TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2023, Part 9: Streaming 10th Edition at the KC Open

Welcome back, Dear Reader, to my ongoing series cataloging my competitive and hobby journey through 2023. Last time around I wrote about some of my prep for the KC Open. Over the next few days I’ll be writing a detailed, multi-part recap of my time in Kansas City, starting with today’s article, in which I’ll cover travel to the venue and my streaming game of 10th edition 40k.

There’s a huge difference between going to an event in a new city and visiting a place you’ve already been before. At least, for me. The first trip to KC was almost a last-minute decision for me; while I had purchased my ticket well in advance of the event the actual decision to attend hung in the balance until a week or two before the event, in part because few of my friends were attending. Then Goatboy hit me up about rooming together, I ended up hanging out with him and John Lennon a bunch, and I won a Best Painted award and enjoyed the weekend way more than I expected to.

That weekend was very much play-it-by-ear in terms of planning. We tended to pick our lunch and dinner spots right before going out and we had no idea what we were doing. This time around, though? I’m returning to a familiar place, and that means I have both a better idea of what’s available and nearby, and also plans to revisit some of the better options from last time around. And also I’ve got my team there, which is admittedly a mixed blessing – they’re great people, but scheduling dinners for 5+ people is a much different (more difficult) ordeal than getting a table for three.


Another key change was that my wife also traveling with me this time around. She’s an occasional addition on my tournament trips, in part because there’s rarely stuff for her to do on the trip unless the destination is cool and/or someone else she knows is going and in part because I don’t really save money splitting a hotel room with someone who I already share finances with. But as a weekend away from the kid, it absolutely works – KC is a 2-hour flight from Houston, the hotel is relatively nice, and there’s enough to do nearby that she can enjoy herself without me during the day and meet up for dinner in the evenings. The hotel is maybe a 10-minute walk from downtown.

There’s also the wildcard of Scott – he’s bringing his wife, Katie. Katie has played Warhammer before – typically at the NOVA narrative, where she’d gotten good enough to stomp the more casual players – but on this trip she’s just coming to hang out at the pool. This means that we have to make some kind of attempt to introduce the wives. There’s no guarantee they’ll get along or like each other, but this is one of those things where if I can have the Warhammer trip double as a relaxing couples vacation with my wife I can make the conversation about going to future events next year easier. I’ve overextended myself a bit this year on Warhammer travel and it’s something I need to consider more carefully next year.

Last-Minute Hobby Prep

Despite my best efforts I’m still painting the morning of the trip, in part because I need to finish five models for my 10th edition stream game army, which uses things I never brought in 8th or 9th edition. I don’t quite finish them all, but they’re close enough at the end to be on stream without embarrassing me. I’ve also got some last-minute touch-up work to do here. My Death Guard aren’t my prettiest army but they’re good enough to win best painted at an RTT. The problem is they don’t have the kinds of flourishes that win you points at GTs and bigger painting competitions – they’re relatively dull and while they have a lot of neat little technical details, looking vaguely gross isn’t good enough. What tends to win painting events is flashier stuff with lots of freehand and OSL. I added a little freehand last time to one of my rhinos, and I try and help my case a bit by adding some plasma OSL for some of my units.

Unfortunately the gnarlmaw doesn’t make the trip – it broke on one of the branches right before I had to go and the glue didn’t set on it in time so I made the decision to leave it. I can live with two gnarly looking trees. The rest of the army looks fine but it’s in the process of packing where I realize I didn’t properly measure my big suitcase and now have to pack the display board separately as it no longer fits. Great. This is great. Fine.

The good news is I still have the box the frame came in, which fits the display board just fine. I pack it back in there with a mix of bubble wrap and plastic bags and we head off. It’s a two-hour flight to Kansas City’s MCI airport – the trip is just far enough to fly, but not far enough that the flight is a pain in the ass. The Astros Militarum B squad is doing the white-knuckle drive up and I’d just as soon avoid that 12-hour trip. So would Astros A-Squad member T Chambliss, as it turns out – we run into him at the airport. We talk about our plans for the event, last-minute painting (T did not finish his GSC army in time), and the perks of having Gold Status on United. T is a great player and in my estimation the third-best player on a stacked Astros team (behind Erik and Garrett). I’ve played him twice now at RTTs and had him over for a game before. We agree to split an Uber upon arrival.

Perfect wrapping job

Getting to KC

As we board the plan I’m informed that I’ve been upgraded, receiving the last first-class seat on the plane. Accepting this will mean leaving my wife behind in our Premium Economy seats (again, Gold perks). I tell her that I’ve always admired how fiercely independent she is and she tells me to fuck off and enjoy first class. I begrudgingly accept and will wave to her several times in a wistful manner from the increased comfort of my wider, leatherer seat. In an ideal world she’d be rewarded with an empty seat next to her on the flight but someone else is upgraded to that seat. Such is the circle of life, I suppose.

We touch down around 4:30 and from there grab bags and another Astros Militarum player (James), then share the 30-minute Uber to the hotel. The Sheraton is expensive for a tournament venue (GW events tend to run with pricier hotels), but it is a Bonvoy hotel, and that means I get points for it and free bottles of water. Traveling too goddamn much has some benefits, anyways.

Thomas moving his units around

The Stream Game

I mentioned this last time, but the list I brought to the stream game wasn’t necessarily a list I’d have brought to a real game of 10th. Instead, it was based on the models I was already bringing to KC for 9th, plus a few others. The list ends up looking like this:

  • Mortarion
  • Lord of Virulence
  • Malignant Plaguecaster with Shamblerot
  • Foul Blightspawn with The Droning
  • 2×5 Plague Marines with plague bolters
  • 1×10 Plague Marine with 2x plasma gun, 2x plague spewer, 2x plague belcher
  • 1×10 Blightlord Terminators with 2x plague spewer, 2x flail, 2x reaper autocannon
  • 3x Plagueburst Crawlers
  • 1 Death Guard Rhino

The Plaguecaster and Blightspawn pair up with the 10-model Plaguemarine unit (the Foetid Virion all have a rule on their datasheet that lets them double-join a unit with another character), and fit comfortably(?) into the Rhino as a 12-model unit. The Lord of Virulence joins the Terminators and can act as a forward spotter for the PBCs. My plan is to deep strike them to help mitigate 4″ movement, and if I go second I’ll use Rapid Ingress to do that.

You can watch the stream here:

With an exhibition game like this the goal isn’t so much to win – I’d like to do that if possible, though – it’s more to show off cool stuff. I specifically asked for Mortarion so GW would have to show off his Datasheet, and likewise for the LoV and the PBC interaction, which I think is one of the cooler parts of the army. My goal generally is to push some models forward, see how things go, and test interactions. There’s nothing at stake here and I haven’t played Death Guard yet in 10th, nor have I looked at the rules for Daemons so it’s not a situation where I’m real concerned about outcomes or taking the game to time. We were politely asked to keep it close, a stipulation which Thomas and I agreed to ignore.

The stream game started at 7pm, which meant it was also right during dinner, so Goatboy and I had a couple of hotel bar burgers on the next table over before the game started while everyone else went to eat at a local pizza joint called Brick. I ended up grabbing a BBQ burger with bacon and fried onions and it’s pretty damn good. The fries, not so much. It’s probably messier than I should have gone but I managed to eat without making a mess of myself.

The game itself was using a pre-determined set of mission rules:

  • Primary Mission: The Ritual
  • Mission Rule: Targets of Opportunity (draw up to 3 cards for maelstrom)
  • Deployment: Sweep and Clear (table quarters)

The deployment for this mission puts us closer together – something I don’t love given how good Thomas’ army is at melee compared to mine – and interacts weirdly with the Ritual. The Ritual is a primary mission that removes all but one No Man’s Land objective pregame, but instead units which are eligible to shoot in the Shooting phase can instead create an objective exactly 9″ away from an existing one. You can only do this once per turn but you can do it every turn as long as the new objectives are more than 6″ away from other objectives, so you can just keep on creating objectives and flooding the table. Because I keep mine after making them, I decide to just make one every turn, and Thomas will do the same. Because of how scoring works, this means we’ll both pretty much end up on max primary scores at the game’s end -we both finish with 45 primary.

On top of that, we’re using the Targets of Opportunity Mission Rule, which gives us three secondary objectives per turn instead of two for tactical mode (and one on top of your two fixed if you go that route). This was likely done to let viewers see more of the mission decks during the stream, but the impact is that we’re going to be scoring a lot more on secondary objectives as well. It’s going to be a very high-scoring game, is what I am saying.

Shit gets real in the middle of the table early on

The game itself is fun and pretty sloppy – I pity anyone trying to take too much away from it, as Goatboy and I both forgot rules and missed things as we were playing. At one point I think Nick and Paul were talking on stream about Goatboy making an 11″ charge into my Plague Marine unit after taking a -2 from Shamblerot but in reality he only rolled a 9 and made it because I completely forgot I had the Enhancement – this is something I think will be an issue with the datacards, btw – your enhancements aren’t on them and that will make them easy to forget, I think.

Anyways, the game. I get the first turn and press forward. I have to – Be’lakor gives Goatboy’s army cover from shooting and I can’t target anything within 6″ of the prince unless I’m within 18″, which is close enough to get charged. So my goal is to try and hold him up in the middle while the PBCs pick off the big stuff. Something to note is that moving over terrain with FLY is a huge pain and makes it much more difficult to get around the table with big flying models. The good news is this means I can trap Goatboy in his deployment zone for a turn while I score things. And I get lucky on the scoring, pulling two objectives I can score on the first turn for 10 VP while discarding the third for a bonus CP. Thomas meanwhile gets nothing he can score first turn, allowing me to get out to an early head start. I go up 10-5 on Primary turn 2 and 18-10 on secondaries as we push toward midtable and clash.

I’m definitely not using Mortarion well in the game but at this point I want to smash him into some midtable threats and that’s when I get the “fun” reminder that flamers in 10th edition are back to auto-hitting (I legit just didn’t realize they wouldn’t be rolling to hit). They pull 10 wounds off Morty before he’s able to wade into combat and clear out a bunch of them but the damage has been done. Then Be’lakor comes back at him and chips a few wounds off before the Keeper of Secrets is finally able to finish him off with its last attack. That’s a shame, because you can heal Mortarion with a Stratagem now and I wanted to bring him back up to 4 the next turn.

I kill Be’lakor but the bigger problems are the other three greater daemons, who I don’t have a lot of great answers for – the biggest issue I’m facing is that Thomas is spiking his 4+ saves against my entropy cannons and the mortars on the PBCs are completely worthless – every time they hit something it has to take a Battle-shock test but every time Daemons pass a battle-shock test they can recover D3 wounds! I end up doing negative damage to the big daemons a couple of times before giving up.

The backbreaker in the game is on deep strike charges: Thomas makes his 9″ charge with the Bloodthirster, and I fail mine with the Blightlords. They get kind of stuck out most of the game as a result, and I get swept from behind by greater daemons. The Bloodthirster meanwhile has no problem picking up anything he’s in combat with, in part because he ends each round doing a bunch of mortal wounds.

The game goes pretty much to the end of turn 4 and we talk out the rest to end the stream by 10pm. It’s a high-scoring mission and while I can’t score any of my T5 secondary objectives, I’ve pulled 33 on secondaries with Cleanse, Area Denial, No Prisoners, Bring it Down, Storm Defensive Stronghold, Engage on All Fronts, and Overwhelming Force. After a slow start Thomas managed to snag 40 on Secondaries and ends up taking the win by 7 points. It’s an insanely high-scoring game and the score makes it look closer than it was.

Result: 88-95, Loss

After that we’re pretty tired and have a long day ahead of us. So instead of going to bed we hang out in the bar for a couple of hours and then end up playing Cockroach Poker with Brandt and the stream team. Nick Nanavati loses every game.

Thoughts on Death Guard in 10th

I had a pretty good time playing Death Guard but hoo boy are the reddit and facebook groups for the faction a complete dumpster fire right now. I don’t believe the doom and gloom is justified – no, Death Guard aren’t as tough as they were in 9th, but they’re a different army altogether. First off, they’re much more of a shooting army in 10th than 9th; the insanely hard-hitting melee weapons just aren’t there to punish an opponent with 5 marines, while the army has a ton of really nasty auto-hitting plague weapons with LETHAL HITS to control the board and dump out Overwatch. Mortarion felt like a valuable unit to include and build around if you don’t shove him into three greater daemons and the Lord of Virulence was really fun to play with. I think next time I’d look at a land raider with him and a smaller unit of Terminators. Also thinking back on it, you could combine his +1 with Mortarion’s ignore modifiers to have PBCs hit on 2+ when firing indirect and ignore cover as you do it, which seems incredibly good. I think I might look at fewer plague marines as well and replace them with drones and possibly defilers, if the defiler cannons are worth looking at (I’m pretty confident they have BLAST and will benefit from the LoV).

As for the matchup with Thomas’ Daemons, it was a bad situation for the army specifically – having the ability to make new objectives meant that the army’s rule to control objectives after moving off them rarely mattered, and in most games it’ll be important for allowing you to move upfield without having to worry about the objectives you leave behind (which you don’t have the movement to go back and reclaim). Also, mortars into daemons was really, really bad.

The game itself was fun, and felt a lot like playing 9th edition Tempest of War. I think that’s a good thing overall – Tempest is a fun mode that rewards flexibility, but it wasn’t so radical a departure that I think veterans will be put off by it. Overwatch feels like something you want to be doing every turn with units with TORRENT weapons to control the board, and it generally felt like there were more saves, but the damage penalty for failing one was way higher. Not sure if that will hold up over more games, though.

Next Time: Day 1 of the Teams Event

I eventually crash around midnight with a plan to wake up early and join our team captain Scott Horras for the captains’ briefing the next day. I’ll end up sleeping surprisingly well on this trip, and that’s a wife-related bonus, since I usually sleep better when she’s around. Anyways, check back in a day or two when I’ll be writing about the Teams event and day 1 of my games.

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