Goonhammer Interviews the Top Three Kill Team Players from Adepticon!

Good morning Killteam! We’re back with the kick off of the Games Workshop US competitive tour! First stop Adepticon, where 54 players took to the killzone to vie for a golden ticket. We’ve been covering the week-to-week meta and this weekend saw the closing of a prophecy, along with some of the year’s meta monsters showing their faces once again.

Adepticon has the unusual format of pods in the lead up to the Grand Tournament, and those saw some interesting results as well. The undefeated players for those were:

  • Pod 1: Batosz W, Wesoly Kill Team, Pathfinders
  • Pod 2: Janis G, Plasma Spam, Fellgor Ravagers
  • Pod 3: Colin H, Tzeentch Legionary
  • Pod 4: John R, Railsplitter Ruffian’s Wrymblade

We’re able to spot our very own Armor of Contempt crushing it in pod 4, in the lead up to the big event, and some other notable factions. Generally these pods are not as competitive as the main event. Being treated more as a little teaser, but we’re happy to see a reasonable spread of team types.

As far as the Grand Tournament goes, we’ve got a reasonably healthy spread of team types, with elites still presenting some of the largest percentage of the play population and very few teams lacking representation. Notably last year’s winner, Leander, elected not to make the run back with his Starstriders, and seemingly no one else took the leap as well!

Looking into the top 8, we’ve got an excellent spread of team types with both old factions, and new factions making appearances. It wouldn’t be 2024 without the new melee boogeymen the Fellgor Ravagers in attendance, nor would Orion’s Gellerpox be stymied in pushing up to fourth. Meanwhile the big surprise, though not to weekly readers, is Shane’s Heirotek in first place! Goonhammer has been tracking the rise of the Necrontyr menace, and it seems Shane has finally made good on the promise to push them to the top!

Coming in third, and no stranger to the Goonhammer Q&As, is Leander G. Last year’s Adepticon champ was unable to make the repeat, though a podium finish is nothing to scoff at. He’s sent his Starstriders into holding as his Veteran Guard have been slaying teams all year!

Leander G., Third, Veteran Guard, Plasma Spam

Leander’s Veteran Guard, photo credit: ZackDW @, painting credit: Woulditkillyoutolift

Goonhammer: Congrats on the back to back podium finishes Leander! While I’m sure you’re bummed about not finishing in first, how’s it feel to be back?

Leander G.: Thank you! It feels great to be back at Adepticon, and while I wanted to defend my first place title and win the golden ticket, this year’s Adepticon was insanely competitive with at least five past golden ticket winners going (including Orion, the former world champ).

GH: How are you feeling about the meta overall? Was the switch away from Starstriders due to the meta, or an opportunity for self-growth?

Leander: The meta feels like it’s in a great spot now. There was a huge variety of teams in the top 12, including Wyrmblade, Heirotek Circle, and all Incursor Phobos, all of which are considered to not be S tier.

The switch away from Starstriders was partially due to the meta, since I wanted to win Adepticon and get my golden ticket, and Fellgor and Kommandos (both common top teams) are almost unbeatable for Starstriders. The other reason for not taking Starstriders is because I’ve been on a quest since the World Champs to master Vet Guard (since my lack of experience with the team held me back at the World Champs), and Adepticon is an amazing place to improve at Kill Team, since it attracts so many great players.

GH: You’re relatively new to the Veteran Guard, only starting them up at the World Championship last year. What sort of tips and tricks have you found that may have flown under the radar thus far?

Leander: One trick I learned just this weekend from Brooklyn’s True, a very experienced guard player, is that you can give the spotter 3apl so he can move + flip someone to engaged. It can catch even top players off guard, as I learned in a mirror match this weekend when I moved my spotter, flipped Command Point Ryan’s Hardened Veteran to engaged, and blasted three of his guardsmen with my grenade launcher.

Comm boost reveals a plan, photo credit: ZackDW @, painting credit: Woulditkillyoutolift

GH: Plasma spam has been all over the top 8 of Adepticon, did the team make any meta game calls prior to coming into the tournament, or were you all picking whatever you thought was best?

Leander: We all picked the teams we thought were the best and we liked playing.

GH: Any other callouts, or things you’re looking forward to for this year’s competitive season?

Leander: I’d like to shout out Ben for running such a great tournament, and Jason for being crazy enough to run all Incursor Phobos.

Another East Coaster and former World Champ contender Adrian M. takes second with Fellgor Ravagers, losing only to Shane in the finals! It seems that similar to the rest of the world, a frenzied Goat remains a true terror across the top tables.

Adrian M., Second, Fellgor Ravagers, Victory Gamers

Adrians’s Fellgor Ravagers photo credit: ZackDW @

GH: Congratulations Adrian on second place at Adepticon! How does it feel to pilot the goats up to the finals?

Adrian M.: Thank you very much! Adepticon is a very special event for me and I always try to do well in it. Reaching the finals of a big tournament is never easy. I wanted to play with something that was really competitive and I went with the infamous goats. It’s a really good kill team and fun to play. I am very happy to have been able to compete until the end. It was, as always, a fantastic experience.

GH: You’ve played quite the spread of teams over the last few years, do you think that Fellgor are in line with your playstyle? Or were you flexing your skills on the new meta monster?

Adrian: Yes, I like to change teams from time to time to enjoy and learn new ways of playing. I tend to like teams with more balance between shooting and melee. Navy Breachers or Hunter Clade are examples of teams that I have enjoyed playing with. I had played with Fellgor Ravagers for a while last summer and stopped using them after the nerf they received. As I told you before I wanted to use a competitive team specifically for this tournament and it was the one I liked the most of the options I was considering. After Adepticon I don’t think I will be playing goats for a while. I want to try new things.

GH: How was the scale of Adepticon compared to tournaments over in your home base with the Victory Gamers? I know that many of the East Coast regulars made appearances in Adepticon’s top 8!

Adrian: I am frankly very happy and proud of the community we are creating between the people of Plasma Spam and the members of Victory Gamers. We have more and more players in our tournaments, which is excellent for improving everyone’s level. Besides the good atmosphere, there is a healthy competitiveness among us that makes us improve and enjoy this game with really exciting games. I love to see my friends in big events and have the opportunity to face them in “tournament mode.” We share many good moments together throughout the year and that’s what I value the most.

GH: Fellgors seem like a tough nut to crack for newer players, and I was wondering what sorts of tricks got you a lot of leverage over this weekend? Any specific operative and ploy combos to drop on players?

Adrian: They are really good. They are hard to stop because in close combat they just tear you apart. But if you play with them you can’t just rush at the opponent either. If your opponent is a good player he will know how to put you on the ropes. It took me a while to understand the faction well and correctly interpret their combos and tempo. But I’m a bit of a slow learner, LOL. Goats are going to suffer a lot against specialist shooting teams if they play in an open layout with few heavy terrain pieces in the middle of the table. But if you have the conditions to safely throw them into melee combat…. That’s when you have to activate your ploys to make double activations and make your three inch charge to lock more enemies. That usually means the end of enemy operatives.

GH: Are you looking forward to any big Kill Team things on the horizon? Your work over on your IG is always an inspiration on the hobbying side!

Adrian: Of course! I have big projects in the works. Victory Gamers has moved our monthlies to the first Sunday of every month. So if you are in the North Virginia area and want to play, contact us and you will be welcome.

I have also started collaborating with a young youtube channel in Spain, La Barricada Kill Team ( They do battle reports and talk about the metagame. I contribute with video vlogs about the tournaments on this side of the ocean. It’s a project that I’m very excited about and that I think serves to create links between the American and Spanish communities.

Regarding the game, I’m looking forward to using my new painted teams: Arbites and Necrons. You can see them on my IG account @the_pipe_factory. As well as the new releases that are about to arrive, Night Lords and Mandrakes. These are my plans until the summer. After that, I will be a father, if all goes well, so I might be out of the competitive scene for a while. This is definitely the project I’m most excited about : )

GH: What else would you like to say to Goonhammer’s readers?

Adrian: I want to congratulate Shane on his victory at Adepticon. I think he played an excellent tournament and I really enjoyed our game in the final. I hope to face him again soon.

I also want to thank the Spanish community that supported me from afar. It is very nice when you are away from home and your friends send you their support and energy. Gracias chavales!  Also to my American friends from Victory Gamers who always make me feel at home.

I want to thank the TOs of the tournament, Ben and Zack, for their great work. I hope that this fabulous game continues to evolve and grow and that we can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

We’ve been tooting Heirotek Circle’s horn over the last few weeks, even going so far as to drop Shane’s very own thoughts over in last week’s meta watch (link). It seems that he was not overconfident on Just Another Killteam Podcast, when he said that Heirotek felt compelling as a meta pick.

Shane S., First, Heirotek Circle, Command Point(Link)

Shane’s Ascendancy, photo credit: ZackDW @

Goonhammer: Congratulations on taking Adepticon! We’ve talked extensively over on Just Another Killteam Podcast about your love of the Circle. How does it feel to finally lock in those results that felt just out of reach last year?

Shane S.: It feels amazing. I’ll be honest, despite my perceived confidence in the team, I had a lot of doubts going in along the line of, “Am I actually crazy? Am I going to bomb with Hierotek?” It’s easy to have those thoughts, but I stuck with my gut and theory and all the practice on the team paid off. They are a really weird faction and they aren’t straight forward, and you never really know how much your local success is going to translate into the top tables of a major like Adepticon. But overall, after the string of second places at majors last year, it feels awesome to get this off my back.

GH: We’ve got to ask, was there ever a time when a non-Chronomancer cryptek saw the light of day? Or was the Temporal Nanomine just too good to give up?

Shane: I really really want to take the Technomancer, but no, I only ever took the Chronomancer. In fact, I took the exact same list every game, only ever swapping my weapons out on the immortals and my Chronomancer occasionally. I do think there is a world where the Technomancer is pretty good into elites as just a pure hammer piece that trades really well, but his powers are lacking quite a bit comparatively and if you ever need splash or stun at all then the Chrono is miles better even without taking the superior Cryptek powers into consideration. The sad thing is, even if you deleted the Nanomine from the game, the Chronometron would be the best Cryptek power.

I would argue that, as a whole, the Chronometron was more important overall than the Nanomine since it was important every game, whereas the Nanomine had a few games on ItD in particular where it didn’t have a huge impact. Granted, when the Nanomine came in, it came in huge.

GH: There has been talk that Heirotek are a solid A-tier team, for any players looking to beat the Necrontyr back. What teams are you personally afraid to line up against as Heirotek?

Shane: Honestly, the more I play the team and face off against top teams, the more confident I feel in what I thought were the tough matchups. Realistically, Veteran Guard and Kommandos should be the hardest matchups. Specifically, Vet Guard on open and Kommandos on ItD. That being said, Hierotek is better in these situations than most teams in the game, so it’s still not too bad.

Shout out to Exaction Squad as well; that matchup has felt weirdly difficult for me as they turn off my rerolls and melee capabilities, and nothing on either side ever really ends up dying. Realistically, Elucidian Starstriders are a tough matchup as well. If you don’t one-shot the Assassin with your Despotek it will run havoc on your team.

GH: How was the overall level of competition at Adepticon compared to your normal haunts? You’ve played throughout many parts of the US at this point.

Shane: Very tough! Only one of my opponents told me he didn’t have a lot of experience with his team (shout out to Robin, my Hierotek brother!), but everyone else gave me a fiercely difficult game. Janis on Fellgors was extremely tough, especially as we played twice on ItD. My ally Ryan from Command Point probably came closer to beating me during the GT than anyone else, and realistically I probably should have lost that game if not for a little bit of luck on some crucial feel no pain rolls on my Despotek. JD was tough, and actually gave me my only loss of the week during pods, so our rematch was no joke during the semifinals. And of course, Adrian M. was an incredible player. It was my first time facing off against him and he did not disappoint. On the last round of day one I got to learn about how strong Corsairs are with the new buffs–that team is terrifying, and I have a feeling they are probably much better than their placements in tier lists suggest (including our own tier list).

Shane’s Heirotek Circle, photo credit: ZackDW @

GH: For players looking to line up their own tomb world awakening. What pieces and plays did you abuse to climb to the top at adepticon? Was there a particularly gnarly puzzle that players just could not figure out?

Shane: I took the Deathmark every single game, and I recommend everyone to do the same. I used the forward deploy every game except one. Typically I tried to drop Nanomine with my Apprentek as early as possible TP1, deploying him in a spot where he can move 6” forward into heavy cover and drop the mine as deep as I can.

I would hold off the Despo and Chronomancer as long as I could, giving one of them the Chronometron to make a deep dive-bomb play late in the turn.

I never once took Recon tac ops, opting to go Security every game. I would take all tac ops that score at the end of the game unless I was facing a horde, in which case I would take protect assets. I mostly scored my end-of-game tac ops, blundering once or twice and failing to get Escort Operative. But overall, this strategy felt really strong and allowed me to focus on attrition and boardstate throughout most of the game.

Wait until TP3 to use your Plasmacytes for objectives. During the first two turns, use your Accelerator for comms buffs and set up your reanimator in the backline within 6” of some power pieces, ideally on a flank. Then, when you’re activating them near the end of TP3, move them into a spot where they can steal away backline objectives from your opponent TP4. This is easier on capture because you can do it from 9” away, but on loot or secure just move 6” from the objectives. These steals can swing a game.

GH: Command Point as a whole did quite well at Adepticon, coming in first, and eighth! Care to talk about the channel and the team a bit to the Goonhammer readers?

Shane: Yes, thank you! Ryan and I run Command Point, a competitive-focused Kill Team channel. We love talking strategy and tactics and tournament results, and there will absolutely be an Adepticon tourney breakdown from both of us coming soon, along with other very exciting things.

GH: Finally, what are you excited about for the coming competitive season? We’ve got some crazy reveals from Adepticon, and I’m wondering what you’re excited for!

Shane: These new teams look so cool! My inner elite player wants to try out Night Lords once we get their rules revealed, but I’ve always had a fondness for Mandrakes going back to last edition. Also, those Yaegir models look sooooo cool. I can’t wait to see more of these teams.

As far as things that are already in the game… I have no idea what I want to play. Maybe more Hierotek? They are extremely fun. Hearthkyn Salvagers might intrigue me enough to play.

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