Las Vegas Nopen Match 5: Art of War Down Under pt. 2

An article by    Events and Challenges Gaming 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.

Australia is a hot place for 40K right now, with an incredibly diverse metagame, and surprise – for the Las Vegas Nopen, you’re getting a double dose. Yesterday we looked at the first set of lists from Art of War Down Under, and today we’ve got another matchup from this team for your perusal. Yesterdays lists both had some tricky stuff going on, but today’s matchup has a decidedly different flavour – pure melee brutality. Let’s take a look.

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 5 – Aron Green vs. Liam Hackett

Aron Green – Orks

The Player

A relative newcomer to the competitive 40k scene in Aus, having joined up during the 8th edition influx. Aron is a man on the rise, something of a well rounded killer, able to pick up and master lists and army concepts faster than most.

Recently Aron has jumped aboard the Ork train to Waaagh Town and in true Aussie fashion has been playing a horde. Of his last 2 showings with his current list he has only dropped 1 game. He boasts a 74% win rate with the Green (insert snare drum here) menace and is looking to stamp his name in the annals of 40k Australia.

The List

Battalion Detachment

Clan Kultur / Specialist Mobs: Goffs

+ HQ +

Big Mek in Mega Armour [6 PL, 118pts]: Da Killa Klaw, Da Kleverest Boss, Follow Me, Ladz!, Kustom Force Field, Kustom Shoota, Power Klaw, Warlord

Ghazghkull Thraka [15 PL, 300pts]

Weirdboy [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: 3. Da Jump, Goffs: Bull Charge, Warphead

+ Troops +

Boyz [12 PL, 250pts, -1CP]: Skarboyz, 3x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Killsaw, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 29x Choppa, 29x Slugga, 29x Stikkbombs

Boyz [12 PL, 250pts, -1CP]: Skarboyz, 3x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Killsaw, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 29x Choppa, 29x Slugga, 29x Stikkbombs

Boyz [12 PL, 250pts, -1CP]: Skarboyz, 3x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Killsaw, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 29x Choppa, 29x Slugga, 29x Stikkbombs

Boyz [12 PL, 237pts, -1CP]: Skarboyz, 2x Tankbusta Bombs
. Boss Nob: Big Choppa, Slugga
. 28x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa: 28x Choppa, 28x Slugga, 28x Stikkbombs

+ Elites +

Kommandos [3 PL, 45pts]: Tankbusta Bombs
. 5x Kommando: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

Kommandos [3 PL, 45pts]: Tankbusta Bombs
. 5x Kommando: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

Kommandos [3 PL, 45pts]: Tankbusta Bombs
. 5x Kommando: 5x Choppa, 5x Slugga, 5x Stikkbombs

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)

Painboy [3 PL, 65pts]: Power Klaw

+ Fast Attack +

Stormboyz [3 PL, 60pts] . Boss Nob: Choppa, Choppa
. 4x Stormboy: 4x Choppa, 4x Slugga, 4x Stikkbombs

Stormboyz [3 PL, 60pts] . Boss Nob: Choppa, Choppa
. 4x Stormboy: 4x Choppa, 4x Slugga, 4x Stikkbombs

++ Total: [101 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Highlights

  • One of the signature Ork lists of the edition, Ghaz and Da Goffs are ready to rumble.
  • The classic 120 Skarboyz at the core, but a heavier contingent of objective grabbers than we’ve seen in some iterations of this list
  • A single unit of Meganobz to provide some emergency crunch.

The Details

In many ways this list needs no introduction – Orks went into the edition perceived as a pretty weak faction, but right out of the gate various spins on Ghaz and Boyz started massively outperforming expectations, and not too long after that the kunnin’ innovation of just crushing the enemy under an avalanche of Skarboyz arose (helped along by our own Shane’s success with it) and the great Waaagh hasn’t really looked back from there. 120 boyz in Painboy aura and (at least for the lead unit) Kustom Force Field is a massive task to chew through, and the ever present threat of Unstoppable Green Tide is there to really focus the mind of any opponent planning to try. Amped up to S5 by the power of the Skarboyz stratagem, packing hit re-rolls from Ghaz and exploding sixes from their Kultur, these units can just bury opponents in attacks, and have the volume to take down almost anything. For the few things that are too crunchy, the looming threat of Ghaz himself (plus the Killa Klaw Mek, who does a decent Warboss impression) needs to be avoided on pain of krumpin’, and a (likely) Tellyporting unit of Meganobz provides another hammer blow that can take out stuff the Boyz can’t handle (mostly 2+ saves on high T models).

Arguably one of the challenges with running this list to glory is putting your own stamp on it, because the near-mandatory core (Ghaz, the Skarboyz and the other characters) is a full 3/4 of your points, but Aron has made some notable meta calls in how he’s filled the rest out. He’s got the one unit of Meganobz, but rather than mounting them in a Trukk (a popular choice) he’s gone in on squeezing as many objective grabbing units in as possible, with three Kommando squads and two of Stormboyz. This ensures the list is very hard to prevent from maxing out positional and Action secondaries, which combine with the strong primary capability you get from having 120 T4 troops on the board to make this list one that’s going to rack up some impressive scores. I think the extra ability to go wide and react is going to help right out of the gate in the first game here, and it could definitely make the difference between victory and defeat. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the opposition and see what’s going to be meeting the charge of the Skarboyz.

Liam Hackett (List 2) – Chaos Space Marines

The Player

So, as sneakily alluded to yesterday, the good doctor will be playing two first round games at the Las Vegas Nopen. This time, however, rather than playing Orks himself he’s going to be trying to take them down with a spicy chaos concoction.

The List

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [86 PL, -4CP, 1,685pts] ++

  • Configuration +

Legion: Word Bearers

  • Stratagems +

Gifts of Chaos (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 2x Dark Disciple: 2x Close combat weapon

+ HQ +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, -1CP, 80pts]: Apostle of the Dark Council, Benediction of Darkness, Epistle of Lorgar, Mark of Khorne, Soultearer Portent, Wrathful Entreaty

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: 4. Master of the Union, Cursed Earth, Infernal Power, Mark of Nurgle, Mutated Invigoration, The Malefic Tome, Warlord

Sorcerer [6 PL, 90pts]: Baleful Icon, Bolt pistol, Force sword, Mark of Nurgle, Prescience, Warptime

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 60pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Autogun

+ Elites +

Possessed [20 PL, 410pts]: Icon of Excess, Mark of Slaanesh
. 20x Possessed: 20x Horrifying Mutations

Possessed [20 PL, 410pts]: Icon of Excess, Mark of Slaanesh
. 20x Possessed: 20x Horrifying Mutations

Possessed [20 PL, 410pts]: Icon of Excess, Mark of Slaanesh
. 20x Possessed: 20x Horrifying Mutations

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Daemons) [15 PL, 310pts] ++

  • Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Slaanesh

+ HQ +

Syll’Esske [11 PL, 230pts] Delightful agonies
Hysteric frenzy

+ Troops +

Daemonettes [4 PL, 80pts]: Alluress, Instrument of Chaos
. 9x Daemonette: 9x Piercing claws

++ Total: [101 PL, 7CP, 1,995pts] ++

The Highlights

  • Possessed make a surprise return, turning up in force ready to overwhelm the opposition.
  • Word Bearers buff characters provide reliable amplification of the Possessed’s capabilities.
  • Bringing a mono-Slaanesh Daemon Detachment provides an Advance/Charge aura for the Possessed.

The Details

Possessed were all the rage at the end of 8th, but dropped off precipitously at the start of 9th thanks to losing access to some of the tricks they relied on. Given how much more important melee is in the edition, that was a little bit of a surprise, but Possessed were always unusually dependant on the kind of “wrap and traps” that 9th shut down to operate, and are also extremely vulnerable to Blast weapons. They were tried a bit out the gate, but have mostly gone quiet. Mostly.

The one place where Possessed do still have some game is in Word Bearers. The combination of Revered Hosts providing an option to boost their damage and the excellent support the legion provides for both Dark Apostles and sorcerors of all stripes mean that they can turn the powers of the Possessed up to 11. Add in the fact that they still have the options of some cross-faction DAEMON synergy, and you have a tool that’s certainly been turning up in Chaos Space Marines lists, proving moderately effective in some of their better builds.

I will admit that when I’m saying that I’m mostly talking about a single Possessed unit backed up by other options – but this list throws that straight out the window in favour of three full squads of tentacle monsters, ready to try and punt opposing armies directly off the table. Backing them up in the Word Bearers detachment you have the trio of buff characters you need to make them really sing. A souped up Master of Possession boosts their saves with Cursed Earth and damage output with Infernal Power, providing the broad power boost needed to make multiple units work, then a Dark Apostle and Sorceror can stack Soultearer Portent and Prescience onto one unit then fire them into the heart of the opponent’s line with Warptime. With all the buffs in place, the amount of damage that can be dealt is truly spectacular, especially against any Imperium forces thanks to Death to the False Emperor and the presence of Icons of Excess.

The other two units aren’t slouches, of course, and here the choice of Syll’Eskke helps a whole bunch. Acting as both a Daemon Prince and herald and providing Locus of Swiftness means that as long as this regal monstrosity is alive all sixty Possessed are operating at a pretty impressive baseline set of capabilities, and they are of course another deadly melee threat in their own right. Their re-roll morale aura is also surprisingly relevant, giving the Possessed a flat 30% chance of passing any Morale test they’re called on to make even after a heavy body count. They also bring a Daemonette unit tagging along, which combines with the decent spread of cultists in the main detachment to provide some angles on objective play and secondaries. Opponents are likely to be very pre-occupied with the onrushing crowd of Possessed, allowing these hangers-on to skulk on objectives, and Tide of Traitors is also a powerful option for ticking off a remote Scramblers completion in an emergency.

All told, this list has got pressure, it’s got killing power and it can play the mission pretty well, so it’s definitely got game. The longer the edition goes on, the more attractive giving Possessed another real try is looking, as more and more people end up all-in on melee plans which forces them to confront these vicious killers head on. With the ability to dart in for a charge from a surprising distance to get the jump on enemy melee threats, and a very high wound count for opponents to chew through if they don’t want to get hit back, they’ve got a lot to offer, and with them throwing down against the Orks it’s safe to say that this game is going to be an absolute bloodbath.

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?

The panel have once again weighed in, so click below to see their verdict.

The Panel's Verdict - Click to Expand

This one caused a lot of soul searching among our panel, and may have been the most hotly debated yet. In the end, they came down 4-1 in favour of the Orks winning the day here. In the end, despite both armies potentially being able to evaporate each other’s main blocks with big rolls, the majority feeling was that the Orks having better tools for Actions and Ghaz specifically being pretty tough to deal with would swing it for them. However, the considerable weight of nasty tricks that the Chaos list has up its sleeve could certainly swing things, and this one has a good chance of going right down to the wire.

Wrap Up

That’s it for this week, as your humble correspondant needs to sleep occasionally! We’ll be blasting through the last three lists Monday through Wednesday next week, so don’t miss them as we build up to the event itself. 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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