Goonhammer Competitive Tier List November 2020

An article by and    Competitive Play Gaming Warhammer 40k        0

That’s right kids, it’s back! Two months ago I put together a tier list, ranking where I felt the various factions stood on the eve of the release of the first set of 9th Edition codexes and comparing them to our predictions at the start of the edition. Since then, the steady drumbeat of new books that we’d grown used to in 8th has resumed and we’re starting to see things shaken up. With the first new books having had time to bed in, and the competitive scene hitting a bit of a pause as fresh waves of COVID restrictions pop up over the world, we thought the time was right to revisit this list and we expect we’ll probably settle into a pattern of doing so about once every two months going forward. How have the new books shaken up the metagame? Which of our hotter takes turned out to be on the money and which were a reach too far? Has anyone escaped trash tier? Read on to find out.

What Has Changed Since the Last Tier List?

A number of factors can influence faction rankings, mostly coming under three headings:

  • New Rules: Games Workshop releasing new books or rules changes can increase or decrease a faction’s power.
  • Innovation: Players come up with a new angle on a faction that substantially changes its fortunes.
  • Metagame Shifts: Even if a faction’s rules stay the same, shifts in popularity of other armies can impact on its performance if it has strong or weak matchups against them.

The second and third factors here are somewhat subjective, and we’ll dig into them as we go through the factions later on in the article. In terms of rules releases, since the last tier list was published Games Workshop has released the following rules:

  • Codex Space Marines
  • Codex Necrons
  • Codex Supplement Deathwatch
  • Codex Supplement Space Wolves
  • The Imperial Armour Compendium
  • Interim Indexes for Blood Angels, Black Templars and Dark Angels
  • Wargear updates for all factions using weapons shared with Space Marines, making small changes to many but notably including:
    • Adepta Sororitas
    • Chaos Space Marines
    • Astra Militarum
    • Genestealer Cults

Many of these changes have, of course, had significant impacts as we’ll see!

How the Tier List Works

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Now that we’re going to be producing this regularly, we’ve been codifying the process of how we pull it together to make sure we’re consistent publication to publication, maximising our ability to look at trends over time. 40K is a game with a tonne of factors at play, so we might occasionally need to revise this, but we’re expecting this to stay largely the same from now on.

What the List Rates

The tier list aims to rate factions based on their tournament winning capability. If a strong player picks up a well-tuned list from this faction, is it acting as a major boost to their chances of winning an event overall, or might it be holding them back?

Obviously strong players can win games and events with lists drawn from almost any faction, but when you go through the top four results from larger events it’s clear that some factions are showing up on the podium again and again, whereas others tend to break through only rarely and only in the hands of the best of the best. The goal of this list it to try and rank where factions fall on that spectrum.

When talking about a faction, we are talking about lists where:

  • That faction makes up the substantial majority of the points spent – at least 2/3rds.
  • The qualities that faction brings to the table are what is driving the success of those lists.

For many factions, this means “pure” armies, but for forces like Knights and some flavours of Chaos using a small “soup” component doesn’t usually disqualify a list from contributing towards where we rate a faction on this scale. For the smaller faction in such a list, or soup lists that wouldn’t function at all without their smaller component, we’re more likely not to “count” it.

To address some common questions and feedback we received last time we published the list, here are some things we aren’t doing when we rate factions:

  • We’re not basing this on win rates alone. Thanks to our friends at 40K Stats and ITC Battles, plus assistance from friendly TOs, we have access to extensive win rate and scoring data that you’ve seen us put to work in our meta reviews. This data is used to inform the placing of factions on this list, particularly when fine tuning borderline cases, but factors such as consistency and skill ceiling can cause the win rate for a faction to be at least somewhat unrepresentative of their actual tournament winning ability.
  • When we rate a faction in one of the lower tiers, we are not saying it’s impossible for a good player to win an event with them, just harder. 9th’s missions are very rewarding to skilled players, and there are angles to succeed with the vast majority of factions. We do, however, continue to believe that there’s a more precipitous drop-off between the mid- and lower- tiers of performance than we saw in 8th.

Rob: We’ve also pulled data from Best Coast Pairings, Down Under Pairings, and the ITC Battles App from October 20th through November 25th, and have looked at win/loss data over that time to help provide additional context for our tier structures and help solve some of the borderline cases. That’s a sample of more than 30 thousand games.

The Tiers

9th has now bedded in enough that it’s much easier to get a proper feel for where the factions sit relative to each other, and we’ve now got a process for making a call on the borderline cases (discussed later). With that in mind, we’re solidifying to a five tier system, with numbered tiers one through four and a trash tier at the bottom where the hopes and dreams of the game’s weakest factions go to die.

The most significant drop-off in the list comes between tiers 3 and 4. Evidence continues to suggest that 9th harshly punishes factions that have one or more of the following problems:

  • They cannot construct a good list that isn’t extremely vulnerable on one or more of the kill secondaries.
  • They don’t have the mobile push threats to credibly attempt to flip multiple objectives to their control on a single turn.
  • They don’t have anything that can tarpit on an objective, or doing so ties up lots of their resources.

To succeed with factions that suffer these issues and thus end up in the lower tiers, you tend to need to really know what you’re doing and to go deep on lists that contort the codex into something that does its best to mitigate the challenges – but you’re ultimately still going to be at a notable disadvantage compared to factions sitting in the higher tiers. With more experience of 9th, players have done better at finding these solutions, and for the weaker factions we’ll be sure to have a look at what can be done to maximise the chances of success, as we know changing armies isn’t something everyone either can or wants to do!

The criteria for going into each tier breaks down as follows:

Tier 1 – Premium Factions

The cream of the crop – the factions that take tournament trophies week in and week out, and where the best builds provide a substantial boost to a player’s chance of winning an event and can generally take on all comers.

Tier 2 – Contenders

Strong factions with powerful builds available that can comfortably take a player to the top, but with the odd weakness such as a bad matchup that keeps them from being among the very best.

Tier 3 – Capable Factions

Factions that can put together a perfectly serviceable list that can win events, but where there are generally better versions of the same strategy available in tiers one and two.

Tier 4 – Hard Mode Zone

Where the 9th Edition performance drop-off kicks in. Factions where a mix of outdated rules, skewed rosters or being poorly adapted to the 9th missions start to really hurt your chances. Building winning lists here requires very careful use of the Codex, and you’ll often still be at the mercy of a run of misfortune against stronger factions.

Trash Tier

The bad place where win rates go to die. Factions with the same problems as the tier 4 ones that are, for whatever reason, getting kicked by them even harder and just aren’t winning anything at all.

How the List is Compiled

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The list has been put together using the following process:

  1. I took the previous tier list and made an initial proposed set of updates to it based on my impressions from doing my weekly review of top competitive lists as part of writing Competitive Innovations.
  2. We circulated this among the Goonhammer competitive writing team, and reviewed it based on the team’s recent experience and in light of our stats. Where this produced a strong consensus that a faction should move up or down, we made the change. Changes got made in both directions at this point!
  3. Where the group couldn’t come to a full consensus on a borderline case, we had a vote on which tier the army should end up in. Where this has happened, the factions are shown at the bottom or top of the tier they ended up in (as appropriate) with an asterisk next to them.

Other than the factions with an asterisk, there hasn’t been any attempt to order the factions within their tiers.

Factions have either up or down arrows next to them indicating their change from their position in the previous tier list – one arrow per tier change. Factions that stayed in place get an equals sign. Last time we had tiers 2.5 and 3 instead of 3 and 4, so for the change this time around we’re assuming 2.5 last time equals 3 this time, and 4 last time maps to 3 this time. We promise to keep things (mostly) the same from here on out!

Finally, we’ve decided that Space Marines are a big enough part of the metagame, and the different supplements are performing at sufficiently different levels, that they definitely need to be ranked fully separately from here on out. We didn’t rate the individual “codex” marines last time around, but for the purposes of changes this time we’ve assumed that in the previous list they would have been ranked:

  • Tier 1
    • Salamanders
    • White Scars
    • Iron Hands
  • Tier 2
    • Imperial Fists
    • Ultramarines
  • Tier 3
    • Raven Guard
    • Black Templars

The November 2020 Tier List

Key

⇑ – Rank increased from the previous list. One rank per arrow.
⇓ – Rank decreased from the previous list. One rank per arrow.
= – Rank unchanged from the previous list.
* – Competitive team voted on this ranking. If it is at the top of a section then it was borderline with the one above. If it is at the bottom, it was borderline with the one below.

Rankings

  • Tier 1
    • Harlequins =
    • Daemons
    • Sisters of Battle
    • Dark Angels ⇑⇑
    • White Scars =
    • Ultramarines ⇑⇑
    • Chaos Soup =
  • Tier 2
    • AdMech =*
    • Custodes ⇓*
    • Orks =
    • Necrons ⇑⇑⇑
    • Raven Guard
    • Salamanders
    • Iron Hands
    • Blood Angels
    • Space Wolves
    • Deathwatch ⇑⇑
    • Black Templars ⇑ 
  • Tier 3
    • Death Guard ⇓⇓*
    • Genestealer Cults
    • Tyranids
    • Imperial Fists
    • Imperial Knights ⇑ 
  • Tier 4
    • Chaos Space Marines ⇓*
    • Grey Knights ⇓*
    • Drukhari
    • Astra Militarum =
    • Chaos Knights =*
  • Trash Tier
    • Craftworlds ⇓⇓*
    • Thousand Sons
    • Tau =

Implications

This time around the devil is in the detail, as plenty of factions have been impacted quite a bit by specifics of the rules changes. Taken as a whole though, there are some things we can observe:

  1. Book releases have definitely shaken up the field. The Marine codex and accompanying Indexes have caused a major shakeup in the ranks of the Astartes, while wargear changes and the Forge World Compendium have helped (or in some cases slightly hindered) several other factions.
  2. The field is pretty diverse. A large number of factions are very capable of putting up strong results, and with the Hive Mind and Necrons successfully escaping from trash tier hell, some fresh challengers are thrown into the mix. However…
  3. While there’s a healthy range of non-Imperium challengers at the top of the list, the bottom rungs are heavily skewed towards Chaos and Xenos forces, making it feel a little bit like the Imperium is dominating the scene.

All things considered this isn’t a bad place for the metagame to be after the first few books – it certainly isn’t the case that the first Codexes have completely shut out the rest of the competition, and with the focus hopefully shifting away from Marines for a bit in the new year, it feels like we have a good foundation for a healthy metagame – let’s just hope that the factions near the bottom of the list have books on the way in the front half of next year.

Faction Breakdown

Tier 1

Harlequins

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Harlequins continue an outstanding run at the top, barely slowed down by the release of Codex Marines thanks to their relatively strong matchup against them. The most popular build is the classic Soaring Spite Bikes and Boats flying circus, a mobile, lethal force that can adapt to almost any situation on the table and is also one of the best armies in the game at going second. Several other builds have repeated strong finishes, including running Frozen Stars for increased melee punch, adding the Yncarne for a reactive board control piece, or more recently adding a small Craftworlds detachment to add some ranged threats to control the pace of the game.

It is a mark of a truly outstanding factions that while there does seem to be a consensus “best” build, there are at least three more that are winning events, and if you pinned me down and made me choose the best faction in the game right now, it would probably be the clowns.

Rob: Harlequins, along with Daemons (below) boast both the highest faction win rates in any of our datasets – BCP/DUP and ITC Battles app data, and also rank among the best factions in 40kstat’s Tournaments in Winning Position (TiWP) metrics, making them clear consensus Tier 1 choices here. Head-to-head, we don’t really have clear data on how these two factions fare against each other, and while we aren’t ranking factions within tiers, I’d suggest that if we were to make a tier 0, Harlequins and Daemons would be the two factions sneaking into it.

Wings: If you try to sneak an A+ tier into the tier list I swear I will chase you off with a broom.

Sample List

This list was played by Michael Dehoyos to a first place finish at the Clutch City GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [99 PL, 1,999pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [6 PL, 120pts, -1CP]: Neuro Disruptor, Shield From Harm, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Shards of light

Troupe Master [4 PL, 70pts, -1CP]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Soaring Spite: Skystrider, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Twilight Fang, Darkness Bite, Warlord

+ Troops +

Troupe [6 PL, 124pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace

Troupe [5 PL, 115pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace

Troupe [5 PL, 115pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace

Troupe [5 PL, 115pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Cegroach’s Lament, Humbling Cruelty

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [10 PL, 220pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

 

Daemons

Daemons have continued their meteoric rise up the rankings, having done more than enough since the last list to conclusively secure themselves a place among the games truly great factions. We’ve seen continued strong performance from pure Slaanesh and mixed Nurgle/Tzeentch builds, and on top of that players have continued to innovate. Nurgle furies have emerged as an excellent choice for a cheap objective grabber/Action performer, while builds that make use of an Exalted Great Unclean one in the Nurgle/Tzeentch shell have also seen success. Even Khorne has gotten a small look-in, with a few builds making effective use of Bloodletters as shock troops. Like Harlequins, Daemons are seeing strong, consistent success with a diverse range of builds, and they also provide an exceptionally strong uplift to Chaos as a whole – the Nurgling/Big Bird detachment makes a wide variety of shells built around it function, and one of the reasons for Death Guard dropping down the rankings this time around is that it has become clear that the success of Death Guard/Daemon soup lists is being driven by the Daemon half of the equation in some instances.

Daemons have utterly smashed the expectations of most players going into the edition, and are now rightly considered one of the lists to beat.

Rob: You’d think this was driven by specific gods or factors but well, mixed gods, Slaanesh Daemons, and Nurgle Daemons all have high enough win rates on their own to make a case as viable, and you could probably make a case for mono-Tzeentch, though we don’t have enough game data there to make a determination one way or the other. The only monogod strategy that seems like it can’t hit tier 1 is Khorne.

Sample List

Asa Carlson took this to first place at the Renegade Mini.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Daemons) [48 PL, 8CP, 930pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Slaanesh

+ Stratagems +

Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Keeper of Secrets [12 PL, -1CP, 240pts]: Celerity of Slaanesh, Delightful Agonies, Shining aegis, Silverstrike, Symphony of Pain, Warlord
. Exalted Keeper of Secrets: 3. Blessing of the Dark Prince

Keeper of Secrets [12 PL, -1CP, 240pts]: Delightful Agonies, Shining aegis, Symphony of Pain
. Exalted Keeper of Secrets: 2. Quicksilver Reflexes

Keeper of Secrets [12 PL, -1CP, 240pts]: Exalted Keeper of Secrets, Pavane of Slaanesh, Shining aegis, Symphony of Pain

+ Troops +

Daemonettes [4 PL, 70pts]: Alluress
. 9x Daemonette: 9x Piercing claws

Daemonettes [4 PL, 70pts]: Alluress
. 9x Daemonette: 9x Piercing claws

Daemonettes [4 PL, 70pts]: Alluress
. 9x Daemonette: 9x Piercing claws

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Daemons) [53 PL, -3CP, 1,065pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Slaanesh

+ HQ +

Contorted Epitome [10 PL, 210pts]: Hysterical Frenzy, Phantasmagoria, The Forbidden Gem

Shalaxi Helbane [13 PL, 240pts]: Hysterical Frenzy, Living whip, Symphony of Pain

+ Elites +

Fiends [10 PL, 205pts]: Blissbringer
. 4x Fiend: 4x Dissecting claws, 4x Vicious barbed tail

Fiends [10 PL, 205pts]: Blissbringer
. 4x Fiend: 4x Dissecting claws, 4x Vicious barbed tail

Fiends [10 PL, 205pts]: Blissbringer
. 4x Fiend: 4x Dissecting claws, 4x Vicious barbed tail

++ Total: [101 PL, 5CP, 1,995pts] ++

 

Sisters of Battle

Sisters are the first of our factions where rules changes are really driving their increased success. While they were a strong faction prior to the upgrades, comfortably sitting in tier 2, they were slightly one-note, heavily leaning on Bloody Rose melee to get things done and with lists generally looking pretty samey. Upgrading heavy bolters and melta weapons has completely flipped that on its head. While Bloody Rose is still by far the most popular Order, they’re now sporting Retributors and Celestians as damage dealing units alongside Repentia, and Mortifiers now being a premium unit (having seen more mixed success before). As people have gotten to grips with the changes we’ve seen substantially more diversity in lists – Martyred Lady now has some real utility as an alternative home for Retributors and there’s a real difference between Bloody Rose lists that skew more towards Mortifiers/Rhinos and those that just go wide on infantry. Being much more active in the shooting phase also lets them get more value out of Acts of Faith and their formidable stratagem sheet.

Sisters are now a regular sight on the top tables even though people still haven’t landed on a “best” list, and thanks to their newly acquired depth it seems likely that they’re here to stay. The only possible risk to that is that Sisters tricks do get a bit less effective against opponents who really know what they can do. Whether increased familiarity among opponents ends up hurting them now they’re a regular sight is something we’ll have to wait and see on.

Rob: The Adepta Sororitas are one of the biggest risers since new Codexes start dropping, increasing their win rate in the ITC Battles app by more than 4 percentage points since October 20th. They’re a faction with great TiWP stats as well. When looking at head-to-head win rates, Sisters of Battle do well against marines and Orks but seem to struggle against Custodes, Death Guard, and Harlequins. They were also the second biggest riser in win rates in our analysis, jumping 4 points from pre-October to post, and going from 57% to 61% win rates in ITC Battles. They’ve maintained a lower – but still relatively high – win rate of 54% in BCP.

Sample List

Our own Shane Watts played this to a fourth place finish at the YHP Fall Brawl.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Fortification Network 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [3 PL, 55pts] ++

Battle Sanctum [3 PL, 55pts]

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [98 PL, 1,943pts, 9CP] ++

Order Convictions: Order: Bloody Rose
Sacred Rite: Hand of the Emperor

Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ HQ +

Canoness [3 PL, 50pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Relic: Beneficence

Celestine [8 PL, 170pts]: Warlord, Warlord Trait: 4. Beacon of Faith

Triumph of Saint Katherine [10 PL, 195pts]

+ Troops +

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 4x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 4x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 4x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . 4x Battle Sister: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sister Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

+ Elites +

Celestian Squad [7 PL, 140pts] . 8x Celestian: 8x Bolt pistol, 8x Boltgun, 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Celestian Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
. Celestian w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

Celestian Squad [7 PL, 140pts] . 8x Celestian: 8x Bolt pistol, 8x Boltgun, 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Celestian Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
. Celestian w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

Imagifier [3 PL, 45pts, -2CP]: Heroine in the Making, Relic: Book of St. Lucius, Tale of the Stoic, Tale of the Warrior, Venerated Saint, Warlord Trait: 5. Indomitable Belief

Preacher [2 PL, 35pts]: Chainsword, Laspistol

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 135pts] . 9x Sisters Repentia: 9x Penitent Eviscerator

Sisters Repentia [6 PL, 135pts] . 9x Sisters Repentia: 9x Penitent Eviscerator

+ Fast Attack +

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 95pts] . 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 95pts] . 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Inferno Pistols

+ Heavy Support +

Retributor Squad [6 PL, 120pts] . Retributor
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

Retributor Squad [6 PL, 145pts]: Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

Retributor Squad [6 PL, 145pts]: Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta

+ Dedicated Transport +

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 78pts]: Storm bolter

++ Total: [101 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

 

White Scars

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Codex Marines has substantially shaken up the rankings of some flavours of Space Marines, but despite the loss of their exceptionally powerful chapter litany, White Scars remain in contention for the best. With infantry generally getting a bit better and vehicles worse, Codex Marines has swung the pendulum towards melee and close range damage dealers, and White Scars provide excellent support for some of the best units in the book. Lightning claw/shield Vanguard Veterans are at their best here, benefitting from Fierce Rivalries to land their charge and the doctrine turning them into murder machines later game, while Plasmaceptors love being able to advance and shoot with impunity, mitigating their relatively short range. Gunline Marine builds going down in favour helps the Scars a lot as well – it makes it more likely that there’s still a meaningful ruck going on mid-table once turn three hits, at which point the fact that their entire army is suddenly swinging with D2 attacks lets them clean up, taking over the scoring in the late game. Even little utility units like Company Veterans become stone killers if you chuck a lightning claw on them once the damage boost comes online.

The experience of playing against Scars is very much that they pick up a massive second wind mid-game, which can easily overwhelm you if both of your armies are frayed around the edges, and the combination of that and being able to rocket into battle straight out of the gate is likely to keep the Scars at the top for the foreseeable future.

Rob: On the whole, Space Marine win rates haven’t shifted much but there’s been a real shuffling of who’s on top within the faction. White Scars are one of the big exceptions though – they’ve maintained a high win rate post-codex. Their worst matchups appear to be Custodes and Space Wolves.

Sample List

Dan Sammons took this to fourth place at the Mid-MO Maelstrom GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

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

+ Configuration [12CP] +

**Chapter Selection**: White Scars

+ Stratagems [-2CP] +

Relics of the Chapter [-2CP]: 2x Number of Extra Relics [-2CP]

+ HQ [17 PL, -1CP, 335pts] +

Kor’sarro Khan [6 PL, 110pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Moonfang

Lieutenants [4 PL, -1CP, 75pts] . Lieutenant in Reiver Armour [4 PL, -1CP, 75pts]: Combat knife, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted special issue bolt pistol, Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], The Vox Espiritum

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 150pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, 4. Mantra of Strength, Absolver Bolt Pistol, Benediction of Fury, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity [1 PL, 35pts], Crozius arcanum, Frag & Krak grenades, Litany of Hate, Strike off the Head, Twin Bolt rifle, Warlord, Wise Orator

+ Troops [15 PL, 305pts] +

Assault Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . 4x Assault Intercessor [76pts]: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol
. Assault Intercessor Sgt [19pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol

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

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

+ Elites [48 PL, -1CP, 890pts] +

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 175pts] . 4x Bladeguard Veteran [140pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 4x Master-crafted Power Sword, 4x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sgt [35pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Master-crafted Power Sword, Storm Shield

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 175pts] . 4x Bladeguard Veteran [140pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 4x Master-crafted Power Sword, 4x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sgt [35pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Master-crafted Power Sword, Storm Shield

Company Veterans [3 PL, 54pts] . Space Marine Veteran [27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Veteran Sergeant [27pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts]

Company Veterans [3 PL, 54pts] . Space Marine Veteran [27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Veteran Sergeant [27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts]

Company Veterans [3 PL, 51pts] . Space Marine Veteran [24pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm shield [4pts] . Veteran Sergeant [27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts]

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, -1CP, 105pts]: Absolver Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary [1 PL, 25pts], Frag & Krak grenades, Plume of the Plainsrunner, Reductor Pistol, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP]

Vanguard Veteran Squad [14 PL, 276pts]: Jump Pack [2 PL, 20pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [22pts]: Bolt pistol, Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts] . Veteran Sergeant [26pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts]

+ Fast Attack [20 PL, 470pts] +

Attack Bike Squad [4 PL, 110pts] . Attack Bike [2 PL, 55pts]: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta [10pts], Twin boltgun
. Attack Bike [2 PL, 55pts]: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta [10pts], Twin boltgun

Attack Bike Squad [4 PL, 110pts] . Attack Bike [2 PL, 55pts]: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta [10pts], Twin boltgun
. Attack Bike [2 PL, 55pts]: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, Multi-melta [10pts], Twin boltgun

Inceptor Squad [12 PL, 250pts]: 4x Inceptor [160pts], Inceptor Sergeant [40pts], Plasma Exterminator x2 [50pts]

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

 

Dark Angels

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Yeah that’s right – Dark Angels appear to be one of the best factions in the game right now. What a world. With all the power the Space Marine codex brings to the table and an interim Index that’s wildly better than all of the others, Dark Angels are a true force to be reckoned with. The driving forces here are the Inner Circle rule, making Deathwing Terminators and Knights just an absolute nightmare to deal with, High Speed Focus making any BIKER units (including the otherwise overhyped ATVs) substantially more attractive, and the ability to put a Chief Apothecary on a bike, helping all the Terminators and bikers your’re probably running stay in the fight far longer. Also sporting one of the few flyers in the game that’s actually good right now in the Dark Talon and some spicy named characters and Warlord traits, early indications are that Dark Angels have hit that perfect combination of pure power and depth to fire them into the big leagues. Goodness only knows what’s going to happen when the actual book lands!

Rob: The overall win rates for Dark Angels haven’t improved much since late October, suggesting that either players are slow to adopt the faction or that Dark Angels may suffer from having a lot of bad players who already in the faction.

Sample List

Daniel Hesters took this build to second place at the South Georgia GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Dark Angels) [99 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Chapter Selection: Dark Angels

+ Stratagems +

Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]: Number of Extra Relics

+ HQ +

Librarian in Phobos Armour [5 PL, 100pts]: 4) Hallucination, 5) Tenebrous Curse
. Artificer Armour

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 150pts]: 3. Outrider, 4. Mantra of Strength, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, The Emperor’s Judgement, Warlord

+ Troops +

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 130pts] . 3x Infiltrator: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Frag & Krak grenades, 3x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Helix Adept
. Infiltrator Sergeant

Infiltrator Squad [6 PL, 130pts] . 3x Infiltrator: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Frag & Krak grenades, 3x Marksman bolt carbine
. Infiltrator Helix Adept
. Infiltrator Sergeant

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

+ Elites +

Deathwing Knights [11 PL, 240pts]: Knight Master, Watcher in the Dark
. 4x Deathwing Knight: 4x Mace of Absolution, 4x Storm shield

Invictor Tactical Warsuit [8 PL, 160pts]: Twin ironhail autocannon

Ravenwing Apothecary [6 PL, -1CP, 125pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Armour Indomitus
. Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

+ Fast Attack +

Invader ATV Squad [12 PL, 255pts] . Invader ATV: Multi-melta
. Invader ATV: Multi-melta
. Invader ATV: Multi-melta

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

+ Flyer +

Ravenwing Dark Talon [11 PL, 210pts]

Ravenwing Dark Talon [11 PL, 210pts]

+ Dedicated Transport +

Land Speeder Storm [5 PL, 55pts]

++ Total: [99 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Ultramarines

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

A pleasant surprise for any fans of the boys in blue (including the statistically improbable number of Goonhammer contributors who play them), Ultramarines are making a real play for the top spot post-codex. Previously they were merely fine – capable but without much reason to take them over, say, Iron Hands. The updates in the Codex and the accompanying errata to the supplements has changed that a lot. Guilliman being the only model to keep “old” Chapter Master means that if you want to play more of a shooting build Ultramarines are a strong contender, especially as several of their other unique units (Tigurius, Victrix Guard) are extremely powerful as well. The Seal of Oath is also a huge driver of their success, particularly when used to allow grav Devs to reclaim the power they used to have prior to the removal of Gravitic Amplification. Finally, the addition of the Chief Apothecary upgrade the mix seems to be doing especially strong work here, combining with a reliable cast of Psychic Fortress of Tigurius to really amp up the durability of the classic mid-table battle pile that Ultramarines so love. Ultramarines have always been supposed to be the “all-rounder” chapter, and the tweaks made in the new ruleset seem to have finally taken that crown off the Salamanders and Iron Hands and handed it over to the sons of Guilliman.

Sample List

Thomas Byrd piloted this build to second place at Warzone: The Dark Times.

Army List - Click to Expand

———————————————————-
SUPREME COMMAND
———————————————————-
<380> Lord of War: Roboute Guilliman <WARLORD>

BATTALION
———————————————————-

HQ
<135> Chief Librarian Tigurius
-Might of Heroes
-Psychic Fortress
-Psychic Scourge

<140> HQ: Primaris Chaplain on Bike
-Master of Sanctity
-Hero of the Chapter: Wise Orator
-Relic: Seal of Oath
-Litany1: Recitation of Focus (+1 to hit)
-Litany2: Catechism of Fire (+1 to wound)

Troops

<130> TROOP: Infiltrators (5) w/Helix

<130> TROOP: Infiltrators (5) w/Helix

<230> TROOP: Intercessors (10)
-w/auto bolt rifle
-Astartes Grenade Launcher (2)
-Sgt w/Thunder Hammer

Elites

<95> ELITE: Primaris Apothecary
-Chief Apothecary
-Hero of the Chapter: Selfless Healer
-Relic: The Vox Espiritum

<70> ELITE: Victrix Guard (2)

<70> ELITE: Victrix Guard (2)

Fast Attack

<165> FAST: Attack bike (3) w/Multi-melta

Heavy Support

<155> HEAVY: Devastators (5) w/lascannon + cherub

<135> HEAVY: Devastators (5) w/grav + cherub

<165> HEAVY: Hellblasters (5) w/assault incinerator

 

Chaos Soup

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

While Chaos has another faction sitting in tier one, Chaos Soup continues to be enough of its own, distinct thing that it’s worth rating in its own right. While quite a few Chaos factions are languishing near the bottom of the list, several of the ones that don’t have the power to fully field an army have some quality options that can build powerful detachments, and assembling these into terrifying combinations continues to be a recipe for success if you know what you’re doing. Daemons are a fixture in a lot of these lists, either providing a core for the soup detachments to work around or uplifting weaker Codexes with Nurglings or Lords of Change, but it’s clearly a distinct role from their performance as a solo faction, and if you want to get your Thousand Sons or Chaos Marines on the table, soup lists with a Daemon contingent are definitely where you should be looking. It’s possible that will change as 9th goes on, as most books now seem to include some kind of mono-faction incentive, but with no sign of any Chaos books other than Death Guard as of yet, expect soup to continue to be a major player for some time yet.

Rob: Of these lists, “Slaanesh” lists fare the best in terms of raw rates, mixing Slaanesh Daemons with Emperor’s Children, but there’s plenty of room for other configurations. Chaos’ best matchup tends to be against Custodes, where being able to throw out lots o fmortal wounds is a huge bonus and the lack of high AP firepower isn’t nearly as devastating against an army with good invulnerable saves.

Sample List

This list was played by TJ Lannigan to a first place finish at the YHP Fall Brawl.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Daemons) [57 PL, -1CP, 1,080pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided

+ HQ +

Changecaster [5 PL, 85pts]: Boon of Change, Flickering Flames

Lord of Change [14 PL, -1CP, 275pts]: Baleful sword, Bolt of Change, Exalted Lord of Change, Incorporeal Form, Infernal Gateway, The Impossible Robe, Warlord

The Changeling [6 PL, 105pts]: Gaze of Fate

+ Troops +

Horrors [12 PL, 255pts]: Daemonic Icon
. Iridescent Horror
. 29x Pink Horror: 29x Coruscating flames

Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts] . 4x Nurgling Swarms: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

++ Reinforcements (Chaos – Daemons) [45pts] ++

+ Reinforcement Points +

Reinforcements [45pts]: 4x Reinforcement Points, 5x Reinforcement Points

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [21 PL, -2CP, 410pts] ++
cult of mutation
+ Stratagems +

Relics of the Thousand Sons (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Ahriman [8 PL, 150pts]: Glamour of Tzeentch, Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Weaver of Fates

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [10 PL, -1CP, 200pts]: 6. High Magister, Helm of the Third Eye, Magister, Malefic talon, Temporal Manipulation, Warptime, Wings

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts] . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [24 PL, 465pts] ++

+ Lord of War +

Magnus the Red [24 PL, 465pts]: Doombolt, Infernal Gateway, Infernal Gaze

++ Total: [102 PL, -3CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Tier 2

Adeptus Mechanicus

Of the votes we took to decide rankings, this was by far the most contentious, with AdMech missing a slot in tier 1 by a single vote. While there hasn’t really been much change in the tools available to them, people have finally gotten around to picking those up and putting them to work. We’ve seen substantially more top fours than in the previous period, and a relatively healthy mix of archetypes at play to boot. Kataphrons have been popular in a variety of shells, while Rickard Nilsson has taken a tuned version of the yacht club combined arms builds that were popular in 8th to multiple top finishes, including taking 3rd at a Major. Finally, people have found that the Archeopter Fusilave is extremely effective in 9th, providing an inexpensive source of disruption and secondary diversity.

What kept AdMech from being ranked among the very best armies is that they still experience a moderate drop-off in their win rates when they go second. They do have melee units available to them, but they lack anything with quite the mixture of speed, durability and overwhelming force that Vanguard Veterans provide, and their gunline units are vulnerable to being picked off by popular shooting options. They can absolutely still win going second, and wouldn’t be anywhere near this high up if they couldn’t, but their vulnerability to “one bad game” remains just a tiny bit too high to make it into the lofty heights of tier 1.

Rob: AdMech seem to have the best matchup of any faction other than Daemons against Harlequins, potentially owing to being able to put out a large front of low-cost units that can’t be engaged easily. Which isn’t to say it’s a positive matchup – it’s more likely a 50/50 win rate, but that’s as good as it gets against Harlequins. Adeptus Mechanicus also have one of the higher go first win differentials we’ve seen, clocking in at +19% in our early November meta update and suggesting they’re a bit reliant on having the first turn.

Sample Lists

Damien Owens used the following build to take down Warzone: The Dark Times

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [102 PL, 1,998pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Forge World Choice
. Forge World: Mars

+ HQ +

Daedalosus [3 PL, 55pts]

Tech-Priest Dominus [5 PL, 80pts]: Macrostubber, Relic: Autocaduceus of Arkhan Land, Volkite Blaster, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Engine War): Learnings of the Genetor

Tech-Priest Manipulus [4 PL, 70pts, -1CP]: Mechanicus Locum, Transonic cannon, Warlord Trait (Codex 6): Prime Hermeticon

+ Troops +

Kataphron Breachers [20 PL, 350pts] . Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

Kataphron Breachers [15 PL, 315pts] . Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

Kataphron Breachers [20 PL, 350pts] . Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle
. Kataphron Breacher: Arc Claw, Heavy Arc Rifle

+ Elites +

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests [9 PL, 210pts] . 15x Corpuscarii Electro-Priest: 15x Electrostatic Gauntlets

+ Fast Attack +

Serberys Raiders [6 PL, 144pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 8x Serberys Raider: 8x Cavalry Sabre, 8x Clawed Limbs, 8x Galvanic Carbine

Serberys Raiders [6 PL, 144pts]: Serberys Raider Alpha
. 8x Serberys Raider: 8x Cavalry Sabre, 8x Clawed Limbs, 8x Galvanic Carbine

+ Flyer +

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 130pts]: 4x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Command Uplink

Archaeopter Fusilave [7 PL, 150pts]: Chaff Launcher, 4x Cognis Heavy Stubber

++ Total: [102 PL, 1,998pts, 11CP] ++

For a more shooty AdMech list, you should definitely consider Rickard Nilsson’s build, which has multiple top fours to its name! It will need mild tweaking to handle the change in cost on the drill.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus) [111 PL, 11CP, 1,999pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Forge World Choice: Forge World: <Mixed>

Swap canticle no.2 for Mars canticle

+ HQ +

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

Stygies Tech-Priest Manipulus [4 PL, -1CP, 70pts]: Magnarail lance, Mechanicus Locum, Relic: Anzion’s Pseudogenetor, Warlord Trait (Codex 6): Prime Hermeticon

+ Troops +

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

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

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

+ Elites +

Stygies Fulgurite Electro-Priests [8 PL, 119pts]: 7x Fulgurite Electro-Priest

Stygies Fulgurite Electro-Priests [8 PL, 153pts]: 9x Fulgurite Electro-Priest

Stygies Fulgurite Electro-Priests [8 PL, 170pts]: 10x Fulgurite Electro-Priest

+ Fast Attack +

Mars Ironstrider Ballistarii [24 PL, 390pts] . Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon
. Ironstrider Ballistarius: Twin Cognis Autocannon

Mars Serberys Raiders [2 PL, 48pts]: 2x Serberys Raider, Serberys Raider Alpha

Mars Serberys Raiders [2 PL, 48pts]: 2x Serberys Raider, Serberys Raider Alpha

+ Heavy Support +

Mars Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon, 3x Cognis Heavy Stubber

Mars Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon, 3x Cognis Heavy Stubber

Mars Skorpius Disintegrator [8 PL, 150pts]: Belleros Energy Cannon, 3x Cognis Heavy Stubber

+ Dedicated Transport +

Stygies Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 100pts]: 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

Stygies Skorpius Dunerider [5 PL, 100pts]: 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Twin Cognis Heavy Stubber

Stygies Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill [7 PL, 136pts] . Storm Bolters: 2x Storm bolter

++ Total: [111 PL, 11CP, 1,999pts] ++

 

Custodes

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

This one could prove to be a very temporary sojourn outside the lofty heights, but right now Custodes have seen just enough of a drop off from their previous rate of performance that they get busted down to tier two. Last time around there was still quite a bit of churn going on as people tried to identify what the best way to run them was, but at this point there has been considerable consolidation to Shadowkeepers as the best Shield Host, with Ares Gunship builds being the most popular despite the drawbacks they experience on Dawn of War deployment. Shadowkeepers adding an extra defensive stratagem to the Custodes arsenal lets them defend multiple key units at once, and with so few on the board that turns out to be the thing you want the most. The upgraded (for them it’s pure upside) storm shields have also seen an upswing in the number of basic Custodian squads seeing use, as 1+/3++ models turn out to be quite rough to move. However, while still very strong it feels like some of the better options out of the new books give them real trouble, most notably Marines getting access to wide-ranging ObSec via Rites of War to counter the Custodes own army-wide version. Since some builds also have real issues with buffed Necron Warrior blobs, that’s just enough to pull them down to a still strong but not quite as dominant position.

The good news for Custodes players is that the Imperial Armour Compendium has given them an immediate boost, with early indications being that it’s probably enough to get them back to the top spot. We think it’s fair to keep them at the top of tier 2 for now, just to highlight that they have been on a tiny bit of an ebb, but don’t be surprised if they’re back up in Tier 1 next time around.

Rob: The most interesting thing about Custodes is that they appear to have a significantly positive matchup against marines, which helps them go deep in tournaments – having a strong positive matchup against 50% of the field will do that for you. Custodes seem to have a higher skill floor than many armies but a lower ceiling, which is why their high win rates haven’t translated to a higher TiWP score.

Sample List

Marshall Reeves played this to second place at Amiable Bright: Plague War.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Custodes) [104 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Shield Host: Shadowkeepers

+ HQ +

Captain-General Trajann Valoris [10 PL, 190pts]: Misericordia, Watcher’s Axe

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, -1CP, 175pts]: Auric Aquilas, Captain-Commander, Indomitable Constitution, Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher, Superior Creation
. Warlord: Warlord

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [13 PL, 280pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Custodian Guard Squad [13 PL, 224pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Custodian Guard Squad [13 PL, 196pts] . Custodian: Guardian Spear
. Custodian: Guardian Spear
. Custodian: Guardian Spear
. Custodian: Guardian Spear

+ Elites +

Allarus Custodians [12 PL, 280pts] . Allarus Custodian: Ballistus Grenade Launcher, Castellan Axe
. Allarus Custodian: Ballistus Grenade Launcher, Castellan Axe
. Allarus Custodian: Ballistus Grenade Launcher, Castellan Axe
. Allarus Custodian: Ballistus Grenade Launcher, Castellan Axe

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

Vexillus Praetor [6 PL, -1CP, 120pts]: Guardian Spear, Impregnable Mind, Ten Thousand Heroes, Vexilla Magnifica

+ Fast Attack +

Vertus Praetors [25 PL, 475pts] . Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher
. Vertus Praetor: Interceptor Lance, Salvo Launcher

++ Total: [104 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

Orks

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Like Daemons, Orks massively outperformed expectations to get up to tier 2 last time, and I did genuinely wonder if I might still be underrating them at that point. As it turns out, tier 2 is the right spot for them. Two main builds continue to be popular, with Goff hordes (as favoured by our own Shane Watts) and Deathskull vehicle/buggy spam both able to take players to the top, and more recently a hybrid build combining elements of both has also seen success. Most builds are making use of the monster that is Ghazghkull, with his ability to take over the flow of melee for a few turns being exceptionally valuable. Orks also have some reasonably interesting looking toys coming out of the Imperial Armour Compendium, including the return of the Warboss on Warbike, so once players manage to get their hands on some of these less common models they might shake things up a bit.

What keeps Orks out of the top tier is that they perpetually run the risk of slamming into the perfect counter. Horde lists can slam face-first into a force wth the shooting to hose them off the table, while the vehicle lists have a tougher time dealing with Rites of War powered Marine builds than those that came before. Orks remain a strong faction, and one that will rack up overwhelming victories at a higher rate than some of those above it, but are just short of the consistency they need to punch above this spot.

Rob: Orks tended to have one of the larger Go First Win Rate differentials of the factions we looked at, winning 17% more of their games going first than second. They appear to have good matchups against Custodes, Space Wolves, and Adeptus Mechanicus armies.

Sample List

Stephen Mitchell won the South Georgia GT with this build.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Orks) [97 PL, 1,875pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Clan Kultur / Specialist Mobs: Goffs

+ HQ +

Big Mek W/ Kustom Force Field [4 PL, 75pts]

Ghazghkull Thraka [15 PL, 300pts]

Warboss [4 PL, 83pts]: Brutal but Kunnin, Da Killa Klaw, Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw, Warlord

+ Troops +

Boyz [12 PL, 250pts]: 3x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Power Klaw, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 29x Choppa, 29x Slugga, 29x Stikkbombs

Boyz [12 PL, 250pts]: 3x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Power Klaw, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 29x Choppa, 29x Slugga, 29x Stikkbombs

Boyz [12 PL, 242pts]: 2x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Power Klaw, Slugga
. 28x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 28x Choppa, 28x Slugga, 28x Stikkbombs

+ Elites +

Kommandos [3 PL, 55pts]: Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Power Klaw
. 4x Kommando: 4x Choppa, 4x Slugga, 4x Stikkbombs

Kommandos [3 PL, 55pts]: Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Power Klaw
. 4x Kommando: 4x Choppa, 4x Slugga, 4x Stikkbombs

Meganobz [10 PL, 190pts] . Boss Meganob w/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw

Meganobz [10 PL, 190pts] . Boss Meganob w/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw
. Meganob W/ PK: Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw

Painboy [3 PL, 65pts]: Power Klaw

+ Heavy Support +

Mek Gunz [3 PL, 40pts] . Gun: Smasha Gun

Mek Gunz [3 PL, 40pts] . Gun: Smasha Gun

Mek Gunz [3 PL, 40pts] . Gun: Smasha Gun

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Orks) [6 PL, 125pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Clan Kultur / Specialist Mobs: Goffs

+ HQ +

Weirdboy [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: 3. Da Jump, 4. Fists of Gork, Warphead

+ Troops +

Gretchin [2 PL, 50pts] . 10x Gretchin: 10x Grot Blaster

++ Total: [103 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Necrons

 

After languishing in the pits for the entire of 8th, the fact that Necrons have made the jump to “pretty decent” out of their codex is cause for great celebration among the Phaerons of the galaxy. It’s fair to say that some of their tools still seem to have ended up on the overpriced side of things, but two strong list archetypes have emerged that are being gradually tuned as players get their armies all painted up. Eternal Expansionsts builds heavy on ObSec Canoptek nasties can provide formidable board control, while Novokh builds featuring a mixture of Warriors and Canoptek units sacrifice a bit of speed for heftier punch. Both variants are often graced by the presence of the Silent King, who is proving to be pretty much as good as he looked, and there are also various other configurations being tinkered with worldwide. In particular, Glasshammer gaming seem to have convinced a sufficient number of people that Immortal spam is the way to go that the kit is completely out of stock from GW in the UK, so given the calibre of the players involved I’m sure we’ll see them breaking through somewhere once events open up again.

The main thing holding Necrons back from fully blooming as a faction is that they’re slightly short on quality ranged threats (with Lokhust Destroyers of all flavours needing a lower cost than they got) and that they’re incredibly weak to Plasma Inceptors, which are unfortunately one of the best Marine units right now. There is basically no unit in the codex other than C’tan that isn’t awful against these, and as long as they exist in their current form a significant portion of the Necron roster is a really tough sell. If they continue to appear in every single Marine list, or if the Dark Angels codex turbo-charges them somehow, Necrons dropping to tier 3 next time around does feel like a realistic prospect. Still, even then they’d be on the right side of viable, and goodness what a relief that is for those of us with armies of them!

Rob: Necrons saw the single biggest jump of any faction in terms of both games played and overall win rates following the October Codex release, jumping an astonishing 13 points in win rate, going from 43% to 56% in games recorded in the ITC Battles app. This is in-line with the 55% win rate they’ve shown in BCP/DUP.

Sample List

Stephen Christopher took second at the YHP Fall Brawl with this Novokh build.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Necrons) [23 PL, 18CP, 450pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Dynasty Choice: Dynasty: Szarekhan

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

The Silent King [23 PL, 3CP, 450pts] . 2x Triarchal Menhir: 2x Annihilator Beam

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Necrons) [78 PL, -4CP, 1,550pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [-3CP]

Dynasty Choice: Dynasty: Novokh

+ HQ +

Crypteks [6 PL, 120pts] . Chronomancer: Entropic Lance, Relic: Veil of Darkness
. Cryptothralls
. . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Crypteks [6 PL, 120pts] . Chronomancer: Entropic Lance
. Cryptothralls
. . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Crypteks [4 PL, -1CP, 80pts] . Technomancer: Canoptek Cloak, Dynastic Heirlooms, Relic: Voltaic Staff

+ Troops +

Necron Warriors [6 PL, 130pts] . 10x Necron Warrior (Gauss Flayer): 10x Gauss Flayer

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

+ Elites +

Canoptek Spyders [4 PL, 65pts] . Canoptek Spyder: Gloom Prism

+ Fast Attack +

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [4 PL, 75pts] . 5x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 5x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [6 PL, 120pts] . 8x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 8x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Wraiths [10 PL, 175pts] . 5x Canoptek Wraith (Claws): 5x Vicious Claws

+ Dedicated Transport +

Ghost Ark [8 PL, 145pts]

++ Total: [101 PL, 14CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Raven Guard

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Raven Guard didn’t really have much of a draw in early 9th, fresh off their best single combo getting nerfed earlier in the year and Eliminators getting a big point hike. Post codex, they’re a lot more appealing once more, especially as successors. Vanguard veterans and Terminators emerging from the Marine book looking extremely strong is great news for Raven Guard, as Raven’s Blade and Strike from the Skies support the former and Master of Ambush gets mean again when combined with the latter. Deep striking blocks of Bladeguard or Eradicators is also pleasingly rude. Finally, the Swift and Deadly warlord trait is truly excellent on a BIke Chaplain, providing a mobile bubble that enables a convincing White Scars impression. Ultimately, White Scars still have the edge for melee Marines, but Raven Guard do now have some tricks of their own and real attractions again.

Sample List

Jonathan Sleigh-Johnson won the Västerås Autumn Bash with this concoction.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Raven Guard) [97 PL, -3CP, 2000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Born Heroes , Raven Guard Successor, Whirlwind of Rage

+ HQ [13 PL, -2CP, 280pts] +

Captain [6 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 25pts], Master of Ambush, Storm shield [10pts], Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], Thunder hammer [20pts]

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, -1CP, 150pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity [1 PL, 35pts], Litany of Hate, Rites of War, Stratagem: Master of the Trifold Path [-1CP], Swift and Deadly, Swift as the Raven, Warlord

+ Troops [5 PL, 305pts] +

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]

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]

Assault Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . 4x Assault Intercessor [76pts]: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol
. Assault Intercessor Sgt [19pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Heavy Bolt Pistol

+ Elites [39 PL, -1CP, 765pts] +

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 175pts] . 4x Bladeguard Veteran [140pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 4x Master-crafted Power Sword, 4x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sgt [35pts]: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 175pts] . 4x Bladeguard Veteran [140pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 4x Master-crafted Power Sword, 4x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sgt [35pts]: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, -1CP, 105pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary [1 PL, 25pts], Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Vox Espiritum, [-1CP]

Vanguard Veteran Squad [14 PL, 320pts]: Jump Pack [2 PL, 20pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Space Marine Veteran [26pts]: Lightning Claw [3pts], Storm shield [4pts] . Veteran Sergeant [31pts]: Power fist [8pts], Storm shield [4pts]

+ Fast Attack [24 PL, 500pts] +

Inceptor Squad [12 PL, 250pts]: 4x Inceptor [160pts], Inceptor Sergeant [40pts], Plasma Exterminator x2 [50pts]

Inceptor Squad [12 PL, 250pts]: 4x Inceptor [160pts], Inceptor Sergeant [40pts], Plasma Exterminator x2 [50pts]

+ Heavy Support [6 PL, 130pts] +

Eradicator Squad [6 PL, 130pts]: Melta rifle
. Eradicator [40pts] . Eradicator Sgt [40pts] . Eradicator with MM [50pts]: Multi-melta [10pts]

[97 PL, 9CP, 2000pts]

Salamanders

It was too good to last, alas. Having dominated a lot of early 9th and remained strong all the way up to the Codex release, Salamanders have taken hits on a whole bunch of fronts – not enough to make them bad, but no longer the terrors they used to be and at risk of dropping further if Ultramarines continue to dominate the “all rounder” slot for Marines. Aggressors took a knock in the codex, their Chapter Tactic got downgraded, several of the Forge World options they used to abuse are DOA and the Obsidian Aquila and Never Give Up can now both be passably imitated by other Marines. It isn’t all bad – while flamestorm Aggressors got a bit weaker, you don’t need to (indeed, in the new codex, can’t) base your list on Long-ranged Marksmen to use them out of reserves, Eradicators continue to be a potent unit and Salamanders have great synergy with newly empowered Terminators, all ensuring that they can still put mean-looking lists on the table, but they’ve undeniably taken a huge hit and are for sure no longer in the same league as White Scars.

Sample List

Brad Chester won the Death or Glory RTT with this list.

Army List - Click to Expand

Salamanders
9CP

One Battalion:

HQ:
110 Bike Cap powerfist/Stormshield (I noticed Brad) mantle of minus 1 to wound relic/Forge master
150 Primaris Chaplain on bike master of sanctity/benediction/imperium sword/ hate/strength/plus 1 to wound

Troops:
95 5 Assault intercessors
120 5 Infiltrators
120 5 Infiltrators

Elites:
120 3 Flamestorm Aggressors
280 10 Vanguard Vets LC/SS/JP
48 2 Company vets SS
48 2 Company vets SS
105 Primaris Apothecary Chief Apothecary Selfless healer

Fast Attack:
110 2 Multi melta attack bikes
300 6 Liquid hot plasma inceptors
150 3 Liquid hot plasma inceptors

Heavy:
120 3 Eradicators
120 3 Eradicators

 

Iron Hands

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Similar to Salamanders, Iron Hands haven’t suddenly become bad, but a lot of the things that made them good have been opened up to the masses and the kind of lists that really benefit from their Doctrine have been disincentivised. An Iron Hands list filled with the best units from the book is still a horrendous thing to face down on the table, but once again the Ultramrines are currently edging them out as the all-rounder of choice.

Sample List

David Hodgett took this to third place at Warpstorm XIII.

Army List - Click to Expand

Patrol Detachment 0CP
Imperium – Iron Hands
Battle Size: 12 CP
Stratagems: Hero of the Chapter -1 CP
Relic of the Chapter -1CP

HQ:
Captain on Bike * WARLORD 100
Warlord Trait: Master of the Codex
Chapter Master 40
Storm Shield 10
Relic: The Tempered Helm
Thunderhammer 20
Paragon of Iron (-1CP)
Total: 170

TROOPS:
5x Tactical Squad, Power Axe, Storm Bolter 100

NO SLOT
Culexus Assassin x1 100

ELITES
Bladeguard Veteran Squad x3 105

Terminator Assault Squad x5, Thunder hammer/Storm Shield 215

HEAVY SUPPORT
Devastator Squad x 5, Grav cannon x4, Armorium Cherub 135

Eradicator Squad x 3 120

DEDICATED TRANSPORT
Drop Pod, Storm Bolter 70

Patrol Detachment -2CP
Imperium – Iron Hands
HQ:
Lieutenant 70, Warlord Trait: Target Protocols, Jump Pack, Relic:Betrayer’s Bane, Combi-melta 100

TROOPS:
Tactical Squad x 5 90

NO SLOT
Culexus Assassin x1 100

ELITES
Bladeguard Veteran Squad x3 105

Veteran Intercessor Squad x 9, auto bolt rifles, power fist 208

HEAVY SUPPORT
Devastator Squad x 5, Grav cannon x4, Armorium Cherub 135

Devastator Squad x 5, Multi-melta x4, Armorium Cherub 175

DEDICATED TRANSPORT
Drop Pod, Storm Bolter 70
TOTAL ARMY COST 1998

 

Blood Angels

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Along with Death Guard it doesn’t super matter where these are right now, because it’s likely that their new rules will be in play before anyone gets back to tournaments in earnest. As it happens, Blood Angels are pretty much fine – their Index didn’t do anything hugely surprising, but kept Sanguinary Guard and some of their Named Characters as strong units, and the faction in general benefits massively from Vanguard Veterans being a top tier unit now. Similar to Dark Angels, they also get a weirdly specific boost from being able to strap a mobility upgrade to their variant of a Chief Apothecary (who has additional attractions to boot). Games generally being more focused around close engagements continues to help them as well, as the combination of their Chapter Tactic and (later in the game) Doctrine allows any of their units to punch up in a fight. Right now this is all good, but doesn’t quite get them to the level of White Scars, but this is obviously a faction that will be closely watched once events kick back off.

Sample List

Sweet Law earned a third place finish with this at the Impromptu GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

Blood Angel’s Battalion

2x Extra Relic
2x Extra Trait

HQ

Captain, storm shield, Teeth of Terra, The Imperium’s Sword 95

Primaris Bike Chaplain, Iron Resolve, Benediction of Fury (litany not listed, but I assume Mantra of Strength) 115

Sangunary Priest, Jump Pack, Warlord, The Armour Indomitus, Rites of War 120

No Slot

Vindicare Assassin 100

Troops

5 Assault Intercessors, Power Sword 100
5 Assault Intercessors, Power Sword 100
5 Assault Intercessors, Power Sword 100

Elites

9 Sanguinary Guard, power fists 315
3 Bladeguard 105
3 Bladeguard 105
Judiciar 85

Fast Attack

Outriders 135

Heavy Support

7 Devastators, 4 multi-meltas, cherub 211
3 Eradicators 120
3 Eradicators 120

Dedicated Transport
Drop Pod 70

 

Space Wolves

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

As post-supplement lists have started to emerge from Wolves, it’s clear that what they got was closer to a sidegrade than a strict upgrade. The good news is that Thunderwolf Cavalry and several of their named characters are excellent now, with Thundercav in particular being able to really dominate boards when properly tooled up, Wolf Guard with jump packs (wolf-flavoured VanVets) and Wolf Guard Terminators are also extremely good, and the ability to get extra AP or wound boosts on demand via stratagems makes them potent both in dedicated wolf lists and also in an emerging soup build. Finally, the return of the Armour of Russ in particular gives Wolves back one of their crucial tools for controlling combat. On the flip side of all of this, the downgrade Impulsors received in the Marine book hit Wolves harder than most, and loss of some key stratagems in the transition from the Index was a surprising blow. There’s clearly enough here to build something strong, but early indications are that you end up with something that doesn’t hit the lofty heights of tier 1.

Sample List

Mark Perry ran this to second at the Impromptu GT. It should be noted that this was pre-supplement, but the tools its using remain strong.

Army List - Click to Expand

Patrol

HQ

Wolf lord on thunderwolf
Thunder hammer
Storm shield
Wl rites of war
Relic armour of indommitus
140

Primaris Chaplin on bike
Master of sanctity
-1 cp wl trait wise orator
-1 cp Relic benediction of fury
Cantical of hate
Mantra of strength
140

Troops

5 bloodclaws
90

Fast Attack

cyber wolf
15
cyber wolf
15

Heavy Support

3 Eliminators bolt carbine
90
3 Eliminators bolt carbine
90

Outrider

HQ

Wolford on thunderwolf
Storm shield
-1 cp relic teeth of terra
-1 cp wl trait imperial sword
120

logan on the santa ride from hell
180

Fast Attack

5 Thunderwolf cavalry
5 storm shields
4 solo lightning claw
270

5 Thunderwolf cavalry
5 storm shields
4 solo lightning claw
270

5 Thunderwolf cavalry
5 storm shields
4 solo lightning claw
270

15 fenris wolves 105

15 fenris wolves 105

14 fenris wolves 98

 

Deathwatch

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Gonna have to admit – this one is a bit speculative. Deathwatch are wild outliers in terms of the combinations you can put on the table with their book, and have the terrifying combination of a wide range of options and potentially using quite different combinations of models than other Marines. Our expectation is that once players get armies on the table this is where they’re going to land, but the book is such an enigma that I’m fully ready for us to be wildly wrong in either direction. With the array of choices they have access to, there’s every chance that someone finds some sort of spectacularly broken build, but equally they could end up as jacks of all trades and masters of none. Watch this space.

Rob: Deathwatch were the third largest climber in win rates from pre- to post-October Codex, jumping nearly 4 points and going from 42% to 46%, with room to continue growing.

Sample List

Nevin Smith placed second at the Foehammer RTT, taking this build to a 3-0 record.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Deathwatch) [111 PL, 9CP, 1,996pts] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]: Number of Extra Relics [-1CP]

+ HQ [11 PL, -2CP, 225pts] +

Librarian in Terminator Armor [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: 1. Premorphic Resonance, 2. Fortified With Contempt, 2. Paragon of their Chapter, Combi-grav [10pts], Force stave, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter [-1CP], Tome of Malcador

Paragon Pick: Adept of the Codex
Tome Pick: Psychic Fortress

Primaris Techmarine [5 PL, -1CP, 110pts]: 3. Nowhere to Hide (Aura), 6. The Ties That Bind (Aura), Chapter Command: Master of the Forge [1 PL, 30pts], Forge bolter, Frag & Krak grenades, Grav-pistol, Mechadendrite, Omnissian power axe, Servo-arm, Stratagem: A Vigil Unmatched [-1CP], The Tome of Ectoclades, Warlord

+ Troops [29 PL, 556pts] +

Proteus Kill Team [7 PL, 168pts] . Deathwatch Veteran w/ Heavy Weapon [1 PL, 35pts]: Deathwatch Frag Cannon [15pts], Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran w/ Heavy Weapon [1 PL, 35pts]: Deathwatch Frag Cannon [15pts], Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran w/ Heavy Weapon [1 PL, 35pts]: Deathwatch Frag Cannon [15pts], Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran w/ Heavy Weapon [1 PL, 35pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Infernus Heavy Bolter [15pts] . Watch Sergeant [28pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Power sword [3pts], Storm shield [5pts]

Proteus Kill Team [15 PL, 288pts] . Deathwatch Terminator [2 PL, 33pts] . . Power sword and Storm bolter: Power sword, Storm bolter
. Deathwatch Terminator [2 PL, 33pts] . . Power sword and Storm bolter: Power sword, Storm bolter
. Deathwatch Terminator w/ Heavy Weapon [2 PL, 58pts]: Cyclone missile launcher [20pts], Power fist [5pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 22pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts], Storm shield [5pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 27pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts], Storm shield [5pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 22pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 22pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 22pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts] . Watch Sergeant [22pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Storm bolter [2pts]

Proteus Kill Team [7 PL, 100pts] . Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Deathwatch Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Deathwatch Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Deathwatch Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Deathwatch Veteran [1 PL, 20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Deathwatch Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Watch Sergeant [20pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Deathwatch Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades

+ Elites [26 PL, 525pts] +

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Icarus Rocket Pod [5pts], Onslaught Gatling Cannon [5pts], Redemptor Fist

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Icarus Rocket Pod [5pts], Onslaught Gatling Cannon [5pts], Redemptor Fist

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 155pts]: Twin lascannon [20pts] . Dreadnought combat weapon w/Storm Bolter: Storm bolter

+ Heavy Support [15 PL, 290pts] +

Land Raider Crusader [15 PL, 290pts]: 2x Hurricane bolter, Storm bolter [5pts], Twin assault cannon

+ Flyer [30 PL, 400pts] +

Corvus Blackstar [15 PL, 200pts]: Auspex array [5pts], Hurricane bolter [15pts], Twin assault cannon
. 2x Blackstar rocket launchers: 2x Blackstar Rocket Launcher

Corvus Blackstar [15 PL, 200pts]: Auspex array [5pts], Hurricane bolter [15pts], Twin lascannon
. 2x Stormstrike missile launchers: 2x Stormstrike missile launchers

++ Total: [111 PL, 9CP, 1,996pts] ++

 

Black Templars

Ben Cherwein has continued his one-man quest to keep Templars competitively relevant, and the Marine Codex has definitely made Templars appreciably nastier. Pretty much everything they’re doing has exceptional synergy with Bladeguard and Terminators, and picking up Rites of War is a massive asset for lists going heavy on these units. While still suffering from a curtailed set of options compared to Chapters with full-fledged supplements, Ben’s current build is so thoroughly vicious that I don’t feel we can rate the army any lower than this – and I’m sure he’s going to put the work in to keep it that way.

Sample List

Shockingly our Black Templars list comes from one B. Cherwein. Weird. He took this to third at Mid-MO Maelstrom.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Black Templars) [100 PL, 1,998pts, 6CP] ++

+ Configuration +

+ Stratagems +

Crusader Relics [-1CP]

+ HQ +

High Marshal Helbrecht [8 PL, 155pts]: Warlord

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 150pts, -1CP]: 1. Litany of Divine Protection, 4. Fires of Devotion, Ancient Breviary, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Fortress of Resolve, Litany of Hate, Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter

+ 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: Heavy Bolt Pistol

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: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Cenobyte Servitors [1 PL, 20pts] . 3x Cenobyte Servitor: 3x Close Combat Weapon

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, 105pts, -1CP]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Crusader’s Helm

Terminator Assault Squad [18 PL, 349pts]: Teleport Homer
. Terminator Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. 7x Terminator w/THSS: 7x Storm shield, 7x Thunder hammer

Vanguard Veteran Squad [14 PL, 229pts]: Jump Pack
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Space Marine Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Veteran Sergeant: Power fist, Storm shield

+ Fast Attack +

Attack Bike Squad [6 PL, 165pts] . Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta
. Attack Bike: Multi-melta

Inceptor Squad [12 PL, 250pts]: 4x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant, Plasma Exterminator x2

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [12 PL, 240pts]: Melta rifle
. 5x Eradicator: 5x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

Whirlwind [7 PL, 125pts]: Whirlwind castellan launcher

++ Total: [100 PL, 6CP, 1,998pts] ++

 

Tier 3

Death Guard

Much like with Blood Angels this is kind of academic at this point, but Death Guard have experienced a surprisingly precipitous fall since the last list. They’re far from a bad faction, still capable of putting together great lists, but:

  • The very best lists lean on a Daemon contingent sufficiently hard that they don’t really count as pure Death Guard.
  • The Marine codex handing out ObSec like candy and upping the durability of mid-table threats at the same time tanks the matchup for Death Guard quite a bit.
  • Losing access to Forge World units – the Terrax drill in particular – is a huge blow.

It hasn’t been all bad – the multi-melta boost’s long tendrils have been felt even here, making Blight Haulers pretty clearly one of the faction’s best units, and lists heavy on them with the Ironclot Furnace are still a very powerful prospect, but some of the magic of early 9th is clearly gone. Ultimately, of course, they’re still perfectly playable for now, and the Codex is sure to shake things up considerably.

Sample List

Kevin Leonard played this to second at the Renegade Mini. Realistically this wouldn’t normally make the cut as a “Death Guard” list for our purposes with the GUO being a major part of the strategy, but in this case that kind of hammers home what we’ve said above (and the other most successful recent build leant on the drill).

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [83 PL, 1,535pts, 11CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Chaos Lord [5 PL, 85pts]: Balesword, Blight Grenades, Bolt pistol, Krak grenades, Wormspitter

Daemon Prince of Nurgle [10 PL, 195pts]: 4. Blades of Putrefaction, 6. Arch-Contaminator, Hellforged sword, Ironclot Furnace, Malefic talon, Smite, Warlord, Wings

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [6 PL, 90pts] . Plague Champion: Blight Grenades, Boltgun, Krak grenades, Plague knife
. 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife

Plague Marines [6 PL, 90pts] . Plague Champion: Blight Grenades, Boltgun, Krak grenades, Plague knife
. 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife

Plague Marines [6 PL, 90pts] . Plague Champion: Blight Grenades, Boltgun, Krak grenades, Plague knife
. 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife

+ Elites +

Foul Blightspawn [5 PL, 85pts]: Blight Grenades, Krak grenades, Plague sprayer

+ Fast Attack +

Myphitic Blight-haulers [15 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta

Myphitic Blight-haulers [15 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta

Myphitic Blight-haulers [15 PL, 300pts] . Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta
. Myphitic Blight-hauler: Bile spurt, Gnashing maw, Missile launcher, Multi-melta

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Daemons) [24 PL, 465pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle

+ HQ +

Epidemius [6 PL, 105pts]: Balesword, Nurglings

Great Unclean One [14 PL, 270pts, -1CP]: Bileblade, Doomsday bell, Nurglings, Shrivelling Pox, Smite, Virulent Blessing
. Exalted Great Unclean One: 2. Revoltingly Resilient

+ Troops +

Nurglings [4 PL, 90pts] . 5x Nurgling Swarms: 5x Diseased claws and teeth

++ Total: [107 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Genestealer Cults

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

It has been a good few months for the forces of the Hive Mind, with both factions making big moves, bursting out of trash tier and straight up to tier 3. In both cases there’s multiple factors at play, each getting a significant shot in the arm from rules changes and also seeing players really start to crack open how to make effective lists.

Of the two, GSC is the slightly more speculative call – their win rate in the stats is still awful but the best lists now look pretty fierce again. Relatively shortly after the previous tier list went out, Bilbo Göransson managed to put together a list that could compete by heavily targeting the missions, and then on top of that the wargear change gave Acolyte Hybrids access to 12″ range hand flamers. This had surprisingly far-reaching consequences for the faction. One of the big problems they had before was being extremely constrained in terms of CP and how many of their units they could use effectively at once, as without blowing a tonne of stratagems you risked dropping your big units and having them do nothing then die. Being able to immediately shoot out of deep strike completely turns that around, letting all of your units guarantee that they do some damage, and also giving you more options on how you spend your CP for maximum effect. A gigantic wall of hand flamer shots is also extremely good against all of the Tier 1 factions that aren’t Marines, leaving the strategy pretty well positioned against other strong armies. Combined with GSC’s natural ability to take unprepared opponents to pieces, we think this is enough to position them in Tier 3 (though expect their win rate to take a while to recover from the pits it’s currently in).

Rob: Genestealer Cults saw the biggest drop in win rates of any faction – nearly 12 points – going from Pre-Codexes to post. Some of this may be due to data volatility but their overall win rates are bad across all of our datasets right now.

Wings: GSC are pretty much the poster children for win rates not being able to tell the full story, as the skill ceiling on them is huge and the builds that work are exhausting to put on the table. We do still think the jump to tier 3 off the back of the best lists is justified, but if either hive mind force does end up busted back down next time, it’ll probably be the cult.

Sample List

Clifton Russel played this to second at the Clutch City GT, really leaning in on the whole Hand Flamer thing!

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids – Genestealer Cults) [104 PL, 2,000pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Cult Creed: Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor

+ Stratagems +

Broodcoven [-1CP]

Grandsire’s Gifts [-1CP]: 1 Extra Sacred Relic

+ HQ +

Magus [5 PL, 85pts, -1CP]: Broodcoven Magus, Power: Might From Beyond, Power: Mind Control, Stratagem: The Cult’s Psyche, Warlord Trait: Inscrutable Cunning

Patriarch [8 PL, 150pts]: Familiar, Inspiring Leader, Power: Mental Onslaught, Power: Might From Beyond, The Crouchling, Warlord

Primus [4 PL, 85pts]: Bonesword, Broodcoven Primus, Sword of the Void’s Eye, Warlord Trait: Alien Majesty

+ Troops +

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 290pts]: Cult Icon
. 11x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 11x Blasting Charges, 11x Cultist Knife, 11x Hand Flamer, 11x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 200pts] . 19x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 19x Blasting Charges, 19x Cultist Knife, 19x Hand Flamer, 19x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 200pts] . 19x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 19x Blasting Charges, 19x Cultist Knife, 19x Hand Flamer, 19x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 290pts]: Cult Icon
. 11x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 11x Blasting Charges, 11x Cultist Knife, 11x Hand Flamer, 11x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Saw
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 200pts] . 19x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 19x Blasting Charges, 19x Cultist Knife, 19x Hand Flamer, 19x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

Acolyte Hybrids [12 PL, 290pts]: Cult Icon
. 11x Acolyte Hybrid (Hand Flamer): 11x Blasting Charges, 11x Cultist Knife, 11x Hand Flamer, 11x Rending Claw
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Hybrid (Heavy Weapon): Hand Flamer, Heavy Rock Cutter
. Acolyte Leader: Cultist Knife, Hand Flamer

+ Elites +

Clamavus [3 PL, 60pts]

Locus [3 PL, 45pts]

+ Fast Attack +

Cult Armoured Sentinels [3 PL, 35pts] . Cult Armoured Sentinel: Multi-laser

Cult Armoured Sentinels [3 PL, 35pts] . Cult Armoured Sentinel: Multi-laser

Cult Armoured Sentinels [3 PL, 35pts] . Cult Armoured Sentinel: Multi-laser

++ Total: [104 PL, 2,000pts, 9CP] ++

 

Tyranids

Tyranids have also benefitted from people working out ways to really optimise their lists, with both Gaunt Carpet lists and those built around minimising secondary exposure doing well. Their win rate has never been nearly as dire as GSC’s, and people successfully finding lists that didn’t just fold on scoring if things went off the rails seems to have been enough to let them compete. More recently, Tyranid players have been extremely excited about the prospects offered by their revised set of units in the Imperial Armour Compendium. A whole host of bigger bugs previously costed way too high have been moved to better slots and given aggressive cost cuts and power boosts, giving the faction access to a nice mix of “Greater Daemon” tier threats that don’t increase exposure to Assassinate or Abhor the Witch, as well as keeping access to the powerful effect of Malanthropes. The Dimachaeron is probably the real standout here, offering a deadly, mobile and durable threat that can slot into a variety of shells. All that taken together means that Tyranids are in a vastly happier place than they were a month ago, and there are even some people theorising that their power level falls closer to Tier 2. It’s also worth saying that the hand flamer buff to GSC is felt here too, with a small GSC detachment being a powerful add-on to a Tyranid core list.

Sample Lists

Two lists to look at here, first up Timothy Bouta’s from Red Rock Exterminatus, which shows off the secondary minimisation angle in action.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [48 PL, 11CP, 993pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems +

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Neurothrope [5 PL, 95pts]: Power: Psychic Scream, Power: Smite, Warlord

Tyranid Prime [5 PL, 85pts]: Adrenal Glands, Boneswords, Deathspitter

+ Troops +

Hormagaunts [3 PL, 60pts] . 10x Hormagaunt: 10x Scything Talons

Hormagaunts [3 PL, 60pts] . 10x Hormagaunt: 10x Scything Talons

Termagants [3 PL, 50pts] . 10x Termagant (Fleshborer): 10x Fleshborer

Termagants [3 PL, 50pts] . 10x Termagant (Fleshborer): 10x Fleshborer

Tyranid Warriors [12 PL, 294pts] . Adaptive Physiology: Enhanced Resistance
. Tyranid Warrior: Deathspitter, Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior: Boneswords, Deathspitter
. Tyranid Warrior: Boneswords, Deathspitter
. Tyranid Warrior: Boneswords, Deathspitter
. Tyranid Warrior: Boneswords, Deathspitter
. Tyranid Warrior: Boneswords, Deathspitter
. Tyranid Warrior (Bio-cannon): Boneswords, Venom Cannon
. Tyranid Warrior (Bio-cannon): Boneswords, Venom Cannon
. Tyranid Warrior (Bio-cannon): Boneswords, Venom Cannon

+ Elites +

Lictor [2 PL, 37pts]: Flesh Hooks, Rending Claws

Lictor [2 PL, 37pts]: Flesh Hooks, Rending Claws

Zoanthropes [10 PL, 225pts]: Power: Catalyst, Power: Smite
. 5x Zoanthrope: 5x Claws and Teeth

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Tyranids) [50 PL, -2CP, 1,007pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [-2CP]

Hive Fleet: Kronos

+ HQ +

Broodlord [7 PL, 125pts]: Power: Catalyst, Power: Smite

Neurothrope [5 PL, 95pts]: Power: Smite, Power: Symbiostorm, Resonance Barb

+ Troops +

Genestealers [4 PL, 75pts]: Acid Maw
. 5x Genestealer: 5x Rending Claws

Ripper Swarms [2 PL, 36pts] . 3x Ripper Swarm: 3x Claws and Teeth

Ripper Swarms [2 PL, 36pts] . 3x Ripper Swarm: 3x Claws and Teeth

+ Elites +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 300pts] . 6x Hive Guard (Impaler): 6x Impaler Cannon

+ Heavy Support +

Exocrine [9 PL, 170pts] . Adaptive Physiology: Dermic Symbiosis

Exocrine [9 PL, 170pts]

++ Total: [98 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

If you instead want to add some large resin children to your collection, Innes Wilson has shared his latest build with us, aiming to exploint the newly ferocious Dimachaeron

Army List - Click to Expand

++Army Faction: Tyranids
++Factions Used: Tyranids
++Total Points: 2000
++Total Power Level: 101
++Starting CP: 9
++Reinforcement Points: 0
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
==Primary Detachment – Tyranid <Kraken> Battalion Detachment – [1369pts, 71PL]
HQ: The Swarmlord (270) – [270pts, 14PL] ++Psyker (Catalyst, Paroxysm)
HQ: Neurothrope (95) – [95pts, 5PL] ++Pysker (Onslaught) ++Relic (The Resonance Barb) ++Warlord (No Trait)
TR: 20x Hormagaunt (20×6) – [120pts, 6PL] TR: 10x Hormagaunt (10×6) – [60pts, 3PL] TR: 10x Hormagaunt (10×6) – [60pts, 3PL] EL: Lictor (32) Rending Claws (2) Flesh Hooks (3) – [37pts, 2PL] EL: Lictor (32) Rending Claws (2) Flesh Hooks (3) – [37pts, 2PL] FA: Dimachaeron (230) – [230pts, 12PL] FA: Dimachaeron (230) – [230pts, 12PL] FA: Dimachaeron (230) – [230pts, 12PL]

==Secondary Detachment – Tyranid <Kronos> Patrol Detachment – [631pts, 30PL] -3CP
HQ: Broodlord (125) – [125pts, 7PL] ++Psyker (Symbiostorm)
TR: 3x Ripper Swarm (3×12) – [36pt, 2PL] EL: 6x Hive Guard (6×40) 6x Impaler Cannon (6×10) – [300pts, 12PL] ++Adaptive Physiology (Ehanced Resilience)
HS: Exocrine (170) – [170pts, 9PL] ++Adaptive Physiology (Dermic Symbiosis) -1CP

 

Imperial Fists

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Imperial Fists are Space Marines, so they’re fine, but with the gigantic nerf dropped on their Doctrine, and a supplement that’s always been weaker than the others besides that one overpowered trick, there’s basically no reason to ever pick them over and above any other flavour of Marines. It’s a dark time for those that love bright yellow armour.

Sample List

Alberto López won an RTT with this build, having successfully found all the S7 guns with decent rate of fire!

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Imperial Fists) [10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selection**: Imperial Fists

–HQ–
Primaris Chapter Master 130 pts (-1 cp Sentinel of Terra)
Primaris Master of Sanctity 110 pts (-1 cp Warlord Trait)
–Troops–
Intercessor x10 Bolt Rifle Power Fist 210 pts
Intercessor x10 Bolt Rifle Power Fist 210 pts
Intercessor x10 Stalker Bolt Rifle Chainsword 200 pts
Infiltrator x5 120 pts
Infiltrator x5 120 pts
–Elite–
Primaris Chief Apothecary 95 pts (-1 cp Warlord Trait)
Redemptor Dreadnought +Icarus Rocket Pod 180 pts
Redemptor Dreadnought +Icarus Rocket Pod 180 pts
Redemptor Dreadnought 175 pts
–Heavy Support–
Whirlwind +Whirlwind vengeance launcher 135 pts
Whirlwind +Whirlwind vengeance launcher 135 pts

 

Imperial Knights

Hovering at the fringes of Tier 3 and 4, the best Imperial Knight lists are narrowly scary enough to make the cut. You definitely have to bring some sort of soup element for board control (Serberys Raiders and Scions both being popular), and you generally want to go very deep on defensive buffs in order to keep them in the game, but they seem to just about work. It helps that gunline Marines and the grav pod have taken a gigantic hit out of their book, and even Eradicators took a knock to their first turn abilities, with deploying 29.1 inches away from them protecting you from a double shoot. You do have the new issue to deal with of every Marine player and their dad turning up with Rites of War, but Knights have always relied on wiping out the enemy to take objectives so it isn’t as much of a new challenge as it would be for some factions. Craftworld Eldar continuing to be complete garbage helps too, as they were one of the real predators of the Knight lists of old. There might even be something to the updated Forge World Knight profiles, as the focus on taking defensive buffs rather than relic weapons removes one of their historic drawbacks, and the three damage sweep attack that some of them sport is extremely enticing. 9th’s missions still fundamentally up the challenge of running a Knight list, but with a metagame less ready for them and good supporting elements available, Imperial Knights just about have a home.

Sample List

Jonas Beardsley took fifth place at the YHP Fall Brawl with this Knight and Scion build.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Super-Heavy Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Imperial Knights) [100 PL, 8CP, 1,825pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Household Choice: Questor Mechanicus
. House Krast

+ Stratagems +

Exalted Court [-1CP]: Exalted Court: 1 Extra Warlord Trait

Heirlooms of the Household [-3CP]: Heirlooms of the Household: 2 Extra Heirlooms

+ Lord of War +

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 475pts]: Character (Knight Lance), Heavy Stubber, Heirloom (Krast): The Headsman’s Mark, Thermal Cannon, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Krast): First Knight

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 475pts]: Character (Exalted Court), Heavy Stubber, Thermal Cannon, Warlord Trait: Ion Bulwark

Knight Crusader [26 PL, 475pts]: Character (Heirloom of the House), Heavy Stubber, Heirloom: Armour of the Sainted Ion, Thermal Cannon

Knight Gallant [22 PL, 400pts]: Character (Heirloom of the House), Heavy Stubber, Heirloom: Sanctuary, Reaper Chainsword, Thunderstrike gauntlet

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [12 PL, -2CP, 175pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Regimental Doctrine: 43rd Iotan Dragons

+ HQ +

Tempestor Prime [3 PL, 40pts]: Hot-shot Laspistol

+ Troops +

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Scion: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor: Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol

++ Total: [112 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

Tier 4

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Space Marines continue to have some devoted adherents, and as we covered in our extensive tour of their subfactions recently they have a lot of cool stuff going on – but it’s all just a bit too hard to use or underwhelming when it tries to compete with better optimised factions. You can still build a pure Chaos Space Marine list that works, with Black Legion currently being the standouts for that, but really the best way to use the faction is to take something like Alpha Legion and put a small detachment that makes the best use of their tricks in a Daemon or Death Guard shell. That’s clearly better than being totally purposeless, but hopefully the Heretic Astartes are pretty near the front of the codex queue next year.

Rob: There’s also some play for Emperor’s Children, who can be part of Slaanesh lists. Daemons kind of don’t need Chaos Space Marines at the moment however.

Sample List

Russell Tassin continues to stalwartly refuse to let the dream of the Long War die, and this is his latest spin on a Black Legion build, which won him an RTT and took him to the top of the BIF CSM rankings.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [96 PL, 2,000pts, 13CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Black Legion

+ Stratagems +

Council of Traitors [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 2x Dark Disciple: 2x Close combat weapon

+ HQ +

Abaddon the Despoiler [11 PL, 220pts, 2CP]: Warlord

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 108pts]: Angelsbane, Chainfist, Combi-bolter, Mark of Slaanesh

Dark Apostle [4 PL, 80pts]: 5. Trusted War-leader, Blissful Devotion, Council of Traitors, Illusory Supplication, Mark of Slaanesh

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Shotgun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Space Marines [8 PL, 170pts]: No Chaos Mark
. Aspiring Champion: Astartes chainsword, Boltgun
. 3x Marine w/ boltgun: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. 4x Marine w/ chainsword: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Marine w/ heavy or special weapon: Lascannon
. Marine w/ heavy or special weapon: Missile launcher

+ Elites +

Plague Marines [8 PL, 191pts] . Plague Champion: Plague knife, Plasma pistol, Power fist
. 2x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 2x Blight Grenades, 2x Boltgun, 2x Krak Grenades, 2x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption
. Plague Marine w/ melee weapons: Flail of Corruption
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher
. Plague Marine w/ special weapon: Blight launcher

Terminators [8 PL, 161pts]: Mark of Khorne
. Terminator: Combi-bolter, Lightning Claw
. Terminator: Chainaxe, Combi-bolter
. Terminator: Combi-bolter, Power fist
. Terminator: Combi-bolter, Lightning Claw
. Terminator Champion: Chainfist, Combi-bolter

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [5 PL, 115pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 5x Chaos Spawn: 5x Hideous mutations

+ Heavy Support +

Havocs [7 PL, 175pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. Aspiring Champion: Astartes chainsword, Combi-plasma
. 4x Havoc w/ reaper chaincannon: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Reaper chaincannon

Havocs [7 PL, 155pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. Aspiring Champion: Astartes chainsword, Combi-plasma
. 4x Havoc w/ lascannon: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Lascannon

Obliterators [15 PL, 315pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 3x Obliterator: 3x Crushing fists, 3x Fleshmetal guns

+ Dedicated Transport +

Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill [10 PL, 180pts]: No Chaos Mark
. Terrax storm bolters

++ Total: [96 PL, 2,000pts, 13CP] ++

 

Grey Knights

Grey Knights lost quite a bit in the transition over from 8th Edition anyway and the changes in the Marine codex have fully spiked them into the lower ranks. They’re now just way too brittle to compete against Marine armies packed with more wounds, more feel no pains and Terminators that can compete with Paladins for durability without even trying. They’re not quite irredeemably terrible, but there’s no real draw to playing them, which is frankly criminal when Daemons are running amuck at the top of the metagame.

Rob: Grey Knights have the highest disparity in win rates going first vs. second of any faction – 34% in our most recent analysis of data from ITC Battles app. They win 62% of their games going first and a staggering 27% going second.

Sample List

Josh Martin won the Red Barn SC Wafflehammer RTT with this build.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [57 PL, 12CP, 879pts] ++

+ HQ +

Grand Master Voldus [8 PL, 160pts]: 6: Lore Master, Edict Imperator, Empyrean Domination, Inner Fire, Warlord, Warp Shaping

Lord Kaldor Draigo [10 PL, 190pts]: Astral Aim, Hammerhand

+ Troops +

Strike Squad [7 PL, 97pts]: Gate of Infinity
. 4x Grey Knight (Halberd): 4x Nemesis Force Halberd, 4x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar
. . Nemesis Force Halberd

+ Elites +

Paladin Squad [30 PL, 404pts]: Gate of Infinity
. 4x Paladin (Halberd): 4x Nemesis Force Halberd, 4x Storm Bolter
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Warding Stave): Storm Bolter
. Paragon: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave

Servitors [2 PL, 28pts] . Servitor
. Servitor
. Servitor
. Servitor

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [64 PL, -3CP, 1,116pts] ++

+ Stratagems +

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

+ HQ +

Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight [11 PL, 235pts]: Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword, Sanctic Shard, Sanctuary

Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight [11 PL, 235pts]: Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword, Sanctuary

+ Troops +

Strike Squad [7 PL, 97pts]: Gate of Infinity
. 4x Grey Knight (Warding Stave): 4x Nemesis Warding Stave, 4x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar
. . Nemesis Warding Stave

+ Elites +

Apothecary [5 PL, 95pts]: Armoured Resilience, Augurium Scrolls
. Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer

Paladin Squad [30 PL, 454pts]: Sanctuary
. 5x Paladin (Halberd): 5x Nemesis Force Halberd, 5x Storm Bolter
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Psilencer): Psilencer (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Warding Stave): Storm Bolter
. Paragon: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave

++ Total: [121 PL, 9CP, 1,995pts] ++

 

Drukhari

Drukhari were just about holding on early in 9th, but like Grey Knights the new Marine book hasn’t been kind to them, and the Reaper (which their best builds leant on) has gone up in price. Drukhari rely on hitting hard and fast, sufficient that whatever they’ve decided to target isn’t around to fight back, and that just bluntly doesn’t work against Marines any more – they have too many different ways to stack up defences, and their units will kick the absolute crap out of any Drukhari hanging around too close. Drukhari still have some neat stuff that keeps them from falling all the way into the garbage, but I strongly suspect that most of their players breathed a sigh of relief when their Codex got announced as coming relatively soon.

Sample List

Brandon St. Pierre’s build below went 3-2 at the Amiable Bright Plague War GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [39 PL, -2CP, 720pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart

+ Stratagems +

Alliance of Agony [-1CP]

Prizes from the Dark City (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Archon [4 PL, 65pts]: Huskblade, Labyrinthine Cunning, Splinter pistol, Warlord, Writ of the Living Muse

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 55pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Shredder
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Heavy Support +

Ravager [8 PL, 160pts]: Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon

Ravager [8 PL, 160pts]: Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Disintegrator cannon

Raider [5 PL, 95pts]: Disintegrator cannon

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [44 PL, 2CP, 845pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [-2CP]

Obsession: Prophets of Flesh

Raiding Force [4CP]

+ HQ +

Urien Rakarth [5 PL, 95pts]: Alliance of Agony

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 60pts] . Acothyst: Haemonculus tools
. 4x Wracks: 4x Haemonculus Tools

+ Heavy Support +

Talos [18 PL, 345pts] . Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster
. Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster
. Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster

Talos [18 PL, 345pts] . Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster
. Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster
. Talos: Macro-Scalpel, Macro-Scalpel
. . Two Haywire Blasters: 2x Haywire blaster

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [25 PL, -2CP, 435pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [-2CP]

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart

+ HQ +

Archon [4 PL, 65pts]: Huskblade, Splinter pistol, The Djin Blade

+ Troops +

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 55pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Shredder
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 45pts] . 4x Kabalite Warrior: 4x Splinter Rifle
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Dedicated Transport +

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

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

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

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

 

Astra Militarum

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Astra Militarum really struggle with playing 9th’s missions, and that’s been holding them back all edition. People have found what seems to be the best shell for a list, featuring Tank Commanders, plasma veterans/command squads and Full Payload Manticores, and that gives you something that’s at least functional, but the inability to properly compete in the fight phase and weakness on secondaries perpetually holds it back. The dark (well robot) horse change to the range recently has been the revamping of the Death Korps of Krieg, with their Death Rider command squads in particular maybe finally giving the faction access to something that hits the sweet spot of being mobile, durable and non-terrible in combat. The list we’ve featured below was actually used before that change landed and should be even better after it, and if you’re determined to try and make Astra Militarum work at the moment, that’s where we’d start.

Sample List

WIll Taylor’s 5th place list from the South Georgia GT is one of the better performances Guard have put up for a while.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [79 PL, 11CP, 1,482pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Regimental Doctrine: Gunnery Experts, Spotter Details

+ Stratagems +

Tank Ace [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Tank Commander [12 PL, 220pts]: Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon, Warlord

Tank Commander [12 PL, 220pts]: Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

Tank Commander [12 PL, 220pts]: Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters, Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

+ Troops +

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 50pts] . 9x Guardsman: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant: Laspistol

+ Elites +

Command Squad [2 PL, 64pts] . Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Command Squad [2 PL, 64pts] . Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Command Squad [2 PL, 64pts] . Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Platoon Commander [2 PL, 25pts]: Laspistol, Relic: Kurov’s Aquila

Platoon Commander [2 PL, 25pts]: Laspistol

+ Heavy Support +

Basilisks [7 PL, 130pts] . Basilisk: Full Payload, Heavy Bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile

Manticore [8 PL, 150pts]: Full Payload, Heavy Bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile

++ Outrider Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Death Korps of Krieg) [25 PL, -3CP, 517pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [-3CP]

Regimental Doctrine: Death Korps of Krieg

Regimental Doctrine: Astra Millitarum

+ HQ +

Commissar Yarrick [6 PL, 105pts]

Death Korps Death Rider Squadron Commander [3 PL, 47pts]: Death Korps Hunting Lance, Death Korps Orders, Laspistol

+ Elites +

Death Korps Combat Engineer Squad [4 PL, 80pts] . Combat Engineer Watch Master: Chainsword, Krieg Combat Shotgun
. 9x Combat Engineers: 9x Acid Gas Bomb, 9x Frag & Krak grenades, 9x Krieg Combat Shotgun

Death Korps Death Rider Command Squadron [3 PL, 60pts] . 4x Death Korps Death Rider Veterans: 4x Death Korps Hunting Lance, 4x Krieg Steed, 4x Laspistol

+ Fast Attack +

Death Korps Death Rider Squadron [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Death Korps Death Riders: 4x Death Korps Hunting Lance, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Krieg Steed, 4x Laspistol
. Death Korps Ridemaster: Death Korps Hunting Lance, Laspistol

Death Korps Death Rider Squadron [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Death Korps Death Riders: 4x Death Korps Hunting Lance, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Krieg Steed, 4x Laspistol
. Death Korps Ridemaster: Death Korps Hunting Lance, Laspistol

Death Korps Death Rider Squadron [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Death Korps Death Riders: 4x Death Korps Hunting Lance, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Krieg Steed, 4x Laspistol
. Death Korps Ridemaster: Death Korps Hunting Lance, Laspistol

++ Total: [104 PL, 8CP, 1,999pts] ++

 

Chaos Knights

Chaos Knights have all of the problems of Imperial Knights with fewer defensive relics/traits and soup factions that are less effective at plugging their weaknesses. There’s plausibly something to be said for running Forge World knights as Iconoclasts, because according to our notes 15 S8 AP-3 D3 attacks is officially “no joke”, but you’re still going to be putting yourself on hard mode with fewer tools to mitigate the struggle than the loyalists get.

Rob: Chaos Knights saw a massive drop in their win rates over the last month, to something more like what we’d expect given their low TiWP scores.

Sample List

From the enigmatically named “November Series”, Konnor Long’s Chaos Knight list was the only one I could find that’s been successful recently, taking 3-0 in this event/league (delete as applicable).

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Super-Heavy Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Knights) [99 PL, 1,975pts, 2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Dread Household: Bold Tyrants, Custom Household, Dark Forging

+ Stratagems +

Corrupted Heirlooms [-3CP]: Two models

Tyrannical Court [-3CP]: Two models

+ Lord of War +

Chaos Cerastus Knight Acheron [24 PL, 480pts, -2CP]: 4. Warp-haunted Hull, Character (Traitoris Lance), Veil of Medrengard, Vow of Dominance, Warlord

Knight Desecrator [21 PL, 405pts, -1CP]: 6. Aura of Terror, Character (Tyrannical Court), Corrupted Heirloom, Heavy stubber, Reaper chainsword, The Diamonas, Vow of the Beastslayer

Knight Rampager [21 PL, 415pts, -1CP]: 1. Infernal Quest, Character (Tyrannical Court), Corrupted Heirloom, Heavy stubber, Reaper chainsword, The Quicksilver Throne of Slaanesh, Thunderstrike gauntlet, Vow of Carnage

War Dogs [9 PL, 180pts] . War Dog: Meltagun, Two War Dog autocannons

War Dogs Moirax [24 PL, 495pts] . War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock
. War Dog Moirax: 2x Lightning lock

++ Total: [99 PL, 1,975pts, 2CP] ++

 

Trash Tier

Craftworlds

How the mighty have fallen. We voted on this one and everything, and in hindsight, I’m kicking myself for not rating these lower last time – I had them down just outside trash in an early draft but assumed people would just think I was being salty if I went through with it.

Craftworlds have the dubious distinction, alongside Thousand Sons, of being one of only two armies that hasn’t had a single pure or majority force get into a top four covered in Competitive Innovations, and have only managed to scrape some detachments in recently, in all cases alongside Harlequins.  Even Tau managed a top four right at the start of the edition while people were finding their feet, so why are Craftworlds so weak.

Bluntly, the Codex sucks. The internal balance has always been all over the place, and for a long time there was always some sort of broken build that masked the structural weaknesses, but one-by-one they got nerfed out of existence and the advent of 9th finally put the last nail in the coffin of those that remained, with some reasonably rough point hikes being made in Chapter Approved to boot. Combining that with their Psychic Awakening being very narrow, Eldar just can’t hack it any more – putting them up against any flavour of Marines tends to result in a horrendous bloodbath of them getting ground off the board, and plenty of other factions will kick the stuffing out of them as well.

suspect there’s still a tier 4-worthy build in the book somewhere (you can see my best attempt below), and there are still a very small number of decent units (mostly Shining Spears, Hornets, War Walkers and Farseers) but Eldar have gone from being a perpetual presence in the metagame to a complete laughing stock in record time, and sport a truly abysmal win rate at the GT level.

Sample List

I’m taking the wheel here – if you told me I had to take Craftworlds to a GT tomorrow, this is what I’d run:

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion – Expert Crafters/Hunters of Ancient Relics

HQ
Farseer Skyrunner, Doom, Executioner, Smite 135
Warlock Skyrunner, Protect/Jinx, Ghostwalk, Warlord, Seer of the Shifting Vector, Phoenix Gem 65
Yncarne, Gaze, Grace 290

Troops
5 Dire Avengers, Bladestorm, Dual gun exarch 70
5 Dire Avengers, Bladestorm, Dual gun exarch 70
5 Rangers 75

Elites
5 Howling Banshees, Executioner, Decapitating Strike 80
5 Howling Banshees, Executioner, Decapitating Strike 80
5 Wraithguard, wraithcannons 190

Fast Attack
5 Shining Spears, Skilled Rider, Star Lance 180
5 Shining Spears, Skilled Rider, Star Lance 180
Hornet, Aeldari missile launcher, starcannon 95

Heavy Support
Wraithseer, D-cannon, Quicken/Restrain, Fateful Divergence 170

Transport
Wave Serpent, Starcannons 160
Wave Serpent, Starcannons 160

 

Thousand Sons

Yeeaahhhhh I had a lot of good calls about how stuff would perform in 9th but this was not one of them. There is no reason to play a heavy Thousand Sons army right now. None. Zippo. People have tried, and it just isn’t worth it – they don’t have the breadth of units, and Daemons do most of what they can waaay better. Like with CSM (and to an extent Craftworlds) there is still space for Thousand Sons to feature in lists propped up by other, better factions, where Magnus, Ahriman, Scarab Terminators and some of the Cults can all add value, but as a solo faction they’re currently dead in the water.

Sample List

David Burdett took this build to 3-2 at the Amiable Bright Plague War GT.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [47 PL, 836pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Duplicity

+ HQ +

Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch [9 PL, 170pts]: Black Staff of Ahriman, Blades on Disc of Tzeentch, Frag & Krak grenades, Glamour of Tzeentch, Inferno Bolt Pistol, Smite, Warptime, Weaver of Fates

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [10 PL, 195pts, -1CP]: Dark Matter Crystal, Doombolt, Duplicitous Tactician, Gaze of Fate, Hellforged sword, Magister, Malefic talon, Smite, Wings

Sorcerer in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 118pts]: Boon of Mutation, Familiar, Force stave, Gift of Chaos, Inferno Combi-bolter, Smite

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts] . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Rubric Marines [12 PL, 180pts] . Aspiring Sorcerer: Doombolt, Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol, Smite
. 9x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun: 9x Inferno boltgun

Rubric Marines [6 PL, 90pts] . Aspiring Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol, Smite, Temporal Manipulation
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun: 4x Inferno boltgun

+ Fast Attack +

Chaos Spawn [1 PL, 23pts] . Chaos Spawn: Hideous mutations

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

+ Configuration +

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Duplicity

Detachment CP [3CP]

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

Magnus the Red [24 PL, 465pts]: Death Hex, Gaze of Fate, Infernal Gateway, Smite, The Blade of Magnus, Warlord, Warptime

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [42 PL, 697pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Time

+ HQ +

Exalted Sorcerer on Disc of Tzeentch [7 PL, 120pts]: Blades on Disc of Tzeentch, Force stave, Frag & Krak grenades, Inferno Bolt Pistol, Prescience, Smite, Temporal Manipulation

+ Troops +

Rubric Marines [6 PL, 90pts] . Aspiring Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol, Smite, Tzeentch’s Firestorm
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun: 4x Inferno boltgun

+ Elites +

Scarab Occult Terminators [20 PL, 352pts]: Hellfyre Missile Rack
. Scarab Occult Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Combi-bolter, Smite, Weaver of Fates
. 8x Terminator: 8x Inferno Combi-bolter, 8x Power sword

+ Heavy Support +

Defiler [9 PL, 135pts]: Battle cannon, Defiler claws, Havoc launcher, Reaper autocannon, Smoke launchers

++ Total: [113 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

 

Tau

Puretide Engram has moved on from playing Despacito to just blasting out coffin_dance.mp3 at all hours of the day. Tau continue to be garbage in 9th thanks to their near-complete inability to participate in the fight phase and their key alpha units being trivially shut down by bully charges if they try and get in close. A few brave souls have found ways to stack up units to give skilled players the faintest sliver of a fighting change, but they’re still nowhere near serious competition. They are easily the game’s worst faction, and it sadly isn’t close.

Sample List

Ben Cort is one of the few players whose dedication to the Greater Good has kept them taking Tau to events even in the face of extreme adversity. This list went 3-0 at the Game Garrison October RTT.

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (T’au Empire) [77 PL, 1,563pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves

+ Stratagems +

Emergency Dispensation (1 Relic) [-1CP]

Veteran Cadre (3 models) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 179pts]: 3. A Ghost Walks Among Us, Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster, Talisman of Arthas Moloch, Warlord
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 179pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [3 PL, 70pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. MV4 Shield Drone: Shield generator

Breacher Team [3 PL, 70pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. MV4 Shield Drone: Shield generator

Strike Team [3 PL, 65pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol + Pulse Rifle: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse pistol, 4x Pulse rifle
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Strike Team [3 PL, 65pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol + Pulse Rifle: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse pistol, 4x Pulse rifle
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

+ Elites +

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [15 PL, 305pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Counterfire defence system, Heavy burst cannon

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 78pts] . Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [5 PL, 78pts] . Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
. Stealth Shas’vre: Burst cannon

XV8 Crisis Bodyguards [9 PL, 222pts]: Cross-linked stabiliser jets, Veteran Cadre
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Cyclic ion blaster

XV8 Crisis Bodyguards [9 PL, 162pts] . Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, 2x Airbursting fragmentation projector

+ Fast Attack +

Pathfinder Team [6 PL, 90pts]: MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone, MV33 Grav-inhibitor Drone
. MB3 Recon Drone: Burst cannon
. 4x Pathfinder: 4x Markerlight, 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse carbine
. Pathfinder Shas’ui: Markerlight, Photon grenades, Pulse carbine, Pulse pistol

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (T’au Empire) [21 PL, 435pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Sept Choice: Farsight Enclaves

+ HQ +

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 180pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Missile pod
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 180pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Missile pod
. 2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [3 PL, 75pts] . Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse blaster, 4x Pulse pistol
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator

++ Total: [98 PL, 1,998pts, 8CP] ++

 

Wrap Up

9th Editions metagame continues to rapidly evolve, and it’s been a tremendously exciting time to cover the game. Hopefully, with new books starting to hit and the tantalising prospect of Covid vaccination to look forward to in the new year, players will continue to surprise us with new builds and we won’t see any sort of stagnation at the top. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, give us a shout at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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