Las Vegas Nopen Match 4: Art of War Down Under

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

The Las Vegas Nopen, taking place on 29th-31st January 2021, is going to bring together some of 40K’s biggest names in a unique tournament to entertain the community and raise some money for charity in these dark times. 16 players will enter the first round of this knockout event, but rather than the winners themselves advancing, the triumphant lists will be passed on to another pair of streamers to clash in the following round. After a blowout weekend of gaming, one list will emerge triumphant from a gauntlet put together by some of the finest minds in 40K – so what will it be?

All of this week, we’re going to be introducing the sixteen first round competitors and taking a look at the creations they’re about to unleash, covering a first round pairing every day. James “One_Wing” Grover will take you through the lists and what makes them tick, then a guest panel from our competitive team will make their predictions about which army they think is going to triumph.

Today we’re approaching the half-way point in our list previews, and we’ve got some spicy ones. Imagine, for a moment, that this series has a very high budget and that our camera pans slowly out from Canada, then rotates around the globe before zooming back in to Australia. As we hurtle through the clouds,we eventually find ourselves suspended over a 40K tabletop in the Art of War Down Under studio. Bringing together some of the best players in Australia, AoW DU produce podcasts and streamed battle reports, and spend their weekends tearing up the tournament scene.

How This Works

If you’ve already had the lowdown from the introduction, you can skip straight onto the lists, otherwise click below to expand the details.

Details - Click to Expand

For each of these previews we’re going to be looking at the lists in the same style as the Competitive Innovations series, breaking down what the big highlights are of each list are and then digging in to some of the things they can do on the table. For this special event, I’m also going to take things a bit further – having studied all 16 lists, I’ve rated each out of five on the following criteria:

  • Ranged Power: how much damage the army can do while the opponent is still at arm’s length.
  • Close Quarters: how much damage the army inflicts up close, either via short ranged firepower or melee attacks.
  • Mobility: How effectively the army can manoeuvre around the table.
  • Durability: How much punishment the army can soak up.
  • Tricks: How many tricks and clutch options the army has up its sleeve to turn the game to its advantage.

Bear in mind when looking at these ratings that I’ve done them in the context of the lists in the event, not the wider 40K world – because with the power that our 16 top players are bringing to bear, I’d mostly just be handing out fives otherwise, and there wouldn’t be a one in sight!

Once we’ve been through the two lists, I’ve assembled a panel of Goonhammer’s finest tournament minds to vote on the outcome of each matchup and tell me why. We’ll pick out who we think is going into each game with the upper hand, then come the event itself find out whether they manage to cruise to victory or if we have an upset on the cards.

The panel are:

  • Cyle “Naramyth” Thompson: All-round Imperium fan and currently ranked 7th in the ITC.
  • James “Boon” Kelling: Aeldari mastermind and winner of the Mid-MO Maelstrom GT, currently ranked 13th in the ITC.
  • Shane Watts: Multi-faction mastermind with multiple 9th Edition top-fours. You might have seen his Ork list featured over on Metawatch!
  • Chase “Gunum” Garber: Creator of our “Hear Me Out” series, and a big fan of more unusual lists.
  • Liam “Corrode” Royle: Goonhammer’s editor in chief and TO at Black Heart Wargaming.

Matchup 4 – Erik Lathouras vs. Liam Hackett

Erik Lathouras – Grey Knights

The Player

Who is Erik Lathouras? Well let’s just say he’s a man with back muscles of steel. Erik has conquered all of Australia whilst wielding 300+ gaunts and played a critical part in shining a light on the land down under. He has become a man who prides himself on playing the obscure and oft times neglected factions to perfection.

He currently holds a fair few records in Aus, longest win streak with twenty-seven consecutive wins logged in DUP. Former Cancon Winner, 3 times state champion for Queensland and captain of the most successful state team in Australian history, WTC member for 2019 there isn’t much down there Erik hasn’t cracked.
He’s a fruit market operator by trade and is infuriatingly only in his early twenties, which means he will be a name to remember for years to come.

The List

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [28 PL, 497pts] ++

+ HQ +

Chaplain [6 PL, 113pts]: 5. Recitation of Projection, 6. Invocation of Focus, 6: Lore Master, Edict Imperator, Sanctic Shard, Storm Bolter, Warlord, Warp Shaping

Grand Master Voldus [8 PL, 160pts]: Astral Aim, Gate of Infinity, Sanctuary

+ Troops +

Strike Squad [14 PL, 224pts]: Vortex of Doom
. 2x Grey Knight (Incinerator): 2x Incinerator
. 7x Grey Knight (Warding Stave): 7x Nemesis Warding Stave, 7x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Force Sword

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [91 PL, -3CP, 1,495pts] ++

+ HQ +

Castellan Crowe [5 PL, 85pts]: Empyrean Domination

Librarian [6 PL, 111pts]: Armoured Resilience, Artisan Nullifier Matrix, Warp Shaping
. Nemesis Warding Stave
. Storm Bolter: Storm Bolter

+ Elites +

Paladin Squad [30 PL, 543pts] . Paladin (Psycannon): Psycannon (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Psycannon): Psycannon (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Psycannon): Psycannon (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. Paladin (Psycannon): Psycannon (Terminator)
. . Nemesis Force Halberd
. 5x Paladin (Warding Stave): 5x Nemesis Warding Stave, 5x Storm Bolter
. Paragon: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer

Purifier Squad [14 PL, 200pts]: Hammerhand
. Knight of the Flame: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave
. 9x Purifier (Warding Stave): 9x Nemesis Warding Stave, 9x Storm Bolter

Purifier Squad [14 PL, 200pts]: Astral Aim
. Knight of the Flame: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave
. 9x Purifier (Warding Stave): 9x Nemesis Warding Stave, 9x Storm Bolter

Purifier Squad [14 PL, 200pts]: Sanctuary
. Knight of the Flame: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave
. 9x Purifier (Warding Stave): 9x Nemesis Warding Stave, 9x Storm Bolter

+ Dedicated Transport +

Rhino [4 PL, 78pts]: Storm bolter

Rhino [4 PL, 78pts]: Storm bolter

++ Total: [119 PL, -3CP, 1,992pts] ++

The Highlights

  • A veritable wall of warding staves aims to soak up melee thrusts and counterattack in kind.
  • A single Paladin bomb provides an anvil on which to break the opponents.
  • Surprising numbers of storm bolters backed up by litanies help shore up the ranged plan.
  • Rhinos provide additional objective support, on-board unit count and let the deployment of the Purifiers be staggered.

The Details

One of Erik’s most famous tournament triumphs was when he picked up Grey Knights when they were right in the doldrums and piloted them to a big GT win, and cometh the hour, cometh the man. The 9th Edition changes weren’t especially kind to the Knights of Titan, who fell precipitously from their position near the top of the metagame late in 8th, and they haven’t received much succor from the rules changes. Technically improving Abhor the Witch does help them, but when your entire army is made out of Psykers it becomes pretty difficult to deny maximum points on, even at the new, lower rate. Grey Knights do have some great tricks, but their conventional lists just aren’t working out. Enter Erik, ready to give them a real try with one of the most unique builds in the mix at the event.

This list leans on the substantial power of Purifiers to really shoot for the moon defensively. By stacking up Untained and UnbowedSanctuary and the +1 to rolls from their nemesis warding staves, one squad of these per turn can be sitting pretty on a 2+ invulnerable save in melee, which in a world where more lists than not are aiming to do a substantial part of their damage in the fight phase is a spectacular asset. One unit at a time here can pop out of a Rhino, bathe themselves in glorious light, then get stuck in, cheerfully bouncing off all but the most overwhelming assaults from the enemy while bonking them with their staves and roasting them with Purifying Flame. Since the Paladin squad are fantastic tanks as well, that allows this army to soak up charges on multiple fronts, and the aim is clearly to buy the time to smoke the enemy with either massed storm bolters or psychic firepower as the situation dictates.

Grey Knight - Justicar

Grey Knight – Justicar
Credit: Pendulin

That’s a pretty strong plan, and by running five full sized units of Knights rather than lots of small ones, it does also mean this list has an actual fighting chance of not bleeding the maximum points on Abhor against an opponent that tries to crack through the lines and fails. You can see that strategy taken further by the choice of Characters here, with the common sight of Kaldor Draigo passed over in favour of mostly buff wizards, with only Castellan Crowe being primarily combat focused (and he’s mostly just bargain priced). Mitigating secondary weaknesses helps massively with your chances of winning in 9th, and the unusual setup chosen here really does give this force a leg-up on other Grey Knight builds in that regard.

Given that, what’s also good is that it doesn’t really have to give up any of their strengths. You’ve still got the massive bully unit that is the Paladins, you’ve still got the ability to set up a surprisingly large range spike turn using Tide of Convergance and Psybolt Ammunition (optionally assisted by litanies or Astral Aim), and still have near-unmatched psychic damage output when it’s really needed, especially once the Purifiers get into the thick of it. Combine that with all the headaches you can cause with Edict Imperator and Gate of Infinity and you’ve got a list that’s ready to throw down. It is still staking its success on an alarmingly low total wound count, but it’s vastly more impressive than any other Grey Knight list I’ve seen recently, and really shows how to apply some lateral thinking to the challenges of a weaker faction.

Liam Hackett – Orks

The Player

Down under he is known as the Good Doctor Hackett, as at the time he graduated as a psychiatrist he was the youngest doctor in the country. Past that, his brain is so big and powerful it regularly defeats his hairline.

But Liam is literally one of a kind, many consider him to be in the top 5 best players in Australia and after taking it to the best at WTC and putting Nick Nanavati squarely in the dirt, has made quite the impact nationally.

He has an impressive ELO rating of 2593, considered by some to be the true measure of a players position in their meta. Boasting a win ratio of 85% isn’t anything to sneeze at either.

After flipping back and forth for most of 9th with Orks and Chaos he has bought both for our viewing pleasure (more on that tomorrow)! Expect big big plays from this guy and the lists to get sillier and more obscure the longer you pay attention!

The List

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Orks) [26 PL, -1CP, 613pts] ++

  • Configuration +

Clan Kultur / Specialist Mobs: Deathskulls

+ HQ +

Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 120pts]: Shokk Attack Gun

Warboss [4 PL, -1CP, 83pts]: Attack Squig, Da Biggest Boss, Da Killa Klaw, Kunnin but Brutal, Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw, Warlord

+ Troops +

Gretchin [1 PL, 50pts] . 10x Gretchin: 10x Grot Blaster

+ Elites +

Kommandos [2 PL, 45pts] . 5x Kommando: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

+ Fast Attack +

Stormboyz [3 PL, 60pts] . 5x Stormboy: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

Stormboyz [3 PL, 60pts] . 5x Stormboy: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

+ Dedicated Transport +

Trukk [3 PL, 65pts]: Big Shoota

Trukk [3 PL, 65pts]: Big Shoota

Trukk [3 PL, 65pts]: Big Shoota

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Orks) [65 PL, -1CP, 1,383pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Clan Kultur / Specialist Mobs: Deathskulls

+ HQ +

Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 120pts]: Shokk Attack Gun

Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 120pts]: Shokk Attack Gun

+ Elites +

Meganobz [10 PL, 200pts] . Boss Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)

Meganobz [10 PL, 200pts] . Boss Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)

Meganobz [10 PL, 200pts] . Boss Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)
. Meganob w/ Saws: Killsaws (Pair)

Tankbustas [8 PL, 153pts] . Boss Nob: Rokkit Launcha
. 8x Tankbusta: 8x Rokkit Launcha, 8x Stikkbombs, 8x Tankbusta Bombs

+ Fast Attack +

Megatrakk Scrapjet [16 PL, -1CP, 330pts] . Kustom Job: Korkscrew
. Megatrakk Scrapjet: 2x Twin Big Shoota
. Megatrakk Scrapjet: 2x Twin Big Shoota
. Megatrakk Scrapjet: 2x Twin Big Shoota

Stormboyz [3 PL, 60pts] . 5x Stormboy: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

++ Total: [91 PL, -2CP, 1,996pts] ++

The Highlights

  • A combined arms Ork list that can krump at any distance – just the way da boyz like it.
  • Meganobz provide a powerful melee thrust and put your opponent on a clock to keep them away from their lines.
  • Tankbustas and SAG Meks grant some hefty ranged firepower, especially as Deathskulls.
  • Megatrakk Scrapjets provide flexible, mobile support either at range or up close thanks to the Korkscrew amping up their killing power.

The Details

For dedicated readers this list might look familiar, because it’s not actually the first time it’s featured on the website. Just before Christmas, Liam played this army to a third place finish at the Queensland Masters invitational event, putting Shokk Attack Guns thoroughly back on the map for 9th Edition and showing off the power of the kombined arms approach. The 12-model transport capacity and surprising durability of Trukks is a big boon to this list, as it gives it a reasonable amount of options as to how it chooses to attack. Against opponents that don’t have many ways to reach out and blast one, it can pack up the shooting bus of hell with the Tankbustas and all three Meks in one of them while the Nobz zoom forwards in the others. Even against opponents with a decent amount of shooting that may still prove pretty effective, as dealing with an oncoming rush of Meganobz (with ObSec thanks to the Deathskulls kultur) might be higher up their priority list, and the speed of the Trukk also lets it strike from outside the range of many popular choices. If that isn’t feasible then splitting the Meks up is also an option, and if the terrain is right you can always have some sitting next to a ruin with some grots hiding on the other side of a wall providing Look Out Sir protection.

Credit: Greg “Greggles” Hess

Adding in the shooting of three Scrapjets as well, especially Deathskull powered, ends up meaning that this list is genuinely dangerous at range while still having enough crunchy melee units to go for a combat option as well then the situation demands it. It’s also decently mobile up until the point it commits, but unlike something like Harlequins does become a bit less speedy once its units are all on the table – at least its main ones. To ensure it doesn’t lose board control in that situation, it packs a whole bunch of cheap deep striking units like Stormboyz and Kommandos. All are ObSec, all are valid for most actions, and they ensure that this list has a really strong secondary plan. ObSec Stormboyz are also better than ever with the mission changes, as they’re perfect for using their Full Throttle move for a last minute objective steal if you go second, and the changes to Bring it Down mean it’s no longer even there as a (relatively) easy 12pts against this army for a shooty list, forcing the opponent to make plays for other objectives.

That’s obviously easier said than done against such a mobile, flexible force, and taking control of the table against this list is a daunting task, though not impossible. While certainly not squishy the list is just that bit more brittle against high output threats lists than some of the others we’ve looked at. In particular, if something takes out the Meganobz fast then the army is immediately short on ways to hold the line, so the SAGs and Tankbustas need to make sure they’re stripping out anything that can lay down massed D3 firepower as a priority. With how strong this army’s objective play is that’s certainly only a minor risk rather than a major one, and it’s worth remembering that 9th’s shorter games give your opponent a shorter window to exploit that kind of weak spot. This army definitely has what it takes to compete in the 9th Edition world, and we should be in for a good show in this one.

The Panel’s Verdict

So, we’ve gone through these two lists, checked out their strengths, and we know that they’ll be throwing down on the Overrun mission. With all that in mind, who’s going to take the victory?

Once again I’ve thrown this to our expert panel, and after some in-depth consideration they’ve come back with their verdict. Click below to find out what it is!

The Panel's Verdict - Click to Expand

By a four to one margin, the panel think that the Orks will take this one. The consensus was that, particularly on the Domination scoring, the Orks just have a much easier path to a very high score, and it will be tricky for the Grey Knights to hold them back thanks to the Ork ability to go very wide. It doesn’t quite end up as a sure thing though – the tools the Grey Knights have line up pretty well against the Ork threats, so if they can manage to keep the Orks from spilling out past them then they might be able to build a path to success. Overall, however, the silver-clad knights are definitely going into this game under pressure, and are going to need all their tricks to get a foothold in this game – but if any Grey Knight list can do it, it’s this one.

Wrap Up

Another preview down, check back in tomorrow for our final one for the first week. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the Las Vegas Nopen website and the gleam contest, and if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, let me know at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

 

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