Tournament Focus – Three Cool Lists from the Alliance Open

An article by    Battle Reports Gaming Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

After his recent successes my Wraithknight needs just a little bit longer to recharge his…batteries? Wraithbones? Probably soulstones. Whatever. Anyway the point is I’m not heading to a tournament this week, but it’s a very busy weekend in the calendar nonetheless, with three majors scheduled. Given that the metagame continues to evolve as people try out options from the Space Marines codex and others look for ways to counter them or just to batten down the hatches, more list reviews can’t hurt, so I’ve gone through the submitted lists for the largest of the three events (the Alliance Open in the Netherlands) and picked out some to focus on. This is a massive event, with >150 players registered including top players from across Europe and the UK and they’re playing the ITC champions missions, so it’s a good chance to have a look at what people have decided to pack.

Before we dive in, a couple of quick notes:

  1. To clear up something that I think has been misunderstood a few times, I pick out the lists I review and feature in these article by going through BCP or other sources – other than when I talk about my own list they aren’t usually from my team mates or other Goonhammer writers. For UK events I’m attending I can usually chat to the players at the event if people have any questions, but that won’t always be possible so we won’t always be able to follow up on them.
  2. The list document for the Alliance Open is publicly viewable here, so you can go and have a look if you want to see the full array of them.

The three lists I’ve picked out for a full review aim to showcase some of the factions we haven’t looked at recently, but there are a few general observations about the metagame that are probably worth sharing first, and I’ve included some quick thoughts about some other lists that stand out on the way

The Metagame

Space Marines

Roboute Guilliman

Roboute Guilliman. Credit: Corrode

There are a lot of Iron Hands and Raven Guard players. We looked at an Iron Hands list last time and a Raven Guard one the time before that so won’t be reviewing them today, but just be aware that they’re out in force. There’s some variety within them, but Raven Guard mostly seem to be doing stuff with Centurions (with the Long-Ranged Marksmen/Hungry for Battle/Assault Cent combo that Mani Cheema won B&G with being a popular build) and Iron Hands are usually leaning on planes and artillery. Imperial Fists (as we’ll see shortly) have some tasty looking lists, Ultramarines have a surprisingly big showing and there are a few White Scars players, but one of the biggest surprises is that nobody out of the field of 150 is packing Salamanders.

I think the winner of “most interesting Marine list” is probably Ben Schocke with his Ultramarines:

Army List - Click to Expand


Benjamin Schocke
Gaming Club: Pathfinders Dortmund
Total Points: 1999 Pts.
Total Command Points: 12 CP
ITC Faction: Adeptus Astartes

Detachment 1: Battalion (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Ultramarines) – 447 pts.
HQ – Chief Librarian Tigurius (130) – [7PL / 130pts]

HQ – Librarian (80), Force Sword (8), Storm Bolter (2) – [5PL / 90pts]

TR – Intercessor Squad (85), 1x Intercessor Sergeant (0), 1x Auxiliary Grenade Launcher (1), 5x Bolt Rifle (0) – [5PL / 86pts]

TR – Intercessor Squad (85), 1x Intercessor Sergeant (0), 1x Auxiliary Grenade Launcher (1), 5x Bolt Rifle (0) – [5PL / 86pts]

TR – Scout Squad (55), Scout Sergeant (0), 1x Chainsword (0), 5x Boltgun (0) – [4PL / 55pts]

Detachment 2: Spearhead Detachment (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Ultramarines) – 1202 pts
HQ – Techmarine (45), 1x Chainsword (0), 1x Servoarm (0), 1x Storm Bolter (2) – [4PL / 45pts]

HS – Eliminator Squad (54), 1x Eliminator Sergeant (0), 3x Camo cloak (9), 2x Bolt Sniper (6), 1x Instigator Bolt Carbine (5) – [4PL / 74pts]

HS – Relic Leviathan Dreadnought (175), 2x Heavy Flamer (28), 2x Storm Cannon Array (100) – [16PL / 303pts]

HS – Relic Leviathan Dreadnought (175), 2x Heavy Flamer (28), 2x Storm Cannon Array (100) – [16PL / 303pts]

HS – Relic Leviathan Dreadnought (175), 2x Heavy Flamer (28), 2x Storm Cannon Array (100) – [16PL / 303pts]

HS – Thunderfire Cannon (55), Techmarine Gunner (26), Flamer (6), Plasma cutter (5),Bolt Pistol (0), 2x Servo-arm (0) – [4PL / 92pts]

HS – Whirlwind (65), Whirlwind Castellan Launcher (15) – [4PL / 80pts]

Detachment 3: Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Ultramarines) – 350 pts
WL – Roboute Guilliman (350), Hand of Dominion (0), The Emperor’s Sword (0)
WARLORD – [18PL / 350pts]

 

Some people saw some strong early successes with Dreadnought-heavy Ultramarine lists and this leans in on that hard, and I think it has potential when the metagame is so dominated by Iron Hands and Raven Guard. The only thing ever really holding Leviathans back has been their range, but most of those lists have a lot of their damage potential tied up in things with 24″ range, which brings them into Leviathan town – plus the Ultramarines doctrine helps them get about the board without losing effectiveness. The high natural BS combined with Guilliman’s re-rolls means these will be able to throw a hefty counter punch, and they’re actually tough enough to take a punch from them as well. The obvious problem for it is Fists, as the +1D against the Dreads pretty much across the board is going to melt them, and mortal wounds from Siegebreaker cohorts are even worse. Still, Fists are a much smaller presence in the meta than other Marine factions, and Leviathans are at least pretty good against most armies, so I think this list is moderately well positioned.

Several of the top finishers at B&G are here with basically unchanged lists, and Fists dominated last week’s GW GT heat, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Marines took this event down too. Can anyone else stop them? Well…

Imperium

Skitarii Ranger

Skitarii Ranger. Credit: Pendulin

As is to be expected for any event this size there’s a huge number of Imperium armies of all flavours (except Dark Angels and Sisters. Sorry Chase). Quite a few Guard players, some bringing Blood Angels along for the ride, a pretty substantial showing for Imperial Knights, the odd Space Wolf, all with a surprisingly large number of Assassins mixed in. Of the above, I think there’s always a chance for Knight players to put up a good showing – most seem to be packing lists with the standard three Knight Crusaders, which remain pretty good in the metagame, and like the Ultramarines list above they’re big winners from the fact that pure Imperial Fist lists have made a smaller showing than might have been expected. Knights are always a force to be reckoned with, and in fact took down a GT (with what I can only assume from the names in the top four was a brutal field for the event size) as recently as last weekend.

However, the faction I think most likely to pull an upset for the wider Imperium in a Marine dominated world is Ad Mech, and I think the best example of this is Wayne Envis’ list:

Army List - Click to Expand

Player name: Wayne Envis
Registration number: 041
Command points: 13 (5 (Battalion) + 5 (Battalion) +3)
Total army points: 2000
ITC faction: Adeptus Mechanicus
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Detachment 1: Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus – Stygies VIII) [48 PL, 764pts]
HQ: Daedalosus [3 PL, 50pts] HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer [3 PL, 30pts]: Warlord

TR: 4x Skitarii Rangers (28), Ranger Alpha (7), 5x Galvanic Rifles (0), [4pl, 35pts]

TR: 4x Skitarii Rangers (28), Ranger Alpha (7), 5x Galvanic Rifles (0), [4pl, 35pts]

TR: 4x Skitarii Vanguards (32), Vanguard Alpha (8), 2x Plasma Caliver (22), 3x Radium Carbine (0), [4 PL, 62pts]

HS: Skorpius Disintegrator (91) Belleros Energy Cannon (20), [6 PL, 111pts]

HS: Skorpius Disintegrator (91) Belleros Energy Cannon (20), [6 PL, 111pts]

HS: Skorpius Disintegrator (91) Belleros Energy Cannon (20), [6 PL, 111pts]

DT: Skorpius Dunerider [4 PL, 73pts] DT: Skorpius Dunerider [4 PL, 73pts] DT: Skorpius Dunerider [4 PL, 73pts]

Detachment 2: Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Imperium – Imperial Knights – House Krast) [25 PL, 494pts]
LoW: Knight Crusader (285), Heavy Stubber (2), Ironstorm Missile Pod (16), Avenger Gatling Cannon w/Heavy Flamer (89), Rapid-Fire Battle Cannon w/ Heavy Stubber (102), [25 PL, 494pts]

Detachment 3: Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Adeptus Mechanicus – Stygies VIII) [47 PL, 742pts]
HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer [3 PL, 30pts] HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer [3 PL, 30pts]

TR: 4x Skitarii Vanguards (32), Vanguard Alpha (8), 2x Plasma Caliver (22), 3x Radium Carbine (0), [4 PL, 62pts]

TR: 4x Skitarii Vanguards (32), Vanguard Alpha (8), 2x Plasma Caliver (22), 3x Radium Carbine (0), [4 PL, 62pts]

TR: 4x Skitarii Vanguards (32), Vanguard Alpha (8), 2x Plasma Caliver (22), 3x Radium Carbine (0), [4 PL, 62pts]

EL: 10x Fulgurite Electro-priests [8pl, 160pts]

HS: Onager Dunecrawler (70), Broad Spectrum Data-tether (0), Cognis Heavy Stubber (2), Icarus Array (40), [7PL, 112pts]

HS: Onager Dunecrawler (70), Broad Spectrum Data-tether (0), Cognis Heavy Stubber (2), Icarus Array (40), [7PL, 112pts]

HS: Onager Dunecrawler (70), Broad Spectrum Data-tether (0), Cognis Heavy Stubber (2), Icarus Array (40), [7PL, 112pts]

 

Marines are getting all the attention right now, but Ad Mech have picked up a lot in the last 6 months. The Dunerider/Disintegrator chassis is extremely efficient, and stack on top of the already extremely good Icarus Dunecrawlers to give this list a real critical mass of powerful shooting. Add in the spice of Daedolosus and the fact that it can make extremely efficient use of the Krastsader (in particular having the option to give it a 1+ save against shooting via the Sainted Iron, Knight of the Cog and Shroudpsalm, although that doesn’t work against “real” Imperial Fists) and you have a list that’s a real shooting threat, and doesn’t even sacrifice mobility to do it – you have objective grabbers and countercharge threat loaded up in the three Duneriders. The combo of the plasma caliver Vanguard with Daedolosus is particularly cute, as it give you a really very hefty one-time punch out of the transports without a lot of the normal risks.

The only thing I’d wonder about with this list is making the Knight Taranis – the Headsman’s Mark is undeniably excellent in the current metagame, but I’m not certain if the list needs the help taking out tanks, whereas with the relatively decent stash of CP this list has being able to zombify the Knight a few times could be brutal against the kinds of list that can ice it easily. The Krast choice is very respectable however, and this list has all the tools it needs to do well in the current environment.

Chaos

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Chaos lists tend to go one of two ways:

  1. Dreadnought/Knight/Daemon engine heavy threat saturation lists
  2. Plaguebearers and Psykers.

Neither of these are especially new but they’re both list styles that have got good results backing them up and that have proven capabilities in the Marine meta. The first style floods the board with enough resilient threats to overwhelm even Marine shooting (although how they’ll do against Imperial Fists remains to be seen) while the latter goes the other way and puts up the one infantry-based force that can stand up to being raked from the sky with endless assault cannons.

We’ve talked about and played against both kinds of list before, so if you want a rundown of how they tend to play out on the board you can go and have a look at those. The biggest recent innovation, nicely shown off by Wouter Kamps is the evolution of the Heldrake from comedy joke unit to serious tournament contender:

Army List - Click to Expand

Player: Wouter Kamps
Gaming Club: Lost Legion Wargaming Amersfoort
Total points: 1999
Total Command points: 7 (3 Battleforged, +1 Airwing, +1 Spearhead, +1 Supreme command , +1 Red Corsairs)
ITC Faction: Chaos Space Marines

Detachment 1: Airwing (Chaos Space Marines – Renegade legion: Crimson Slaughter) – 501
FLYER – Heldrake (9 PL – 130pts), Heldrake Claws (17), Baleflamer (30), Mark of Nurgle – 167
FLYER – Heldrake (9 PL – 130pts), Heldrake Claws (17), Baleflamer (30), Mark of Nurgle – 167
FLYER – Heldrake (9 PL – 130pts), Heldrake Claws (17), Baleflamer (30), Mark of Nurgle – 167

Detachment 2: Spearhead (Chaos Space Marine – Renegade legion: The Purge) – 998
HQ – Sorcerer w/ Jump pack (7 PL – 112 pts), Force Stave (8), Combi Bolter (2), Mark of Nurgle, WARLORD – 122
Elites – Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought (10 PL – 88pts), 2x Butcher Cannon (50), Havoc Launcher (6), Mark of Nurgle – 144
Elites – Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought (10 PL – 88pts), 2x Butcher Cannon (50), Mark of Nurgle – 138
HS – Hellforged Deredeo Dreadnought (14 PL – 120pts), Butcher Cannon Array (40), Greater Havoc Launcher (21), Twin Heavy Bolter (17), Mark of Nurgle – 198
HS – Hellforged Deredeo Dreadnought (14 PL – 120pts), Butcher Cannon Array (40), Greater Havoc Launcher (21), Twin Heavy Bolter (17), Mark of Nurgle – 198
HS – Hellforged Deredeo Dreadnought (14 PL – 120pts), Butcher Cannon Array (40), Greater Havoc Launcher (21), Twin Heavy Bolter (17), Mark of Nurgle – 198

Detachment 3: Supreme Command Detachment (Chaos Space marines – Renegade legion: Red Corsairs) – 500
HQ – Lord Discordant on Helstalker (9 PL – 150pts), Baleflamer (30), Mark of Nurgle, Impaler Chainglaive (0), Mechatendrils (0), Helstalker w/ Techno-virus injector and Bladed limbs and tails (0) – 180
HQ – Lord Discordant on Helstalker (9 PL – 150pts), Autocannon (10), Mark of Nurgle, Impaler Chainglaive (0), Mechatendrils (0), Helstalker w/ Techno-virus injector and Bladed limbs and tails (0) – 160
HQ – Lord Discordant on Helstalker (9 PL – 150pts), Autocannon (10), Mark of Nurgle, Impaler Chainglaive (0), Mechatendrils (0), Helstalker w/ Techno-virus injector and Bladed limbs and tails (0) – 160

 

This list is a lot to deal with on the board and has some extreme damage output. Red Corsair Discolords don’t need the specialist detachment for the advance and charge, so they can be in your face straight away, often with three Heldrakes backing them up. The Heldrakes can go right ahead and pull planes straight from the sky, and being Crimson Slaughter gives them access to the little known Terrifying Phenomena stratagem, which lets them designate a nearby terrain feature to give all enemies within 3″ of it -1 to hit for the phase at the start of the enemy’s shooting. This can be an astoundingly brutal punch against a player that hasn’t prepared for it, and an Air Wing is a neat way to get access to it. Even if you aren’t going after flyers, we’ve noted in prior articles that Heldrakes can just be an effective way to charge up the table and lock units up turn 1 that might otherwise be able to shoot and take out your key threats.

Meanwhile, in the backlines you have just so many Purge-powered butcher cannon shots. D2 weaponry is the place to be with Primaris everywhere, and being S8 gives butcher cannons very broad target applicability. Loyalist Marines might be shining a bit brighter right now, but don’t count this kind of build out – especially one as well tuned against Marine flyers as this.

Aeldari

Iyanden Hemlock Wraithfighter

Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Aeldari are in a challenging spot at the moment, and from going through this list doc I’m not seeing any immediate signs of any great revelations as to what the solutions are. There’s definitely some drift away from full blown plane spam, which a reasonable response to just how trivially Marines can chew through them. You still usually want three (almost every Craftworld list has an Air Wing) but leaning your entire plan on them is no longer safe. I’ve been a long term hater of plane spam lists so I’m not super sad about this, although maybe wish it wasn’t being driven out by “superior plane spam”.

In terms of what replaces it though, there aren’t a lot of answers here. There are plenty of Venom spam lists, someone packing the Skyrunner Conclave Bomb, a few people trying Harlequins, some Coven builds (including Mark Crombleholme with an optimised version of his Cronos-based Blood and Glory list) but nothing that makes me say “aha!” when I see it. Probably the most potent looking to me is Tomas Christensson’s Craftworld build:

Army List - Click to Expand

Tomas Christensson
Gaming Club: Go Go Harambe Rangers
Total Points: 2000p
Total Command points: 10 CP (3+5(Battalion)+1(Airwing)+1(Spearhead Detachment)
ITC Faction: Asuryani

Detachment 1: Battalion (Asuryani – Craftworlds – Alaitoc) – 718
HQ – Farseer Skyrunner – (130), Witchblade(0) – Twin Shuriken catapult (2) [7PL 132pts] WARLORD (Seer of the
Shifting Vector), Relic (The Phoenix Gem).

HQ – Warlock Skyrunner – (65), Witchblade (0) – Twin Shuriken catapult (2) [4PL 67pts]

HQ – Warlock Skyrunner – (65), Witchblade (0) – Twin Shuriken catapult (2) [4PL 67pts]

TR – 5x Rangers (60) – [3PL, 60pts]

TR – 5x Rangers (60) – [3PL, 60pts]

TR – 5x Rangers (60) – [3PL, 60pts]

FA – 8x Shining Spears (192) 7x Laser lance(56), Twin Shuriken Catapult(14),- Exarch Upgrade(0) Exarth wargear: Laser lance (8), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) Shining Spear Exarch power (Skilled Raider) – [14PL, 272Pts]

Detachment 2: Spearhead (Asuryani – Craftworld – Alaitoc) – 586
HQ – Autarch Skyrunner (95), Banshee Mask(0), Laser lance(8), Twin Shuriken catapult (2) – [6PL, 105pts]

HS – Fire Prism (155), Twin Shuriken catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix(5) – [9PL, 162pts]

HS – Fire Prism (155), Twin Shuriken catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix(5) – [9PL, 162pts]

HS – Fire Prism (155), Twin Shuriken catapult (2) – [9PL, 157pts]

Detachment 3: Air Wing Detachment (Asuryani – Craftworld – Alaitoc) – 693
Flyer – Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), Two Starcannons(26), Crimson Hunter Exarch power (Hawkeye) [9PL, 161Pts]

Flyer – Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), Two Starcannons(26), Crimson Hunter Exarch power (Hawkeye) [9PL, 161Pts]

Flyer – Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), Two Starcannons(26), Crimson Hunter Exarch power (Hawkeye) [9PL, 161Pts]

Flyer – Hemlock Wraithfighter (200), Spirit Stone(10) – [10PL, 210pts]

 

I’m basically at this point painfully aware that when the Wraithknight dream dies and I start looking again at more mainstream Eldar lists I’ll need to paint up either more Shining Spears or a third Fire Prism, and honestly when I do this list is probably where I’ll start. Shining Spears picked up a big boost from Phoenix Rising, as Expert Rider ups their durability and Ghostwalk massively improves their all important charge out of Deep Strike. Outside them, this list presents no trivial target and has the firepower to do substantial damage to many armies if it’s handed the first turn. The only thing I’d be super worried about with it is clearing out something like a Plaguebearer horde, and even there the fact that the Shining Spears are operating with relative impunity gives it tools to get the job done. I’ll probably be looking at this list and Gaz Jones’ list from Deceitful Enemies as possible templates for where to go next in the near future.

Xenos

Tau Commander

Tau Commander. Credit: Jack Hunter

Orks, Tyranids, Tau, Necrons and Genestealer Cults all have a presence at the event. For most of these there’s nothing massively revelatory to be found in reading the lists. Necrons still have exactly one good list. Riptides are still exceptionally potent and can comfortably take down tournaments of any size in the right hands. The Genestealer Cult lists are still doing their very effective thing and you can’t make me look too closely at them lest I find yet another thing I need to add to the guide. The one interesting tweak I did spot is Danny Evison’s list where he’s bringing in Bullgryns and Primaris Psykers in a Brood Brother detachment to provide some staying power on the board. It’s an interesting call and I’ll definitely catch up with Danny about how it goes. Tyranids…well they’re either here helping the Cults or they’re leaning on the Swarmlord, Zoanthropes and Hive Guard – their options are extremely limited right now.

The only notable shift seems to be in Orks because Boyz, previously a staple of most competitive lists, are pretty much gone. There’s one list still packing big blobs, but by and large people are either filling their detachments with Grots or using MSUs of Boyz, and sinking their points into fancier stuff. This is presumably a reaction to the truly absurd level of anti-infantry firepower the Marine lists bring to the table – a plan that involves starting 90 infantry with a 6+ on the board and expecting to still have, well, any of them by the end of turn 2 doesn’t work any more.

We’ll take a closer look at an example of an Ork list in a second, but close out this section with a Tau list. Tau show every sign of having good game against Marines, and while they’re not the saviour we might have chosen, at this point I’ll take what we can get, and Tau players have been making changes to optimise to the new meta. Gerard Malipaard’s list does a good job of showing off some of the subtle evolutions that are in play:

Army List - Click to Expand

Gerard Malipaard
Gaming Club: Generals of the West
Total Points: 2000
Command points: 10 (3+5 (Battalion) +1 (Supreme command) +1 (Vanguard))
ITC Faction: Tau

Detachment 1: Battalion [T’au Sept] 548 points
HQ – Cadre Fireblade (39), Markerlight (3), 2 shield drones (20) [3PL, 62pts] Warlord: Through Unity,
Devastation.

HQ – XV86 Coldstar Commander (90), 4 Fusion blaster (72), 2 shield drones (20) [9PL, 182pts]

TR – 4 Strikes (28), Shas’ui (7), Markerlight (3) [2PL, 38pts]

TR – 4 Strikes (28), Shas’ui (7), Markerlight (3) [2PL, 38pts]

TR – 4 Strikes (28), Shas’ui (7), Markerlight (3), 2 shield drones (20) [3PL, 58pts]

FA – 6 Shield Drones (60) [4PL, 60pts]

FA – 6 Shield Drones (60) [4PL, 60pts]

FA – 5 Shield Drones (50) [4PL, 50pts]

Detachment 2: Supreme Command [Mixed sept] 259 Points
HQ – Darkstrider (45) [3PL, 45 pts] [T’au sept]

HQ – Cadre Fireblade (39), Markerlight (3), 2 shield drones (20) [3PL, 62pts] [Sa’cea sept]

HQ – XV8 Crisis Commander (72), Advanced Targeting System (6), 3x Cyclic Ion Blaster (54), 2 shield drones (20) [8PL, 152pts] [Dal’yth sept]

Detachment 3: Vanguard [T’au Sept] 1193 points
HQ – Cadre Fireblade (39), Markerlight (3), 2 shield drones (20) [3PL, 62pts]

HQ – Commander Shadowsun (110), Command link drone (6) [10PL, 116pts]

EL – Riptide (185), Advanced Targeting System (18), Target Lock (12), 2x Smart Missile System (30), Heavy burst cannon (35) [14PL, 280pts]

EL – Riptide (185), Advanced Targeting System (18), Target Lock (12), 2x Smart Missile System (30), Heavy burst cannon (35) [14PL, 280pts]

EL – Riptide (185), Advanced Targeting System (18), Velocity Tracker (10), 2x Smart Missile System (30), Heavy burst cannon (35) [14PL, 278pts]

FA – 4 Pathfinder (20), Shash’ui (5), 5x Markerlight (15), Recon Drone (12), 2 shield drones (20), Pulse Accelerator Drone (8), Grav-inhibitor Drone (8) [6PL, 88pts]

FA – 4 Pathfinder (20), Shash’ui (5), Pulse pistol (1), 5x Markerlight (15), Recon Drone (12), 2 shield drones (20), Pulse Accelerator Drone (8), Grav-inhibitor Drone (8) [6PL, 89pts]

 

The big thing is that commanders are back. When you’ve got lots of Marine planes flying around being able to chuck a bunch of fusion or CIB shots into them is really good, and the threat range on most of the Marine planes is low enough that they will often have to think about heading into the threat range of these to attack, and can be punched back very hard. I particularly like tagging the CIB commander as Dal’yth in the mixed detachment, as this gives access to a stratagem to move after shooting, allowing them to reach out a bit further then return to safety if a plane is hovering at the limit of its range.

This list (and plenty of others) chooses to use additional Commanders in place of the Broadsides that were popular prior to the Marine codex release. They still see play and are still brutal but the swing seems to be back towards using their points for additional Commanders. Removing the big, slow blob of Broadsides gives the list the option of playing a much more mobile game, something you can see further hinted at by the fact that two of the Riptides have Target Locks rather than Velocity Trackers. The 2 TL/1 VT split is a good response to the metagame that was also used by one of my B&G opponents – it means that if you’re up against T7 fliers like Stormhawks you can chuck Command and Control Node and Branched Nova Charge onto that one to give it the best chance of blowing one straight out of the sky, while the others can flexibly choose between a 3++ or extra shooting as needed.

Tau are great and put up top finishes at the highest levels, and don’t count out GSC either, as while Marines are pretty good against them they’re still excessively deadly in the right hands.

 

The Lists

As we’ve spent more time than normal on the broader metagame these will be a bit quicker than normal, but these three lists stood out when I went through the document and we’re going to go a bit deeper on them, starting with (by popular demand) the Imperial Fists.

Malik Rubio’s Imperial Fists

Imperial Fists Centurion Devastator Squad

Imperial Fists Centurion Devastator Squad. Credit: Jack Hunter

Army List - Click to Expand

Malik Amin Rubio
Gaming Club: Dice Down
Total Points: 2000 pts
Total Command Points: 9(3+5(Battalion)+1(Airwing)+1(Spearhead)-1(Siegebreaker Cohort))
ITC Faction: Adeptus Astartes

Battalion Detachment, 5CP, Imperial fists, Siegebreaker Cohort (-1CP Vigilus Detachment) [61PL, 987pts]
HQ: Captain with Jump Pack (93), Chainsword x2 (0), Bolt Pistol (0) [6PL. 93pts] (Warlord)

HQ: Captain (74), Chainsword x2 (0), Bolt Pistol (0), [5PL, 74pts]

TR – 5x Scouts (55), Sergeant, 2xChainsword (0) 4xBolt Pistol(0), 4xCombat Knife 0) – [4PL, 55pts]

TR – 5x Scouts (55), Sergeant, 2xChainsword (0) 4xBolt Pistol(0), 4xCombat Knife 0) – [4PL, 55pts]

TR – 5x Scouts (55), Sergeant, 2xChainsword (0) 4xBolt Pistol(0), 4xCombat Knife 0) – [4PL, 55pts]

Elite: 4x Servitors (4X5), 4x Servo Arms (0) [2PL, 20pts]

Elite: Relic Whirlwind Scorpius (175), Scorpius Multi Launcher (40) [12PL, 215pts]

HS: 6x Devastator Centurions (6×40), Sergeant, 12 Heavy Bolters (10×12), 6 Hurricane Bolters (6×10), – [24PL, 420pts]

Spearhead Detachment, 1CP, Imperial Fists [25Pl, 536pts]
HQ: Chaplain with Jump Pack (90), Boltgun (0), Crozius Arcanum (0), – [5PL, 90pts]

HS: Thunderfire Cannon (55), Techmarine Gunner (26), Servo-harness, Flamer (6), Plasma Cutter (5) [4PL, 92pts]

HS: Thunderfire Cannon (55), Techmarine Gunner (26), Servo-harness, Flamer (6), Plasma Cutter (5) [4PL, 92pts]

HS: Thunderfire Cannon (55), Techmarine Gunner (26), Servo-harness, Flamer (6), Plasma Cutter (5) [4PL, 92pts]

HS: Whirlwind (65), Whirlwind Vengeance launcher (20), [4PL, 85pts]

HS: Whirlwind (65), Whirlwind Vengeance launcher (20), [4PL, 85pts]

Airwing Detachment, 1CP, Imperial Fists [27PL, 477pts]
Flyer: Stormhawk Interceptor (85), 2x Assault cannon (22×2), Icarus stormcannon (10), Skyhammer missile launcher (20) [9PL, 159pts]

Flyer: Stormhawk Interceptor (85), 2x Assault cannon (22×2), Icarus stormcannon (10), Skyhammer missile launcher (20) [9PL, 159pts]

Flyer: Stormhawk Interceptor (85), 2x Assault cannon (22×2), Icarus stormcannon (10), 2x Heavy Bolter (10×2) [9PL, 159pts]

 

Malik is one of the best players in the UK and has one of the best teams to test with in the form of Dice Down. Most players at Alliance are sticking with the more known quantity of Iron Hands, but Malik is moving ahead onto Imperial Fists. What do they bring to the table?

Strengths

Compared to the Iron Hands list this one excels at smashing vehicles. While it’s packing fewer planes than some of the other Marine lists, the damage output of each is nearly doubled when fighting other vehicles by the Legacy of Dorn doctrine, allowing them to punch massively above their weight. The Stormhawk is also the more efficient of the two “small” Marine flyer chassis if you’re expecting to come up primarily against other FLY units, and boasts additional toughness and defences to boot. Stormtalons are often the “easy” target in Marine lists, so removing those makes it harder to get started on whittling this list down.

The second way the Doctrine amps this list up is in massively increasing the output of the artillery pieces in the backline when engaged in a duel with similar lists. They’re already absurdly deadly against infantry, and can now chew through enemy armour with alacrity as well. If you’re dueling against other Whirlwinds and Thunderfires, having yours doing double damage is going to make your life a lot easier! Supplementing the common choices there is also a Whirlwind Scorpius. After a brief flurry of early popularity out of the gates this has fallen out of favour since it lost the ability to use Suppression Fire or have Chronus ride in it, but here my assumption is that it’s providing a place to drop Tank Hunters and then just absolutely ruin the day of whatever vehicle it gets pointed at with an average of 12 +1 to wound D3 shots.

Finally, there are the Siegebreaker Centurions. Our own Jack Hunter was making these do work as Fists even before the new Marine Codex, as the Seismic Devastation stratagem lets them absolutely pour Mortal Wounds into a VEHICLE target, especially if dealing with an enemy approaching your lines as Catechism of Fire from the Chaplain can make the MWs proc on 5s, and Tank Hunters can get that down to 4s if you need something really dead. The Fists book adds a bunch of ways to increase the already pretty decent resilience of these, and also to up their anti-horde output against those pesty Plaguebearers

Finally, including Scouts lets this list contest objectives early on and potentially further into the game if it manages to immediately blow a flank of the enemy army off the board, which is a totally reasonable goal for it. They also provide a wide screen against Raven Guard to stop their Assault Cents coming and playing rough with this list’s precious Dev Cents.

In a metagame where Marine vehicles have chased a lot of things out, this list is ready to be the bigger fish and absolutely crush the other Marine lists.

Weaknesses

The problem I keep having with reviewing Marine lists is that I kind of want to just put “not much” in this section and move on, but that wouldn’t be entirely fair here. While this list is extremely potent, some of the things that help it also open up some mild weaknesses. The Scout squads are great for early board control but they do hand out some very easy kills in lots of games (ditto the Servitors). While the Scorpius is extremely potent, one of the reasons it hasn’t always been super popular is that it’s absurdly fragile for its price tag, being about as tough as a normal Whirlwind. This list has a bunch of threats, but having one that’s both one of the nastiest and one of the most fragile can be risky.

Finally, the Cents are great and can go after a lot of targets, but they are a slow, valuable target that has to deploy on the board and have no way of falling back and shooting. Between this and the Scorpius, this list is just a little bit more vulnerable to having its damage output suppressed then some of the others available.

I ultimately don’t expect this will do much to hold this army back though, and going into the event I’d say this is one of the lists to beat.

 

Erik van Nijnatten’s Chaos

Credit: Zuul the Cat

Army List - Click to Expand

Erik van Nijnatten
Gaming Club: Rose Valley Reapers
Registration Nr.: 5
Total Points: 1996
Total Command Points: 8 CP (3 + 5 (Battalion) )
ITC Faction: Heretic Astartes

Detachment 1: Battalion (Death Guard) – 1081pts
HQ – Daemon Prince of Nurgle with Wings (170) – 2x Malefic Talons (10) – [9PL, 180pts] (WARLORD)

HQ – Daemon Prince of Nurgle with Wings (170) – 2x Malefic Talons (10) – [9PL, 180pts]

TR – 11 Poxwalkers – [6PL, 66pts]

TR – 11 Poxwalkers – [6PL, 66pts]

TR – 10 Poxwalkers – [6PL, 66pts]

EL – Foul Blightspawn – [4PL, 77pts]

EL – Foul Blightspawn – [4PL, 77pts]

EL – Foul Blightspawn – [4PL, 77pts]

FA – Foetid Bloat-drone (99), 2x Plaguespitters (34), Plague Probe (25) – [8PL, 158pts]

HS – Plagueburst Crawler (100), Heavy Slugger (6), 2x Plaguespitters (34) – [8PL, 140pts]

Detachment 2: Super-heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Death Guard) – 470pts
SH – Mortarion – [24PL, 470pts]

Detachment 2: Super-heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Thousand Sons) – 445pts
SH – Magnus the Red – [23PL, 445pts]

 

Everything that is old is new again – at this event and several others, the original Bash Brothers seem to be making a resurgence. Sometimes they come alone, but here we see a revival of an early 8th Edition classic – Magnus and Mortarion riding together.

Strengths

So why was this list good in the first place, and why might it be back? The answer to the first question is pretty simple – two, massive, mobile flying monsters with good defences that can engage lots of different targets turns out to be pretty good and a real problem for armies that aren’t properly loaded to take them on. In early 8th edition it was relatively uncommon for big targets to be packing good invulnerable saves, so a lot of the firepower armies had was substantially weakened against these two. With the advent of (primarily) the Knight codex, dealing with powerful units with up to a 3++ was something you just had to be able to do, and given that the Primarchs were quite a bit squishier than Knights with equivalent invulnerable saves, they fell by the wayside. Magnus still turned up occasionally, but didn’t tend to light the world up.

Metagame shifts have changed some of this and these look a lot more attractive again. The advent of Marine fliers as the dominant meta force means that bulk S5-6 AP-2 firepower is the order of the day, which the T7 4++ profile on both of these is at least OK at tanking, and they only get tougher if they get a turn to buff. Furthermore, a lot of the tools people are bringing to attack the metagame such as Imperial Fist Centurions and Harlequin Skyweavers are specifically good at killing VEHICLES rather than MONSTERS, and look a bit sad when they have to face down the latter. They’re also beneficiaries of the shift in Tau preferences – Broadsides were the worst nightmare of this list, whereas they’re not super bothered about Fusion Commanders.

They’re also good at killing popular stuff. Both will trash a plane straight out of the sky no questions asked, and can throw out a decent to great amount of psychic firepower as well. With Warptime, they can get amongst the enemy at speed, and an unprepared foe will find themselves on the back foot fast.

Backing them up here, again presumably tuned for the plane meta, are some Winged Daemon Princes and Foul Blightspawn. The former are just an all around good unit, while the latter are high variance but potentially extremely dangerous to anything that comes too close. I assume the idea here is to really punish anything that flies past the Primarchs to try and assail the back lines.

Finally, there are a few Nurgle vehicles – the Plagueburst likely sitting on a backline objective and the drone going out to grab one. These units are exceptionally tough, and it’s plausible that if the big lads take out a few early targets the opponent will be left unable to shift them in the mid-end game.

Weaknesses

I’ve got two main concerns with this list:

  1. How well it deals with hordes. These are much less prevalent than they were but there’s still plenty of armies out there with a high body count. I don’t think this list can chew through the Plaguebearer horde, and I’m concerned that it doesn’t have the screening to protect the Primarchs from Genestealer Cult deep strike.
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: One of its best bets there may be to have Mortarion fly in and drop Plague Wind followed by Curse of the Leper, which can easily wipe out 6-7 Plaguebearers.
  2. The backline configuration. I’d genuinely be interested in trying a Magnus/Mortarion list but this isn’t how I’d build it – I just want more bodies. I’d probably look at a Daemon detachment to support these rather than the Death Guard one. I’d very much like to get the Contorted Epitome in if possible (and indeed some of the other lists running Mortarion here have it) as the threat of locking an enemy in combat with one of the brothers is a huuuge deal.

I think part of my concern on the latter point is that the Blightspawn are great if the enemy end up nearby, but nothing about this list really forces the opponent into that situation, and I think too often they’re just going to melt at range as the few things wrapping them get picked apart.

I’ll be interested to see how this does and find out if the resurgence in this style of list is a passing fad or something that’s here to stay, and would definitely like to see what people end up with after a few rounds of optimisation.

 

Krisztián Vizsy’s Orks

Credit: Kevin “Beer4theBeerGod” Genson

Army List - Click to Expand

+ PLAYER: Krisztián Vizsy
+ FACTION: Deathskulls
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 9
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++ Battalion Detachment (Deathskulls) – Specialist Detachment: Dread Waaaagh! – [42 PL, 4 CP, 821 pts] ++

HQ1: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) – WARLORD: Big Killa Boss (Trait), Da Souped-up Shokka (Relic) [4 PL, 80 pts]

HQ2: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) [4 PL, 80 pts]

HQ3: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) [4 PL, 80 pts]

TR1: 9x+1x Boyz: Tankbusta Bomb, Boss Nob (7): Choppa, Choppa, 9x Ork Boy: Slugga & Choppa (9×7) [4 PL, 70 pts]

TR2: 9x+1x Boyz: Tankbusta Bomb, Boss Nob (7): Choppa, Choppa, 9x Ork Boy: Slugga & Choppa (9×7) [4 PL, 70 pts]

TR3: 27x Gretchin: [4 PL, 81 pts]

FA1: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

FA2: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

FA3: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

++ Outrider Detachment (Deathskulls) [32 PL, 1 CP, 702 pts] ++
HQ1: Weirdboy (62): Da Jump [3 PL, 62 pts]

FA1: Megatrakk Scrapjet (90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2×20) [5 PL, 110 pts]

FA2: 2x Megatrakk Scrapjet (2×90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2x2x20) [2×5 PL, 220 pts]

FA3: 2x Megatrakk Scrapjet (2×90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2x2x20) [2×5 PL, 220 pts]

HS1: Mek Gun (15): Traktor kannon(30) [2 PL, 45 pts]

HS2: Mek Gun (15): Traktor kannon(30) [2 PL, 45 pts]

++ Air Wing Detachment (Deathskulls) [24 PL, 1 CP, 477 pts] ++

FL1: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2×12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

FL2: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2×12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

FL3: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2×12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

 

Last but definitely not least we have one Ork player’s response to a hostile metagame. Orktober is finally here (only 13 months late) and a whole bunch of those fancy new buggies are about to ride.

Strengths

The basic problem Orks have right now is that almost everything they can field is tissue paper against Marines. Against some Marine armies horde Orks can overwhelm them given the first turn, but as the metagame solidifies around the Stormtalon and Stormhawk Orks have got a real problem, because those things wreck damn near everything they can put down.

This list tries its utmost to counteract that. By saturating the board with T6 units and bringing three Blastajets with force fields, it does the best job it possibly can of mitigating an early Marine onslaught – most stuff is only getting wounded on 4s or 5s and they can all have a 5++. In addition, having lots of separate non-degrading units is going to cause some firepower to get wasted just by over or under committing shot allocations, hopefully further reducing the impact on the army of not getting to go first, and maximising the amount of guns it has to shoot back with. It’s also a strong asset against powerful low model count armies like Knights, as they’re often going to have to choose between massively overcommitting fire or risking missed kills.

And oh boy howdy does this list have guns. Sure, most of them are hitting on 5s or 6s most of the time, but there are so many high value shots coming out of this list that when it gets a shooting turn something is gonna die. With three shokk attack guns to boot (including the relic), this army is also going to spike outrageously sometimes and just obliterate half an army’s worth of tanks. It’s also got pretty diverse firepower – the big shootas bolted everywhere add up fast against hordes. All of this is only enhanced by the Death Skull re-rolls that the army has across the board – another thing that shines with lots of small units.

Finally, it’s fast – perhaps obviously, the Speedwaagh forces tend to be pretty nimble, and this list can roll up the battlefield at speed to seize and control ground as needed, especially against armies that castle.

This army is completely out of left field, but it has real punch and I think could catch some people unawares.

Weaknesses

While this army leans in to make its units tough against common Marine options, other armies will have more of a field day with it. Tau are going to be blasting vehicles off left, right and centre, and Eldar have some pretty good options against it too (though the fact that everything has at least a 6++ is an asset against them). I think the main threat to it is getting back-lined by an enemy list – while most of this army is fast and has decent range, on Hammer and Anvil Eldar or Marine planes can still easily lurk outside of strike range then move up for the kill on their turn one. Forcing this list to move its planes first will unpick the resilience from the force fields somewhat – I imagine some of the army will still be in the bubble after the first movement phase but no longer all of it.

Although it does have firepower to kill moderate hordes, they may also be able to camp on objectives long enough to outscore it, and it probably can’t chew through a full Plaguebearer list without a lot of luck.

This is the list that I want to win this event even if I think it’ll probably have an uphill struggle – it’s completely out of the blue but as soon as you dig into it the choices start to make a lot of sense, and I want to see that thinking rewarded.

 

Wrap Up

Not gonna lie, that turned into way more of a tour than I was planning, so I hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be keeping an eye on the results of the open over the weekend and seeing how some of the lists we’ve featured do. Check back in next week when we’ll be looking at lists from my next major, the Element Games Grand Slam, and find out which poor fools are getting crushed under the Wraithbone boot next (spoiler: all of them). In the meantime, you can reach us with comments, questions, suggestions and complaints about the lists I chose at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook page.

 

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