Tournament Report: Bristol City Open 2019, Part 2

Some of the Goonhammer crew are regular tournament attendees. In our Wednesday Tournament Reports, we cover the latest events we’ve attended, what we took to them, the strategies we employed, and how it all worked out. Continuing from last week, One_Wing is recapping the events of his run at the 2019 Bristol City Open. You can find part 1 here.


Welcome back to part 2 of my report on the 2019 Bristol City Open 40k tournament. After collapsing into bed and sleeping off the trials of day 1, it was back to the venue at a much more civilised time for day 2. Round 4 promised to be a tough one, with me coming up against one of the tougher lists in the field – let’s see how it went.

Round 4 – Chaos Soup

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Army Faction: Chaos
++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Daemons) [41 PL, 7CP, 704pts] ++Battle-forged CP [3CP] Chaos
Allegiance: Chaos Undivided Detachment CP [5CP] Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]
+ HQ +
Daemon Prince of Chaos [9 PL, 180pts]: Daemonic axe, Khorne, Skullreaver, Wings
Poxbringer [4 PL, 70pts]: Miasma of Pestilence
+ Troops +
Bloodletters [12 PL, 214pts]: 26x Bloodletter, Bloodreaper, Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos
Horrors [4 PL, 30pts]: 10x Pair of Brimstone Horrors
Plaguebearers [12 PL, 210pts]: 29x Plaguebearer, Plagueridden
++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [24 PL, , 432pts] ++Detachment CP
[1CP]Relics of the Thousand Sons (1 Relic) [-1CP]
+ HQ +
Ahriman [7 PL, 131pts]: Diabolic Strength, Doombolt, Tzeentch's Firestorm
Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [9 PL, 180pts]: Bolt of Change, Gaze of Fate, Helm of the Third Eye, Malefic
talon, Wings
Sorcerer in Terminator Armour [8 PL, 121pts]: Combi-bolter, Familiar, Force sword, Infernal Gaze,
++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [39 PL, 1CP, 614pts] ++ Detachment CP
[1CP] Legion: The Flawless Host
+ HQ +
Slaanesh Daemon Prince with Wings [9 PL, 180pts]: Intoxicating Elixir, Malefic talon, Ultimate
Confidence, Warlord, Warptime, Wings
+ Elites +
Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought [10 PL, 148pts]: 2x C-beam cannon, Slaanesh
Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought [10 PL, 148pts]: 2x C-beam cannon, Slaanesh
Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought [10 PL, 138pts]: 2x Butcher cannon, Slaanesh
++ Total: [104 PL, 8CP, 1,750pts] ++

All his relics and add-ons have been included in the list above. At the start of the game, the Bloodletters did their usual trick of using the Banner of Blood stratagem on their unit’s banner and then used the Denizens of the Warp stratagem to set up in the warp and teleport in later. Combined with the Banner of Blood, they can charge 3D6″ out of their deep strike, giving them great odds to roll 9+ and close the charge distance. It’s a powerful tactic.

The Mission

Cut to the Heart. This is OK for me, though I’d probably prefer Nexus Control or Precious Cargo for this matchup.

Sadly, we rolled Hammer and Anvil for deployment which is exactly what I didn’t want – with two murder princes rather than one, he can effectively declare his deployment zone a no-fly zone early on, and also easily keep his C-beam Contemptors at murder range (C-beams do more damage the further away they are, topping out at 48″). This could potentially be tough.

The Plan

The good news, such as it is here, is that if I was able to secure first turn this should be a walk, because of how he’s trimmed the list compared to the default. Because he only has one blob of Plaguebearers, if I get the first turn I should comfortably be able to take them out before the Bloodletters drop, and at that point this game is a lock, especially because the war walkers finally get a matchup where Forewarned on them should be game-breaking. Because I “lost” the roll-off I got to choose to deploy first, and set up to bait him with Phantasm – I set up the War Walkers far enough back so that setting up the Plaguebearers out of range looked like a good plan, but if I went first I could just phantasm them forward into range, and deploying them back would also let me take the middle objective turn 1 without being under charge risk.

I would probably have to sacrifice killing anything turn 1 to pull if off, but with a whiff on his C beams would leave him at risk of missing as well. I liked this plan a lot, and he took the bait, so things were looking promising. He’s also extremely low on CP going into the game once all his pre-game stratagems are spoken for.

Unusually, I actually deployed the Hawks on the board, as they could be fully hidden and I wanted them pouring fire into the Plaguebearers, and available to screen if I got seized on.

My Secondaries

(Note: For a recap on choosing secondaries, check out my article here)

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Marked for Death (Murder Princes and the Daemon units)
  • Recon

His Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Gangbusters (he knew he couldn’t max it, but felt it was easier than others)

The Summary

Sinister Daemons.

Friendly Elves

Naturally, I got seized on. Apparently that’s what happens in this matchup now.

The foul horde surges forward…

Worse, with a mix of psychic and some good shooting from a Contemptor, he was able to pop one of my Wave Serpents straight away. The saving grace was that he fluffed Miasma of Pestilence, even with a re-roll (and using up one of his precious CP).

That meant some semblance of a plan was still on. Unfortunately, down a Wave Serpent, I needed one Crimson Hunter to screen an angle, so I couldn’t bring all my planes to bear on a Contemptor, meaning that the one I went after got away from it. I did make an important initial dent on the Plaguebearers, taking out enough to comfortably force him to burn more CP to keep him from losing a handful. I’d also screened a decent amount and set up so that he couldn’t bring the Bloodletters in anywhere relevant without getting Forewarned by Guided War Walkers. I’d also forced him to choose between a turn of getting his psychic shut down or trying for a wrap and trap by pushing some Dire Avengers to the front. In hindsight I’m in too minds about this – I’d have taken a lot of psychic damage T2 if I hadn’t done this, but that may well still have been worth it to avoid the wrap. This is part of why going second sucked so bad – it forced me into making this kind of choice, whereas going first I’d have just cheerfully sacrificed a Wave Serpent.

…but pays a hefty price (this is turn 1’s dead pile)

Turn 2 his stuff trundles forward, and his murder prince heads off via Warptime to try and brutalise my War Walkers. He sets everything up so that once he brings in the bloodletters and charges he can re-screen his characters and then at the very last minute remembered about Forewarned. After an extended period of cogitation, he’s forced to conclude that sucking it up is the only option, and I happily take off 11 Bloodletters (which is extremely good as he only has 1CP left). Once all is said and done for the turn, my War Walkers get murdered and the Dire Avengers get wrapped, but only 5 Bloodletters live through Morale.

Some Bloodletters, about to have a very khornate day.

I still manage to get some kills on T2 as well – the blob is mostly protected, but the Slaanesh Prince has come out to play and gets dunked on, and the Autarch successfully ganks the Khorne Daemon Prince ( a trade I’ll take every day of the week). My Hemlock also finishes off the first of his Contemptors. My one massive mistake here is managing to miss a turn of Recon by failing to secure one of the quarters in my half of the board.

Still, he’s building up a decent lead and does some damage turn 3, but this is when things start to look a bit better for me – his wrap is gone and I’ve still got enough Firepower to clear out the remaining infantry, though he made me work for it – his Deny the Witch rolls being incredibly on point all game made some of my normal pinging damage less relevant, and he managed to Smite down a Plane. Still, from here things should go my way, and indeed they start tilting thus, especially because I made a very good play in chucking some dire avengers back into a transport, allowing them to strike for the middle objective from safety at a crucial moment. He also completely forgot about a lone swooping hawk that survived from a squad, who goes on to have a profitable career by getting me two turns of Recon and killing half a squad of Brimstone Horrors. He did manage to tear down another Flyer with psychic powers and shooting, though.

Terrible foreshadowing.

As a brief aside, the fancy new Wound counters are from Wound Wang, who had a stall at the event. We had a nice chat with the vendor, and in full disclosure, we were given a discount on the product in exchange for featuring them on the blog. I’ve found them to be very useful so far (I had a local RTT this weekend as well), and the full set also includes one of the handy range gauges with sides for measuring important distances.

I really, really should have made proper use of that in the following turn because what came next was an agonisingly dumb mistake that, when paired with some bad dice, was about to cost me the game.

I finally freed up his characters for shooting by the end of my third turn, but on his turn 4 his remaining C-beam Contemptor promptly one-shotted my Night Spinner from across the board, costing my one of my best tools for cleaning up his remaining units. Then on turn 5 the game slipped away. He denied nearly every power I attempted to cast (and my warlock had been forced to double back to hold the Night Spinner’s objective), I then got spectacularly unlucky trying to take his characters down, with four ones to wound against Ahriman from my Hemlock (I’d high rolled on the shots but this more than made up for that).

This meant that my Crimson Hunter that was going to shoot up his last Prince had to go for Ahriman too – and it turned out I’ve left it a fraction too close to the Daemon Prince – who promptly one-shotted it from full health, getting six wounds for which I failed every single 5+ save. That cost me a point for the Recon Secondary objective and gave him a point for Big Game Hunter, which turned out to be the deciding point: After everything else was said and done, the score ended up 29-27 in his favor.

The Takeaways

Overlord Wings kindly loaned us a C’tan for this demonstration. He also laughed a lot.

This was absolutely agonising. Ultimately, I should have won this game if I hadn’t made the two mistakes, but I was definitely a bit miffed that I got punished way harder for mine by the dice. If, for example, my War Walkers had spiked and killed 14 Bloodletters rather than 11, the whole squad would have gone once the rest of what happened was accounted for, and that would have been game over on the spot.

That’s the rant over though – ultimately if the only thing between you and victory was your mistakes, then you have to look at what you did wrong. I mentioned the screening choices earlier on and I’m still in two minds about it – I think it was correct given I knew I had the Forewarned coming and actively wanted him to “go for it”. What was definitely somewhat wrong were my Secondary choices. I’m now pretty confident that Big Game Hunter on the dreads was a trap, because of the “Critical Path” principle from my article on the subject, although it’s defensible because I thought I was going first. Basically, killing the Dreads is only on the Critical Path if I go first – if I go second I want to be able to ignore them and focus on other things. Headhunter would have been a better pick – he had four characters other than the two Princes on MFD, and killing them is always in the game plan here. It’s a minor thing – but this game was so close that it could easily have mattered.

The other tricky one was Recon. I know a lot of people pick secondaries pre-rolling for map, but on this matchup I should have thought again – Recon is correct on long edges, but probably wrong on corners or short edges – his princes are too fast and deadly for me to score it T1 on those. Given his army had no indirect fire, and on either end of the board I was going to be able to place an objective out of LOS, what I should actually have done is just made a unit of Dire Avengers Engineers and kept them back – I think they would have comfortably maxed it out or forced him to make some very suboptimal plays.

The other minor thing is that I think it would have been worth chucking the Phoenix Gem on the Autarch – he was always going to suicide into the character bubble at some point, and exploding while taking a few more wounds to kill would actually have been a very big deal at the point he went down.

The Engineers point is one I’m going to take away – the next Major I’m going to is the London Open, which is using fixed LGT terrain, which gives you the guaranteed option of an objective out of LOS on missions 2, 4 and 5.

The Score

Primary: 19-18

Secondary: 8-11

Total: 27-29

Matches: 2-2

Round 5 – Drukari

The Competition

Sadly, round 5 was that most terrible thing of all – a Goonfight! Corrode and I got paired up for the last round, so only one of us was going to be able to escape the terrible scourge of a 2-3 record. Even worse, he had brough my nemesis – my bane – the Talos list:

Army List - Click to expand

+ ARMY FACTION: Drukhari
== Air Wing Detachment == Drukhari[405 Points] 1 CP - Kabal of the Black Heart
Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles
(0) - [8PL] [135]
Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles
(0) - [8PL] [135]
Flyer: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 disintegrator cannons (30), twin splinter rifle (0), Razorwing missiles
(0) - [8PL] [135]
== Battalion Detachment == Drukhari [1195 Points] 5 CP - Prophets of the Flesh
HQ: Urien Rakarth (90) - [5PL] [90] WARLORD - Diabolical Soothsayer
HQ: Haemonculus (70), haemonculus tools (0), stinger pistol (5), The Vexator Mask (relic) - [5PL] [75]
TR: 4 Wracks (36), 1 Acothyst (9) - [3PL] [45]
TR: 4 Wracks (36), 1 Acothyst (9) - [3PL] [45]
TR: 4 Wracks (36), 1 Acothyst (9) - [3PL] [45]
HS: 3x Talos (75), macro-scalpel (4), chain-flails (3), two haywire blasters (16) [18PL] [294]
HS: 3x Talos (75), macro-scalpel (4), chain-flails (3), two haywire blasters (16) [18PL] [294]
HS: 3x Talos (75), macro-scalpel (4), chain-flails (3), two haywire blasters (16) [18PL] [294]
== Patrol Detachment == Drukhari [162 Points] 0 CP - Kabal of the Black Heart
HQ: Yvraine (132) - [7PL] [132] PSYCHIC POWERS: Gaze of Ynnead and Word of the Phoenix
TR: 4 Kabalite Warriors (24), 1 Sybarite (6) - [2PL] [30]

The Mission

Mission 1 – Seize Ground. This is good for me – I have vastly better wide mobility, and he wants a centre objective to start a fight on.

Vanguard Strike – also good for me, as it gives me defence in depth and keeps him a bit strung out.

The Plan

The same plan we use every time – try to kill the Talos and faceplant spectacularly.

Realtalk, this matchup should be a lot easier than last we played it – without Doom, the threat the Talos pose to my vehicles at range was massively diminished. The 1,750 points format also hurt his list more than mine – it forced him to cut some of the more mobile elements out of his army. Combining all of this with the deployment map means I should be able to pick a unit of Talos on the fringes and take it out, tear the planes out of the sky when they come near and then roll on to the rest, all the while holding more objectives.

I added the Shimmerplume to my Autarch.

Given I feel like I’ve picked up a new curse in the form of “Seized on by Daemons and Dreads”, it would only be fair for the old one to go away, right?

My Secondaries

  • Big Game
  • Gangbusters
  • Recon

His Secondaries

  • Big Game
  • Pick your Poison
  • Recon

The Summary

My War Walkers are brave heroes who are gonna go grab an objective.

Narrative-wise, I assume they haven’t seen the Talos behind the building.

Curse broken – this game was an extremely one-sided stomping in my favour. Corrode put me on the first turn, which was fair enough because he wasn’t really going to achieve anything with it – but I used it to murder an entire squad of Talos, clearing him out of one end of the board and only putting one target in range, a Crimson Hunter he would have to double away from the rest of my army to deal with.

He did, but it turned out he’d massively overcommitted because Yvraine high rolled on her psychic rolls and did it 10MW by herself.

Yvraine enforces a no-fly zone.

The plane was duly dispatched with Haywire, but over the far side of the board the Razorwings failed to pick off my Hemlock, and I killed all three in response on my turn by judiciously applying my powers – I put Jinx into the one being smote and D-scythed, Doom into one I could pile Shurikens and Scatter Lasers into then wasted the last with my Autarch and MWs from the Serpent Shields (given the Razors were his only long ranged firepower). Over the other side of the board, the Dire Avengers and Hawks I’d brought in to score the bonus added insult to injury by picking off a squad of Wracks.

The Hemlock has seen far too much to be intimidated by this show, and comfortably tanks it.

These were the only casualties from my army on his turn 2, and on my turn 3 the whole of my army closed into murder range on the rest of the Talos and picked up five of the six, at which point we rolled out his turn 3 to confirm he’d get a kill then called it.

The board is cleansed.

The Takeaways

I guess I have indeed swapped a curse. Realistically, it’s mostly that the metagame and the recent nerfs have hit Talos hard, and that they suffer a lot at the smaller game size, but whatever, I’ll take it. Avaunt foul creatures, avaunt.

The Score

Primary: 25-5

Secondary: 12-1

Total: 37-6

Matches: 3-2


Final Score

Match Score: 3-2

7th Place out of 35.

Not a bad final placing – I was at the top of the 3-2s because all my wins were 30+ and I picked up plenty of points on my losses too. I actually had the same VP total as the overall winner!


Army Thoughts

What Worked?

In general I think the transition to 1,750 worked well, but the real standout star has to be the Autarch. I’ve had problems with using him well before, and I definitely feel like I had the knack of it this time, and he’s gonna be staying for the forseeable. He was the only reason the Aeldari mirror was even close, and did off-the-charts good stuff in every game except three (where he merely helped gank a Knight).

The War Walkers were also pretty good. I only really hit one of the matchups they were designed for, and they excelled there, but they ticked the box I’d been looking for in the other games in that when they weren’t great my opponent still had to kill them and they sucked up a reasonable amount of punishment.

Dire Avengers continue to be very neat – the increased ease with which you can use them as part of a turn 1 gank proved critical in games 3 and 4, and having an Autarch around only makes them better.

Being a pain to pick Secondaries against was also definitely the right choice in the smaller game size.

What Didn’t Work?

Swooping Hawks were merely OK. Part of the problem is that I didn’t really hit the right matchups for them – they were pretty good in 1 and 5, but only really because I was massively ahead, and very lacklustre in 2 and 3. Four was the one they did shine in, but I don’t think they ever did anything where wrapping them and an Avenger squad (or two Avengers squad and one Hawk squad to keep one mobile flex unit) into a full Guardian Bomb wouldn’t have just been a better choice.

Inevitably, coming off an event where I never really felt the lack of Vect, here I would have liked it in a few match-ups, most notably against the Mortan Knights. I still think cutting the Drukari was the right choice in the smaller format, I’m less absolutely certain I won’t want to try permutations of it at 2K again.

So What’s Next?

Next on my schedule is the London Open in four weeks’ time. I’m currently looking at the following:

New Army List

+ ARMY FACTION: Asuryani
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Asuryani, Alaitoc

== Battalion Detachment == Alaitoc [72PL, 1106pts] +5CP
HQ: Warlock Skyrunner (65), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2),  Witchblade (0), WARLORD - Seer of the Shifting Vector [4PL] [67pts]
HQ: Farseer (110), Witchblade (0), Remnant of Glory Faolchu’s Wing [6PL] [110pts]

TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3) [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3) [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 15 Guardian Defenders (120), Heavy Weapon Platform (5), Scatter Laser (7) [9PL] [132pts]

HS: Night Spinner (110), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5) [8PL] [117pts]
HS: 3 War Walkers (120), 6 Scatter Lasers (42) [12PL] [162pts]

DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Scatter Laser (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [134pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Scatter Laser (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [134pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Scatter Laser (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [134pts]

== Battalion Detachment == Alaitoc [18PL, 362pts] +5CP
HQ: Autarch Skyrunner (95), Laser Lance (8), Fusion Gun (14), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Banshee Mask (0) [6PL] [119pts]
HQ: Spiritseer (65) [4PL] [65pts]

TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3) [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Rangers [3PL] [60pts]
TR: 8 Storm Guardians (48), Chainswords (0), 2 Flamers (12) [3PL] [60pts]

== Air Wing Detachment == Alaitoc [28PL, 532pts] +1CP
Flyer: Hemlock Wraithfighter (200), Spirit Stones (10) [10PL] [210pts]
Flyer: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26) [9PL] [161pts]
Flyer: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26) [9PL] [161pts]

In some ways, ironically, this has circled back a bit to some of my older lists, but has cut out pretty much all the fat that previous versions had in exchange for being very streamlined.

Having 14 CP to play with gives me two turns of operating on full blast – I had several games where I burnt down to only 2-3 remaining on the first turn, which is often the right play but leaves me feeling bereft. The extra troops choices both have a role – the storm guardians are a dedicated unit to stand out in front in matchups like Daemons, where they’ve got bodies they can afford to throw at psychic and will take off a few models on the way in with the flamers. The Rangers are there to be my dedicated Engineers choice on the LGT terrain – standing out of LOS on a ruin with access to the Alaitoc strat makes them a nightmare to shift even if your opponent has brought one or two pieces of no LOS shooting, and in matchups where you don’t need that you can zone control instead.

Finally, I definitely enjoyed the extra psychic firepower Yvraine brought to my Bad Moon list, and while I can’t afford her, having a Spiritseer around adds an extra smite and a random “quicken” cast for emergencies.

I may or may not chop this around a bit between now and the list deadline, but if the event were tomorrow that’s what I’d bring.

Wrap Up

…and that’s mostly where you’ll hear from me next – I have some other projects I need to work on for a month or so, so expect me to be quiet for a bit then blast back onto the scene with (hopefully) some exciting and successful tales from the London Open!