Three Cool Lists & Metagame Thoughts from the North East Open

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

Welcome back list review fans! It’s been a while but now that I finally have a week of zen-like quiet where I’m neither recovering from a tournament nor frantically painting for the next one the time seemed ripe to take a look at what the rest of the tournament scene is up to. Last time we did this was for the LVO but (as is the fashion these days) plenty has changed since then, with two new books worth of rules becoming legal and a refresh of the ITC format. It sure would be nice to see what the metagame is up to.

Well good news – this coming weekend sees Majority T3 put on the North East Open in the United Kingdom. I’m not making it myself (as a lifelong soft southerner I worry I will be immediately eaten by wolves if I go north of Manchester) but 100 players are, including some of the best in the UK, so it promises to be a real showcase for what the recent books do to the meta and the updated missions. I should say on that point that if you fancy watching the action live over the weekend the excellent folks over at Hellstorm Wargaming will be streaming it, so tune in to their channel on the weekend if you want to see some high end 40K in action.

Today, as we always do with these, we’ll be taking a bit of a deep dive into three lists that caught my eye as especially interesting as I went through the document. However, before we go into the detailed reviews I thought it would be worth going through a some thoughts on the metagame from the event as a whole and where various factions seem to be at right now. Let’s get started with that.

The Metagame

For this section, I’ll go through some of the major factions in the metagame and any trends that are noticeable, sometimes including a list where there’s one that was interesting but didn’t make it through to the last three.

Notable factions I’m not going to talk about in this section are Tau, Guard and GSC. These three all got buffs in the Greater Good, and I normally start out planning to pick a representative list for each of the recently buffed factions in the deep dive. For Tau and Guard I’ve done just that, and will include some other quick hits in those sections. For Genestealer Cults…yeesh. There is exactly one detachment (never mind army) of Genestealers in the entire field, featuring in the only Hive Mind army at the event. That’s a real shame – we kind of knew GSC were in a rough spot after Chapter Approved hit them hard, and I wasn’t super impressed with their rules from The Greater Good, but I was hoping someone would find a way to leverage them (perhaps a Ridgerunner list). We’ll have to see if that improves in the coming few months, but right now I think there would be a real argument for an emergency revert of the Aberrant nerf in the Spring FAQ – it’s very clear that by the time it hit it wasn’t needed.

Necrons also don’t really get a look in – there’s a single list and it’s on Doom Scythes and Tomb Blades – perfectly effective, but nothing super surprising.

With that disappointing news out of the way, on to some of our contenders!

Space Marines

Iron Hands Intercessor by Booley

Iron Hands Intercessor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Space Marines remain, unsurprisingly, hugely popular and what I tend to think of as the two top variants are both here in force:

  • Shooty Iron Hands w/Resin Dreadnoughts
  • Raven Guard/RG Successor Centurions (sometimes Raptors featuring Lias Issadon)

There’s obviously some variety within those, and a few unit tweaks here and there, but I didn’t see many where I would be wildly surprised by an opponent pulling them out on me. One Hands list was a little bit of a curve ball though and at least somewhat caught my eye. I wouldn’t say I like it, more that it made me throw up in my mouth in a slightly different way, but I’m pretty sure that counts as innovation:

Matthew Walker's Iron Hands Successors

 ++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [40 PL, 834pts, ] ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Stealthy

+ HQ +

Techmarine [4 PL, 45pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword, Master of the Machine, Servo-arm, Strategem: Master of the Forge, Warlord

+ Heavy Support +

Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 74pts] x3, Eliminator Sergeant: Camo cloak, Instigator Bolt Carbine, 2x Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: 2x Bolt sniper rifle, 2x Camo cloak
Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 74pts] x3, Eliminator Sergeant: Camo cloak, Instigator Bolt Carbine, 2x Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: 2x Bolt sniper rifle, 2x Camo cloak
Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 74pts] x3, Eliminator Sergeant: Camo cloak, Instigator Bolt Carbine, 2x Eliminator with Bolt Sniper: 2x Bolt sniper rifle, 2x Camo cloak


Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts], Techmarine Gunner, Servo-harness: Flamer, Plasma cutter
Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts], Techmarine Gunner, Servo-harness: Flamer, Plasma cutter
Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts], Techmarine Gunner, Servo-harness: Flamer, Plasma cutter

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [4 PL, 97pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome
Impulsor [4 PL, 97pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome
Impulsor [4 PL, 97pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

++ Air Wing Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [42 PL, 810pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Stealthy

+ Flyer +

Stormhawk Interceptor [9 PL, 159pts]: 2x Assault cannon, Icarus stormcannon, Two Heavy Bolters
Stormhawk Interceptor [9 PL, 159pts]: 2x Assault cannon, Icarus stormcannon, Two Heavy Bolters
Stormtalon Gunship [8 PL, 164pts]: Twin assault cannon, Two Heavy Bolters
Stormtalon Gunship [8 PL, 164pts]: Twin assault cannon, Two Heavy Bolters
Stormtalon Gunship [8 PL, 164pts]: Twin assault cannon, Two Heavy Bolters

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [17 PL, 354pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Stealthy

+ HQ +

Chaplain [5 PL, 99pts]: Jump Pack, Litany of Hate, Power fist

+ Heavy Support +

Whirlwind [4 PL, 85pts]: Whirlwind vengeance launcher
Whirlwind [4 PL, 85pts]: Whirlwind vengeance launcher
Whirlwind [4 PL, 85pts]: Whirlwind vengeance launcher

++ Total: [99 PL, 1,998pts] ++

Iron Hands plane spam has been on a bit of a downward ebb since its initial popularity, but I don’t think it’s a bad call to bring it back right now, and the tools combined with it are pretty neat. Vik Vijay talked about his success using Impulsors filled with Eliminators to build out a screen, and this list very much wants that element. They’re also great wound sinks against Grey Knights, and this list as a whole is very well equipped to beat them – my judgement would be that it can build out enough of a screen that the artillery will just grind them off the board before they can do anywhere close to enough damage. The mobility of the Impulsor package will also help to build up some early points in games like that, and this list is a very good demonstration of why taking out the double tap Recon on turn one was an important change to the new ITC missions!

Outside the two “top” Marine factions we still see other versions turning up, with infantry heavy White Scars and Centurion/stalker bolt rifle/artillery Fists also making appearances and a few other variants out there. However, it’s clear that there’s a pretty strong consensus on what the “best” variants are at the moment.

Angels of Death

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

Should these be with Marines? I don’t know. Whatever, there’s a pretty strong showing in the field for both Blood Angels and Dark Angels.

Blood Angels we don’t really need to talk about that much – Sanguinary Guard remain the hotness and for a pure list Stephen Box’s army (which we looked at last time) remains a pretty good model. The only interesting trend is that at least a few majority Astra Militarum armies are bringing in Blood Angels detachments featuring characters and sometimes a single big Sanguinary Guard squad to go with. This sort of makes sense – they’re very potent with access to their new stratagems and much less reliant on Doctrines to be good than most Marine units. Obviously for anyone playing heavily on the tournament scene in Q4 2018-Q2 2019 seeing Blood Angels and Guard together causes existential trauma, but we can all keep telling ourselves it’s different this time.

Ravenwing Dark Talon

Ravenwing Dark Talon. Credit: Greg Chiasson

Dark Angels, meanwhile, seem to be leaning heavily towards the Ravenwing as their core, which lines up with our opinions in the Ritual of the Damned review, my own recent experience of getting thoroughly pushed in by them and their recent success at Genghiscon. The following seemed like a strong example, and I expect to see lists like this continue to do well:

Paul Dennett's Dark Angels

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [32 PL, 5CP, 553pts] ++

Chapter Selection: Dark Angels

Detachment CP [5CP]

+ HQ [20 PL, 388pts] +

Ravenwing Talonmaster [9 PL, 188pts]
. Land Speeder [61pts]: Twin assault cannon [44pts], Twin heavy bolter [17pts]
. Talonmaster [4pts]: Power sword [4pts]

Sammael in Sableclaw [11 PL, 200pts]

+ Troops [12 PL, 165pts] +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun) [44pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun) [44pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun) [44pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

++ Air Wing Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [25 PL, 4CP, 517pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot [4CP] +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Chapter Selection: Dark Angels

Detachment CP [1CP]

+ Flyer [25 PL, 517pts] +

Nephilim Jetfighter [9 PL, 147pts]: Twin heavy bolter [17pts], Twin lascannon [40pts]

Ravenwing Dark Talon [8 PL, 185pts]: 2x Hurricane bolter [20pts]

Ravenwing Dark Talon [8 PL, 185pts]: 2x Hurricane bolter [20pts]

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [67 PL, -1CP, 930pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot [0
CP] +

Chapter Selection: Dark Angels



Detachment CP [1CP]

Specialist Detachment: Ravenwing Attack Squadron [-1CP]

+ HQ [9 PL, 188pts] +

Ravenwing Talonmaster [9 PL, 188pts]: Warlord
. Land Speeder [61pts]: Twin assault cannon [44pts], Twin heavy bolter [17pts]
. Talonmaster [4pts]: Power sword [4pts]

+ Elites [5 PL, 60pts] +

Ravenwing Apothecary [5 PL, 60pts]
. Black Knight Bike: Ravenwing grenade launcher

+ Fast Attack [53 PL, 682pts] +

Ravenwing Black Knights [23 PL, 272pts]: 7x Ravenwing Black Knight [238pts]
. Ravenwing Huntmaster [34pts]: Corvus Hammer
. . Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

Ravenwing Black Knights [23 PL, 272pts]: 7x Ravenwing Black Knight [238pts]
. Ravenwing Huntmaster [34pts]: Corvus Hammer
. . Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon

Ravenwing Darkshroud [7 PL, 138pts]: Heavy bolter [10pts]

++ Total: [124 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

This goes a bit lighter on planes than some versions I’ve seen in favour of bigger Black Knight squads, allowing them to really get the most out of the various stratagems you can stick on them.

There’s also, surprisingly, a primarily Guard list piloted by Gabriel Grimes-Resendez that uses a Dark Angels battalion of Talonmasters, Samael and scouts to provide some additional mobile threats to to go alongside Scions, Bullgryn and Tank Commanders. I’ll definitely have half an eye on it if it comes on stream, because I really want to see how it plays out on the table

Grey Knights

Grey Knights Credit: Lungboy

Grey Knights Credit: Lungboy

Grey Knights are new, exciting and there are three people running them. The only reason I’m not doing a writeup of one of them is that all of them are on double Paladin bomb/six Strike Squad lists, which we’ve already covered in our Start Competing and talked to Lawrence Baker about. This appears to be the early list to beat, so make sure you have a plan for it!

(somewhere, a monkey paw dedicated to wishes about the metagame curls another finger closed)

Other Imperium

Baroness Altria Pend-Tokage, Imperial Knight. Credit: Tyler “Coda” Moore

Other Imperium factions have the odd bit of representation here and there, with Knight/AdMech lists turning up a few times, a few Space Wolves and a lone Sisters list, but the new Guard stuff being pretty good and also not having any souping restrictions has definitely diverted the energies of Imperium players in that direction. Obviously Space Wolves should be getting a shot in the arm some time in the next month, and we’ll definitely make sure to deep dive on a list from them as soon as the new book comes legal.

 

Chaos

Credit: Zuul the Cat

With the absence of a GSC list to fill my quota of three I ended up, as always seems to happen, doing Rob’s bidding by finding him an “interesting Thousand Sons list” for the last one so we’ll be looking at that shortly.

Outside of that, the picture isn’t super novel – the main thing that’s changed since last I looked at Chaos is that far fewer people are trying the Possessed bomb (possibly worried about the Grey Knight counter) and a lot more people have found room for a Thousand Son Cult of Magic supreme command. Otherwise it’s knights, Discolords, resin Dreadnoughts and various shooty CSM detachments. The only other noticeable trend is that there are quite a few more people running Mortarion out than there were for a long time. I’ve seen some positive feedback from people using him in lists recently, as he seems to match up well against the threats in the field, and he’s creeping up in popularity again, sometimes alongside partner-in-crime Magnus sitting in one of those aforementioned Cult of Magic supreme commands.

Aeldari

Iyanden Wraithseer with D-Cannon

Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

It remains tough to be an elf. Several of the usual suspects are out and about – Mark Crombleholme has his Skyweaver spam, Gaz Jones (one of the pioneers of the Expert Crafters builds) has the latest iteration of his list out and there’s a few lists leaning on planes or Grotesques to do the legwork, but it’s a low proportion of the field and there isn’t anything that immediately looks like a slam dunk breakthrough outside these reliable builds, with one possible exception. The most interesting one to my eyes was the following:

Konrad Bartkiewicz's Mixed Aeldari

CP: 9 Points total: 1999

Battalion Detachment 5CP (Craftworlds) [52 PL, 980pts]

Craftworld Wu-Tang: Headstrong, Hunters of Ancient Relics

-HQ-

Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 132pts] Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

Warlock Skyrunner [4 PL, 62pts] Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

Warlock Skyrunner [4 PL, 62pts] Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

-Troops-

5 Rangers [3 PL, 60pts]

5 Rangers [3 PL, 60pts]

5 Rangers [3 PL, 60pts]

-Fast Attack-

Shining Spears [14 PL, 272pts] 8 Spears, 1 Exarch (Skilled Rider), 8 Laser Lances, 1 Star Lance

Shining Spears [14 PL, 272pts] 8 Spears, 1 Exarch (Swooping Dive), 8 Laser Lances, 1 Star Lance

Spearhead Detachment 1CP (Craftworlds) [52 PL, 928pts]

Craftworld Shaolin: Expert Crafters, Masterful Shots

-HQ-

Farseer [6 PL, 110pts] Witchblade, Shuriken Pistol

-Heavy Support-

Dark Reapers [13 PL, 310pts] 9 Reapers, 1 Exarch (Rapid Shot), 10 Reaper Launchers

Night Spinner [8 PL, 112pts] Doomweaver, Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 112pts] Doomweaver, Twin Shuriken Catapult

Night Spinner [8 PL, 112pts] Doomweaver, Twin Shuriken Catapult

-Dedicated Transport-

Wave Serpent [9 PL, 172pts] Twin Aeldari Missiles, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Spirit Stones, Crystal Targeting Matrix

Patrol Detachment 0CP (Drukhari) [6 PL, 91pts]

Kabal of the Black Heart

-HQ-

Archon [4 PL, 61pts] Huskblade, Splinter Pistol, WARLORD

-Troops-

5 Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 30pts]

Total: [110 PL, 1,999pts] 

Last week in the updated Start Competing for Craftworlds we looked at Spear spam builds and Expert Crafters builds as two of the ways you could take Eldar – but this list smashes these two great tastes together and sticks a lovely cherry of “access to Vect” (extremely good in the current metagame) on top. Like most Eldar lists at the moment this can crumble if it has an unlucky turn against Marines, but it’s got a lot of power in it and could definitely go the distance (especially in Konrad’s hands). Corrode: Anyone whose custom craftworlds are Wu-tang and Shaolin deserves a podium, in my opinion.

Orks

Credit: RichyP

Orks and Tau are the only non-elf Xenos factions to show up in big numbers, and we’ll talk about Tau in a second. Orks have some strong representation but also very much seem to be a “solved” faction – the lists have lots of Boyz, lots of Shokk Attack Gunz and often one of Lootas/Tankbusters to provide some additional shooting heft, with Grots running around in front to protect the good stuff. There’s one brave soul trying out Freebooter Battlewagons, but other than that there isn’t much here to surprise anyone familiar with the way Ork lists play, with the exception that the pendulum does seem to have swung back towards a larger number of Boyz in lists. I’d be a bit worried this resurgence won’t last – the sheer number of storm bolters strapped to the average Grey Knights army feels very, very dangerous to these builds.

That’s hopefully OK though – alongside Space Wolves they’re next on the list for an upgrade, so hopefully next month we’ll start to see some changes.

That concludes the general meta discussion, now on to the individual lists and the focus on two of the factions they’re from.

Adam Young’s Tau

Tau Commander

Tau Commander. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Army

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (T'au Empire) [33 PL, 8CP, 631pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Detachment CP [5CP]

T'au Empire Sept Choice:
. Custom Sept: Gifted Pilots, Stabilisation Systems

+ HQ +

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 160pts]: 2. Through Unity, Devastation, Drone controller, 3x Missile pod, Warlord
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone

Ethereal [3 PL, 71pts]: Equalizers, Hover drone
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Troops +

Breacher Team [3 PL, 54pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. 4x Fire Warrior
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse blaster, Pulse pistol
. MV4 Shield Drone

Breacher Team [3 PL, 53pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. 4x Fire Warrior
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse blaster
. MV4 Shield Drone

Breacher Team [3 PL, 53pts]: MV36 Guardian Drone
. 4x Fire Warrior
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse blaster
. MV4 Shield Drone

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 80pts]
. 6x MV4 Shield Drone
. 2x MV7 Marker Drone

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 80pts]
. 6x MV4 Shield Drone
. 2x MV7 Marker Drone

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 80pts]
. 4x MV4 Shield Drone
. 4x MV7 Marker Drone

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [29 PL, 1CP, 489pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [1CP]

T'au Empire Sept Choice:
. Custom Sept: Gifted Pilots, Stabilisation Systems

+ HQ +

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 168pts]: 4x Cyclic ion blaster
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Elites +

Firesight Marksman [1 PL, 25pts]: Markerlight, Pulse pistol

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit [10 PL, 148pts]: 2x Fusion blaster, Cyclic ion raker, 2x MV5 Stealth Drone, Shield generator, Velocity tracker

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit [10 PL, 148pts]: 2x Fusion blaster, Cyclic ion raker, 2x MV5 Stealth Drone, Shield generator, Velocity tracker

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [46 PL, 1CP, 880pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP [1CP]

T'au Empire Sept Choice:
. Custom Sept: Gifted Pilots, Stabilisation Systems

+ HQ +

Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit [8 PL, 168pts]: 4x Cyclic ion blaster
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Elites +

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Heavy burst cannon, Velocity tracker

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Heavy burst cannon, Velocity tracker

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit [10 PL, 156pts]: 2x Fusion blaster, Advanced targeting system, Cyclic ion raker, 2x MV5 Stealth Drone, Shield generator

++ Total: [108 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++ 

Army Thoughts

Tau players seem to have taken a tonne of inspiration from The Greater Good (possibly they really like the name) but of the lists I looked at this is the one that felt the most exciting to me. People have long lamented that Tau should be a very mobile army, but often end up pigeonholed as a castle build. The Greater Good brought a relatively obvious way of doing mobile Tau in the big buffs to Farsight Enclaves, but this build takes another tack, using a custom Sept to empower Riptides and Ghostkeels to be highly effective while they rove around the battlefield, completely ignoring the move/shoot penalty and getting to re-roll 1s to wound on turns where they stay under half speed.

Everyone knows Riptides are great, but repeated point cuts have brought Ghostkeels right up to the edge of being really good, and I think there’s a strong chance this combo pushes them over the edge. Like anything with scout deployment, the perfect knowledge of first turn during setup in the new ITC missions allows you to be either very careful or very aggressive with them during deployment as needed, giving them another little boost. In this configuration they’re also pretty tough to shift, boasting a good invuln and their protective stealth drones

Backing them up we have two CIB commanders (very classic), a missile pod commander, Etheral and a huge cloud of drones to fly around with the suits keeping them safe. Finally, some Breachers (a very popular choice across Tau armies here) fill out a Battalion for some CP and as emergency objective securers.

The nice thing about this list is that it starts the game pretty resilient against most offensive tools (with the requirement to chew through the drones still being very much a thing) while being mobile (even the Etheral actually has his hover drone) and throwing out a lot of mid-high quality shots, letting it engage proactively with most armies. Sometimes against Tau you can afford to just grind them out on the objective game but I think this army closes that option off to a lot of opponents via how much board presence it projects, without sacrificing as much of the traditional Tau firepower or resilience as you might expect to achieve this. It’s also much more suited to trying to play the more mobile game the updated ITC missions promote.

As well as the Sept trait, the Greater Good gives this list some other toys in its toolbox as well. It does bring some markerlights on drones but much fewer than you might normally expect. Aerial Targeting massively mitigates the impact of this – it lets the list get re-roll 1s on a target when needed, or push the marker count up in an emergency. An alternative route to re-roll 1s is also available via Wisdom of the Many, letting the Etheral pull double duty and have both Storm of Fire and Strength of Stone up at once. This list doesn’t really want to be tied down to trying to keep Fireblades safe, and thanks to some of these new tricks it doesn’t have to.

Finally, it has the option of Prototype Systems. My understanding is that the NEO is playing that these get added at “relic time”, so chosen game to game, and are allowing them to double up. This list doesn’t have a tonne of the correct weapons or keywords to take them, but does have the really nasty spoiler option against Raven Guard, Blood Angels or Orks of slapping the Advanced EM Scrambler on a couple of Ghostkeels and pointing and launghing at the sucker stuck 12.01″ away. Sticking the Cross-Linked Stabiliser Jets on a commander would also be an option, but I don’t feel like the list gets that much out of it – it’s more suited to a roving fusion Coldstar. The only real surprise I had when reading the list was that it didn’t put an Ion Accelerator on one of the Riptides, as a gun that can just blast a big target into next week feels like the only thing the list is slightly missing, and it would synergise well with the traits.

Still that’s a minor quibble, and overall, this list looks like a blast to play with and against which is exactly where everyone wants to see Tau go, and also has the power to put up a big result.

Other Tau

Tau Broadside Battlesuit with Missiles

Tau Broadside Battlesuit with Missiles. Credit: Jack Hunter

The other “experimental” Tau lists come in two flavours:

  • People having a go with Hardened Warheads
  • People trying out the Enclaves.

Both have thrown up cool lists that look pretty mean. First up is this Hardened Warheads example:

Leo Kyp's Macross Missiles

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (T'au Empire) [90 PL, -3CP, 1,686pts] ++

+ Configuration +

T'au Empire Sept Choice: Show Sept Tenets rule
. Custom Sept: Hardened Warheads, Stabilisation Systems

+ Stratagems +

Emergency Dispensation (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Cadre Fireblade [2 PL, 42pts]: Markerlight

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [8 PL, 150pts]: Cross-linked stabiliser jets, 4x Missile pod, Warlord

+ Troops +

Strike Team [2 PL, 38pts]
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team [2 PL, 38pts]
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team [2 PL, 38pts]
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

+ Elites +

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 293pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Amplified ion accelerator, Ion accelerator, Velocity tracker

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Heavy burst cannon, Velocity tracker

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Heavy burst cannon, Velocity tracker

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 60pts]
. 6x MV4 Shield Drone

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 60pts]
. 6x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Heavy Support +

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits [24 PL, 411pts]
. Broadside Shas'ui: 2x High-yield missile pod, 2x Smart missile system, Velocity tracker
. Broadside Shas'ui: 2x High-yield missile pod, 2x Smart missile system, Velocity tracker
. Broadside Shas'vre: 2x High-yield missile pod, 2x Smart missile system, Velocity tracker
. 6x MV4 Shield Drone

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (T'au Empire) [19 PL, 314pts] ++

+ Configuration +

T'au Empire Sept Choice: Show Sept Tenets rule
. Custom Sept: Hardened Warheads, Stabilisation Systems

+ HQ +

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [8 PL, 146pts]: 4x Fusion blaster

Ethereal [3 PL, 50pts]: Honour blade, Hover drone, Puretide engram neurochip

+ Troops +

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 40pts]: 10x Kroot

Kroot Carnivores [3 PL, 40pts]: 10x Kroot

Strike Team [2 PL, 38pts]
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

++ Total: [109 PL, -3CP, 2,000pts] ++

This has a much more conventional Tau game plan of “so I started blasting” and is definitely in the region of the kind of thing we were kicking around internally once we saw this trait. The outstanding question is whether the extra killing power is worth losing Tau Sept overwatch for, and that’s why I’ll be watching armies like this with interest – it certainly looks mean as hell on paper.

Finally, there’s the Enclaves. Everyone wants to know if these guys are gonna get there, so it’s interesting to see what people are trying out. Having mulled it over, I like the following build quite a bit:

Feliks Bartkiewicz's Farsight Enclaves

PRIMARY ITC ARMY FACTION: Tau Empire
SECONDARY FACTIONS: Farsight Enclaves
TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 14 (-3)
TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000
POWER LEVEL: 109
TOTAL REINFORCEMENT POINTS: n/a
FREE RELIC: Gatling Burst Cannon

Battalion Detachment, Tau Empire: Farsight Enclaves [48pl, 771pts] +5CP
HQ: Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit (76), Advanced Targeting System (6), 3x Cyclic Ion Blaster (54), 2x MV4 Shield Drone (20) (8pl, 156pts)
HQ: Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit (90), Drone Controller (5), 3x Fusion Blaster (42), 2x MV4 Shield Drone (20) (9pl, 157pts)
TR: Kroot Carnivores: 10x Kroot w/Kroot Rifle (3pl, 40pts)
TR: Strike Team: 5x Fire Warrior w/Pulse Rifle & Photon grenades (2pl, 35pts)
TR: Strike Team: 5x Fire Warrior w/Pulse Rifle & Photon grenades (2pl, 35pts)
HS: Broadside Battlesuits: 3x Broadsides (105), 6x Smart-Missile-System (90), 3x Heavy Rail Rifle (75), 3x Advanced Targeting System (18), 6x MV4 Shield Drone (60) [-1CP extra relic: Magna Rail Rifles] (24pl, 348pts) 

Battalion Detachment, Tau Empire: Farsight Enclaves [53pl, 807pts] +5CP
HQ: Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit (76), Advanced Targeting System (6), 3x Missile Pod (45), 2x MV4 Shield Drone (20) (8pl, 147pts)
HQ: Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit (90), 4x Fusion Blaster (56), 2x MV4 Shield Drone (20) (9pl, 166pts)
TR: Strike Team: 5x Fire Warrior w/Pulse Rifle & Photon grenades (2pl, 35pts)
TR: Strike Team: 5x Fire Warrior w/Pulse Rifle & Photon grenades (2pl, 35pts)
TR: Strike Team: 4x Fire Warrior w/Pulse Carbine & Photon Grenades, 1x Shas’Ui w/Markerlight (3) (2pl, 38pts)
EL: Crisis Battlesuits: 5x Shas’ui (120), 1x Shas’vre (27), 6x Advanced Targeting System (36), 12x Burst Cannon (96), 11x MV1 Gun Drone (110) (30pl, 386pts) [Free relic: Gatling Burst Cannons] [-2CP: Veteran Cadre]

Outrider Detachment, Tau Empire: Farsight Enclaves [8pl, 422pts] +1CP
HQ: Cadre Fireblade (39), Markerlight (3), 2x MV4 Shield Drone (20) (2pl, 62pts) WARLORD
FA: Tactical Drones: 8x MV4 Shield Drone (80), 4x MV7 Marker Drone (40) (2pl, 120pts)
FA: Tactical Drones: 8x MV4 Shield Drone (80), 4x MV7 Marker Drone (40) (2pl, 120pts)
FA: Tactical Drones: 8x MV4 Shield Drone (80), 4x MV7 Marker Drone (40) (2pl, 120pts)

(12 MDrone, 11 GDrone, 40 SDrone) 

This list gives a decent mix of long-ranged shooting tools and roving threats (taking advantage of being able to load up on more than three commanders) but the thing I like a lot is the big Crisis team with the burst cannons. Crisis teams have a lot to recommend them in Farsight, but the cost on them does really rack up if you try and have them fill a generalist role, as their better guns are pricy. This build instead sticks them primarily in the role of being a spectacular anti-infantry bomb, keeping them cheaper and sparing points to bring some gun drones along for the ride, contributing to the anti-infantry massacre and also providing some ablative defences to the counter punch. Dedicated anti-tank is then provided by magna rail rifles Broadsides surrounded by just so many Shield Drones.

While the stabiliser suits list takes the crown of my favourite Tau list going into the event I like all three, and it will be very interesting to see how they fare.

Dominic Graham’s Imperium

Credit: Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

The Army

Army List - Click to Expand

+++ Dominic Graham - NEO Feburary 2020 (Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition) [124 PL, 16CP, 2,000pts] +++

++ Brigade Detachment +12CP (Imperium - Astra Militarum) [73 PL, 11CP, 1,127pts] ++

+ Configuration [11CP] +

Detachment CP [12CP]
. Categories: Configuration

Regimental Doctrine: Agile Warriors, Gunnery Experts
. Categories: Configuration

Specialist Detachment [-1CP]: Emperor's Wrath Artillery Company [-1CP]
. Categories: Configuration

+ HQ [6 PL, 93pts] +

Company Commander [2 PL, 31pts]: Boltgun [1pts], Chainsword, Emperor's Wrath, Frag grenades
. Categories: Officer, Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Faction: , Character, Infantry, Company Commander, HQ, Emperor's Wrath

Company Commander [2 PL, 31pts]: Boltgun [1pts], Chainsword, Emperor's Wrath, Frag grenades, Relic: Kurov's Aquila
. Categories: Officer, Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Faction: , Character, Infantry, Company Commander, HQ, Emperor's Wrath

Company Commander [2 PL, 31pts]: Boltgun [1pts], Chainsword, Emperor's Wrath, Frag grenades, Grand Strategist, Warlord
. Categories: Officer, Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Faction: , Character, Infantry, Company Commander, HQ, Warlord, Emperor's Wrath

+ Troops [24 PL, 320pts] +

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Infantry Squad, Troops
. 9x Guardsman [36pts]: 9x Lasgun
. Sergeant [4pts]: Laspistol

+ Elites [3 PL, 45pts] +

Astropath [1 PL, 15pts]: Laspistol, Nightshroud
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Astra Telepathica, Astropath, Character, Elites, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Psyker, Faction: Scholastica Psykana

Astropath [1 PL, 15pts]: Laspistol, Psychic Barrier
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Astra Telepathica, Astropath, Character, Elites, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Psyker, Faction: Scholastica Psykana

Astropath [1 PL, 15pts]: Laspistol, Mental Fortitude
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Faction: Astra Telepathica, Astropath, Character, Elites, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Psyker, Faction: Scholastica Psykana

+ Fast Attack [20 PL, 340pts] +

Hellhounds [6 PL, 101pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Fast Attack, Faction: Imperium, Hellhound, Vehicle
. Hellhound [6 PL, 101pts]: Heavy Bolter [8pts], Stat Damage (HS), Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon [20pts]

Hellhounds [6 PL, 101pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Fast Attack, Faction: Imperium, Hellhound, Vehicle
. Hellhound [6 PL, 101pts]: Heavy Bolter [8pts], Stat Damage (HS), Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon [20pts]

Scout Sentinels [8 PL, 138pts]
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Fast Attack, Faction: Imperium, Scout Sentinels, Vehicle
. Scout Sentinel [46pts]: Hunter-killer missile [6pts], Missile Launcher [10pts]
. Scout Sentinel [46pts]: Hunter-killer missile [6pts], Missile Launcher [10pts]
. Scout Sentinel [46pts]: Hunter-killer missile [6pts], Missile Launcher [10pts]

+ Heavy Support [20 PL, 329pts] +

Basilisks [7 PL, 108pts]: Emperor's Wrath
. Categories: Basilisk, Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Heavy Support, Faction: Imperium, Vehicle, Emperor's Wrath
. Basilisk [6 PL, 108pts]: Earthshaker Cannon, Full Payload, Heavy Bolter [8pts], Stat Damage (HS)

Basilisks [7 PL, 108pts]: Emperor's Wrath
. Categories: Basilisk, Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Heavy Support, Faction: Imperium, Vehicle, Emperor's Wrath
. Basilisk [6 PL, 108pts]: Earthshaker Cannon, Full Payload, Heavy Bolter [8pts], Stat Damage (HS)

Wyverns [6 PL, 113pts]: Emperor's Wrath, Stat Damage (HS)
. Categories: Wyvern, Faction: , Faction: Astra Militarum, Heavy Support, Faction: Imperium, Vehicle, Emperor's Wrath
. Wyvern [6 PL, 113pts]: Heavy Bolter [8pts], Wyven Quad Stormshard Mortar

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Astra Militarum) [21 PL, 7CP, 279pts] ++

+ Configuration [8CP] +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]
. Categories: Configuration

Detachment CP [5CP]
. Categories: Configuration

Regimental Doctrine: 43rd Iotan Dragons
. Categories: Configuration

+ No Force Org Slot [4 PL, -1CP, 64pts] +

Inquisitor [4 PL, -1CP, 64pts]: 1) Terrify, 6) Castigation, Blackshroud, Condemnor Boltgun [1pts], Force stave [8pts], Frag & Krak grenades, Malleus - Psychic Mastery, Ordo Malleus, Stratagem: Inquisitorial Mandate [-1CP]
. Categories: Faction: Inquisition, Inquisitor, Infantry, Faction: Imperium, Character, Psyker, No Force Org Slot, Faction: Ordo Malleus
. Psyker: Smite
. . Categories: Psyker

+ HQ [6 PL, 75pts] +

Tempestor Prime [3 PL, 35pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Laspistol
. Categories: Tempestus Scions, Faction: Astra Militarum, HQ, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Character, Officer, Tempestor Prime, Faction: Militarum Tempestus

Tempestor Prime [3 PL, 40pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Tempestus Command Rod [5pts]
. Categories: Tempestus Scions, Faction: Astra Militarum, HQ, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Character, Officer, Tempestor Prime, Faction: Militarum Tempestus

+ Troops [11 PL, 140pts] +

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 35pts]
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Tempestus Scions, Troops, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Faction: Militarum Tempestus
. 4x Scion [28pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor [7pts]: Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [3 PL, 35pts]
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Tempestus Scions, Troops, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Faction: Militarum Tempestus
. 4x Scion [28pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor [7pts]: Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Laspistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [5 PL, 70pts]
. Categories: Faction: Astra Militarum, Tempestus Scions, Troops, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Faction: Militarum Tempestus
. 9x Scion [63pts]: 9x Frag & Krak grenades, 9x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Tempestor [7pts]: Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Laspistol

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Blood Angels) [30 PL, -2CP, 594pts] ++

+ Configuration [5CP] +

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels
. Categories: Configuration

Detachment CP [5CP]
. Categories: Configuration

+ Stratagems [-3CP] +

Armoury of Baal [-3CP]: 2 Additional Relics [-3CP]
. Categories: Stratagems

+ HQ [18 PL, -4CP, 429pts] +

Captain [6 PL, -1CP, 143pts]: Bolt pistol, Death Visions of Sanguinius [-1CP], Frag & Krak grenades, Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], The Hammer of Baal (replaces thunder hammer), Thunder hammer [40pts]
. Categories: Captain, Character, Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, HQ, Infantry, Faction: Death Company, Fly, Jump Pack

Captain [6 PL, -1CP, 143pts]: Bolt pistol, Death Visions of Sanguinius [-1CP], Frag & Krak grenades, Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], The Angel's Wing (replaces jump pack), Thunder hammer [40pts]
. Categories: Captain, Character, Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, HQ, Infantry, Faction: Death Company, Fly, Jump Pack

Captain [6 PL, -2CP, 143pts]: 2. Artisan of War, Bolt pistol, Death Visions of Sanguinius [-1CP], Frag & Krak grenades, Hero of The Chapter [-1CP], Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], Thunder hammer [40pts]
. Categories: Captain, Character, Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, HQ, Infantry, Faction: Death Company, Fly, Jump Pack

+ Troops [12 PL, 165pts] +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Categories: Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Scout, Scout Squad, Troops
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Categories: Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Scout, Scout Squad, Troops
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Categories: Faction: Adeptus Astartes, Faction: Blood Angels, Faction: Imperium, Infantry, Scout, Scout Squad, Troops
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades 

Army Thoughts

Now first things first – this obviously isn’t a pure Astra Militarum list, but ultimately I thought it was the most interesting Imperium list in the field, and makes heavy use of new elements from The Greater Good.

Second thing – this list is a whole fucking lot.

Seriously. Sometimes I read a list and think “wait really” and reach for my calculator and this was one of those times because it doesn’t feel like it should be possible to get so many things on the table (it has a Brigade and two Battalions for goodness sake). Turns out it really is though, and this list  is going to be a massively intimidating one to face down across the table because of the sheer volume of units it has access to. In some ways what you end up with feels very similar to (and sorry to raise the spectre again) the BA/Guard/Castellan trifecta lists just arriving at it via a different route – it’s got some extremely potent long ranged fire power, provided by two Basilisks (one that can double shoot) with the Full Payload Tank Ace skill making their weapon damage 3 and Gunnery Experts making them essentially 3d6-pick-the-highest shots (as once you’re already 2d6-pick-the-highest there’s no risk in using the re-roll on your worse dice every time) and a Wyvern.

Meanwhile, roving around the board at higher speeds than ever (thanks to Agile Fighters), stealing objectives and and generally making a nuisance of themselves you have 80 infantry squad members, amongst whom are scattered three extremely angry, extremely red men with thunder hammers, jetpacks and an absurd array of relics, buffs and traits paid for by the ocean of CP this list starts out with. Anything big that can’t get out of their way is going to get smashed to bits, and the Angel’s Wing and Artisan of War one can probably tag team a squad of Assault Centurions to death in an emergency.

Oh, also if you take your eyes off them there are 20 Scions from the Iotan Dragons (which seems to be the only regiment in town, unsurprisingly as far as we’re concerned) waiting in orbit to pop down, steal your objective and blast you with hot-shot las. You know, just be aware.

There’s so much going on with this list that it’s difficult to catch everything, but the last element to point out is that it includes (and it isn’t the only one) an actual honest to goodness squad of Sentinels, with the lure of using Strike Fast, Strike Hard in combination with hunter killer missiles to assist with an alpha strike being enough to get people to really try and make them work.

Bizarrely for something using so many new elements we kind of already know this list works – it’s heavily modelled on one of the most successful lists the edition has seen, it’s just that the turnover of rules and the metagame has brought us back round to a place where it can replace what it lost – while not as insanely deadly as a fully souped up Castellan (which to be clear is good and healthy) the Basilisks are nasty back-line shooting and safer they’ve been for a while as Eldar planes fade in relevance, while being able to squeeze the extra Scion Battalion in helps make up for the loss of CP farming. Finally, the other core elements of what made the lists good are better than ever – the Blood Angels are deadlier and the Guard faster. Maybe it’ll turn out there are other reasons this just doesn’t work any more, but I think this is one to watch.

Other Astra Militarum

Valhallan Leman Russ. Credit: SRM

There’s quite a few different things being tried out across this faction, but a few themes emerge in multiple places:

  • At least one other person is doubling up on Full Payload Basilisks. The main predator of these was planes, and with these out and about in very small numbers this looks like a good bet. They’re also excellent in a Grey Knight Paladin world.
  • Gunnery Experts is very popular, with quite a few people choosing to combo it with Aerial Spotters to give you a hybrid of Vostroyan and Cadian for demolisher tank commanders. It does lose access to the extremely good Vostroyan Strat, but I can definitely see the appeal of the consistent access to shot re-rolls.
  • Bullgryn are popular. They’re one of the few things in the game that can buff up to the point where even Marines struggle to trivially kill them, and Eldar debuffs were one of their main weakness so this is a decent response to the meta – with the exception that Grey Knight smite spam is real bad news for them.
  • People are trying various Scion elements but aren’t quite going all-in on them yet.
  • Blood Angel detachments are a very popular add-on.

Lots of people have Astra Militarum armies waiting in the wings, and I’m sure we’ll see a continued iteration as people find out what works and what doesn’t.

James Mackenzie’s Chaos

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Army

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [52 PL, -1CP, 828pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Alpha Legion

+ Stratagems +

Specialist Detachment [-1CP]: Daemonkin Ritualists

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: 2x Dark Disciple

+ HQ +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 72pts]: Mark of Nurgle

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [9 PL, 170pts]: Baleflamer, Mark of Nurgle
. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Master of Possession [5 PL, 88pts]: Force stave, Mark of Tzeentch

+ Troops +

Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 55pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. Aspiring Champion: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. 4x Marine w/ Boltgun

Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 55pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. Aspiring Champion: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. 4x Marine w/ Boltgun

Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 55pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. Aspiring Champion: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. 4x Marine w/ Boltgun

+ Elites +

Possessed [20 PL, 323pts]: Mark of Nurgle, 19x Possessed

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Daemons) [17 PL, 302pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle

+ HQ +

Poxbringer [4 PL, 70pts]

Poxbringer [4 PL, 70pts]

+ Troops +

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts]: 3x Nurgling Swarms

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts]: 3x Nurgling Swarms

Nurglings [3 PL, 54pts]: 3x Nurgling Swarms

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [47 PL, 870pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Duplicity

+ HQ +

Ahriman [7 PL, 131pts]: Doombolt, Prescience, Warptime

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [9 PL, 195pts]: Malefic talon, Wings

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [9 PL, 195pts]: Malefic talon, Warlord, Wings

+ Elites +

Scarab Occult Terminators [22 PL, 349pts]: Hellfyre Missile Rack
. Scarab Occult Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Combi-bolter
. 9x Terminator: 9x Inferno Combi-bolter, 9x Powersword

++ Total: [116 PL, -1CP, 2,000pts] ++ 

Army Thoughts

Most people have moved away from the Possessed bomb, perhaps fearing the rise of Grey Knights or put off by it not quite living up to the hype it had going in to the LVO. However, James Mackenzie’s (most famous as a GSC player) version adds some special sauce from Ritual of the Damned that might just do the trick of putting it back on top.

This list is similar to Menelik Eriksson’s version we looked at in January, but takes advantage of the significant new options that Ritual of the Damned brings to the table – notably that a teleporting squad of 10 Scarab Occults with (potentially) a 3++ is a really, really good thing to screen your Alpha Legion Possessed behind until you’re in a position to start the rolling wrap of doom.

That’s obviously not all they are, as RoD makes these quite deadly in their own right. Being able to potentially double shoot their inferno combi-bolters via Infernal Fusilade with Veterans of the Long War up will let them absolutely tear up anything that stands close enough that they don’t need to move, and gives the kind of screen clearance capability that the Possessed desperately need in a metagame where people might be putting 80 sprint champion guard models on the table. While the Possessed will obviously blender anything they touch, a list like the one we just looked at can potentially just overwhelm their pre-set kill limit over the course of the game and exploit the lack of ObSec to out-score the army on objectives. A Terminator squad that can realistically kill 50+ guard models (assuming Prescience as well) in a single phase is what we can technically refer to as a “solution” to that problem.

There’s also all sorts of horrendous trickiness you can pull off between Yoked Automata and the fact that there will be two Daemon Princes teleporting around. Unsuspecting opponents are going to find themselves suddrenly and unfortunately in combat with a bunch of Terminators in a way that isn’t terribly conducive to a long life. Thousand Sons Princes are also, obviously, Just Plain Good, as is Ahriman himself. Similar sentiments apply to the Discolord chilling out in the Alpha Legion detachment.

The outstanding question, to some degree, is whether the changed version manages to improve the nightmare that is the Grey Knights matchup, because unfortunately Scarab Occults don’t do well against D2 smites, even if it isn’t as horrific as when it goes into the possessed themselves. Having Ahriman and the Princes to sling some denies helps a bit but it could turn out not to be enough.

That said, while I expect the number of people on the Grey Knight hype train to only increase, there are only three of them in the field. I think this set of changes does a lot to improve the army’s general performance against the rest of the field, and wouldn’t be surprised to see James take this to an excellent finish.

Wrap Up

…and that’s it for the preview. Good luck to all the players featured and everyone else at the NEO – I hope it’s a blast.

I’m not at an event myself either this weekend or next, so next Wednesday’s article slot is looking free, so I’ll hopefully be able to use it to check back on how these armies performed to see if we can draw out any takeaways about where the metagame stands.

Until then you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook Page.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.