Hello fellow Goonhammer readers, this weekend saw the Atlantic City Open take place! I spent the weekend running the Killteam Grand Tournament. This weekend I had the pleasure of running the Atlantic City Open’s Killteam GT. We really saw the Chaos Cults spread their sinuous wings and blot out the skies for our competitors. I’ll be going over my experience as a TO on Just Another Killteam Podcast (link).
Special shout-outs to my 1-day co-TO Leila (IG) for coming down and setting up while I was on a flight to Atlantic City, and Isaias for subbing in to even out our numbers!
However, I suspect most people are interested in hearing from the myriad of cultists who dotted the top 3 of ACO. First up is Nick C, veteran of Killteam 2021 and member of the white-hot Plasma Spam. His sickeningly green Cults brought the hurt on opponents, only losing the mirror to Shane!
3rd: Nick C, Chaos Cults
Were Chaos Cults first on your short list to bring to ACO, or were there other more tried and true teams you wanted to field?
- They were definitely not my first choice. I originally wanted to bring out my Blooded Traitors. After learning that ACO would allow the new teams from Gallowfall and Ashes of Faith, I reassessed and realized that the Blooded were very much out-classed in the melee heavy meta we have right now. When I saw the rules for Chaos Cults, I loved their flavor and recognized (like many) that they were VERY strong so I rushed them through my hobby table. Even though I was only able to get in one game with them before ACO I felt comfortable enough piloting a horde team and this, in conjunction with their power level, made it an easy decision in the sense that they would be my best bet at doing well.
Your one loss was to fellow Cultist in a dreaded mirror match. On revisiting the game, were there any tools in the tool-belt you wished you had brought out?
- My mirror match with Shane was brutal! We were both pretty exhausted after the match and he’s an excellent player. But we are friends and I feel like we respect each other enough as competitors that we had a very friendly “casually competitive” game even though we both knew the stakes were high and the winner of the match could very well go on to win the tournament. One example was that we both had a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” to not play the Sickening Aura strategic ploy as it would have made things a bit of a headache for us both.
- Our game was a 4 point spread and it all came down to Tac Op scoring. Shane picked his Tac Ops well and I didn’t. Missing 1 point from Rob and Ransack and Tear Through being poor when torments need to deal with opponents. Since I won on primary mission points those tac op misses really bites. Then I would say the second factor were the 5+ FNPs and who was rolling hot! I got what I deserved in the mirror match for taking a team that is extremely hard to play into.
With six different mutations to take, were there any that you gravitate towards? Any surprising mutations you found a use for?
- It’s still too early to tell but I feel as though going sinewed 1st followed by winged (on open boards) or fleet (ITD) worked well for me. The beauty of the team is that you can spend a CP to get any other mutation with Abhorrent Mutation! Which is really helpful and situational. Not to mention you can do this with a regular devotee if you have to. In this way you can stack virtually every mutation on one operative (over the course of the game) if you really wanted to…. Not busted at all or anything
Atlantic City’s Killteam tournament was smaller than other tournaments on the East Coast, what would you say to people on the fence about ACO 2024?
- I would highly recommend ACO! It was the perfect mix of everything you could want out of a gaming convention. Having a smaller event wasn’t a bad thing in my mind as it was much more social and intimate than any other event I’ve been to so far. We all got to know each other and hang out after our games were done (shoutout to the boardwalk biergarten) AC also offers much for folks who are looking to let loose after hours! Just because you rolled a bunch of 1’s in your games doesn’t mean you can’t hit it big in the casino… Just saying… And last but not least the tournament itself offered fun and competitive gaming in a good atmosphere and was very well run. (Shoutout to the TO’s!)
How much does practicing with other Plasma Spammers come into your success at ACO?
- Honestly it’s everything. I credit any and all of my success to my ‘Plasma Fam’. I know the saying “iron sharpens iron” is a bit of a cliche, however in this instance it couldn’t be more true. Having some world class players on our team is invaluable. The amount of knowledge is staggering, and there’s ALWAYS something new that you can learn from someone else. Most people would consider kill team a single player war game, but I firmly believe that it’s the people who you embed yourself with who will help you develop as a player. In Plasma Spam we try our best to be a well rounded team of skilled, friendly, and fun individuals!
Dancing his way into second place, after placing seventh at last year’s ACO. Joey C has been a regular at my home store the Brooklyn Strategist (link). Let’s find out how he feels being surrounded by the cultists at ACO’s podium!
2nd: Joey C, Void-Dancer Troupe
It has been a while since a Void-Dancer Troupe has made it into a top slot at larger US tournaments. Do you think they’ll be able to compete with the May releases?
- Can void dancers compete with May releases? I studied hard for the Fellgor Ravagers matchup; played over 20 matches as the Beastmen (I prefer to learn my opponents by playing their kill teams. I didn’t play void dancer games in preparation for ACO; I’ve been playing them loyally for over a year so I gain more insight by reverse engineering other kill teams. If the ACO games are all Chaos Cults can do then yes, the Troupe can still tango. Void Dancers in the hands of a skilled player can beat any of the new releases; we still have old releases that beat us handily so please don’t call for more void dancer nerfs.
You spent all of day one playing only Chaos Cults, going from W->L->W. What tips to defeating cults went into the third win on Day 1?
- For my loss to Shane in round 2; I know exactly how and why I lost. It was an incredible match regardless of the outcome. He was very cagey and knew the void dancer match-up. He ended up being the champ so that’s good to know my only loss came from him.
- When playing against Chaos Cults it’s about getting rid of the devotees before they become mutants. Go all engage, and blast them to pieces. 15 models makes deploying safely difficult on open. The Covert Guises equipment telegraphs where they are going. Icononarch is too strong but that just means you have to bring it down as a priority (sorry Nate). Probably controversial to say as a long time void dancer but Chaos Cults are overtuned. I need more practical vs theoretical against cultists to formulate an opinion on what is needed for balance. I think Void dancers probably beat cultists 6-4/7-3 but it requires perfection. I wouldn’t say they are broken since even Shane was nervous to face me!
On Day 2 you took down fellow Brooklyn Strategist player James M. on Beastmen. What tips do you have for other players looking to take down Fellgor Ravagers?
- This was a matchup I was both dreading and excited for. James is an awesome player. Totally capable of winning a GT and Beastmen are some baaad boys… (sorry not sorry). You have to trigger Frenzy through shooting. Doing so via melee only guarantees getting hit an extra time before the curtain falls.
- Don’t charge. Make them charge you. Empty charging and wasting an AP is ok. You can kill them during their activation and then they frenzy and die at the end of their activation.
Are you happy with where void-dancers are in the meta? Is the density of melee-centric teams a boon or a curse for Cegorach’s best clowns?
- I’m a servant of Cegorach. I LOVE to fly, it’s my favorite thing. Even in ITD flying lets you avoid traffic jams. Using glass cannons is so much fun! The melee centric state of the Meta is absolutely fantastic for void dancers. Didn’t use Domino Field once during the tournament. That let me spam Cegorach’s Jest for Cults, tac ploys and command rerolls for Beastmen. I fear the day shooty hordes, like pathfinders, make a comeback; any shooting team that can ignore obscuring is an issue for void dancers.
Joey, why do you play Void Dancers? Why stick with them nerf after nerf, despite all these newer more “broken” teams being released?
- My Void-Dancer Troupe are a tribute to my wife. They are a sign of our love for dancing (it’s how we met!). We are martial artists who love dancing and comedy, so the powerful melee is attractive. Additionally the models are gorgeous! Ever since I was a kid I always dreamed of having harlequins with freehanded diamonds so my inner kid is overjoyed!
- Luckily each nerf that happened didn’t really affect me and I was able to adapt my play style accordingly.
Anything else you want to shout out?
- Alex M (ig link) you’re an incredible painter and I admit that you’re a huge reason I push my void dancers paint job to the limit. In their previous state you had the better paint job and I learned a lot from our past convos. Hell of a run at ACO!
- My competitive crews are the Veterans of the Long War (military folk who play kill team), and Skill Team. Along with Travis and the rest of the Brooklyn Strategist shop team.
- Last but most importantly my beautiful and incredibly supportive wife Kelly. She gave me the push to take the ITC seriously and has been my coach and muse in competition and painting.
First among Cultists this weekend was Shane of Command Point (link) fame, ranking well in MCP, and taking down Kill Team. Another entrant into the Atlanta championships, I for one am looking forward to coverage from Command Point later this year! Let’s hear about the Cults from a former Legionary player.
First: Shane S, Chaos Cults, Command Point
As of May 2023, you have Legionaries as an A-tier team. What went into the choice to ditch the A-tier, and head for the S-tier in Chaos Cults? Were there any other S-tier teams you were interested in taking?
- We have yet to post a tier list since Ashes of Faith came out, but I would currently put Chaos Cults in a tier all by themselves. We used to have a ‘S++’ tier that we got rid of because the game felt relatively balanced, but I think it would be worth bringing back for Cultists. As for why I didn’t take Legionnaires—this is the first time I felt like I really didn’t have an answer in the tool kit to a specific team (Cults), and so I decided to jump ship and meta chase for the first time!
After coming in second at KTO, how does it feel now to take first and grab your ticket to the Atlanta Championships? Are you excited to give listeners of command point a first hand accounting?
- It feels great! I’m thrilled to go to Atlanta and play against some of the best players in the world. Selfishly, I’m excited for the content it’ll allow me to make for Command Point!
With 5 rounds of gameplay were there any plays you were proud of on the Cults? How about plays from opponents you’ll remember or tell tales about?
- There was a hilarious play with my final opponent, Will L, setting up a suicide Balefire Acolyte’s fireblast into a torment, devotee, and Iconarch that hit himself. Because of the Iconarch’s Ruinous Determination, the fireblast did 2 /3 damage to my operatives and 4 /5 damage to himself. The attack ended up killing the Balefire and only the one devotee!
- I also enjoyed using the exploding Frenzied Demise ploy to frenzy a Fellgor Ravager during his own activation, killing him right away.
How were you able to recover from your worst deficits over the tournaments? I heard you came back from 3-5 model deficits at least once or twice.
- Against both Void-Dancer Troupe players I had to crawl back from a pretty big attrition deficit on TP1. The only way to beat Chaos Cults is to hit them very hard on the first turning point, so I sort of expected this game plan. On open board I played safe, prioritized keeping my mutants safe at all costs so that I would get both torments TP2, and ceded central objectives early game. I tried hard to find spots that were safe on TP1 while still threatening my opponent on those central objectives the next round. Ultimately, you can afford to lose some Devotees and Blessed Blades, but absolutely do not let your mutants die on that first turn.
From talking at ACO I gather that Cults feel a bit strong, how would you go about changing them to align more with an A-tier team? Do you feel like players could have picked you apart better?
- There’s a myriad of ways GW could go about nerfing this team and I’ve read a ton of great ideas on Discord already. I would personally start by changing the Iconarch’s damage reduction to minimum 3 for the sake of consistency across the game. Beyond that, I don’t think operatives should be regaining all of their lost wounds when they mutate into another model, and I think you could justify changing the FNP of mutants to 6++ instead of 5++.
Any other final words for the Goonhammer readers?
- Subscribe to Command Point! We’ll be making videos about ACO and about Chaos Cults pretty soon, so check that out. I’ll be hoping to attend a few more events on the east coast this year, obviously including the Atlanta Championships! If you ever see me at a tourney, say hi! I promise I’m friendly!
Thanks again for making it to the end of the article! Don’t forget to check out Goonhammer Open’s Killteam offering. Travis, the author, will be helping to TO that event as well! And if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.