The Road to LVO: A Boon Tale, Part 1

If there’s a major Warhammer 40k tournament coming up, you can bet that at least one of the Goonhammer crew will be there. In our “Road to…” series, we track hobby progress, plans, goals, and finally the event itself for a number of our contributors. This week, James “Boon” Kelling is kicking off our Road to LVO series with a look at his Craftworld Eldar. The 2019 Las Vegas Open is the last major event of the 2019 ITC season, a three-day, nine-round event that will likely crown the season’s champion and see nearly five hundred players vying for the top spot. 

There is just under a month-and-a-half to go until the dice hit the tables in Las Vegas and whether I’m in or out of the casino, my odds of winning are about the same. I am however placing a $100 bet on the Ham Slam boards – Aeldari will not place in the top 8. Local hero and master of the culinary experience Ben Cherwien has taken me up on this. I have thus managed to make it so whether I am in or out of the casino, losing will cost me money. So with that said, let’s look at some LVO goals and predictions.


The LVO Experience: A Vision of the Future

My Personal Performance Goals:

  • Finish with a record of 4-2 or better
  • Make friends along the way

My Predictions for the LVO Top 8 lists:

My Prediction for the Tournament Winner:

  • Adeptus Astartes

Frankly — and I’ve been on my soapbox about this since about 6 seconds after the release of the supplements — Marines are stupidly dominant in the current game. I fully expect half the top-8 to be various flavors of Astartes with the only caveat being that I expect Astartes players to knock each other out Big Ten style (Rob’s note: Does this make Richard Siegler’s Tau the SEC team that inevitably blows the survivor out in a championship bowl game it wasn’t qualified to play in? If so, then Roll Tide, I guess). Still, I expect the top players in the game to take the army that best gives them a chance at the title at the expense of their immortal souls. So Astartes it is.

I also expect some combination of Chaos Knights/Daemons/Marines to place well as well as an Admech dominated Imperial list. Finally, I have reserved the obligatory Richard Siegler position.


The Road Begins

Roads go ever ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way. Where many paths and errands meet, and whither then? I cannot say.

Two weeks ago, I was at a bit of a loss, staring forlornly at my cabinet of Aelf space barbies and wondering what in it could possibly form a coherent, competitive force that didn’t involve swallowing my pride and taking a trunkful of flyers. So I looked forward to CA – and, honestly, it didn’t disappoint. While I don’t think it will make Aeldari a top-8 army it made the necessary changes that make Aeldari a fun, competitive army again – reversing the Ynnari changes, opening new list-building options, and combined with PA:PR, renewed flavor to Craftworld lists.I actually had to go into my basement to figure out if I still had the Falcon kit somewhere that I’d purchased in the 90’s and never assembled because lol Falcons.

After some furious list-crafting and talking with fellow goons and teammates about lists, I’ve landed on a starting spot. From here on out I’ll track my thoughts and hobby progress on the list, test-game performance, and any changes I make heading into the big event.


The List

I’ve not had a lot of games of late and I don’t have a particularly good feel for on-table dynamics, especially post Chapter Approved 2019, so I’ve started with something that I personally think is going to be a tough list with high damage output and I’ll adjust from there. To wit:

Eldar Battallion: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots

Farseer Skyrunner


1×5 Dire Avengers – Exarch with dual Shuriken Catapults, Avenging Strikes

3×5 Dire Avengers – Exarch with Avenging Strikes

1×8 Shining Spears – Exarch with Star Lance, Skilled Rider

2x Falcon Grav-Tanks – Starcannon

1x Wave Serpent

Eldar Spearhead: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots


3x Fire Prisms

1x Night Spinner

Eldar Spearhead: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots


2×3 Support Weapons – Vibro Cannons

1×2 Support Weapons – Vibro Cannons

A Shameful Army on Parade

I love the possibilities that the now cheap Vibro Cannons provide in terms of damage output combined with Expert Crafters as well as the benefit of the wide backfield footprint. The obvious drawback is that in an ITC match they’re primed to give up Kill More and Butcher’s Bill but I’m looking at testing this list’s long-game potential and mitigating the early rounds. If I’m honest, I’m not clear it’s worth it and I might be better served by three Night Spinners in their place, but I reflexively bought these upon CA’s release and so I’m also pot committed. Sunk cost fallacy is strong here. I’ve also opted for Avenging Strikes on the Dire Avengers over the commonly recommended Bladestorm. All will be mounted, and I like my chances of activating their ability upon an emergency evacuation. It’s hit or miss, but man. When those guys are activated they hit like a truck for what they are.


Because it’s been so long since I’ve played a list like this, I don’t have a painted set to fill this out. So indeed, my road is long and uphill. Over the next few weeks I’ll be increasingly frantic as I update you, dear reader, on my hobby progress.

An uphill climb. So. Much. Grey.


The Initial Battle Test

I did have the opportunity to run this list out this week in a game against Chaos Knights. Going first, it managed to remove three Knights in two turns. I have to admit I was impressed the damage output and this is in a case where my Vibro Cannons were not rolling particularly well – a real confidence booster and a great first step but it needs a lot more testing – including how it will fare going second against a tough matchup and what kind of options I have to mitigate. I’m also curious to see how this will stand vs a horde army and if I’ve brought enough dakka.

After 2 turns. I expect to see a lot of triple Knight lists in the near future – a good first test


That’s it for this week! I’ll see you in the near future as I check-in from the road.

As always, if you have any questions, feedback, or notes, feel free to drop a message in the comments below, or email us at