Goonhammer Interviews the Top 2.5 Kill Team Players from the UTC Open

Hi everyone! This week we’re catching up with the killteam players of this weekend’s UTC Open. We put up $1000 of cash prizes to pull some of the best and brightest from the North East region to duke it out in Kill Team. Played over at the amazing Tables and Tower (link) venue alongside the 40k & AoS invitationals, players had some real stakes on the line! Since yours truly was the head TO we’ll be catching up with our best painted award winner to catch the vibe of the event!

The field at the UTC Open

When we think of Chaos Legionaries, what could be more chaotic than the advanced fungal mischief of the Orks. You can see them below, with the wonderful conversion work that allowed him to win best painted. Elsewhere throughout the article we have 2nd and 3rd places painted armies. Just to shine a spot light on those!

Ben Z’s 1st place Sneaky Legionary

Ben Z, Best Painted, Chaos Legionaries

Congrats on best painted! How are you feeling about the accolade considering the painting competition at the UTC Open?

  • Thanks so much! Of course it feels great to be get recognized, whether it’s an award or just another playing walking by the table. There were a lot of great looking teams there–Orion’s fully converted Fellgor on a grisly display board, Dae’s rad admech, Dave with his crispy-ass edge highlights, Matt’s icy talons, I could go on–which makes it even sweeter.

How did the idea for these devious little buggers come into existence?

  • For me, painting and playing are linked. I paint what I want to play with, and I want to bring whatever team I just painted to tournaments. I really wanted to try out legionaries but I also wanted to paint some orks, so I just combined them. Emmanuel’s grot phobos team was a big inspiration (@eman.paints on Instagram). I liked the playfulness of juxtaposing grot heads with big bad space marine bodies, and leaned into that with a poppy color scheme and a lot of bright colors.

Did you enjoy the tournament structure and format at the UTC Open? Thinking about next year already?

  • Five games over two days is a pretty relaxed schedule, which has its charms and allows for a little more socializing. My locals have four games in a day, which is more bang for your buck but a little grueling. I assume this format is also more attractive for people who are traveling further, and it was nice to see people from the whole mid-Atlantic representing.

What are you looking forward to in the rest of the 2024 season?

  • I’m looking forward to attending as many of my local tournaments as possible (shoutout Victory Gamers) and finally making it to NOVA. Painting-wise, I’m working on finishing up my beloved cheese-stealers and mulling entering my first painting competition.

Coming in third is a veteran of these articles. Winning last year’s Adepticon and getting a quick start to the 2024 competitive season. He’s made the switch to the always strong veteran guard, and is performing to his already high standards. Maybe he’s got some tips to share for players of the team.

The Garrett brothers. Liam and Leander Credit:Marc Garrett

Leander G, Third, Veteran Guardsman, Woodley Warriors Podcast

As a veteran of Kill Team, and a newer veteran guard player. What do you think has been the key to you picking up the team and adapting to its rules so quickly?

  • Even though I’ve only picked up veteran guard recently, I’ve played against them a million times, including when they were piloted by great players like Kevin, who got top 8 at Kill Team Open, and Nick, who won a ticket to and went 6-2 at the Kill Team World Championships. My many games against vet guard meant that before I ever played them, I understood all their combos and their general strategy, which let me pick them up and immediately do well with them.

Is the switch to Veteran Guard something you’re expecting lasts, or is there another new team on the horizon you’re looking to pick up?

  • When I took veteran guard to the Kill Team World Champs, I went 5-3, and two of those three losses were because I did not know the team well enough. I plan to completely master vet guard before switching to another main team. Whether that will take a few months or even a year, I don’t know.

Leander’s Vet Guard posted up credit:Marc Garrett

What specific combo or tactic did you get good mileage out of this weekend?

  • In almost all my games with vet guard, I take the chronometer equipment, which lets you reroll initiative once a game. The chronometer means that in turning point 2, you are more likely than your opponent to get initiative, and allows me to do plays such as moving and dashing my demo mine 10” (with move move move), to be able to blow up 2+ of my opponents operatives next turn if I get initiative. If my opponent went first the previous turn, with the chronometer, I have about a 70% chance of getting initiative. In a completely even game, a crazy move-dash demo mine play backed by the chronometer can put me in a completely winning position.

The east coast has been somewhat slow to adopt chess clocks throughout the competitive season. Did you like the implementation of them at the UTC Open?

  • No, since chess clocks remove the human aspect of playing Kill Team: talking to your opponent and having fun. And it doesn’t feel good to win a Kill Team game because your opponent timed out. I liked that chess clocks were only used at the top tables, but I would have preferred if players have 55 minutes or 1 hour each: 50 minutes a person felt very rushed.

Anything else you want to shout out to our fellow readers?

  • Thanks to Travis for running a great tournament, and I hope to be back next year

Painting’s 3rd Place Hunter Clade credit:Dae B

Another player, another east coast killer. Nick C has hopped off the Chaos Cults, and back onto his blooded. Grabbing some sweet wins against Command Point’s Shane, and Leander G on his road to second place. It seems that the Blooded may not be Kommando kryptonite seeing as he took the loss against Liam, but there’s got to be more he can share!

The Top 3, left to right
Nick (2nd), Liam (1st), Leander (3rd)

Nick C, Second, Blooded

How are you feeling about the Blooded in a Q42023 balanced world? Are Kommandos still too good?

  • Blooded feel good right now! They are one of the rare teams that never received any tweaks, nerfs or buffs, and still feel pretty well balanced. I think they may be sort of an anti-meta pick at the moment with the rise of Pathfinders and Kasrkin; if you can get up close against these teams you’re gonna have a great time!
  • I played Liam’s Kommandos in the 3rd round of the tourney and they are still definitely strong but most certainly not unbeatable. I think the nerfs make them much more manageable on both open boards and ITD alike.

UTC had some chess clocks in a departure from many of the East Coast tournaments over the past year. How did you enjoy their inclusion, especially in comparison to the untimed rounds of the World Championships of Warhammer?

  • I didn’t really mind the clocks. I played 3 of my games on them and we finished well ahead of schedule. If anything they made me play a bit too fast; in 2 of my games my opponent and I had almost 15+ minutes left on our time! The 3 & 4 hour rounds at worlds had their perks but that’s a long time to be playing one game.

Blooded are a team people often call hard to pick up. As a veteran of the team, what pair of operatives or tricky plays have you found doing the most work for you?

  • I think the first misconception about the team is that they are strictly a melee horde. They have so much flex and realistically have 5-6 shooting operatives that can really pump out a lot of damage. Pairing the Enforcer’s Enforce ability to force an overwatch with the Plasma Gunner is a great combo to double tap an enemy team when they least expect it. Another notable duo is the Medic and Ogryn/Enforcer. The Medic’s Stim buffs can really beef up those characters with a 6+ FNP or make them super reliable with Relentless on melee weapons

Are you excited for the upcoming releases of the year? Interested in seeing how the new terrain plays?

  • I am headed to LVO this week and I am looking forward to the reveals there. The rumor is they’re going to reveal the [REDACTED] Kill Team which will be paired in the box with Night Lords!! I hope the rumors are true… And yes! It’ll be interesting to see how the new terrain plays and if TO’s will commit to it in the competitive scene

Any other things you want to shout out?

  • Shout out to my team Plasma Spam and shout out to the homies! Also shout out to you (Travis) and Mike for running another great tournament

Painting’s 2nd Placed Fellgor credit:Orion W

Coming in first place Liam is no stranger to these top 3 articles. He’s the first golden ticket of the year, and the first of the returning players outside of the top 8 for this years WCW. Remaining a staunch Ork Kommandos player in the face of even more nerfs it seems that Q42023 might not have done them in! Unfortunately Liam was not able to get written answers to us in time, but he will be making an appearance on Just Another Killteam Podcast to talk about his UTC run. Tune in Monday January 22 at (link) to hear from him!

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.comAnd if you want regular updates in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.