Hear Me Out, Wings: World Eaters

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There’s more to 40k than just grinding out endless RTTs and rolling on endless maelstrom tables for wacky results. In Hear Me Out, Goonhammer authors explore building offbeat lists and playing with new concepts, and put those concepts to the test in a game environment. This week, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones is continuing to play around with the new Chaos Legion rules from Psychic Awakening II: Faith & Fury. 

Welcome back, everyone! Once again, I showed off an impressive victory last week, taking a new Iron Warriors list to beat the tar out of some Adeptus Mechanicus clowns after bouncing some ideas off Chase. Over the last two weeks I’ve gotten a lot of asks for World Eaters and Emperor’s Children and while I don’t have an Emperor’s Children army yet (more on that later), I do have a fairly sizable World Eaters army that has been sitting on a shelf unused for far too long. So this week it’s time to break out the chainaxes and spill some blood for the Blood God.

As a faction of Chaos Space Marines, World Eaters didn’t need nearly as much help as some of the other subfactions; although their Legion Trait – Butcher’s Nails – is very poorly written, it’s still a powerful ability and combines with well with the new Hateful Assault rule to create Berserkers who can dish out 4 chainaxe attacks each on the charge in their first round of combat. The stealth second ability of World Eaters – being able to take Berzerkers as Troops – is also really, really good, since it means we don’t have to waste points loading up a World Eaters Battalion with cultists, we can go ahead and field the newly-lowered Berzerkers into those troop spots. And with easy synergy with Khorne daemon units, it’s easy to see how something like John Kiddell’s triple-Kytan World Eaters list could sneak up on people. That said, I’m interested in doing more than just reprising his list. I’m here to put some of the new stuff to the test, like the rad new Berzerker Terminators. Let’s start building.

 

The List

+++TheChirurgeon’s World Eaters – 1,998 points+++

World Eaters Battalion Detachment (+1 CP)
Specialist Detachment: Host Raptorial (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Jump Pack, Chainaxe, Mark of Khorne, Field Commander: Tip of the Claw trait
HQ: Dark Apostle w/Mark of Khorne, + 2 Dark Disciples

Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne

Elites: Chaos Terminators x5, 3 w/Lightning Claws, 1 w/Reaper + Chainaxe, Champion has Power Axe + Combi-bolter, Icon
Stratagem: Red Butchers (-2 CP)

Fast Attack: Warp Talons x5 w/Mark of Khorne

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (140), Mark of Khorne

World Eaters Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour w/Mark of Khorne, Combi-Bolter, RELIC: Gorefather, WARLORD: Violent Urgency
HQ: Kharn the Betrayer

Troops: Berzerkers x9 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x8 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon

DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-Bolter, Mark of Khorne
DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-Bolter, Mark of Khorne

World Eaters Supreme Command Detachment (+1 CP)

HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, Mark of Khorne
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, Mark of Khorne
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, Mark of Khorne

+++Total CP: 10+++

 

The Theory

OK, here’s what I’m thinking:

  • I’d be doing a disservice to the article series if I didn’t make Berzerkers the focal point of the army. Sure, the triple Kytan or triple Lord of Skulls lists have a lot of defenders, but this is about the little guys. And in the spirit of Chase’s bullshit today’s unit focus is: BERZERKERS. I’m running three squads of Khorne Berzerkers as troops in one of my Battalions, plus a squad of Berzerker Terminators using the Red Butchers stratagem. For the regular berzerkers, I’ll put two squads in Rhinos – one squad of 10 by themselves, and another squad of 9 piling in with Kharn the Betrayer in theirs. The final squad of Berzerkers will travel on foot, but my plan is to use the Apoplectic Frenzy Stratagem to push them forward 9″ and into a favorable turn 1 position before the battle starts.
  • Meanwhile, the Berzerker Terminators are traveling in teleport with their pal, the Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour. He’s got the Gorefather relic for tearing things up, and as it replaces a chainaxe, it’s a steal at 1 point. His Violent Urgency Warlord trait gives them +1 to Charge rolls, meaning they can potentially get stuck in with an 8+ charge on the turn they arrive. With their icon, that’s about a 60% chance, and it bumps up into dependable territory if I hold a CP.
  • Speaking of which, there’s enough 5+ Overwatch out there now that it’s prudent to keep a way to turn it off around. Hence, a squad of Warp Talons in a Host Raptorial Specialist Detachment. Dropping in with the Jump Pack Chaos Lord, they get +2 to their charge rolls, meaning they only need a 7+ to reach, and with Violent Urges they’ll make it on a 6+ instead. That’s the kind of certainty I’m looking for. I can use them to charge key units before I send in the terminators and berzerkers, in order to save as many of them from Overwatch as possible. What the Warp Talons don’t get, the Rhinos will.
  • Kharn the Betrayer is a bit of a weird choice. He’s probably not optimal, but at 120 points, he’s looking like a much better option and his full re-rolls aura is incredibly good for Berzerkers, who otherwise have a 3+ to hit. You need to pull some shenanigans with him to stop him from murdering Berzerkers, but he can be a real pain machine when he wants to be.
  • The Heldrake is there to make a first-turn charge and tie up troublesome units that might otherwise cause me problems on turn 1. He’s great for harassing flying units and his baleflamer is surprisingly solid in a pinch.
  • I’m fully scorning sorcery in this one with my World Eaters, so I’m making up some of the slack with a Dark Apostle who will take Benediction of Darkness most games as a way to protect either the Heldrake or Kharn’s Rhino, depending on what I need to survive.
  • The Lords Discordant is the standard gang of threats, big melee monsters who can really do some damage, disrupt enemy vehicles, and boost my other daemon engines (though admittedly, there aren’t a ton). I went back and forth on putting the group into a Soulforged Pack Specialist Detachment, so I can Advance and Charge with one in the same turn in a pinch, but in the end I decided it’d be smarter to just spend 1 CP to give one a Talisman of Burning blood before the game if I felt like I’d need the
  • The Cultists are there to fill out a detachment, but as long as they can’t get Butcher’s Nails, I may as well give them autoguns so they can be some kind of dinky ranged shooting. They’ll also be fine objective holders.

Overall, the list is all-in on melee. The Cultists sit back and hold objectives, while everything else charges forward. If I’m doing things right, the Berzerkers arrive around the same time as the warp talons and terminators, and they deal a monster blow on turn 2 that cripples the opponent and leaves them struggling to find a way out of combat. The only things I have to really worry about are lists that are super-heavy on units with FLY and getting blown off the table turn 1, but I’ve got the Rhinos and Benediction of Darkness for some protection, plus I can be conservative with my deployment since I’m not trying to get the whole army into combat on T1, just a unit or two.

What do you think, Wings?

One_Wing: I like this a lot as a core that leans into what makes World Eaters good, but inevitably I do have some things I would change, whether we choose to stick pure World Eaters or mix it up a bit more (and I’ve got lists for both).

Looking at the list, I think there are the following points of flexibility (or at least things I want to mess with):

  • The Dark Apostle is fine but probably “optional” rather than mandatory in this list. You can do a few cool things with him but there’s nothing like a Kytan. However, he’s now cheap enough (thanks Chapter Approved) that he probably stays, especially because thanks to the way the abilities are sequenced you can chuck Benediction of Darkness on the footslogging Berserker unit before they do their pre-game move.
  • I want the Terminators to be a full squad if it’s even slightly practical. Red Butchers is an absurdly cool stratagem and if I’m leaning into it I want to squeeze as much as possible out of it.
  • I’m not super sold on triple Disco Lords. They’ve obviously a great great and at least an OK choice, but they don’t get a tonne out of being World Eaters and are dearly missing either the blanket defensive buffs or Advance and Charge that other legions would give them. This army already has a tonne of push threats, and while saturation is a thing, they’re probably where I’d look to free up some points for the other stuff I want.
  • If we’re not going pure WE, some sort of Warptime caster is obviously an immediate slam dunk. I mean come on.

With all of this in mind, this is where I’d go for pure World Eaters:

+++One_Wing’s World Eaters –1,998 points+++

World Eaters Battalion Detachment (+3 CP)
Specialist Detachment: Host Raptorial (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Jump Pack, Power Fist, Mark of Khorne, Field Commander: Tip of the Claw trait (-1CP)
HQ: Dark Apostle w/Mark of Khorne

Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne

Fast Attack: Warp Talons x5 w/Mark of Khorne

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (140), Mark of Khorne

World Eaters Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour w/Mark of Khorne, Combi-Bolter, RELIC: Gorefather, WARLORD: Violent Urgency
HQ: Kharn the Betrayer

Troops: Berzerkers x9 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x9 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon

DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-Bolter, Mark of Khorne
DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-Bolter, Mark of Khorne

World Eaters Vanguard Detachment (-1 CP)

HQ: Daemon Prince with Wings, Talons, Mark of Khorne
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, Mark of Khorne

EL: 9 Chaos Terminators w/ chainaxe/combi-bolter, icon, Mark of Khorne, Red Butchers (-2CP)
EL: Greater Possessed, Mark of Khorne
EL: Dark Disciples, Mark of Khorne

+++Total CP: 10+++

Now I had to double check this, but as far as I could see as long as you put them in a different detachment Dark Disciples do take up an Elites slot, which lets us fill out a Vanguard on the cheap along with the Greater Possessed. I couldn’t quite find the points for a full bomb of Terminators, but got as close as I could.

While it does lose the brutality of having three Disco Lords, this version has a much nastier threat coming out of Deep Strike (and I feel like we’re spending enough CP to make that good that we want it to be great when it lands), and also adds a bit of air defence by swapping out a Discolord for a newly discounted Daemon Prince – with a mighty 9 attacks on the charge and the ability to buff up to AP-3 with Wild Fury, one rounding most fliers is at least a possibility for him and will force enemy planes to be a lot more careful. All things considered, I think this version still has plenty of punch to keep the opponent on the back foot while presenting less juicy targets for big shooting and keeping more of a second wave held back.

I’m not wildly convinced by the inclusion of Kharn, but for the pure WE version I’ll allow it – he is very funny.

Assuming, of course, that we were willing to compromise on our goal of avoiding the hated sorcery a vast array of other options open up. Because Khorne’s worshippers are extremely angry and likely to attempt to murder anyone admitting to being a sorceror, and we’re already packing a battalion of Cultists, I’ve resolved to use the Alpha Legion for this – I assume they’re all painted red and talking loudly to each other about how gloriously Khorne’s “blessings” are flowing today and making all those Berserkers real fast. You just love to see it.

+++One_Wing’s World Eaters & Pals –1,997 points+++

World Eaters Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour w/Mark of Khorne, Combi-Bolter, RELIC: Gorefather, WARLORD: Violent Urgency
HQ: Dark Apostle w/Mark of Khorne

Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon
Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe, Chainsword, Icon

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer (140), Mark of Khorne

DT: Terrax Drill w/storm bolters, Mark of Khorne
DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-Bolter, Mark of Khorne

World Eaters Vanguard Detachment (-3 CP)
Specialist Detachment: Host Raptorial (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Jump Pack, thunder hammer, Mark of Khorne, Field Commander: Tip of the Claw trait (-1CP)

EL: 10 Chaos Terminators w/ chainaxe/combi-bolter, icon, Mark of Khorne, Red Butchers (-2CP)
EL: Greater Possessed, Mark of Khorne
EL: Dark Disciples, Mark of Khorne

FA: Warp Talons x5 w/Mark of Khorne

Alpha Legion Battalion Detachment (+4 CP)

HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh, We are Alpharius – Clandestine (-1CP)
HQ: Sorceror with jump pack, force axe, Diabolical Strength, Warptime, Mark of Slaanesh

Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Khorne
Troops: Cultists x10 w/Autoguns, Mark of Slaanesh

+++Total CP: 9+++

In service to letting us squeeze in all the things we need, Kharn sadly needs to sit furiously on the bench for a bit. Adding Warptime to this list is obviously fantastic – being full of fast melee threats makes it extremely potent, and having an Alpha Legion detachment full of cultists unlocks various emergency tricks that can help out a lot, such as fully screening out a key enemy deep striker, something that’s very valuable in melee-bomb on melee-bomb matchups. A baseline -2 to hit at range also helps the Lord Discordant immensely, making him genuinely tricky to put down for some armies and at least sucking up a lot more firepower against others. Finally, adding the Terrax drill lets this army choose between either doing an absolutely apocalyptic Deep Strike hit on a key turn or phasing it over a couple of turns if your opponent is thwarting Khorne’s will by doing such devious and unfair things as “screening properly”.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah, I agree with you on really wanting a Warptime Sorcerer to help move things across the table, and I also really like the Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill and will readily admit that not owning any kept them out of my list this time around. Also: Agreed on the Terminators. I’m interested in trying out a squad of 10 both with chainaxes + combi weapons and double lightning claws, and trying these guys out with Daemon support as well. HMO: Khorne Daemonkin is probably a list for another time, though.

 

The Test

I’ve gotten some feedback from other, lesser minds who have been jealous of my success coughCHASEcough that my Hear Me Out games have been against “real garbage lists” and “aren’t really battle-tested.” So FINE. I called up my buddy Ethan who, having just finished reading our interview with the wonderful Richard Siegler, had put together a list for his T’au that looked eerily familiar…

+++Ethan’s T’au List+++

Battalion Detachment (393 pts, +5 CP)
T’au Sept

HQ: Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit w/Advanced Targeting System, 3x Cyclic Ion Blaster, 2x MV4 Shield Drone
HQ: Ethereal w/Honour Blade, Hover drone, 2x MV4 Shield Drone

Troops: Breacher Team (x6) 2x MV4 Shield Drone
Troops: Breacher Team (x6) w/Guardian Drone, Shield Drone
Troops: Breacher Team (x6) w/Guardian Drone, Shield Drone

Outrider Detachment (617 pts, +1 CP)
T’au Sept

HQ: Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit w/Drone Controller, 3x Fusion blaster, 2x MV4 Shield Drone

FA: Pathfinder Team (x5) w/MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone, MV33 Grav-Inhibitor Drone, MB3 Recon Drone, 2x MV4 Shield Drone
FA: Tactical Drones – 8x MV4 Shield Drone, 4x MV7 Marker Drone
FA: Tactical Drones – 8x MV4 Shield Drone, 4x MV7 Marker Drone
FA: Tactical Drones – 8x MV4 Shield Drone, 4x MV7 Marker Drone

Vanguard Detachment (990 pts, +1 CP)
T’au Sept

HQ: Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit w/Advanced Targeting System, 3x Cyclic Ion Blaster, 2x MV4 Shield Drone, Warlord

EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/2x Smart Missile System, Advanced targeting System, heavy burst cannon, velocity tracker
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/2x Smart Missile System, Advanced targeting System, heavy burst cannon, velocity tracker
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/2x Smart Missile System, Advanced targeting System, heavy burst cannon, velocity tracker

+++Total CP: 10+++

Ethan made up for the slight points drops on some Tau stuff by adding an extra breacher to each squad. Remember earlier when I was like “an army of stuff with FLY will be a problem?” Well, here we are. There’s not a ton I can do about the Riptides, which will be dropping back to shoot me after every round of combat. The upside is they’ve got Velocity Trackers, so falling back will still cost them the -1 to hit, which helps. The other thing I need to watch out for is Overwatch – For the Greater Good will wreck me if I let too many units shoot at me at once, so I’ll need to find ways to soak the fire with Rhinos, charge from outside LOS, or otherwise overload Ethan with targets. The key here is to be diligent with multi-charges. I don’t want to get greedy because anything I declare a charge against can overwatch me without For the Greater Good, and if I don’t get to it and charge it with something else, it can Overwatch again normally.

The mission we played was NOVA Mission 1. I like NOVA more than ITC for a number of reasons, and Ethan had played with NOVA rules before, so it made more sense to do. NOVA missions are similar to ITC (and the inspiration for the ITC format), only without magic boxes, sensible terrain, and better secondaries – check out our guide to the format here. Deployment on this one was Dawn of War, and we had 6 objectives placed around the table:

We both choose Progressive Scoring on objectives. The other upside of NOVA missions is that there’s no PL requirement on Marked for Death. This means I’m free to mark up a bunch of Ethan’s drone squads and punish him for using them to tank wounds (before you get all up in arms about this disadvantaging T’au in the format, remember that Richard Siegler also won NOVA with his T’au). I chose Marked for Death, marking 3 drone squads plus some Breachers, Headhunters (the list has 4 characters), and Engineers. I figured that I had enough targets for the T’au to deal with early on that the Cultists should be clear to max out their Engineers points on turn 3, or else I’d have a lot of berzerkers in Ethan’s face early.

On his end, Ethan chose Headhunters, a no-brainer given that my list has 7 characters and 3 can be targeted, Marked for Death, picking both Rhinos, the Warp Talons, and the Heldrake, and Old School, which I wasn’t sure about but it turned out it would work for him thanks to the mobility of his Riptides.

I had four more drops than Ethan, and so ended up having to deploy first and also would end up losing the +1 for first turn. Before the roll, I used Apoplectic Frenzy to push my squad of 8 Berzerkers forward 9″ into one of the Ls, giving them a good chance at a turn 1 charge, given there was only 13″ of space between them and one of the Riptides. Wings Note: This actually happens at the start of the first battle round, so after the roll off. Then we rolled, and I won first turn. Yes. Also, Ethan didn’t seize, so this game is not, in fact, bullshit.

Ethan just moved in with his girlfriend and had to get rid of some terrain so this particular game had book terrain.

Turn 1

I don’t have to tell you that my going first is real bad news for Ethan. While on the attack, T’au can be very mobile, with the right first turn moves’m I’m hoping to box Ethan into a corner, putting him on his back foot as he pulls away from my Heldrake and Berzerkers, then I drop my deep strikers and close off any exit path he might have. It’ll also help me get way up on progressive points early on since if I can get him off one of his two deployment objectives, I can have a couple of 6-point turns. I move the pre-moved Berzerkers up through the L and get into position for a 7″ charge through to the RIptide. the Rhinos funnel up the middle and pop smoke. I Benediction of Darkness the Heldrake and move it around to the Riptide as well, hoping to bracket it on turn 1. Finally, both sets of Cultists advance so I can start engineering the hell out of these objectives on turn 2. Unfortunately one set of cultists blows it on their advance, so only one gets fully into position. Damn! I make my charge with the Berzerkers, then the Heldrake, and get to it, chopping through uh, well, drones. I manage to put a total of 4 damage on the Riptide as Ethan fails some Saviour Protocols rolls, but on the upside I kill an entire squad of drones and score my first point. That’s OK, I still have some the rest of my army on the way and I know for a fact that -1 to hit modifiers are like T’au Kryptonite.

 

On Ethan’s turn 1, he does exactly what I expected him to do: He falls back and starts shooting me in the face. He heals his Riptide back up to near-full health, and then starts laying down markerlights. Here’s where his Velocity Trackers pay off, and he demolishes the Heldrake right away, scoring a point for Marked for Death and one for Old School. Then he unloads onto my Rhinos, destroying the one with Kharn in it and dropping the other down to 6 wounds. Two Berzerkers die climbing out of the fiery wreck. That’s OK, it’ll be avenged. Ethan consolidates his army back into a more favorable position, preparing his overlapping fields of fire for the hellstorm that is about to arrive. This leaves him with only 1 held objective, though.

Turn 2

Holding 4 objectives to Ethan’s 2 gives me a 6-point turn on primary scoring, which is huge. If I’m gonna win this one, this is how I’m gonna do it. Well, this and murdering things with axes. I unload the other rhino of its berzerkers, and push forward with everything except my last Lord Discordant, who’s holding an objective while enjoying a Benediction of Darkness. Time for Deep strikes. I drop my Terminators, both Lords, and my Warp Talons on Ethan’s other flank, hoping to box him in. This also overlaps the Jump Pack and Terminator Lords’ auras, giving the Warp Talons +3 to their charges. I can use that to multi-charge a bunch of stuff, taking away its ability to overwatch and use For the Greater Good to murder things coming in. Then I’ll follow with the Terminators. This is gonna be great. I roll my charge distance… and get a 3. OK, fine. This is fine. I spend 1 CP to re-roll the 1. I have a 50-50 shot here. I roll… another 1. Fuck.

 

Ok, time to charge with the other stuff I guess. This isn’t going to be pretty. The Jump Pack Chaos Lord gets off his charge, only losing 2 wounds in the process. The Terminators make their charge against the drones in front of them, and can pile in to hit the Breachers they also charged. The Terminator Chaos Lord also gets in. So it’s not all bad. On the other side, my Rhino soaks up some overwatch for the other three Berzerker squads and Kharn, who takes two wounds from Overwatch on his way in. The Lords Discordant aren’t putting in full work right now but I’m confident they’ll get there next turn. It’s a beautiful sight to have your whole army locked in combat with an opponent’s. I’ve lost a lot of models to overwatch, but as soon as I wipe out the Breacher team on the right flank, I use the Blood for the Blood God! Stratagem to auto-pass all my morale tests, proving that I was, in fact, kind of wrong about it. In retrospect, it should maybe be like a D instead of an F, though I did also pinpoint the correct situation for it in my initial review sooooo whatever.

 

Again, I kill a lot of drones trying to eat my way through characters, chip a few more wounds off the Riptide on the outside with my Berzerkers, and end up scoring zero additional points when I’m unable to kill my marked targets. Ethan responds by again, pulling his forces back and shooting. He’s got zero points for primaries right now thanks to my Berzerkers using their objective secured ability to steal his objective, so he makes up for it by obliterating the Warp Talons, the Terminator Lord, and the Chaos Lord. End of 2, it’s 8-7 in my favor and most of the kills I’ve scored have been drones. Time to turn up the heat.

Turn 3

Because of some clever Movement, Ethan is able to hold me to 3 points scoring on primaries this turn, but I get my other Cultists into position and score 2 more Engineering points to get me to 3/4. I continue to press forward, hoping to keep Ethan off his objectives and start taking out some of these characters. I push Kharn and the remaining berzerkers forward, using the Rhino as a buffer — if Kharn misses and he’s within 1″ of the Rhino, 50% of the time he’ll hit it instead of a Berzerker. He ends up putting 4 damage on it over the next turn or so, but it’s better than losing fighters. I close in on the damaged Riptide. It’s now at 8 wounds, meaning it’s not really worth it for him to tank wounds on drones if he can avoid it, as the Riptide is going to bracket itself using Nova Charge next turn anyways. I get it down to 5 wounds with Kharn, and the Berzerkers, then triple-fight with Kharn and manage to lop off the last five when Ethan fails a Saviour Protocols roll. One down, two to go, I guess. With 2 points for Engineers, 3 for the progressive scoring, 1 for a marked squad of drones, and 1 character down, I’m on 7 points for the turn.

Note: Ethan counts down with his damage dice, so those Riptides are pretty healthy.

Ethan picks up 2 points for objectives this time around and then proceeds to unload on my Lords Discordant, killing one and bracketing the other. He wipes out Kharn and my other Rhino using a mix of Nova-charged Burst Cannons and triple fusion blasters, putting him at 4 points for the turn. Now it’s 15-11 but I’m running out of things that can threaten the Riptides. That’s not the end of the world if I can keep scoring my objectives.

Turn 4

Another 6 points at the top of the turn for progressive plus the bonus is probably the dagger, putting me at 15 out of 18 on progressive scoring. I’ve now also maxed out on Engineers, so I can have the Cultists move up and try to steal an objective from the Riptides while the rest of my army goes after the characters and the rest of the drones. I manage to take out the Ethereal, which puts me at 8 for the turn. I get another couple of drones, but those riptides keep defying my attempts to murder them.

Ethan knows he’s running behind on points and needs to catch up, so he starts making some risky decisions to split fire. They don’t pan out well and it takes him longer than expected to take out my Rhino and another Lord Discordant, allowing me to keep the last Lord Discordant around when Ethan’s Coldstar commander can’t push more than 4 damage through on him. Now it’s 23-15 and I’m feeling good about where I’m at.

Turn 5

 

I finish maxing out progressive scoring and use my Lord Discordant to charge Ethan’s Coldstar, killing him off. Ethan kills off a squad of Cultists, finishes off another Berzerker squad, and starts doing the math in his head. He can’t hold enough objectives and he’s not likely to table me at this point with what he’s got left. It’s 26-16 at this point. We agree to walk through the final turn.

Turn 6

 

Ethan’s able to get a cultist kill in his last turn and put a Riptide in my deployment zone. That’ll net him max points for Old School, giving him maxed-out points for Secondaries. He only nets another 2 on his last turn for progressive scoring though, giving him 7 total for Primaries. I’ve got less than 1,500 points left, so he gets all 3 for kill points while having two riptides left with more than half health leaves me with only 2.

Final Score: 29-22, BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD

 

The Results

A hard-fought victory. There were a couple of turns there that really stood in the balance, but despite some lousy charge rolls, the strategy held and the ability to fight twice every turn with the army really allowed me to chew through drones. Another win for a HMO list! I’m now 3-0 against progressively more difficult lists and feeling good about where I’m at. Here are some thoughts I’ve got:

  • The Warp Talons Are Still Probably Alright. The ability to eat up Overwatch and have a 6″ charge still seems good, even if I did improbably screw it up. They’d also be fine I think with Chaos Daemons helping out, where a Khorne Daemons detachment could both boost their strength and give them a natural re-roll, similar to what I did with the Night Lords list.
  • The Berzerker Terminators were fun, but I needed better targets. This was not the ideal list for them to go up against. When they got into combat, they were a buzzsaw, but I didn’t have a chance to get them fighting the Riptides. I’d like them a lot against marines, where S5 and AP-2 will put in some real work. Against drones they’re kind of wasted and against Riptides I have to pop Veterans to even get them going for realsies, only to kill drones.
  • Kharn is uh, Kharn. He did some damage, probably made his point back, but he’s always a mental chore to manage so you aren’t killing your own guys.

Overall, I wasn’t very surprised with this list. It had plenty of combat power and held up well against a list that could continually jump back and shoot it. Being able to apply early pressure from multiple angles was the key here, and it led to me being able to keep Ethan on his back foot while I scored objectives and whittled away at his defenses. If I had to play this one again, I’d be more aggressive with my Lords Discordant and pick better targets for the Terminators. But I’m happy with how things turned out, and eager to try another list next time around!

Wings Note: CSM defeating Tau is honestly a delight to watch, and I think shows that you can’t undersell the threat of this faction any more. My one concern, especially in the NOVA format, would be whether this win would still have been achievable if the Tau had picked endgame scoring, bubbled up hard, and focused on just scything the World Eaters off the board for the first few turns before moving out to claim objectives in the mid-late game. Especially with the missed Warp Talon charge on the key turn, that could potentially have left the marines in a tough spot, as I’m not certain is anything this list is packing can crack the Tau in full castle mode without the overwatch suppression. Still, all that does is convince me that keeping the Warp Talons in the list is absolutely the right call, and it’s nice to see toolbox units like them creep down to where they can be included to shore up tricky games.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah, I have to reluctantly agree with you on the notion that Ethan probably would have been better off taking Endgame scoring though in his defense, he had a reasonable expectation of taking the first turn and being able to avoid getting boxed in. I got pretty lucky on that one, and it probably would have been a different game if I hadn’t, as the Tau would have had an extra turn of positioning set-up and shooting to set up better progressive scoring. Still, I stand by this performance, especially given how unlucky that Warp Talon charge was.

 

Next Time (probably in January):

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Thanks, Wings! As always, I had a blast doing this and even though you aren’t Chase, it was fun jamming out list concepts with you. It may take a few weeks for me to get to Emperor’s Children, but word around the Goonhammer offices is that Chase has been working on a new list to torment Cyle with. As always, if you have any recommendations or requests, or a list of your own you’d like to show off or get feedback on, feel free to drop a note in the comments below, or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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