LVO Day 2: The Field Narrows

Welcome back, Dear Reader, to our ongoing coverage of the 2022 Las Vegas Open event! As we go into the final day of this year’s event there’s a ton of action still to happen and some incredible storylines playing out (and having played out). If you missed our previous coverage, it may be worth going back and reading the articles we’ve posted already this week:

Let’s dive right into how things shook out day 2, starting with our Goonhammer crew:

Josef “JoeK” Krier

After a stellar 3-0 day one, JoeK ran into some very tough competition in round 4, facing a Cities of Sigmar list from Jeremy LeFebrve that’s basically tailor-made to kill dragons. In a grueling game, Joe was thoroughly dismantled. Prior to the event I had asked Joe what armies he was worried about and he essentially told me “Nighthaunts, ironically,” due partly to Nagash being an unknown factor and primarily to the massive amount of ethereal and ward saves the army can work with.

Jeremy's Army - Click to Expand

Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar
– City: Phoenicium
– Grand Strategy: Dominating Presence
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty
Anointed on Frostheart Phoenix (315)*
– General
– Command Trait: One with Fire and Ice – Golden Mist
– Artefact: Phoenix Pyre Ashes
Assassin (80)*
Assassin (80)*
Assassin (80)**
Celestial Hurricanum with Celestial Battlemage (280)
– Lore of the Phoenix: Golden Mist
Anointed on Frostheart Phoenix (315)*
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
10 x Phoenix Guard (175)***
10 x Phoenix Guard (175)***
10 x Phoenix Guard (175)***
10 x Shadow Warriors (120)**
10 x Shadow Warriors (120)**
1 x Scourgerunner Chariots (80)*
***Hunters of the Heartlands

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 106
Drops: 12

If Nighthaunts are potentially trouble for JoeK’s dragons, this army is much, much worse. This army packs army-wide -1 to be wounded, 4+ armor, 4+ ward, and 2 attacks rend 1 with pretty much every unit being able to fight on death, immune to monster reactions, and immune to battleshock, plus the army can get +1 to hit and wound for killing units. Rough times.

JoeK was able to recover with a win in round 5 against Ben Riddle’s Seraphon in order to finish out the day with a 4-1 record, but ultimately missed the cut to top 8.

James “Boon” Kelling

As you may recall, Boon went 3-0 on day 1, piloting his Thicc City drukhari list past a Crusher Stampede list round 1 and Andrew Gonyo’s 6-Dreadknight Grey Knights list round 3. A narrow win that came down to the wire secured Boon’s spot among those still hopeful to advance.

The Boon Cocoon

Staying at these events can be an adventure all its own. Especially this year, with the number of last minute cancellations and changes, sometimes your intended roommate falls through and in order to save a few hundred dollars you end up staying in a friend’s room. If you’re Boon however, you may decide that sleeping on the couch isn’t comfortable and instead choose to line the floor of a closet with cushions and sleep there.

Jesus, Boon.

Our Patrons on Discord have lovingly dubbed this “the Boon Cocoon” and reader let me tell you that there is absolutely no ventilation in there – once that door is closed shit gets real.

I’m sure there are worse ways to die, but I can’t think of any

The Day 2 Games

Coming into Day 2 Boon was facing off against a Crusher Stampede again in round 4, this one packing a Dimachaeron and a Flying Hive Tyrant. Boon got the first turn however, and was able to bury the Flying Hive Tyrant in Grotesques early on. The game was essentially over when he was able to blank his opponent on primary objectives on turn 3.

Next up was the mirror match against Cameron Piñeiro’s Drukhari, also running a Thicc City build. This was another close game, again down to the wire, but Boon pulled out the win. At this point however, it was becoming clear that even if Boon did go undefeated through six rounds, his individual game scores were pretty low, and he’d have to win a game in the Shadow Round in order to move on to day 3. This meant that even with two games down, he was potentially only half done with his day’s games. Brutal. If you’re unfamiliar with Shadow Rounds, stick around – I’ll cover that in a moment.

Before he could worry about the Shadow Round however, Boon would need to win game 6, where he was matched up against Matt Lorah’s Adeptus Custodes.

Matt's List - Click to Expand

Battalion detachment


Trajann valoris 170 (warlord)

Shield captain on dawn eagle jetbike, misercordia, salvo launcher, tip if the spear 195pts
Shield captain in allarus terminator armour, unstoppable destroyer 135

3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135

3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135
3 custodian guard with guardian spears 135
3 custodian wardens with castellan axes 150

Allarus custodian 65
Allarus custodian 65
Allarus custodian 65

Contempter galatus 170 eternal penitent
Contempter galatus 170

Caladius grav tank with twin iliastus accelerator culvrins 205
Caladius grav tank with twin iliastus accelerator culvrins 205

Bike captain- relic: stasis oubliette, warlord trait: lock warden, superior creation

Terminator captain- relic: praetorian plate, warlord trait: radiant mantle

The emperor’s heroes -2cp
Open the vaults -1 cp
Victor of the blood games -1cp
Eternal penitent -1 cp
Trajinn +1 cp

Starting CP 8

Points: 2000/2000

Another close game that came down to the wire, this time low-scoring thanks to the mission being The Scouring (why do FLG events use this mission?). Boon got first turn and set up his Grotesques and Talos for a good second turn and… proceeded to get mired down against a Custodes player making all his 4+ saves, particularly on the Galatus. After a great deal of back-and-forth with Boon jumping out to an early lead, he wasn’t able to close the deal, and narrowly lost, 53-46. That’s the Scouring for you.

The low score also hurt Boon, whose prior scores weren’t good enough to get him into the top 12 to make the Shadow Round. So Boon’s event ends at 5-1, with what looks like a 58th place finish due to the insane, stupid way these things are ranked by battle points instead of win paths. It’s still a hell of a run, and a 5-0 start is nothing to sneeze at. Boon’s going to get drunk as hell, dust himself off, and then get ready to return to Craftworlds Eldar for the 2022 season. Godspeed and goodnight, sweet prince.

Other Goonhammer People

  • “Contemptor” Kevin Stillman had a decent run in the 40k Narrative, narrowly winning a team game against Orks and then narrowly dropping a game to Necrons.
  • Don Hooson finished 4-2, going LWW on Day 2 with his Death Guard. As luck would have it, he got paired into Andrew Gonyo’s 6-dreadknight list as his first Day 2 game and lost (it’s a nightmare matchup for DG), but then recovered with wins over Thousand Sons and Custodes.
  • Mike Pestilens finished 4-2, going WWL on Day 2 with his Emperor’s Children. He beat Thousand Sons and Custodes before dropping his final game to Drukhari.
  • Goonhammer Patron Jeffrey Kolodner finished 4-2 with his Adepta Sororitas, going 3-0 on Day 2 with resounding wins against Knights, Grey Knights, and Freebooterz to end up 93rd.

The Day 2 Storylines

There’s a ton to follow and update you on for Day 2 so strap in and get ready.

The Shadow Round Gives us the Final 8

Alright so let’s talk about the Shadow Round. It’s not a secret or anything, but rather a quirk of the event size and the realities of pairings. In order to get an event with a single undefeated player using Swiss pairings, you need a certain number of rounds to cut the field down. Basically, if you nave n rounds, you can have up to 2^n people, so 3 rounds gives you a single winner on 8 people, 6 rounds lets you go up to 64, and 9 lets you have up to 512 players. Because LVO had more than 750 players, that meant adding a single round to pare down the field to a final top 8 for Sunday’s games. That extra round is the Shadow Round.

The cutoff here is to take the top 4 players and give them “free” access to the final 8. The remaining 4 spots were determined by a 4-game Shadow Round.

The Top Four:

  1. David Gaylard (Tyranids)
  2. Richard Siegler (AdMech)
  3. Ben Neal (Grey Knights)
  4. Raphaël (Bizuthor) Jaffre (Drukhari)

Siegler’s final 93-point game in the otherwise low-scoring mission the Scouring helped him jump into the top four and avoid the Shadow Round. Meanwhile, our Shadow Round matchups were:

  • Matt Lorah (Custodes) vs. Quinton Johnson (Custodes)
  • Evan Tomchin (Custodes) vs. Ben Cherwien (Tyranids)
  • Mani Cheema (Drukhari) vs. Alex MacDougal (Forces of the Hive Mind)
  • Anthony Vanella (Drukhari) vs. Lukas Troller (Orks)

Those games finished up late last night, giving us some huge upsets and the last 4 of our top 8: Matt Lorah, Evan Tomchin, Anthony Vanella and, shockingly, Alex MacDougall.

Alex the Wrack Slayer

I really wasn’t sure Mani could lose a game – every time I thought a matchup for Mani looked bad, he stomped them into a deep grave. That Wracks list is insane, and despite challenges with time, Mani has expertly piloted it to 6 wins, even over lists like Freebooterz that I thought had the resources to pick up Wracks. And then he squared off against Alex MacDougall’s Forces of the Hive Mind list.

Alex MacDougall's List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Tyranids – Genestealer Cults – 2022) [52 PL, 10CP, 991pts] ++

+ Configuration [10CP] +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)  [12CP]

Cult Creeds: The Twisted Helix

Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

+ No Force Org Slot [4 PL, 80pts] +

Kelermorph [4 PL, 80pts]: 3x Liberator Autostub

+ HQ [8 PL, 165pts] +

Patriarch [8 PL, 165pts]: Familiar [10pts], Meditations in Shadow [1 PL, 15pts], Patriarch’s Claws, Power: Mass Hypnosis, Power: Might From Beyond, Power: Mutagenic Deviation

+ Troops [13 PL, 240pts] +

Acolyte Hybrids [7 PL, 150pts]: A Trap Sprung [1 PL, 15pts]
. 5x Acolyte Hybrid [45pts]: 5x Autopistol, 5x Blasting Charges, 5x Cult Claws and Knife, 5x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Hybrid w/ Industrial Weapon [19pts]: Blasting Charges, Frag Grenades, Heavy Rock Drill [10pts]
. Acolyte Leader [14pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Bonesword [5pts], Frag Grenades

Acolyte Hybrids [3 PL, 45pts]
. 4x Acolyte Hybrid [36pts]: 4x Autopistol, 4x Blasting Charges, 4x Cult Claws and Knife, 4x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Leader [9pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Claws and Knife, Frag Grenades

Acolyte Hybrids [3 PL, 45pts]
. 4x Acolyte Hybrid [36pts]: 4x Autopistol, 4x Blasting Charges, 4x Cult Claws and Knife, 4x Frag Grenades
. Acolyte Leader [9pts]: Autopistol, Blasting Charges, Cult Claws and Knife, Frag Grenades

+ Elites [16 PL, 305pts] +

Purestrain Genestealers [8 PL, 155pts]: Cult Claws and Talons, Our Time is Nigh [1 PL, 15pts], 10x Purestrain Genestealer [140pts]

Purestrain Genestealers [8 PL, 150pts]: Cult Claws and Talons, 10x Purestrain Genestealer [140pts], They Came From Below [1 PL, 10pts]

+ Fast Attack [6 PL, 106pts] +

Atalan Jackals [3 PL, 53pts]
. Atalan Jackal [17pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges, Demolition Charge [5pts]
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Leader [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges

Atalan Jackals [3 PL, 53pts]
. Atalan Jackal [17pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges, Demolition Charge [5pts]
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Jackal [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges
. Atalan Leader [12pts]: Atalan Small Arms, Blasting Charges

+ Dedicated Transport [5 PL, 95pts] +

Goliath Truck [5 PL, 95pts]: Cache of Demolition Charges [5pts], Heavy Stubber, Twin Autocannon

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Tyranids) [50 PL, -2CP, 1,006pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Hive Fleet: Leviathan

+ Stratagems [-1CP] +

Progeny of the Hive [-1CP]

+ HQ [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts] +

Neurothrope [5 PL, -1CP, 95pts]: Claws and Teeth, Power: Catalyst, Power: Smite, Stratagem: Alpha Leader-Beast [-1CP], Warlord, Warlord Trait: Strategic Adaptation, Warlord Trait: Swarm Leader

+ Troops [23 PL, 456pts] +

Termagants [9 PL, 196pts]
. 28x Termagant (Devourer) [196pts]: 28x Devourer [56pts]

Termagants [9 PL, 182pts]
. 26x Termagant (Devourer) [182pts]: 26x Devourer [52pts]

Tyranid Warriors [5 PL, 78pts]: Adrenal Glands [3pts], Synaptic Link: Bioweapon Bond [1 PL, 15pts]
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons
. Tyranid Warrior [20pts]: Lash Whip and Bonesword [3pts], Scything Talons

+ Elites [22 PL, 455pts] +

Hive Guard [12 PL, 270pts]
. Adaptive Physiology: Enhanced Resistance
. 6x Hive Guard (Impaler) [270pts]: 6x Impaler Cannon [60pts]

Maleceptor [10 PL, 185pts]: Massive Scything Talons, Power: Onslaught, Synaptic Link: Focal Essence [1 PL, 15pts]

++ Total: [102 PL, 8CP, 1,997pts] ++

With its two massive blocks of Devilgaunts, Hive Guard, and Purestrain Genestealers, Alex’s list seems tailor-made for picking up Wracks, and that’s exactly what he did. Through turns 1 and 2 Alex killed 150 of Mani’s wracks, picking up 90 of them on turn 2 to essentially seal the game. It’s a massive win for Alex who now gets to compete for the ultimate prize. It’s also a rough loss for Mani, and jeopardizes his chances of winning the ITC this year as now he’ll finish outside of the top 8.

Custodes Might Be A Problem

Three Custodes players in the top 12 certainly raises some alarms, particularly when two of those builds knocked Drukhari lists out at the same time. Of the 63 Custodes players at LVO, 14 went undefeated through the first three rounds, and another 9 made it undefeated through four. That’s incredibly good. For reference, Drukhari went 54/17, Tyranids went 62/10, and Grey Knights went 49/7. There are more raw win percentages to consider, but it seems clear that Custodes are on par with the game’s top factions, and that’s with players having limited experience playing them, and before a major points drop coming up in a couple of weeks. This faction might be an issue.

Dragons Might Not Have Been As Big A Deal As We Thought

On the other side of things, the Dragons might not have been as big a deal as we all feared – only two dragons lists made the top 8 for Age of Sigmar, where the field looks like:

  1. James O’Brien (Stormcast Eternals – Dragons)
  2. Jeremy LeFebvre (Cities of Sigmar)
  3. Gavin Grigar (Cities of Sigmar – has Dragons)
  4. Jiwan Noah Singh (Ironjawz)
  5. Mrigank Jha (Stormcast Eternals Knights Excelsior)
  6. Russ Tanner (Ogor Mawtribes Bloodgullet)
  7. Nate Tretanelli (Nighthaunt Emerald Host)
  8. Levan Sichinava (Soulblight Gravelords)

That’s a lot more diverse than anyone expected – not a single Seraphon list to be seen! It’s certainly food for thought, since many of these lists had to beat dragons to end up where they are, and the eventual champion will likely have to as well at this point. At this point the AoS ITC is still up for grabs but Grigar’s probably got the best chances of winning. His list combines freeguild crossbow shooting with a few dragons for powerful ranged attacks and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against the rest. But otherwise, the all-dragon lists haven’t dominated as much as we might have expected.

Also noteworthy here is the Nighthaunts making an appearance – we’ve already talked a little about how they may match up well against dragons and get a boost from new Nagash but expect us to talk more about them this week.

Siegler’s Closing In on the ITC Win

After showing up by surprise at the event, Richard “The Machine” Siegler found a way to comfortably head into the final day and avoid the Shadow Round, and is now three wins away from locking up LVO and potentially the 40k ITC for the 2021 season. It also wasn’t a sure thing, either; Siegler could very well have lost to Olivas – and some would argue he should have – but Olivas may have made a major misstep during terrain placement (LVO uses player-placed terrain), that left him open to being shot on turn 1 and helped Siegler take the win.

In the seeded top 8 Siegler’s next matchup looks to be against Anthony Vanella’s Drukhari and if there’s a list Siegler’s practiced against and knows, it’s Thicc City.

The Dark Horses: Anthony Vanella and Alex MacDougall

If you’re looking for an underdog to root for, consider one of these two players.

Anthony Vanella is playing Drukhari and won the US Goonhammer Open GT last year, taking home the prize belt. I have to ding him a little for not wearing it around the event, but he’s had a hell of a run to get this far and a #1 finish at LVO could see him winning the ITC.

Alex MacDougall beat Mani Cheema’s insane Wracks list with an impressive showing and his Tyranid soup list has a lot of versatility. It’s hard not to root for him after seeing him take down that juggernaut, particularly because he’s likely saved us all from 2+ months of agonizing over whether it’s worth it to build that many wracks.

EDIT: Noted Scotsman Innes Wilson has informed me that you “should all be rooting for Jaffre or Gaylard to win, you cowards” as it would “be hilarious if a non-American player won the ITC this year.”


Finally it’s worth mentioning the other event that will be happening today: the LVO 2022 RTT. This three-round event kicks off the 2022 season and will feature a ton of players whose Saturday ended in defeat vying to claim the first event of the 2022 season while the giants battle it out for the final games of the ’21 season. It’s worth following this event as well since it’s a great, tough event.

Later: A Final Recap

That does it for this update but stay tuned for our next, final update where we talk about the final results and what they might mean, then we follow that up with Competitive Innovations in 9th on Wednesday, recapping the whole event. In the meantime if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at