 10 Blood Knights, Neferata and the VLoZD. Neferata can give a unit better Ethereal with her spell, making it immune to negative modifiers to save, while still benefiting from positive modifiers. That means a 2+ unrendable save and a nightmare for most armies not capable of putting out significant mortal wound output. The VLoZD has the Cloak of Mist and Shadows, giving it the Nighthaunt style Ethereal, but fixed at 3+… which is still fantastic and more than worth losing access to positive modifiers.

Other than that, the list runs chaff for board control and the aforementioned Scream King to be a complete prick to the opposing armies’ spellcasters.

The Best of the Rest

There were 4 more players on 4-1 records. They were:

  • Position – Player Name – Faction:
  • 2nd – Steven Wiedemann – Lumineth Realm-Lords: See showdown
  • 3rd – Matt Kowalyk – Soulblight Gravelords: Another double ethereal list, this one with less chaff and 20 Grave Guard
  • 4th – Jake Seguin – Cities of Sigmar: This old book keeps creaking on, with 10 Protectors and an Incarnate giving the Hallowheart spellcasting core some anvils
  • 5th – Shawns Murri – Fyreslayers: A blend of the Magmadroth + Hearthguard build and the Vulkite build, skipping on Flamekeepers in favour of bodies

Wrap Up

That’s it for the week! Soulblight take a commanding position in terms of Meta attention this week, with previous darlings like the Gitz and KO taking a step back. If the board control capabilities of the Soulblight truly cement themselves it’ll mean quite the shift in list building priority if your intent is to try to have a good matchup against stuff in the top brackets… we’ll see how the next few weeks pan out.