Kill Team Interview: The Top 4 from the 2023 French Invitational Championship

This weekend the French held the culmination of the French competitive year, with their top 8 championships. After a packed year of competitive play, 8 players competed across three rounds to determine which two players will be headed to Games Workshop’s World Championships of Warhammer. The players were pulled from around the country into a top eight cut, which can be seen on the French Circuit’s website (link)

One of the TOs of the French scene came onto Just Another Kill Team Podcast last week. Since World Championshp tickets were handed out to the #3 and #4 finishers due to travel restrictions, we’ll be turning the normal top 3 into a slightly more extended top 4. Which means we’re starting with Martin S, who played a Legionary team to the fourth spot!

Martin’s going to Atlanta

Martin S, 4th Place, Legionaries

Are you excited to be heading out to America later this year to represent your country? What factions are you looking at bringing?

  • Of course I’m excited! I wasn’t expecting this at all but I’m stocked. I want to give credit to Francois and Papamat for being the best players in France but I’ll go and represent us as best as I can. Regarding the faction, I don’t want to say as I’m still not 100% sure, it depends on if I finish my painting or not.

What went into the decision to bring Legionary to the top 8, and what kind of Marks did you play?

  • Legionaries have been good to me during this season so I decided to stick with them for the finals. They perform well into this Ork meta and also because out of the 3 games we played, 2 were ITD. I played all four marks during this season, I didn’t play Undivided, though. In the end for the finals I went with Nurgle/Slaanesh, which both have great match ups.

Are there any players you’re looking forward to playing at the World Championships?

  • I would be both happy and terrified if I found out I was playing against Ace. Truthfully all the opponents are gonna be good so I’m just glad to swim in the same pond as the big fish.

Any last call outs?

  • Thanks to all the Tournament Organizers in France for organizing all the tournaments, to name a few Linounette, Aero, Lanowar, Cédric, thank you guys. Also my teammates from T1 or bye and the oui oui baguette. To my wife for finishing up painting my bases.

Matthieu has secured third place with wins over Inquisition Agents, and Corsairs. Losing his first round against Legionary, those two victories with high points secured his second place finish. That loss meant he was not playing in the finals for the tournament, even though BCP says otherwise.

French nationals top 8

Matthieu R, 3rd Place, Ork Kommandos

Do you normally play Kommandos? What other teams have you played this year, and what made you choose Kommandos?

  • I’ve been playing Kommandos since mid june after I discovered them in a tournament. Even though I largely won against a beginner with Intercession Squad, I thought the team would be fun to play and I began my journey to learn and appraise them. My only two other teams I tried are Intercession squad and Hunter clade (with Hierotek circle and legionary to come in the next few months)

Where do you place the Kommandos in the meta right now? Did that position in the meta push you to playing them in the French finale?

  • I feel like Kommandos are pretty well versed at the moment being balanced in combat and shooting. Even though they can be hard to play against elite teams, the moment you learn the matchups, you can have the edge you need to take on the wins.
    Following my harsh learning during Warhammer world’s tournament (playing both Bartons and Nick Collins), I came to win in Paris a month back and decided to continue playing them until the French finale (also because i don’t have many other teams)

What was your most used combo play of the weekend? In what situations do you find yourself using the combo play?

  • As the tournament was 1 Octarius and 2 ITD maps, I did not use combos that much. I like the forward deploy on open but I find the CP use impacting for the next turns. Then if not combos, I like to set myself up with multiple threats so that my opponent has to commit somewhere I am waiting for him.

Do you know what you did differently from Thibaud, who was able to beat two legionary players? Are there play style differences between you two?

  • My loss against the first legionary revolves around bad placement and not managing to draw a single 4+ on a fight (with a reroll on last CP which then impacted the next turn) which would have killed his leader and freed one on my boy to block his rocket launcher. I guess it’s my bad and I’ll do better next time. As for Thibault, I don’t know him much and I don’t know how he plays so I can’t really answer that.

Are there any other things you want to shout out?

  • This year was the beginning and having played against the Bartons and Nick Collins at Warhammer world this summer really made me step up and I am coming back to take revenge. I’ll be coming to the UK multiple times next year and hopefully do better.

Thibaud secured second place with the current meta hotness, the Ork Kommandos. Thibaud only lost to the winner of the overall tournament, with two wins against Legionaries, traditionally one of Kommandos worst match ups. Only losing to Gellerpox in the finals, which secured his spot to the Championships!

Thibaud D, Second, Ork Kommandos

How does it feel securing a ticket to the championships? Are you excited to carry the Kommandos faction to America?

  • I’m so stoked I managed to get this golden ticket. So excited to go to Atlanta ! But I’ll not bring the Kommandos unfortunately. Mine are a little bit too converted with 3rd party bits to bring to a GW event. I’ll also really try to bring my best to participate in the best looking kill team. So maybe Starstriders or Gellerpox.

How were you able to beat 2 legionaries in the play up to the finals? Were the recent buffs that big of a change to one of the Kommando’s historically hard matchups?

  • When I saw the rosters and the 3 Legionaries players among the finalists I knew I had to train this match up. It’s indeed quite hard, especially against the mark of nurgle, as they are really tough to take done with our weapons. Actually the recent buff which allows us to take the squig for free gives us an extra threat they have to think about. The nerf to the damage reduction of the Nurgle ploy (minimum 3) makes our Dakka boy more efficient against them too. For my two matches I took Infiltration tac ops as killing legionaries can be too swingy to secure points consistently.
  • My first match was against Cedric (@cmorent), who played a mix of Tzeentch and Slaanesh, in ITD. So his guys were less resistant but they brought more control with APL modification shenanigans. I was really worried about the Anointed who is a real beast, and the Balefire Acolyte with a Tzeench mark who can come and burn everything from nowhere with a 4th APL. So placing and spacing were primordial. I tried something by giving the dynamite to my Comm. It gives him more door control as he can open for free and throw his dynamite, particularly if you play the ITD version of sneaky git to make him reach the door sooner. I also think there is a lot to do with smoke grenades as kommandos on ITD but I’m still not a master with it.
  • My second match was against Martin (@Mucfly) with his Nurgle legionaries on Octarius. I think my win was secured at the beginning of turn two. I used two Sneaky Gitz to deploy my rokkit on a vantage and my nob with a dynamite on the middle of the board ready to perturb his turn 1. In the last two activations I passed my Rokkit in engage (thanks to the Infiltration choice during the scouting step) to shoot and I charged his Shrivetalon with my nob. With good rolls and the use of the Krump ‘em tactical ploy to fight again I managed to kill his operative. I scored 4 primaries at the end of the turn, won the initiative on a tie and moved / throw dynamite on my first activation, killing his Balefire and wounding his heavy gunner on good rolls (again ! Poor Martin, I was really sorry for him !). But my luck fades away when his anointed made a real carnage in my ranks, his double fighting takes out 2 of my guys and he managed to survive 2 other shoots, kill another ork in close combat on my activation standing proudly at 1HP. I finally took him down with my sniper. I then proceed to capitalize on my advance on primaries to score my infiltration take ops and deny his Seek and destroy ones.

Which match up was the hardest for the weekend? What parts of the team did you leverage to get yourself out of that match up?

  • Every match was hard, against great players but the hardest was obviously against @Ligerian who defeated me and won the tournament. I knew that his Gellerpox would be a big problem on ITD. I wanted to take advantage of my stun grenades but obviously Ligerian “Polluted my stockpile”. I also planned to take advantage of my blast weapons (I also took the Burna Boy and a stikkbomb) but I didn’t manage to grab the win.

Were there other teams you had thought about bringing down to the top 8 tournament? What were the reasons for selecting the Kommandos?

  • I have a few killteams I am comfortable with. I had thought about bringing the Starstriders but I struggle a bit with them on ITD, or the Blooded but I think they have a bigger cognitive load with all these agents. Kommandos are really great overall and fun. I thought it was a good idea until I saw my opponent’s killteams!

Anything else you want to shout out to our fellow readers? Perhaps a local store or friends who helped you practice?

  • Sure! A huge thanks to our french TOs who organize really great events. Of course a big shout out to my friend and killteam sparring partner Dewee!

First place sees the Gellerpox Infector take down the Kommandos to secure the top slot! While Francois cannot attend the world championships, it seems that his infected mutants were the answer to the Kommandos meta! Taking down Corsairs, Legionary, and Kommandos to secure first place at the French invitationals!

Top 3!

François Q AKA Ligerian, 1st Place, Gellerpox Infected

First off congrats on getting first place! What went into the choice to play the Gellerpox infected?

  • Thank you! I like the Gellerpox quite a bit, but I usually feel unsure about bringing them to a 4 or more rounds tournament due to their unidimensional nature and singular gameplay. For the French Invitationals however, I wanted the winners of the golden tickets to go against what I (and many others) feel is still a very strong faction. I also expected a good representation of Kommandos and Legionnaires. Gellerpox is a good pick against them.

If you were able to make it to the world championships, what team do you think you’d take? Would it still be the Gellerpox?

  • I am not familiar with the World Championship format so it’s hard for me to say.  Being a 15-operative melee faction, Gellerpox requires precise positioning (and lots of dice rolls for FNP!). They would be quite taxing for me to play especially on such a big stage! I would probably default to a team I feel more comfortable with, like Farstalker Kinband or Novitiates. However, I would not be surprised if Nurgle’s happy crew is well represented.

How have you adapted to the multiple nerfs that Gellerpox infected have been dealt? Which operatives are doing the heavy lifting for you at this point?

  • I feel that the last nerfs do not affect the way this faction should be played. The Mutants are now less likely to randomly survive an angry Legionnaire attack (though it can still happen!). The Glitchlings were already super easy to kill. In ItD with Loot or Secure missions, the little fellas do the heavy lifting for me, while the Hulks act as first-class meat shields. During this tournament, my 5+ FNP rolls were truly revolting (in a good way!). That left a lot of room for the Glitchlings and Mutants to do their job. However, getting the Lumberghast into two low wound models and killing them without rolling a single die is still my favorite thing about this team!

Can you recall the most tense play of the tournament for you? A moment when you really thought you might’ve been close to the end of the tournament run?

  • My first game against Corsairs (played by one of my teammates Florent) was very tense because they can dance around the Hulks quite effectively. The mission was Loot and I lost one (and almost two) Glitchlings due to positioning errors, making it harder to score primaries later on. Luckily, my opponent picked bad Recon Tac Ops (the layout did not help!), but it was still very tense as he did a great job stealing objectives without exposing himself too much.
  • To be honest, none of the games were easy and I was pretty lucky with my rolls, which made the game even harder for my opponents. The level of play was very good overall.

Are you looking forward to anything in the near future?

  • I am very excited to see what happens during Worlds, and I am looking forward to seeing our two awesome French players on a stream there! I am very confident in their ability to be real contenders (no pressure guys! <3). I am glad to see a wide variety of factions represented in big tournaments. That being said, I am not a big fan of ItD so I hope next season will be closer to Open gameplay.

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

  • Yes, shout out to my team “T1 or Bye” and to the TTS team “Earth United”! Also to the French community and the TOs for organizing this tourney and the invitationals.

That wraps up our interviews. We’d like to thank the players for agreeing to answer our questions, and we wish those of them going onto the World Championships the best of luck. And you can bet we’ll be covering the championships, too.

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