Nick Nanavati on Chaos Daemons in the Art of War Streamhouse RTT

The final die is cast. It spins for a few seconds longer than a normal die roll, which of course makes the moment feels as though it is a lifetime. There is a stillness in the air as the once roaring crowd goes uncharacteristically silent as it waits for the spinning to stop. And then it did. The Art of War Streamhouse RTT has a new champion, Nick Nanavati.

– Lord Kairos Fateweaver, the oracle of change. 

What a reassuring premonition, Fatey. For those not in the know, one half of this super awesome greater daemon can see the future, and he foresaw my victory at the Streamhouse RTT!

What is the Streamhouse RTT you might ask? It’s the World’s Hardest 40k RTT Tournament! Art of War Streamhouse RTT March 30th–April 2nd 2023!

The Streamhouse is an annual, intrateam tournament held every year by The Art of War to determine who is the undisputed King of the Streamhouse. The perks of being King of the Streamhouse include making all the rules, never doing dishes, and always getting to choose what’s on TV. So, it is the biggest of deals.

This year marks the 4th annual Streamhouse RTT. The first was won by the infamous Boy King, John Lennon, during the dark times of 2020. That means it didn’t even count. The following year was a great year. Some say the best year. In 2021 I was able to claim dominance of the Streamhouse. However, out of nothing other than pure grace, I resigned from my position to let my good friend Richard Siegler have a chance to sit upon the throne in 2022. Enough is enough though. The lost realms of Florida need their rightful king. The Brown Magic Returns.

If you missed Goonhammer’s overview of the event, you can find that article here.

As you can see from our bracket, I am set to face off in a battle of Chaos. My Chaos Daemons are slated to face none other than Mark Perry’s World Eaters in mortal combat. Upon victory upon the stupid red Chaos Marines I shall embark upon my next challenge. I will either face the current ITC Champion Jack Harpster and his Clowns, or my own protégé, Kasra Houshidar and his Ultrmarines.

I can only hope my student has become the master and triumphs over Jack, at which point there is no losing, for Kas will have made papa Nick proud. In any case, the journey will not stop there. For this year, there are in fact eight brave warriors in this double elimination tournament and I will have to be prepared to fight any of them!

What kind of list is capable of fending off such extremities of the meta though? I narrowed my options down to 4 lists:

  1. Mono-Tzeentch
  2. Mono-Slaanesh
  3. All of the ObSec 
  4. The Tried and True

Mono-Tzeentch is a relatively new archetype and one that is far more likely to succeed in teams formats where it can avoid some clearly problematic match ups such as Orks, Harlequins, and Death Wing. I don’t have much experience with this army, but it would provide a hard counter to Richard’s Tau, and likely Quinton’s Craftworlds and Kas’ Ultramarines.

Mono-Slaanesh is another relatively underexplored archetype. This one makes much more sense to me from a playstyle perspective and actually got me to play a game with it in the final hours leading up to the RTT against Adam Camilleri’s Grey Knights. Matchup-wise it’s hard for me to gauge because of lack of experience, but I could see how it has a reasonable match into the whole field. I think this army is very strong, but its lack of FLY, shooting, and meaningful psychic makes me feel a little bit shaky on the tools it brings to problem solve.

All of the ObSec. This is a weird Nick-concoction through and through. It’s also totally untested. Essentially, the premise is to take around 20-30 Plaguebearers, 20-30 Pink Horrors, around 20 Bloodletters, and multiple Sloppity Bilepipers and Ritual Casters. Back it with something like 15 Fiends for countercharge and call it a day. This army tries to take advantage of three things: 1. Daemons have point-for-point the most durable troops in the game, 2. The ability to deliver Troops anywhere on the table effectively, and 3. The ability to turn off ObSec in multiple spots reliably. That and a passive secondary game plan is all you really need to autonomously win 40k. I have no reps with a build in this style, however.

Tried and True. Basically, an army centered around an Indomitable Bloodthirster, Skarbrand, Fateweaver, Herald, 3x Flamers, Nurglings, and 4x Troop unit is the core to the list which I piloted to Top 8 of LVO. My teammates, Matt Morosoli and Finn Decker from the otherside of the World, (AUS and NZ) have helped me make and refine the army, and it’s clearly effective,. One thing though: The game is different. Flamers have to roll to hit, and while some say that’s not the end of the world, in the case of my matchup into Harlequins it really is. They not only go from auto hitting to hitting on 4s, but they also suffer horrendously from the -6” range aura that army now sits in. Given there is a reasonably high likelihood I’ll play against Jack Harpster’s Harlequins in my 2nd round, I should probably consider this fact. 

As you can see, there was no clear immediate option that I liked. So, from here I tried to analyze my bracket potentialities.

World Eaters (Mark Perry) are a fairly simple army to play against, given that they operate in a grand total of two phases. I need to just make sure I don’t take an army that will fall victim to their baseline strategies.

Harelquins and Ultramarines though, well they pose a variety of different challenges. Harlequins are so good at mitigating the effectiveness of the combat Greater Daemons and playing around them, while also trading up so ridiculously well into <SLAANESH> units. Ultramarines have Infiltrators and many, many guns. Skarbrand and other deep strike/chargey Daemons hate that. As we look to the other half of the bracket though we have Richard’s Tau and John on dark horse Chaos Knights. Both of them will be more vulnerable to my unique large monsters such as the Phase cap thirster and Skarbrand, however to cross brackets successfully I have to beat what’s in front of me.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

With that in mind I resolved to adapt my “tried and true” list for the “meta”. Essentially, the baseline list I was working with was:

Fateweaver

Bloodthirster: WL Brazen Hide, Angrath King of Blades, Indomitable Onsalught

Skarbrand

Changecaster

2×10 Bloodletters

10 Demonettes

10 Plaguebearers

3 Nurgligns

~3×5 Flamers

I took more core foundations when list building for my LVO list:

  • Passive secondary game plan with Raise Banners, Warp Ritual, and Reality Rebels
  • ObSec Troops hold my backfield
  • The Phase Cap thirster acts as a deterrent and early game board control
  • 2x Bloodletter units essentially contest an objective on my opponent’s side / rip down a banner, twice.
  • Nurglings necessary (a weakness of mono-TZ or Slanesh)

From there I just tweaked until I had a variety of datasheets so that I could match up effectively into my opponent’s.

The Phase Cap thirster really opens up the World Eaters match and the Tau match since they’re really only capable of doing damage to him during one phase. He’s not a liability into any of these factions either, as he can be against Astra Militarum. Admittedly, he’s not awesome vs Grey Knights, but at least Adam is on the other side of the bracket.

Fiends can largely replace Flamers from a usability standpoint from my LVO list. 4-mans seemed like a good number to me for the ability to punch  decently, take a hit and still be a threat, and not breaking the bank. The two things Fiends don’t offer though which flamers do, is a fast moving banner raiser, and a shooting attack. 

To remedy these issues I kept wanting to work in a 3-man flamer unit while keeping Skarbrand. This meant having to drop either the nurglings, the changecaster, or a troop unit altogether for a ~5 man flamer unit.

Cutting the changecaster would ultimately relegate Fateweaver to Ritual duty with no backup, which doesn’t work. Cutting the nurglings makes me vulnerable to Recover the Relics, and general alpha strikes. I also don’t have a good unit to do the Data Scry action or just babysit the backfield. Cutting an entire troop unit for flamers is something I considered, but ultimately, I decided flamers don’t actually do anything in the Harelquin match, and they were not the answer. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

With that, I looked at cutting each big guy to see how the list would operate. Cutting the thirster would mean I struggle a lot more with World Eaters and Tau. He’s also a general strategy opener because he keep people from rushing me. He, just can’t go. Cutting Skarbrand largely means my Tau match isn’t an auto win, though it’s still favored. My Chaos Knight match will also get a lot harder. My Harelquin match would go up a lot though since I could put all those points into a variety of units, whereas Skarbrand will basically be stuck clearing one boat a turn in that match. Finally, Fateweaver simply can’t be cut. For starters, he prophesied my victory. And, then also, he solves so many problems with his mortal wound output for my army. And that Vect ability to make a strat cost more is money vs World Eaters who will use the 4+ deny strat to limit my psychic secondary option.

In the end, we let the angry, non-flying greater Daemon go. With no Skarbrand my points opened up, and my ability to kill 10 man terminator bricks and trap people in combat vanished. Thankfully, there are no Terminator bricks here. I sprinkled in some super points effective Skull Cannons to add durability and consistent shooting which will go a long way in my game vs Mark and against Jack’s Strength 6 shuriken Harelquin boat army. I turned my changecaster into a Tranceweaver to get me access to a 10” moving infantry model for banner raising, and I even cut a troop unit to add a unit of 10 seekers. One thing Skarbrand did provide effectively was having a turn 3 hammer unit to deep strike and kill with. I’m hoping a 10 man Seeker unit with reroll hits can do that as well.

In the end this is how we ended up:

+++ Chaos Daemons Arks of Omen Detachment +++

+HQ+

Bloodthirster: Big Axe, WL Brazen hide, Relic angarath king of blades, indomitable onslaught 360

Fateweaver 320

Tranceweaver: delightful agonies 70

+Troops+

10 bloodletters 130
10 bloodletters 130

10 plaguebearers 130

3 nurglings 60

+Elites+

4 fiends 120
4 fiends 120
4 fiends 120

+Fast Attack+

10 seekers 170

+Heavy Support+

Skull cannon 90
Skull cannon 90
Skull cannon 90

All in all I’m very happy with this list, and I’m eager to get it onto the table and reclaim my title as the King of the Streamhouse!

You can catch all of our games live in the Art of War 40k YouTube channel. The event will be held from Thursday, March 30 through Sunday, April 2nd. We will be live streaming 11 games for you over the four day weekend. War Room members will automatically be entered into a raffle to win free swag from our various sponsors, and they will be able to rewatch the content!

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