Goonhammer Interviews the Top 3 from the Freak Wars, Spain’s Biggest Event of 2023

Attention troopers! After a well deserved holiday break your favorite sergeant is back with a new article about Kill Team. 

Some of you may know that Spain hosts the largest Kill Team community in the world (Rob: Generally Kill Team is very popular in Spanish-speaking countries, not just Spain – nearly half of the Kill Team players attending the World Championships in November are from Spanish-speaking countries), and last weekend’s Freak Wars event was a major milestone for said community. With 68 players in attendance the event was the largest event in the history of Spanish Kill Team, despite being only a side event to a convention that also hosted events for 40k, Age of Sigmar, X-Wing, Saga, and other tabletop wargames. The event also had vendor booths, painters, and tons of things to do for non-players.

Tabletop Warzone and Kill Team mercenarios, Hosts of the event

The Event

Let’s start by looking at the team composition of players at the event, which shows a very healthy spread with representation from a large number of factions. Note that in this chart “1.5%” represents a single team, and 3.1% represents a pair of players.

Players at the event played seven rounds, and this meta variation carried into the event’s final standings, with a large number of factions making the top 12 – There were ten unique teams in the top 12.

The Grand Prize

On the line at this event was a “Silver Ticket” to the World Championships of Warhammer in Atlanta this fall. The Spanish community is helping the player with their travel expenses to help ensure their attendance. In this case because the event’s winner, Java, already had a ticket, the ticket prize passed to the event’s second-place finisher, Ryan Slater.

Pictured: Nass, Xandre (From La Voz de Horus), Ryan, Java Tore8 (From Movidas de nurgletes) and myself with the golden guys

The Interviews

We sat down with the event’s top 3 to ask them about their teams, their game plans, and their experiences at the event. We’ll kick things off with the third place finisher, Cerveto.

Cerveto’s Legionaries

Cerveto, Miscast Warriors – Legionaires

Congratulations on your podium finish! How was the tournament in general?

Thank you very much, I do not usually attend many tournaments and stick to playing with some friends, so for me it has been a privilege to be able to face many of the best Kill Team players and end up with a 6W-1L result. I am more than satisfied.

The first thing that pops out in your team are seeing the marks of Tzeentch and Slaanesh. Can you explain to the readers the reason for these marks?

I almost always use Tzeentch. On Open terrain, in Mission C, and against teams without AP I’d consider playing Slaanesh instead. The Legionnaires already have enough offensive power that you don’t need Khorne and if you play them well you don’t open yourself up to the kinds of saturation that makes Nurgle necessary. For me when you play elites the important thing is that a plasma gun does not delete your operatives and that is what you get with Tzeentch (Rob: Primarily via Strategic Ploys). Apart from that the [Mutability and Change] Tactical ploy gives you unmatched flexibility. In summary and as Bruce Lee would say, with Tzeentch you can be water, my friend

Which was your most complicated matchup?

Without hesitation it was against Java; he played very well although Ryan also made it difficult for me. I had the opportunity to learn from great players.

What would you recommend for a beginner who wants to start with legionnaires?

That regardless of the mark you play them with, you have to have a plan for each operative on the first Turning Point. Fortunately, legionnaires have operatives that do very specific jobs and if you execute them with a good plan you can obtain very good results.

How do you see legionnaires in the current meta, do you think they are underrated?

I think they are one of the most fun and flexible teams to play if you use them with the Mark of Tzeentch, but it is true that mistakes are costly. They are flexible but also difficult to play, because there are more variables to take into account. I wouldn’t know how to classify them in a general ranking since I haven’t tested many other teams, but for my style of play they are one of the best I’ve tried.


Next up is Ryan Slater, from the British community and team Turning Point Tactics, who piloted Elucidian Starstriders.

Ryan’s Starstriders and golden ticket

Ryan Slater, Turning Point Tactics – Elucidian Starstriders

Congratulations Ryan, how was your first experience in Spain?

Thanks Ace! It was amazing, I had no idea what to expect, but I really wanted to go and see what it was like. I said to Lazarast when I arrived that I wasn’t expecting to win, but was hoping to really experience the Spanish community. My mission was to find the ‘secret sauce’ that makes Spanish make such big events so regularly. Freak Wars did not disappoint, all my opponents were so nice, welcoming and gave me great games.

You decided to bring Elucidian Starstriders, what do you think is their worst matchup. How do they fit in the current meta?

Worst matchup is a tough one… I think there’s 3 teams that provide the greatest challenge. 1. Legionary 2. Kommandos 3. Void Dancers. If I had to pick one I think the Legionaries are the scariest matchup for a few reasons. They have access to a lot of 5 damage weapons which is a great breakpoint to go through ‘Undaunted Explorers’, they are exceptionally hard to kill, if they’re Nurgle the -1 Damage means the Archeotech Beam needs 3 unsaved hits to kill, if they’re Tzeentch then the 4+ Invulnerable save means the Beam can become very ‘swingy’ and as the main source of the team’s AP that can be really difficult. Then the pairings of TacOps means they can score early quite comfortably with Seek & Destroy then be very selective in their killing to deny Security or Recon. So explosive damage, durability and ability to deny VP is a tough nut to crack. On dense terrain or ITD they can be a really scary team to face.

I think Starstriders are definitely one of the stronger teams, but not in the usual way. I think the reason they’re strong is because they give you so many different options, they really have a tool for every situation. But, I think that’s also their weakness, because they can become too much as well. For instance, I still don’t think I’ve ‘learned’ how to play them to the full capability. There was many times during my games where on reflection I was thinking ‘I definitely could have played this better’. I do think that they support a more aggressive playstyle though, their abilities like double scouting step, re-roll initiative & damage reduction on objectives means you can push forwards and have better odds of winning that Turning Point 2 initiative or surviving the first attack if you don’t.

What do you think about the Spanish maps, how are they different compared to the British ones?

Firstly, the terrain was painted really well! Some of the boards looked incredible, which really adds to the whole play experience so kudos to whoever put that effort in!

Back to competitive stuff, so I hadn’t seen the Freak Wars maps before I went so I didn’t know what to expect, I think on reflection the map layouts favoured Starstriders and shooting teams in general. It was definitely interesting to see a different design philosophy, generally the mid-board was quite dangerous, with predominantly light terrain on the midboard objectives. There was methods of finding heavy cover but it was hard and you had to work for it, maybe by using 3 APL to secure then dash to heavy, or a very tight angle to deny a vantage point. This generally favours teams with greater activations or versions of super conceal. If you can wait out your opponents threats and then at the end of the turning point rush forward to score primary you’re in a strong position going forward. Overall I enjoyed the maps and the challenges they presented, it’s always fun to try different styles of play and adapt to the situation. My only criticism would be that some TacOps weren’t possible to fully score, secure vantage point for example wasn’t possible on some terrain layouts.

Generally there are differences in UK terrain layouts, just like Spain we don’t have an unanimously agreed map design but a lot of places are now using the Turning Point Tactics Map Pack which has a different philosophy. On the maps I designed the mid-board is more dense, and it uses more obscuring / visibility blocking to keep deployments safe rather than heavy cover. This has pros and cons, as we’re seeing at the moment Kommandos really enjoy that dense mid-board and so do Elites/Melee teams. But it means you can also play the primary objective without ‘punishment’ or penalty. This generally leads to a less combative turning point 1 with players predominantly focusing on positioning for turning point 2 and also less risk of a large alpha strike (except for Kommandos, Sneaky Git is so strong…)

How about the Spanish community? What do you think about the venue?

What an incredible community! I was made to feel so welcome, Ace did a fantastic job hosting me pre-event and during the event even translating for me during a game. It was so nice meeting all the different players and having such a fun time. The atmosphere was great and everyone was so friendly, people would come up to me and ask how my games were going etc, and check back in during the tournament. I was really made to feel part of the community which was incredible. Next year I’ll try and bring more British players to experience the incredible community you guys have. Also cheap beer is a massive bonus haha!

The venue was good! As a Brit who’s not used to heat I wish we were on the shaded side as I got a little warm haha but I noticed that was only me… The venue had loads of space to play which was great, the tables were spaced out nicely so there was plenty of room to put your stuff down and store a bag under the table etc. The venue was also easy to find and had good connections so it was hassle free to get to. The fact that freak wars was also going on at the same time meant there was loads to see as well which was great during lunch

Have you had any translation problems? Would you recommend traveling to a Spanish tournament?

Nope! The community all spoke good enough English to play, and the TOs were doing a fantastic job actively judging, so if I ever needed a translation a TO was immediately available. I would highly recommend a Spanish Tournament, I hope this was the first of many for me. If you’re worried about the language barrier don’t be! The rules are all the same and even the guys who only spoke a little English knew more than enough the play kill team.

You have won a ticket to Atlanta… How do you feel about it?

Shocked & very excited! I didn’t think I was going to win it, when I found out I was ecstatic! I’m really excited to go to the world champs and represent the UK alongside Dan Barton. It’s such an awesome opportunity to play a game I love with some of the best players in the world. I can’t wait to bump into my new Spanish friends and hopefully some more people I recognise win a few more of those coveted tickets. I really want to thank all the Spanish scene for making it possible for me, and for my opponents for giving me some amazing games!

Ryan is the host of Turning Point Tactics a podcast and a colleague of Kill Team Mercenarios

Finally we talk with Java, who returns to revalidate the Freak Wars title for the second year in a row.


Why did you bring Blooded – and what do you think are their main strengths?

This answer is easy, last year I won the freaks with them showing that they are not weak, and a year later I decided to do the same. The nerf to the rest of the game’s teams was very good for them; the number of activations and the melee operatives for me are the key to this team, as you can’t trust the shots at BS 4+.

How was the tournament in general? What was the most complicated pairing?

The tournament was great, I already had a golden ticket, so the objective was clear: To have fun. All of my opponents were very fun and displayed great sportsmanship.

What was your most difficult matchup?

Void Corsairs in Open layouts were complicated, because it had been a while since I played against them and they pulled some tricks on me. Inquisitorial agents were also complicated on ITD, well they are always very tough!

Where do Blooded shine more – in closed or open? Are there any missions which suit them better or worse?

I think they shine more in closed/ITD terrain, due to their close combat prowess and the three blast damage weapons they have. Perhaps the mission that is bad for them is loot – they die very quickly and it is difficult to have many operatives in T4

We know that you are also T.O. of a growing community in Spain. What advice would you give to the T.Os who are just starting out?

Don’t be afraid or ashamed if not many people come the first time you organize [an event], because the second time more people will come. In my community, each time I do a tournament new people attend, who then continue coming weekly to play in the store to prepare for the next tournament – it grows over time.

The Tournament Organizers and Winners

Final Thoughts

The experience of Freak Wars was incredible – this is one of the game’s biggest events and an incredible convention that everyone should visit. With so many players, exhibitors, and artists on the first floor and vendor booths there was a ton to see and do and it was impossible to avoid bouncing between the event and the booths. If you’re considering attending next year, consider this a nudge in that direction – the event is definitely a must for all hobby lovers.

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