In Competitive Innovations, we take a regular look at the top lists from major events from the past weekend, figure out what makes them tick, and talk about what these lists mean for the developing meta. This past weekend gave us one of our first big events for Age of Sigmar’s third edition with the Renegade Open’s Saga of the Flame Cult Grand Tournament. This 5-round Grand Tournament event featured 34 players, including Goonhammer’s own JoeK, who finished 10 with Lumineth Realm-Lords. You can find the pairings in Best Coast Pairings here. We’re also look back the Circle City Clash, a 5-round event that took place in Indianapolis on July 17.
Saga of the Flame Cult
Covered by JoeK
1st Place – Sean Troy – Cities of Sigmar (Living Cities) – Best Overall
Leaders: Runelord -General -Command Trait: Master of Magic -Prayer: Curse Yndrasta Spirit of Durthu -Artefact: Amulet of Destiny Treelord Ancient -Spell: Radiance of Life Battleline: Irondrakes x20 Irondrakes x10 Freeguild guard x10 -Longrifle Freeguild guard x10 -Longrifle Other: Aetherwings x3 Behemoth: Celestial Hurricanum Core Battalions: Battle Regiment 2000/2000 Drops: 2
- Impressive maneuverability for duardin
- High armor saves across the army
- Enough ranged threat to allow the combat monsters to make it in and cut up what they need to.
Why it’s interesting:
Sean Troy, a well seasoned Age of Sigmar player who has flown under the greater communities radar for a while as the only major events he’s attended in recent years were local to Minnesota except for the occasional Holy Hammer Event, and Adepticon. He never lost a game at Adepticon between 2016-2018, but took a break in 2019. Now he is back, and clearly has not lost his edge.
Building this Living City list to do just about everything new in the current edition, along with enough punch and rend from every range that it is next to impossible to hide from him. His wizards are fairly weak, but generally don’t need to get their spells off to be terrifying. The Ancient giving his wooden murder machine greater legs as it can create 3 Wyldwood trees once per game, allowing Durthu to traverse the “spirit paths” directly to whatever needs a good CHOP.
Yndrasta having a decent enough move, and both of these combat murder machines having ranged weapons, gives them the ability to utilize the command trait of Living City: After a unit in this army shoots, spend a command point, and then move again. Giving durthu a 4” charge after his redeploy, or Yndrasta a 24” flying threat + charge. All the while, the Irondrakes with 16”, outflanking (most likely) 2+/2+ hit/wound rend 1 shooting attack.
Aetherwings and 2 lots of hand gunners to hold objectives and screen, this list has just about everything, along with Seans skills as a general, He managed to miss only 2 tournament points all event, dropping both against Legion of the First Prince Be’lakor+fateweaver build in the 4th round.
And also was only 1 of 2 in the top 5 to not be a 1 drop army.
2nd Place – Pat Ottolino – Lumineth Realm Lords (Syar) – Best General
Leaders: Archmage Teclis Scinari Cathallar -Spell: Speed of Hysh Vanari Lord Regent -General -Command Trait: Goading Arrogance -Artefact: The Perfect Blade -Spell: Lambent Light Battleline: Wardens x10 -Spell: Protection of Hysh Wardens x10 -Spell: Speed of Hysh Sentinels x20 -Spell: Speed of Hysh Sentinels x10 -Spell: Speed of Hysh Endless Spells: Umbral Spellportal Core Battalions: Battle Regiment 1995/2000 1 drop
- The elves who slew my poor foxes.
- Basically a Lumineth list from mid 2020, just down a few bros and horses.
- Teclis is still the Lean Mean Spell Casting Machine he always was, some points hikes aint gonna stop him apparently.
Why it’s interesting:
Pat went 4-1, only losing in the last round to the above Living City list played by Sean Troy. Fresh off the back of taking out my foxes, had a pretty heavy day 2.
This list looks like a lot of movement 6″ when not running elves, who sometimes has some bow shots. Looks are deceiving, with the new Wind Spell Lore for Lumineth, at least 1 unit a turn can teleport anywhere on the table. Having so much redundancy when combined with “Speed of Hysh”, casting it from the back of the board to give one of them movement 12″ every turn as well, What I’m saying is the army is surprisingly fast. And with Teclis Auto casting “Protection of Teclis” every turn, you have a pretty durable force. Plus, who doesn’t love some 30” ignore Line of Sight mortals from sentinels backed up by Teclis and Umbral Spellportal?
Bill Sweidan – Kharadron Overlords (Barak-Zilfin) – 3rd place
Leaders: Aether-Khemist -General -Command Trait: Collector -Artefact: Spell in a Bottle Aether-Khemist -Artefact: Staff of Ocular Optimization Battleline: Arkanaut Frigate -Heavy Sky Cannon -Great Endrinwork: Malefic Skymines Arkanaut Frigate -Heavy Sky Cannon Arkanaut Company x20 Other: Grundstock Thunderers x10 Grundstock Thunderers x10 Behemoth: Ironclad -Great Sky Cannon -Great Endrinwork: Ebullient Buoyancy Acid Endless Spells: Warp Lightning Vortex Core Battalions: Battle Regiment 1920/2000 1 drop
- 1 Deployment drop for max control of game turn order
- 1 Insanely mobile gun battery
- 1 Insanely dangerous sky fleet that has lots of guns and can dictate the game turn order.
Why it’s interesting:
Did I mention that the army is really fast and has lots of guns? From reports at the event, some armies couldn’t fight back as their entire army was practically whipped out in 1 turn, and if they didn’t double back, they had basically nothing left. Who needs new monster rules when you’ve got flying mega cannons all over the place.
As for list tech, the ability to have a sub-faction give you an extra enhancement (Great Endrinwork – K.O.s equivalent to a mount trait) and a command ability to give you an extra Artefact Enhancement, plus, take Frigates as battleline? It is a pretty potent combo. After also only losing to Sean, Bill proved its worth.
4th Place – Adam Trunzo – Skaventide – Best Chaos
Leaders: Arch Warlock -General -Command Trait: Verminous Valor -Artefact:Amulet of Destiny -Spell: More! More! Warp Power Verminlord Warpseer -Spell: Levitate Plague Priest -Prayer: Heal Battleline: Clanrats x20 Clanrats x20 Stormvermin x10 Other: Giant Rats x6 Stormfiends x6 Artillery: Jezzails x6 Endless Spells: Soulscream Bridge Core Battalions: Battle Regiment 1995/2000 1 Drop
- No Bell, just Big Rat and Bullet(s)
- The only units Reinforced are not battleline units.
- 26” immune to battle shock command ability from the biggest rat.
Why it’s interesting:
I lost to this myself. The shooting out of stormfiends and the mobility granted via Soulscream Bridge, Even forgetting to reroll all hits and wounds, +1 to hit, and +1 damage from multiple sources, is still incredible, especially when backed up by Jezzails. To counter this you need to play the “premeasure EVERYTHING” game, and then play it again. If you don’t, this list will catch you out no problem.
The General is also really tanky for a walking rat. (Even with a set of power-armor.)
3+ save, 4+ pass off to any rat unit nearby, and then a 5++ DPR/Ward, makes that 6 wound rat closer to 16 wounds after armor saves. Big YIKES for anyone trying to complete the “Sever the Head” Grand Strategy, or “Slay the Warlord” Battle Tactic. And you’ll only be doing that after you’ve rid yourself of the 38 wound, 4+ save flesh mound of doom they call Stormfiends. And the Verminlord is also no slouch when you’re trying to get you’re only chance at “Bring it Down” Battle Tactic. It’s a sturdy list with a lot of moving parts, and if you can’t stop them fast enough, you probably won’t.
5th Place – Ryan Nicol – Sylvaneth (Gnarlroot) – Best Order
Leaders: Warsong Revenant -General -Command Trait: Nurtured by Magic -Artefact: Chalice of Nectar -Spell: Flaming Weapon Treelord Ancient -Artefact: Spiritsong Stave -Spell: Regrowth Drycha Hamadreth -Spell: Regrowth Branchwych -Spell: Verdurous Harmony Battleline: Tree-Revenants x5 Tree-Revenants x5 Tree-Revenants x5 Other: Kurnoth Hunters with Greatswords x3 Kurnoth Hunters with Scythes x6 Endless Spells: Gladewyrm Spiteswarm Hive Core Battalions: Battle Regiment Command Entourage -Magnificent -Artefact 1985/2000 4 drops
- Sylvaneth going 4-1
- Almost no ranged threats
- Busting out the new Warsong Revenant
Why it’s interesting:
Last edition, If you would have told someone that Sylvaneth could go 4-1 at a major event, they may have laughed at you. Ryan out here literally making his own branch of Sylvaneth Statistics. He is the true Lorax, and does in fact speak for the trees.
Having x3 small battleline options in most lists might seem counter intuitive, but when you’re a Tree-Revenant, all you care about is hiding until your opponent leaves an objective wide open and then you ya uproot yourself and teleport right on over there. The Warsong Revenant can be pretty hard to use because his spell has such a close range, but if he pulls it off with the help of the Chalice of Nectar he can roll 3 dice, dropping the lowest, with his built in +1 next to a Wyldwood and roll casting roll +1 amount of dice. Every 5+ does a mortal to each enemy within 9″. And don’t forget a flaming tree vine attack that is 3” and 3 damage when the flaming weapons spell is up, making his combat profile nothing to bark at.
The Big Takeaways
The 3rd edition landscape is very open right now with a lot of room to experiment and find out what wins. We did learn a few lessons this GT that can mean a lot for list building going forward.
- Low drop armies are still very important.
- Armies with excessive rend or mortal wounds, and the ability to project damage is still majorly important.
- Every winning army in this article can participate in every phase. (KO only being able to participate once in the hero phase, but it’s automatic so, still good)
Circle City Clash
Circle City Clash in Indianapolis took place on July 17 and it was certainly a spicy one! This 24 player GT had 5 generals running Sons of Behemat, giving the event an appropriately Ghurish feel. It’s worth noting that I have selected the top four lists by their Battle Scores only, as the actual top 4 for the event was shuffled around a bit due to how the Sportsmanship, Painting and Etiquette scores were baked into the overall score. Thanks go to Michael Westendorf for helping us get all the information we needed for this write up.
Top General: Brendan Melnick – Soulblight Gravelords
Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords -Lineage: Vyrkos Dynasty -Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery -Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Vampire Lord (140) in Warlord - General - Command Trait: Pack Alpha - Spell: Amethystine Pinions Vengorian Lord (280) - Artefact: Sangsyron - Spell: Flaming Weapon Necromancer (125) in Warlord - Artefact: Arcane Tome - Spell: Overwhelming Dread Belladamma Volga, Fist of the Vyrkos (200) in Warlord - Spell: Soulpike Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380) in Warlord - Spell: Fading Vigour Battleline 10 x Deathrattle Skeletons (85) in Warlord 30 x Deathrattle Skeletons (255) in Hunters of the Heartlands - Reinforced x2 40 x Deadwalker Zombies (230) in Hunters of the Heartlands - Reinforced x1 Other 20 x Grave Guard (280) in Hunters of the Heartlands - Reinforced x 1 - Great Wight Blades Core Battalions Hunters of the Heartlands Warlord Additional Enhancements Artefact Total: 1975/2000 Wounds: 141 Drops: 9
The Standout Features
- Vyrkos prove why they’re the Lineage to beat at the top tables.
- A dizzying array of buffs from the characters can make any unit a reasonable threat.
- Mannfred is too strong to be contained in just *one* Lineage.
Why it’s Interesting
In a tournament where over 20% of the field were running Sons of Behemat, having damage output, board presence and the ability to score bonus points from Monsters is key to keeping pace with them. This list foregoes the sexiness of Blood Knights for the fundamentals – bodies on points and synergies. Grave Guard offer one of the premiere hammer units in the game at a budget price and Mannfred makes the case for why he’s the best Mortarch in the mortal realms – with a huge bubble of +1/+1 to Hit and Wound from his Command Ability making everything around him better, while he carries his own weight with respectable damage output and a combat phase teleport that is quite frankly unfair against pure combat armies. Speaking of, his path took him through 2 Nurgle Armies and 2 Sons of Behemat armies (plus a Monster mash Seraphon list) so well done Brendan!
2nd place: Jake L’Ecuyer – Sons of Behemat
Allegiance: Sons of Behemat - Tribe: Taker Tribe - Grand Strategy: Beast Master - Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Kraken-eater Mega-Gargant (490) - General - Command Trait: Very Acquisitive - Glowy Lantern Gatebreaker Mega-Gargant (525) - Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact) Warstomper Mega-Gargant (470) in Battle Regiment Battleline 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment Core Battalions Battle Regiment Total: 1995 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 141 Drops: 3
The Standout Features
- A dizzying tour through the SoB battletome runs every Warscroll in the book.
- Gatebreaker with an Amulet of Destiny provides a very hardy threat to fling up the board and hem your opponent in.
- Kraken-eater provides some spellcasting support and makes a mess of the Objective game.
Why it’s Interesting
Sons of Behemat were one of the biggest winners from all of the changes from 3rd edition, staying mostly at the same price point while gaining access to Heroic Actions, Monstrous Rampages and Universal Artefacts that provide them the versatility they so eagerly sought. In this case, Jake has opted for Taker Tribe and as a result can play a very aggressive game now, gaining an early lead through all the bonus VP they’ll be scoring from everything being a monster, and locking down every objective with Megas counting as 30 models! Access to Mystic Shield and All Out Defence means it’s possible to take a Gargant up to a 3+ save (ignoring rend one if you stack both on the same Gargant) which can present a much more difficult challenge for your opponent to kill quickly. One last wrinkle to explore here is the Kraken-eater, who can kick objectives in and out of zones to make some Battle Tactics more difficult to score – like kicking a neutral objective into your opponent’s territory to shut off Aggressive Expansion. They can also make some Battle Plans a scoring nightmare for your opponent – like kicking your objective off the border in Savage Gains to permanently prevent your opponent from scoring 4 a turn from it.
3rd place: Christian Wear – Seraphon
Allegiance: Seraphon -Constellation: Thunder Lizard -Mortal Realm: Ghur -Grand Strategy: Hold the Line -Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur (215) in Warlord -General -War Spear -Command Trait: Prime Warbeast -Artefact: Fusil of Conflaguration Engine of the Gods (265) in Linebreaker -Artefact: Incandescent Rectrices Skink Starseer (145) in Warlord -Spell: Hand of Glory Skink Priest (80) in Warlord -Universal Prayer Scripture: Heal Battleline 10 x Skinks (75) in Vanguard -Meteoric Javelins Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers Stegadon (265) in Hunters of the Heartlands -Weapon: Skystreak Bow Stegadon (265) in Hunters of the Heartlands -Weapon: Skystreak Bow Stegadon (265) in Hunters of the Heartlands -Weapon: Sunfire Throwers Behemoths Bastiladon with Ark of Sotek (185) in Linebreaker Bastiladon with Solar Engine (235) in Linebreaker Core Battalions Hunters of the Heartlands Warlord Linebreaker Additional Enhancements Artefact Total: 1995 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 93 Drops: 10
The Standout Features
- Thunder Lizard make an appearance and prove that the book is much deeper than Kroak + Skinks
- Triple Stegadons form a resilient core that present a mobile fire base that doesn’t wither when engaged in combat.
- BASTILADON WITH ARK OF SOTEK! BASTILADON WITH ARK OF SOTEK! SNAKES!
Why It’s Interesting
For the longest time in Seraphon the general consensus was that Starborne was the way to go, buffing up casting and winning through attrition and spellcasting dominance via Kroak. Christian has thrown away that conventional wisdom and proven what I’ve long suspected and seen play out within my local play group – Coalesced Seraphon are a force to be reckoned with. Many of the dominant threats in the metagame right now sport damage 2 weapons, and effectively halving their damage output can flip a matchup entirely on it’s head. The Realm Command Ability Feral Roar means that even if a Bastiladon is wounded, it can sit on a 1+ save and make your opponent wish they had more mortal wound output – I suspect the Ark of Sotek Bastiladon is here to be a cheap near unkillable brick for that reason. Christian really stresses your opponent’s damage output capabilities here, presenting seven 12+ Wound Monsters that are all counting as five models on objectives. I can’t wait to see how this list evolves going forward.
Shaun Clarke – Sons of Behemat
Allegiance: Sons of Behemat - Tribe: Taker Tribe - Grand Strategy: Beast Master - Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Kraken-eater Mega-Gargant (490) - General - Command Trait: Extremely Intimidating Warstomper Mega-Gargant (470) in Battle Regiment - Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact) Battleline 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment 1 x Mancrusher Gargants (170) in Battle Regiment 3 x Mancrusher Gargant Mob (490) in Battle Regiment Core Battalions Battle Regiment Total: 1960 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 142 Drops: 2
The Standout Features
- More SoB in the top 4 (by just battle points) prove that people should expect to see more in the future. This list went 3-0 against non-SoB armies, losing out only in the mirror.
- Shaun opts for more Mancrushers over a third Mega Gargant.
- Extremely Intimidating on the Kraken-eater means both Mega Gargants are a nightmare to deal with in close combat.
Why It’s Interesting
Presenting a 2 drop list means most of the time Shaun will be dictating the pace of play with who gets first turn, which is extremely important to SoB in certain matchups. Going heavy on the Mancrushers is an interesting choice when you consider how relatively fragile they are, but a unit of 3 can do up to 3d3 mortal wounds on the charge and pluck the unit champion out with Stuff ‘Em in Me Bag, creating an immediate battleshock crisis for the unit. I suspect this list will have a hard time against the shootier lists in the meta, but piloting it to a top 4 (by battle points) finish is worth celebrating.
Stay tuned for future competitive innovations focused on Age of Sigmar and thanks for reading!
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