Salutations readers, welcome to my recap of the 2023 World Championships of Warhammer, in which I played as a ringer!
I was both very lucky to be covering the event for Goonhammer and also to be allowed to play in the games I did. For anyone curious how I snuck my way in: It was a lucky combination of being present, having qualified in a prior year, and being fine with getting booted from the event for any reason. Since I was already around to report for Goonhammer and record content for the Just Another Kill Team Podcast (link), I ended up being a perfect fit for those requirements.
For me, this year has not been about being a competitor. When you factor in organizing the New York Open, attending a host of post-COVID weddings, and the Just Another Kill Team Podcast, I’ve been hard pressed to put in the time and effort to push myself to the edges of my competitive limits. However in similar fashion to Ace, I’ve gotten the chance to see a crop of players emerge from my region to make their presence known on the global stage and claim their spots at the World Championship. Adrian B, True C, and Mike C all qualified throughout the year at various events and I couldn’t be happier with them using the Brooklyn Strategist monthlies to springboard their competitive runs.
With all that said, I wasn’t aiming to crush anyone’s dreams as a ringer, and wanted to be relaxed throughout the weekend during play. Pathfinders are my battle-tested veterans, and while they’ve fallen into a hard meta I’ve yet to not enjoy playing them. My experience at NOVA definitely kept my hopes low, but if you’re having fun, you’re already winning in my book.
I hop off my flight and fumble around at the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) not being the MTA (New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Can the rest of the US move towards chip payment at our turnstiles, please? After a slightly awkward ride in a taxi, where uncivilized comments were made about the City of Atlanta, we had reached our destination and were excited to get some games in. It just so happened that Game 1 was against Mateusz, a former guest on Just Another Kill Team Podcast (link). My apologies for the lack of photos on day 1. It was a busy travel morning and it slipped my mind!
Game 1- Mateusz M. Diag, L -1 17-18
Mat was playing Inquisition Agents paired with Breachers, giving him 13 operatives and 12 activations, allowing him to focus on picking off enemies while controlling the pace of the game. He then proceeded to do just that through a combination of ploys such as: Absolute Authority, Quarry, and Denounce and taking advantage of a fairly large error on setup that led to me missing an easy point on turning point 1. This gave Mat a point advantage and allowed him to control the game through turns 2-3, and keep his point lead up to the last minute. Good usage of A Worthy Cause did keep hopes of a comebackin striking distance, but that scoring gap ended up hard to overcome. Overall I’m happy with a rusty game that was kept within a point due to a lazy Secure Vantage selection.
More importantly, I was able to meet Mateusz in real life, and he was a great opponent! Really represented the Polish Kill Team scene well. Always fun to connect internet personas to real life experiences! One of the big reasons to head to your local game shop.
Outside of our games, the big news of round 1, was Ace playing a true slog of a game. At a run time of at least 4 hours, his round 1 loss to Dawson, of Florida, had shocked everyone in my lunch group! Memes immediately popped up in Discord of Dawson’s victory, and foreshadowed Ace’s day 1 run.
Game 2- True C. 3” W +3 20-17
Heading into the last game of the day against one of the Brooklyn locals was not something I was looking forward to. Especially against Veteran Guard, historically one of Pathfinders harder match ups. Unfortunately for True, I was not aiming to give him an easy game, especially being a veteran of shooting-centric games. Especially since he opted to not bring a medic! I’ve found using medics ends up being a huge factor in shooting match ups as they break activation parity.
While I find True to be a great player, his strategic choices to send guardsmen into melee en masse proved futile. Demolition specialists are better off lining up mines, and not lining up melee charges. I believe the better part of the middle turning points ended with operatives on both sides locked up melee. Unfortunately with 3 attacks on either end these served more to brick True’s activations, while my shooting flanks focused on scoring. Giving me the lead on the final tally, and really putting a gloomy end to True’s day 1.
With a 1-1 record on day one, and plenty of friendly faces. I grabbed some grub with friends at the food court, and caught up on the news of the day. Group stages never fail to find some upsets, and I think everyone’s eyes were naturally drawn to Ace falling out of the running. As far as the American’s chances, it seemed Orion, Adrian, and Shane were all looking to have solid chances at making it to the championship bracket. However with 3 rounds of ITD on Friday the true gauntlet was about to begin.
Game 3- Alejandro J. CQ.5 Vault L -5 14-19
Kommandos. F-me. I’ve had the pleasure of playing pathfinders on ITD 3 times up till now, and I’ve played Kommandos twice! This will be my third game against the meta menace, and I’ve still got almost no clue on a good line against the greenskins. They’ve got enough activations where the Recon drone is a poor choice, and enough toughness to eat my biggest guns. Additionally they sit in concealment and I’m getting bad touched the entire game.
My recollection is a touch fuzzy at this point but I do recall things feeling relatively close through the first turn of the game. However I gave Alejandro a Stikkbomb into a clump at the start tp2, after I used my initiative to push the right flank. That stikkbomb ended up clearing 3 operatives. instead of the 1.5 I expected, and left the flank with a Nob in my backline with no threats tasked to manage it.
After that my chances narrowed substantially and Alejandro did not let up the pressure securing his victory. Hopefully the short interview I recorded will appear in the near future, as talking about the global kill team scene really helps connect our little miniatures to a larger world.
Game 4- Wallace W. CQ.5 Vault L -5 16-21
Hello? Pain department, I’d like one appointment please. Needless to say I was not excited to play this one from a match-up perspective. Wallace seemed like a great dude; I was just over this specific match up. Fortunately for me, Wallace played a very very conservative initial operative layout, electing for an all concealed deployment. This gave me an opening to line up a turn where I removed 2-3 Orks for little investment with a turn one Mont’Ka. However, a lazy Medic positioning to open the left flank’s door allowed Wallace to stop my momentum. Between that mistake and my Gun drone failing to take down a Kommando grot I was only able to barely incapacitate 2 Kommandos on turn 1. However, that left one of my operatives locked in melee combat. Which you can see in the picture below.
Overall the game fell out of my hands somewhere in turn 3, when a Nob who was positionally charge blocked repositioning from the right side to the left side to cover Wallace’s collapsed left flank. Between my opening mistake and a lazy activation order that gave Wallace’s Rokkit boy a lethal overwatch shot, I’m glad I was able to keep things as tight as they were. By the end of the game the scoring vastly favored Wallace, but there was a timeline where I could have kept the match up a 45-55 instead of the 30-70 it looks like in the score.
Game 5- Ryan Z. CQ.9 Lock W +10 21-11
Coming into round 5 with a 1-3 record was certainly not my plan for the world champs, though all three games felt competitive. So my spirits were still quite high. My last round was against Ryan Z, a texas native who won the grueling 5-round Alamo GT. Unfortunately for Ryan, I knew both sides of this match up back to front, having played the Starstriders earlier in the year. His set up was far too defensive, and left no room for his operatives to push forward onto points. By the end of turning point 1 he was down 2 operatives, with 0 privateer support assets fired. He did catch me with the Canid rule, as I had entirely forgotten that the dog can ignore the first 2”s of movement penalties.
Our game ended well before our allotted time ran out, and we took some of that time to record an interview. Mostly talking about how his competitive fencing mapped onto growing as a kill team player, along with engaging more in growing the Texas scene. Hopefully next year he’ll have another player attend with him!
Previews of World of Warhammer Championships
A small group of us head over to Profirio’s, a bring-your-own-beer (BYOB) taco place around the corner. Our goal is to grab a bite and head back to the previews before we miss them. We’ve all had some very tight games, and we’re celebrating Adrian making it into the champions bracket. The taco ends up being much better than the empty restaurant had us believe. We finish up with nary a minute to spare and catch the previews. Honestly I am looking forward to the Night Lords and seeing another interpretation of a 6-man squad. The models are dope, and the gigantic statue of Titus is also incredible.
With that the day is done, and I head off into the World Bracket with a 2-3 record.
Saturday begins the sweaty brackets and the Worlds brackets. With 30 players sent into the world bracket it’ll be where the overall placements for the countries are decided. My first match is lined up as a mirror of the previous day, which I brought up to Ben. It seemed he left it in to mess with me a bit, and he quickly changed my match up… Into one of the community’s biggest internet influencers – Can You Roll a Crit!
Game 6- Thibaud D. 3” L -1 18-19
Thibaud came in with a gorgeous display board in a rough match up. This game definitely showcased a huge difference between normal games and WCW games, in that we spent the better part of an hour going over the movement ranges for the Pathfinder grenade throws. Two-hour time windows would definitely not allow for such long set up times, but I’m not playing in the WCW to take the easy wins. I think that taking the time when we have the time to hang out and talk about the game loses me nothing, and guarantees that Thib feels like he got his fair shake.
The game comes down to a desperate bid on my part to get shots off. After a slow turn 1, and a middling turn two where I give Thib a laser beam I didn’t need to. It leads to me opening up turn 3 with A Worthy Cause to try and eliminate Elucia Vhane. Over the course of 3 operatives with Bonded, we roll 15 dice on 4+ BS, and land 2 hits. Thib’s saves ultimately hold throughout the rest of the game and he narrowly squeaks out a single victory point! Great game, and hoping he feels the same!
Game 7- John R “CYRAC” D 3” 18-18
Honestly this game was a refreshing way to start off the day. John and I have been internet friends for the better part of this edition, going all the way back to the days of Pathfinder dominance. Nowadays after repeat hang outs during Nova and New York Open, we’re friends meeting up to finally get a game in together.
It ends up being a nail biter of a game, where the dense mid-ground boards offer scant chances for a pathfinder player to make a play on turning point one. Luckily for me, I’m able to keep CYRAC on his toes watching ranges and neutralizing multiple Ancestors are Watching plays and comms buffs. I was just barely able to line up a tie, and having a great game with more than enough time for us to grab some Dairy Queen after.
The Championship Losers Bracket
The big news for the day in the parallel champions bracket is a 2-hour game shuffle which has the cascading effect of causing the final double elimination game to start at 10pm. With 4 hours allotted to each player, that means that Adrian and Orion’s final game is probably going to end on Sunday. So throughout the day True and I both make sure that Adrian can stay in the zone. We both make sure to pick our boy up some food and Plasma Spam does the same for Orion.
During all of this crazy play, I take some time to play a game of 40k Commander with Matt W from the Tacoma Open. The Latin Americans end up bringing over a pizza party from Stoner’s Pizza, as we end up heading late into the night. Inquisitor Greyfax ends up calling in the support of an Imperial Knight to finish off the Commander game, and we’re now in the final round of play.
The final score is tallied, and Adrian takes it by a single point in overtime. Hopefully our recording will show up on my podcast in the near future, but we’re heading to bed bleary eyed at 2:30AM. Adrian needs to be ready to play at 8am – almost no time at all! I promise him I’ll be around to support him, as Spain’s got a dense group, and head to bed across the street.
Promises fulfilled, I’m up and at ’em at 7am, on the floor by 7:30 with me and Adrian catching up a bit on pre-game strategies. When he heads off to play Java, Aleksa swings by to chat. We talk about his current success and the overall map designs giving Cults a little more wiggle room than expected. As people filter in, the world bracket lines up to their boards, and I wish Adrian some good luck as Martin and I prep for our games.
Martin comes into our match shitting bricks. Pathfinders are not a very common team, and his current record of 1-6 seems to be weighing him down. Unfortunately for Martin Conduit and the long ITD maps end up being a really fun combination for Pathfinders, where they can abuse Recon Sweep to really react to the Turning point roll offs. I’m able to use Recover Item’s implied map position during set up to bait Martin into over deploying on a flank. When I send the item to a blank room on the opposite flank, and scare off Martin’s turn 1 scoring with some early shooting actions, to grab a 3-1 tp1.
This leads to Martin spending most of the game on catch up, and my brutal turning point 2 Mont’Ka turn does not help. With all operatives dashing right back out of each of the rooms, only to Mont’Ka forward to nuke blooded operatives off the map one by one. Martin eventually sends in his Thug to delete my leader, only to miss after spending all his remaining CP. It’s not often you roll 7 dice and hit once, but when you do it’s often the game. In this case it definitely was, and while Martin is able to score, that turn one bait holds. Leading to my third and final win.
One thing I will say: Due to the long round times, and Martin’s worry about my teams abilities, we ended up taking 5 hours to play this game. I ultimately don’t mind that much, as I’m not truly playing for any stakes outside of having a good game. During this game I see that Adrian loses his game against Java, and that the finals match is reset once. We grab a late lunch at the food hall across the street and make it back in time to watch the end of Aleksa and Java’s rematch. A truly cursed mirror match from the Warp’s backside. Aleksa ultimately punches through, and ends up the victor!
Leaving the event for the second time in two years, I’m definitely hoping that I can get my ticket to the next World Championships of Warhammer next year through official channels. Being in position already to fill the spot meant that no one had to sit around wasting time with a bye at the championships and TOs could actively judge and assist players. Each opponent represented parts of their home communities abroad, and I felt that there was a palpable energy to having the global field of players gathered, all drawn to the hum of competition and the drama that follows the throw of dice.
I’m excited for the trajectory of Kill Team, as I do think it’s the best competitive Games Workshop game. This year felt like a huge step up from last year’s more intimate affair, and while my name may be erased from the Kill Team awards. I’m more invested than ever, to watch the scene grow and change. Especially if I can continue to nurture the Brooklyn scene to ever higher heights.
From a competitive kill team player’s perspective: Great job, Games Workshop.
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