This article is part of a two-part double feature set of interviews this week. If you missed our first interview with the GW US Open Tampa winners, you can find it here.
There was plenty of Kill Team action outside of Tampa this weekend – Portland, Oregon saw a 4-round 64 person tournament take place, with a cut for the top 4 to play in a smaller finals bracket. The sequel to last year’s Killscream crushed attendance numbers for the region, even surpassing the nubmer of players at GW’s Tacoma event this year. The most surprising part? A distinct lack of Kommando teams, suggesting the West Coast may currently be unmenaced by the green scourge – though this may be in part due to the region’s lack of Gallowdark terrain, which allows shooting teams to flourish.
The conversion to the top 8 saw the Blooded taking more slots than other factions, but still with a very healthy spread overall.
As an independent event, we’re able to speak to the ringleader and mastermind behind Killscream, Tyler, who recently spoke with us on Just Another Killteam Podcast (link), chatting up his region and this tournament. Tyler is truly passionate and helps to coordinate one of the largest US Kill Team scenes.
Tyler, Killscream Tournament Organizer
How chuffed are you with the response to this year’s Killscream? It must be surreal to run an event at the same scale as GW’s event in the region?
- It is almost impossible to put into words how incredible the support from the community has been for this event. It really allowed us to go all out to make it the best possible tournament we can and give people a lot of swag, plus expand our prize support. They also showed out to raise over $1000 for Central City Concern during the event.
With the new reveals coming out this weekend what was the response like during the tournament? Were players excited about any particular releases?
- I think that there is a lot of excitement around the new striking scorpions. I know that I’m hyped because they are some of the first models I purchased 28 years ago and they are finally getting an update! But I think the reveal left people wondering about the rules for each of the teams and how the new terrain is even going to work for matched play.
I’ve always said that tournament organizing is a group effort, and with 60+ entrants this weekend are there any call outs to locals?
- This event wouldn’t have happened without my Co-organizer Erik Belle. He is the one who did all of the coordination with Guardian Games for the event. His contributions to making Kill Team Cascadia what it is and keeping us on target to achieve the big goals we set like 64 players at KillSCREAM II this year or 128 at KillSCREAM III next year. Greg Marquino is our head judge and wrote the amazing narrative rules for the players that wanted to play it for the fourth round. Also Cody for judging and Kevin for event support, the rest of the KTC staff and Mike for his beautiful formatting work.
Any other shoutouts to discords or other groups?
- There are a few people outside of the immediate community who contributed to the success of the event. Guardian Games for providing the space for the event. Kirk Tudor @Kirkkeyressa in Twitter for the KillSCREAM and Breacher art, Adam Kindred (@archaicfilth on insta) for Shirt art. Chris of Slow Death Games for Laser cutting our measuring tool and being the coolest guy in the hobby https://slowdeathgames.com/ and @Haredrier on Twitter for writing the narrative story for the event.
Matt W took first place at the Tacoma Open earlier this year, and took first on day 1 of Killscream. However his pairing into Kasrkin on day two leaves him squarely behind the 1st and 2nd place of Killscream. As one of the few die hard Intercession players roaming the US I’m sure his advice may prove interesting.
Matt W, 3rd Place, Intercession Squad
Are there any other teams in the tank for the upcoming World Championships Matt? I suspect you’ll be taking Intercession, but maybe you’re cooking something up in the background?
- If intercession gets nerfed into the ground before November I have a box of legionaries in my closet. But I’m probably better off ritually sacrificing it to the Emperor.
How was the level of competition at Killscream in comparison to Tacoma? Any noteworthy players to call out?
- C.A.T.S team players were out in force at both events so there was a high ratio of competitive players. I think everyone had good games throughout the first day, but of course the top 4 games on day 2 were incredibly hard fought.
Looking at the final cut of Novitiates, Blooded, and Kasrkin, what did you think your chances were at taking the whole bracket?
- I considered Kasrkin my boogeyman before the tournament, and was concerned to see them in the top 4. I hadn’t been able to get a game against them in my local scene but had the impression they would be a fan opener. I had prior victories against Zach’s Novitiates and Brandon’s Blooded, so I was hoping to avoid Chuck. He ended up giving me a great lesson and some humility to take into the world championship.
If you could change one part of the meta right now with a magic wand what would you change?
- External balance: drop either one of Felgores nerfs
- Internal balance: Stalker Bolt profile to 3|5 (give it Phobos marksman too)
Any last words before we hop to the next player?
- Don’t bet the farm on dice, Win with strategy!
Chuck took down Matt in the top 4 bracket. Taking the bevy of AP2 guns to bear against the Intercession player with a 16-12 victory! While his loss to Blooded in the finals stings I’m sure he’s got advice for Kasrkin players of all shapes and sizes.
Chuck P, 2nd Place, Kasrkin
What was the secret to your success during Killscream? Was it judicious use of Elite points, sharp strategic ploy deployment, or some other factor?
- Elite points are amazing to make sure that when you have a chance to take out model, that model goes away most of the time. It was really important in my 2nd to last game with Matt, making sure that I had the most shots go through with the most crits, and making sure that those overcharged plasmas (almost always overcharged unless shooting a model with a invulnerable save) didn’t burn my units. Even with 14-15 wounds and +3 saves when I can push through crits on AP2 weapons, or mortal wounds from the sniper there’s not much that a Intercessor can do.
- I like deploy in roughly 3 groups, medic/vox/recon/sniper, trooper/gunner/sergeant, and demo/gunner/gunner. These groups let me drop the big guns last as well as pick a lane for the melta mine to be dropped in.
- My team usually starts on all conceal, besides my gunner with the grenade launcher for some perceived threat and I play a pretty cagey game with my Kasrkin, trying to set up shots and make sure that in turn two and three I can maximize my damage, even if that means giving up some primary points in those turns. By turn three and four I can swarm the board with what’s left to make up for it.
Why did you select Kasrkin for this tournament over other factions currently in Killteam? Were there other teams you were looking at bringing?
- I started playing Kasrkin right when they came out. I had played Phobos, then switched to Intercession when that team was announced. I played a few tourneys with them but was looking for something with a little more mental load, but not too much. Kasrkin seemed perfect for that and I fell in love with their ability to just delete models, while still having some fun tricks. There really was no other choice for Killscream 2 than Kasrkin for me!
When you look out onto the internet discussions about Kasrkin, what is one piece of advice you’d give to players looking for success in the faction?
- My one piece of advice would be to hang back and make your opponent come to you and give you shots so when you have them you can make them count!
There’s a surprising lack of Kommandos in the top 8 in Oregon, why do you think that is?
- I think that we didn’t see a lot of Kommandos at Killscream 2 for the same reasons that I brought Kasrkin again. We don’t have people jump around teams a lot here. They find a team that they like and stick with that team, for better or worse for the team. Sometimes it works out, like my experience with Kasrkin. And sometimes it doesn’t, but the love for how they play, the lore, or just the models and the rule of cool overrides the want to switch to a more meta team. I know we have quite a few players that have dabbled in other teams, but went back to the team that just feels right for them.
Are you looking forward to traveling outside of your region for tournaments in the near future?
- LVO is already on the calendar for 2024, also thinking about going to Adepticon and for sure going down to California for the All Valley Team Tournament.
For anyone looking for excuses to come out to the Pacific Northwest what would you say?
- Don’t visit unless you’re ready to move here because everyone who visits wants to move here! The weather may be wet for a chunk of the year, but that’s just more time to stay inside to hobby and throw dice! There’s a brewery on every corner, and right next door to them is probably a pod of food carts with amazing things to eat.
- Also the gaming scene here is one of the most inclusive environments I’ve ever been in. And that includes people of all gaming skill levels from the sweatiest players to just those who are starting out. But more importantly the gaming scene, and especially Kill Team Cascadia, is an inclusive environment for the players themselves. A lot of our community is part of the LBGTQ+ community and I’ve heard many times about how welcoming the entire scene and community is. Tyler, one of the organizers of Kill Team Cascadia said on a podcast about building a community to make sure that you are “aggressively inclusive about everyone. Wargaming can be a really intimidating space for women and queer people, up front, at first they’re an important part of your community and they’re valued and that it’s a safe spot for them to come and take part.”
First place sees Blooded taking down Kasrkin and Novitates to punch a ticket to the finals this year! With a clean 5w-0l-1d record one wonders if Branden has some secret sauce that other blooded players could learn. However I’m sure he’s plenty excited to spread the good word of the Chaos gods.
Branden B, 1st Place, Blooded
Congrats on snagging your ticket to the championships along with that killer sword. How does it feel to be representing your region, and the US later this year?
- I’m super excited. I was really disappointed by how I performed at Tacoma Open just a little while back and this was a sort of redemption arc for me. I am still processing it and can hardly believe how amazing this weekend has been. I’m really looking forward to representing the PNW along with Matt W.
Is there any chance you’re not bringing Blooded to the championships later this year? What other teams are in the mix?
- A very slight chance. I’ve been finding my groove again with Blooded after taking Cults to Tacoma. I play all the chaos teams. I like Felgore a lot. They can really do some work if they can get just a little bit of set up. But overall I think Blooded are like 97% the team I go with. Something Mat W. (Tacoma Open winner) talks about is the mental load of his team. I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where Blooded is the easiest on my brain overall. Plus I think they have solid play into so many teams out there.
What would you say is the secret to success for playing Blooded? Is it tricky operative combinations? Judicious use of blooded tokens? Or some other special sauce?
- I think more than anything it’s having all the tools you need to get the job done. The team gets rewarded for playing the “well I’m just gonna go for kills” side of the game and a single wreckless play can lead to a snowball. A little akin to Hand of the Archon but on a broader application since I get to decide where the tokens go.
Did you have a particularly memorable play that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat over the course of the weekend? Can you recall it for us and talk about the thought process that got you to do it?
- Snatched a tie out of defeat. Honestly a bit of luck to get initiative tp4 Vs. Hand of the Archon. Fabby is a stellar player. Placed well at Tacoma, and has won a couple of tournaments in his local circuit. We knew we would need to go through each other to get to the top table. We didn’t want it to happen round 2 but that’s how things happen. Clutched a tie out of the jaws of defeat. Amazing work on his part punishing my mistakes.
Are you looking forward to anything in the near future? Games workshop releases or otherwise?
- I really hope the terrain rules for Season 3 surpass expectations. I want the game to keep growing and growing and a new season can bring some new life into the game and it can also dissuade people from playing that game mode at all. A lot of players were dissuaded from playing ITD terrain because it’s such a big difference with the handful of changes from open play. Outside of that I do dip back into 40k. While my twins got me playing Pokemon cards again. So that’s been cute getting into that at a very casual level.
Any other final words for the Goonhammer readers? Shoutouts to your gaming club?
- Of the top 8 the only repeat faction at Killscream 2 was Blooded. Who is still discounting this team?! Shout out to KTC (Killteam Cascadia) for running the event and making this thing possible! To everyone in my LGS groups that put in not one but 2 practice tournaments beforehand. Each and every one of my opponents deserve a shout out including Chuck playing Kasrkin into the final table.
That wraps up our interviews. We’d like to extend one more round of thanks to the Killscream players who agreed to speak with us and wish them luck at future events and this year’s World Championships. That wraps up our interviews for this week but check back next Thursday for more great Kill Team content.
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