Interviews with the Top 3 from the Goonhammer US Open Kill Team Tournament

Hi everyone! This week we’re catching up with the players from our very own Goonhammer Open! As the head TO, I’ll be skipping the part where I interview myself. Which means we can talk to the best painted and the top 3 players to talk about their experiences at our very own tournament! Thanks to Kevin Fowler and the rest of the folks within Goonhammer for getting the venue. Special thanks to my co-TO, Skill Team out of New Jersey. His assistance (which included providing the event’s fantastic terrain) was crucial.

Now let’s check in with the players.

Our first guest is Joey C, commission painter, and Void Dancer diehard. He played for 3rd against Mike C, who took it. However, his Troupe won both the fan vote, and the judges call!

Joey C, Best Painted, Void-Dancer Troupe

I hear you’ve been painting your Troupe for over a year, how’s it feel to have that work validated by both players and judges?

  • Yes this is true, I have been painting them since I saw the preview that void dancers were coming via White Dwarf. I knew that if I was going to win painting competitions that the diamonds would be mandatory but as I learned early on; still needs more. Having them be an homage to the relationship my wife and I share made for a strong motivation to persevere. Diamonds are no joke! Have to highlight, blend, and shade, each and every one… Knowing both judges and the players were in agreement makes it worth the effort. I wish this were a jest but I’m still not done painting them…

You did pretty well going 3-2, losing to stiff competition. What kinds of lessons are you taking away from those losses?

  • First loss was against Nick C. with his cultists. I figured since I was able to do so well at ACO against cultists, that I would be fine. Boy was I wrong. Nick lulled me into a false sense of security combined with some insanely awful dice rolling on my behalf… all ones when needing 2s to hit? with CP spent so I can reroll more ones; ouch. I also chose the wrong side for deployment. I should have anticipated people would adapt to the nerf.
  • My second loss came during my battle for 3rd place and a ticket to the invitational. Towards the end of the match the pressure of the moment got to me and I fed Mike C 3 VP. Losing that match by 1 point stings.
  • When comparing my results to ACO, I was 1 point closer to a ticket than last time (2 point loss to Shane of Command Point, similar situation). I lost track of the situation in both of those key battles. Ill be focusing on improving my note keeping so I dont lose track of the bigger picture.

How was your experience at the Goonhammer Open? Are you coming back next year?

  • GHO provided some very difficult matches, but it was alot of fun. Definately will be battling for the championship belt next year! Got fresh ideas for next year’s best painted 😉

What are you looking forward to for the rest of the competitive season?

  • Attempting to win the NOVA Journeyman Squad class with my Void Dancers, while also winning the GT with some yet to be painted clowns. After that Tampa and the New York Open(link) are my final chances at winning a GT, securing my ticket to the worlds, and solidifying my status as the best Void Dancer. As I learned in the Marines; Looking good is feeling good and feeling good is fighting good!

Third place sees tournament regular Mike C secure his spot to the Atlanta finals. With both first and second already holding a ticket his third place finish earned him a spot with a 4-1! Lets see what makes Kommandos tick?

Mike C, Third, Ork Kommandos

First off congratulations, how does it feel to secure a ticket to this year’s championships in Atlanta?

  • While I would have really enjoyed getting the ticket along with the belt, I am happy to get to compete at the championships this year. The event has a ton of talented players and I look forward to playing with them.

What are your thoughts on the meta now that the balance dataslate has touched a couple of the boogeymen of the last few months.

  • I think there are a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall the meta is in a pretty good place. Especially compared to where it was just a few weeks ago.

Which operative on your team was the MVP of the tournament, or was it more of a team effort?

  • I would say it was a team effort. All the boys had their part in the green tide.

What was your experience like at Goonhammer Open compared to other larger tournaments?

  • The Goonhammer open was great. The venue had a lot of space and all of the staff were helpful and very passionate about the game. That really made the event a great experience overall. Also, that belt for 1st is one of the coolest prizes I have seen at a Kill Team event.

Anything else you want to shout out to our fellow readers?

  • I hope to see you out there next year!

Coming in second is the eldest son of the Woodley Warriors. Sporting his fun off-meta team of the Starstriders, the capital ship shot its way to a 4-1 finish. It sure seems he isn’t resting on his ticket’s laurels. What tricks is he doing that we don’t know?

Leander G, Second, Elucidian Starstriders

Woodley Warriors Podcast

How did the Starstriders feel in the current meta?

  • They feel quite strong! Definitely an A-tier team, Starstriders can go toe to toe with almost any team. That being said, I do struggle into elites, which are ~30% of the meta. Starstriders have only a few prongs that they can apply force through, and if space marines create enough threats in one turn, they can completely overwhelm you. While Starstriders can push through many shooting attacks, only a few are armor piercing (AP), meaning the marines 3+ save prevents most damage from going through. It should come as no surprise then, that my one loss was to Bob’s excellently played Khorne legionaries.

How did you feel about the terrain and format at Goonhammer Open being all open sans ITD?

  • I’m not a fan of ITD, since Kommandos and Chaos Cults become nearly unbeatable on it. On the open board right now, Kommandos and Cults are in a league of their own; for the most part, they’re the only teams that scare each other. This problem is worsened on ITD, where you struggle to shoot these melee teams before they hit your front lines.

Why should players not overlook the Starstriders in your opinion?

  • Starstriders are both very punishing to play as and play against: one mistake piloting the Starstriders and you’ve lost one of your four key models, and probably the game. While one error on your opponent’s part, and you hit five of their operatives with your 3” blast Cluster Bomb. Starstriders are very difficult to play, but once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find yourself consistently going 2-2 or 3-1 at the tournaments you attend. Since almost nobody takes them, almost nobody knows how to counter them except for the very best players.

What large events do you plan on attending between now and Atlanta? What teams do you feel are most difficult to go up against?

  • I’m looking forward to Nova next week, and to getting my learners permit before Atlanta! As Chaos Cults are the team that gives me the most difficulty, I’ve embraced the dark side. I’ll be taking Cults to Nova Open to help me learn their weaknesses.

Are there any other things you want to shout out?

  • Nope. Thanks for the interview!

Securing his second ticket, Liam has claimed the Goonhammer Belt! While he may have won the 10-person Chattanooga event, the 22-person Goonhammer Event really solidifies his ITC run this year.

Liam G, First, Ork Kommandos

Woodley Warriors Podcast

You already had a ticket secured, did securing your second ticket feel different from the first?

  • Yes it did. When I won my first ticket at Chattanooga, I was very proud, but I won this ticket at a much larger event with an awesome belt. By winning Goonhammer Open, which had some of the best American players, I was able to prove myself.

Are there any changes you feel still should be made to the current top tier teams?

  • Yes I think there are a couple changes that still need to be made. That being said, I think the game is in a pretty healthy state.
  • Chaos Cults are still too strong, and the reason I say that is because their core problem exists; they can have two 13 wound Torments in your face by turn two. To solve this, I would consider in the mutation step to mutate one less time than the turn you’re in (to a minimum of one). This way, at the start of turn two, a cults player will only have one Torment, and their leader can turn another into a Torment. Meaning turn three is less guaranteed, and turn two has some wiggle room for mistakes.
  • Kommandos are also very strong, and to remedy that, I would make sneaky git 1+1 cp every time you use it. Early in the game, especially if a Kommandos player gets attacker, it’s a pretty big advantage to have two boys outside your DZ. If Sneaky Git cost one additional cp every time you use it, it will be a very difficult choice if you want to use it because you won’t have enough CP for strat ploys and just a scratch.

For aspiring Nobs, which tactic did you find the most useful this tournament?

  • The biggest mistake I see lots of Kommandos players make (and myself when I was new) is being too grabby. As Kommandos players, we need to remember we’re not just regular orks, we’re sneaky boys. I like to set up a pretty cagey and safe turn one for myself, and this allows me to seize control of the board in the later turns. If you get shot off the board on turn one, you won’t have enough boys to win the game.

Looking forward to the Atlanta Championships, are you planning on sticking to the Kommandos? If not, what other teams do you have an eye on?

  • It’s too soon to say. Kommandos are my favorite team in the game, but I’ll have to see what the fall brings.

How did this venue and event feel in comparison to the many you’ve done in the past?

  • I liked the Goonhammer venue because there was so much table space and I had enough room for my materials. It’s very rare at a tournament that you’re not squished shoulder to shoulder with another person.

Any other final words for the Goonhammer readers? Shoutouts to your gaming club?

  • I want to thank Travis(HappyRaccoon) for running Goonhammer Open, and for everyone reading, I want to encourage you to go to more tournaments if possible. My team, Plasma Spam is hosting a beginners tournament September 23 in Timonium MD at Titan Games(link), and it’s a great way to get into competitive kill team.

That wraps up our look at the Goonhammer Open. We’d like to once again thank all of the wonderful players who made it out to the event, and wish the winners luck at this year’s World Championships of Warhammer.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at