Hi everyone! The end of the 2022 ITC season has just wrapped up with the conclusion of the Las Vegas Open hosted by Frontline Gaming and Lusters Workshop! I’m sure we’d all like to hear from the competitors of the largest US Kill Team event to date, and we’ve got some words from the tournament organizer as well.
Dakotah, TO, Lusters Workshop
How was the experience running the largest US kill team tournament to date?
- In all honesty, the players at this event were so great it didn’t feel much more stressful than running a smaller event. The stress came from the prep due to the fact that we make all our terrain in house. Designing, cutting, assembling and painting 50 sets of terrain was a challenge. Especially since both our laser cutters went down. The only reason we were able to get it done was with the help of the LVO Rescue Squad, a group of SoCal Kill Team players who came together and volunteered their time to help us out.
- There were some challenges due to the fact that we have a staff of four, one of which, Squad Games Giacomo, has to run our twitch steam the entire weekend. Leaving the rest to be one hand at all times. 3 TOs spread out between 89 players kept us on our toes. We also want to thank Saya, Elliot and Giacomo for the amount of work they put into this weekend. Without them it would not have been possible.
The terrain in specific seems to be a big portion of the event!
- Squad Games believes in creating events that are one of a kind experiences. One of the ways we do this is through our beautifully crafted and painted terrain. We believe every player should play on great painted terrain. Squad Games requires battle ready Kill Teams to compete, which means every model requires at least 3 colors, therefore our terrain should be held to the same standard.
We’re there any particular rules questions from competitors?
- The main question that came up more than once involved line of sight. I feel like this is a common theme at Kill Team events. The trickiest question we had revolved around the Blooded’s Diabolyk Bomb and how it interacted with the Navy Breacher’s Void Armour. As TOs we have a lot of overall knowledge going into these events but we also learn so much more with every Kill Team matchup.
You have been running events out if southern California how was this different?
- Well, it was much colder. In all reality, we were under prepared for the logistics of traveling out of state and setting up in a casino that was so spread out. The hardest part of this entire event was the set up and tear down due to the sheer size and layout of the Rio Casino. It took so much time and effort and was exhausting for a staff of four to pack everything in and out.
Are there any other big TO plans for 2023 tell us the dream:
- On top of Squad Games normal monthly tournaments, the All Valley Team Tournament will be making its return with a vengeance. We are hoping to double our numbers this year. It’s such a fun event, being able to compete in a team of your friends with a mixture of open and Into the Dark terrain layouts keeps everyone on their toes and very entertained. Squad Games has also partnered with Gameology in Pasadena, California to add the California State Championships to this year’s tournament circuit. It will be the first statewide tournament of its kind for Kill Team in California.
- Squad Games is also adding its first non Kill Team specific event to its repertoire with its first Boarding Action tournament. We are also hoping to expand this year to hold events in both Arizona and Oregon. We have big dreams of expanding. Be sure to keep an eye on our socials and our podcasts to stay up to date with what’s going on with us and where the next SquadGames event will be.
First up for competitors, third place is Adrian, winner of the New York Open, who ended with a 6-1 record for the weekend! He brought his beautiful Deathwatch, and was on stream against Veteran Guard on Saturday, and Navy Breachers on Sunday! You can find both of those matches on the Lusters Workshop Twitch page.
Adrian, Third, Intercession Squad
Why did you select your faction? I know there was a big struggle between Intercession and Blooded.
- Yes, there was! I had been playing a good amount of games with Blooded after winning the fully painted team at the New York Open. I knew that on paper Blooded would probably be the better choice against what I thought might be a significant portion of the meta at LVO (Breachers, Legionary, Intercesion), however I just wasn’t able to get enough reps in to feel fully comfortable taking them. So paper be damned, I decided to go with Intercession and lean into the fact that faction familiarity and skill do (thankfully) play a much more significant role in success in this game than trying to predict the meta. And perhaps most importantly, I had spent a ton of time building, customizing and painting my marines, so I really wanted to share that aspect of my passion with a brand new group of people!
How was the traveling tournament experience?
- It was energizing, draining, fun and stressful! The feeling of being the only Kill Team player from Brooklyn was quite a point of pride for me. I wanted to do my best for everyone back home, and represent that competitive scene. Receiving everyone’s messages and support over the course of those 2 days was a continual motivator, and traveling with two of my mates from Jersey, who were also competing, made the whole event even more special. This was my first tournament outside the NY/NJ area and my first event of this scale. I will always remember it.
What was your hardest match up? Did you have any opponents you really enjoyed playing against?
- Honestly, games 2 through 7 were all tough. All were skilled opponents piloting factions that had multiple ways to delete Intercessors while simultaneously being able to throw more bodies on the points. After game 1 there was not one easy victory. My two closest wins were game 3 against Vet Guard, and game 6 against Starstriders. They both came down to a single point at the very last turning point! My only loss came day 1, game 4, vs Pathfinders and if a few things had gone differently it could have ended up a tie or even a win! But those really close matches are what make us all better. I think my favorite opponent was Chris Bacchi. He put on a clinic on how to safely deploy in his DZ, and countered each threat I was planning on throwing at him Turn 1. He knew all his rules and the game mechanics perfectly and was honest & precise with his measurement, and a great sport.
Tell us about the terrain set ups and how they felt compared to your normal games! Did you miss the Gallowdark set ups?
- The terrain and maps were both brand new to me, but flying in a day early to watch the Friday Challenger Pods gave me just that little extra bit of knowledge which helped a lot in terms of finding optimal lines and choosing deployment zones.
- As for ITD terrain, I very much like that it’s an option. It makes for a different and thematic way to play, and it’s a nice counterpart to open boards (especially in a mixed format tournament). But I think that it will require periodic updates, as it runs the risk of certain maps becoming “figured out” over time. What I love about open terrain, and the infinite layouts you can create, is that it provides you a 3D puzzle that you have to figure out on the fly. Overall, I enjoy having both versions of the game available. It keeps things fresh and stimulating, and gives a wider variety of teams play.
How are you liking the December rules update from Games workshop?
- I believe the updated tac ops are mostly a step in the right direction. I will say Recover Item is a bit too easy to score 2 points on currently and doesn’t require you to interact with the opponent to do so.
- I like the new mission setup process. There is more parity between Attacker and Defender. However silent snipers behind a barricade on a vantage also leads to less interaction between players – which is something that I’m against in competitive games.
- Overall I think choosing your 3 tac ops is correct from a competitive point of view, but some cards are clearly better than others, so there’s less play pattern variety than before, which I do miss.
- The increased number of mission permutations is great, but I do feel like the competitive version of the game has lost its uniqueness. The objectives no longer feel like thematic things that your operatives are doing, but rather circles to stand on. Additionally, the fact that there are now always 6 objectives places a much higher importance on scoring secondaries, as primary can be easier to tie.
Any tips for the readers?
- Get those reps in, re-read your rules more times than you think necessary, and follow your heart, not the meta! Kill team is a game that rewards player skill more than anything else – which is what makes it so compelling and keeps me coming back for more.
- And finally…be good to each other! The vast majority of Kill-Teamers I have met and played against have been genuinely passionate, fair and respectful people. To be able to compete fiercely while maintaining all of those qualities is what makes this community & game so special. Let’s all keep it going in that direction!
Next up in second place, a new face to the scene Auston, a Pathfinder player from SoCal. He’s been crushing it locally, and made a great run at his first major!
Auston, Second, Pathfinders
Were there any other teams you wanted to play other than Pathfinders?
- Definitely was looking into Kroot for the event with all the great balance changes, but just didn’t have the time to get reps in with the team. Kasrkin also has interested me in the past, and I love the idea of playing a guard team.
How did you prepare for the tournament?
- For actual practice, I used a bit of TTS, but as far as theory crafting all the new changes with critical missions, and just general tips and tricks, Travis C. who is a phenomenal Pathfinder player coached me through a lot of the new matchups and options. The day before the event, Can You Roll a Crit from the UK showed me the benefits of Ions into elites which helped me win a few key matchups.
With only 1 loss, and 7 points dropped the entire tournament, what specific focus got you such incredible results?
- In the past, I always played with the shoot first ask questions later, but lately my focus has entirely shifted to focusing the missions over anything else. New recon tac op deck is incredibly easy to perform, as Recover Item is pretty much free with the Drone Scout and Recon Sweep. Once you Control Drone and run back the item, it’s impossible to lose those points. Vantage was also a favorite, as a drone can activate last in order to secure it. And killing blow just asks you to do what Tau does best and shoot your opponent off the board.
Where did you find the most success in your games? Were most games hinged on decisions at the start, middle, or final turns?
- A lot of my success came from just playing to the strengths of the team. Tau are incredibly mobile which allows you to score on the primary much faster than your opponent. I had a match that went south fast but because I was able to play the mission much better than my opponent, I won by a single point as I had 10 looted points versus his 8. I would say the beginning is the most crucial, as the sooner you start scoring the more your opponent has to play into you or fall behind. I had a game where I looted 4 points on turn 1 and 2, which meant no recovery for the primary. With Tau, you always want to set pace and force your opponent to come to you. And when they don’t, marker lights are there to lend a hand.
What do you think about the venue?
- LVO has been at the RIO for the last few seasons, and I always think it’s a great choice. It’s a bit off the strip so it’s not hard to attend, and has plenty of space for every game to be played. The tournament staff, led by Dakota, ran an amazing event as well, never had any issues with late starts or rolling over, and had consistent support and judging staff at all times. Would definitely advise anyone playing Killteam to try to make LVO 2024!
Anything else you want to add?
- Always remember to have fun. My most competitive matches were the ones most enjoyable because of the players and the interaction. Huge shout out on day 2 to James and Orion, definitely had just some amazing gameplay and banter with both which made it memorable. And I also always recommend playing with intent. This is a miniatures game and things can be finicky, but as long as you and your opponent communicate, I feel like you’ll always have a fair game and a great time.
Last but not least Orion, the 2022 Invitational Champion, and king of the Gellerpox. He’s been a veteran of the edition making it out to a spread of tourneys throughout 2022. Along with being a big part of the upcoming Kill Team Open!
Orion, First, Gellerpox Infected
What makes Gellerpox so strong even after the nerfs?
- The nerfs certainly were great choices to reduce this team’s power, techno curse is no longer one of the reasons the team does well. What makes this team strong to me is the large number of models you get, and the hulks who are always a reliable disruption piece to send out and eat 3 to 4 shooting attacks before going down. Having so many throw away units that I know will die paired with key models who don’t get shot off the board in one go means I can reliably execute most game plans with confidence.
Your team Plasma Spam came out in force! How did you all practice for LVO? Were there any tactics you picked out as a team that came in handy?
- Our team represented very well in this event, with 2 top 8 placements! We didn’t have too much time to coordinate anything crazy, but the general consensus was that shooting teams were the better pick for the map layouts created by Dakotah, aka Lusters Workshop. I personally just crammed in as many games as I could before the event, some on a replica terrain set I hand made, others on into the dark, or just random terrain set ups. Playing a lot of games is what got me to where I am today, and I played about 12 games of Kill Team in the two weeks prior to LVO.
How did your tournament go? Were there any specific plays that are burned into your brain? Any crazy moments of luck you wanted to shout out?
- The event for me went as well as it could have really. 7-0-1 was my record, and all my opponents were well versed in good sportsmanship, which really makes the games enjoyable for me.
- Hardest hitting moment was round one vs Sheldon Steere, aka Kill Team Stream, who piloted Star striders. The map was on diagonal deployment, and not very little cover in the drop zones meaning I had to cluster together with the little terrain I had available. He performed a pre-game dash with his leader, then a move dash to have full line of sight on my entire drop zone with his leader, and this gave me one turn to get 2 models out of the blast damage. He shot the cluster bomb, (Blast 3 inches) which dealt 7 wounds to thrice cursed, 4 wounds to a mutant, 4 wounds each off 2 other hulks, and killed a glitching. Fortunately his dice rolls for the rest of the game were abysmal which helped me climb back into the game.
- Best moment of luck was in round 2, where I placed vs a player I met in Kansas City prior, Blayne Severson. On turning point 2 he called Thrice curse as the target of “Eliminate guards” and from that point on Thrice Cursed simply said “no.” On turning point 2 he took a Diabolic grenade hit (killing 2 other models), 2 plasma attacks, a shotgun attack and a full health Ogryn who charged thrice cursed but only got 2 hits, and died for its efforts. That turn broke my opponent’s spirit and the game was a wrap from there.
How was the level of competition compared to our home region of the North East?
- In this event almost all my games were well matched opponents, and with my hardest match ending in a tie from Chris Baachi. A Lot of the players I played were a bit newer to the game and had less experience in major events, whereas the majority of east coast players I know are really versed in competition. So I would say the east coast still gives me a harder time but the west coast wasn’t exactly slacking on great opponents.
You’re a fairly chill player in the ring, what keeps you going when games get touch and go?
- It’s very important to me to make sure game play stays fun no matter who’s winning. I’m the type of player who always tries to find a way to victory no matter the odds, cause that’s fun for me, comeback wins and unexpected luck. So even in a bad situation, whether it’s my fault, bad map layouts or maybe just bad dice, there isn’t anything complaining or talking negatively about it will get me, so I’ll reach a point where I accept whatever happens and just play the best game I can give. A Lot of the time I surprise myself with how a game turns around just by looking for opportunities to get back in the game if I’m in a bad spot. To quote Bob greene, a college football coach, “We’re kinda like a woodpecker in a petrified forest. We just keep busy.”
Anything you want to shout out to the Goonhammer readers??
- It’s coming very close and I’m sure most know of it already, but Kill Team Open! If you missed out the action of LVO and wanted to get some competitive Kill team games in, it’s the place to be! More of a painter or spectator? We got that too! Painting classes by some of the USA’s finest will be teaching their techniques, and we’ll have a live stream available for those who can’t make it. Be sure to check the link in this article or go to killteamopen.com
- Huge shout out to all the wonderful players I met and played against at LVO, Can You Roll a Crit for traveling from so far away, and Luster’s Workshop for coordinating such a spectacle!
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.