Tournament Report: The Reckoning by Coastal Wargaming and WCG

An article by    Battle Reports Competitive Play Warhammer 40k        0

Shane here again for another tournament report. After hearing about Lawrence Baker taking his Grey Knights to glory out there in the UK at the Beachhead Brawl GT in early February, I started digging into all the new combos and tricks they could pull. Needless to say, the amount of janky things they can do is enough to make me happy. Boy do I love some weird janky combos, like shooting in the Psychic phase!

So I decided to take Grey Knights to a Major out in Virginia, which was running Adepticon missions. My list is a slight twist on Lawrence’s but still has a core backbone of 20 Paladins.

My List, A Baker’s Dozen (Naming Credit to Ser_Panda_Pants):

Grey Knights Battalion 

HQ: Lord Kaldor Draigo
HQ: Grandmaster Voldus

Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer
Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer
Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer

Elites: 10x Paladin Squad w/ 2 hammers, 8 halberds, all stormbolters
Elites: 10x Paladin Squad w/ 2 hammers, 8 halberds, 4 psilencers, 6 stormbolters

Grey Knights Battalion

HQ: Librarian w/Nemesis warding stave, Sanctic shard
HQ: Brother Captain w/Nemesis warding stave, Warlord

Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer
Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer
Troops: 5x Strike squad w/halberd, 1 psilencer

With Adepticon format, I knew I’d need to play differently than my usual ideas. Adepticon primary has a focus on progressive style objective controlling (holding them over the course of the game) so I knew that board presence was going to be integral to the game. Secondaries vary by mission, so understanding them beforehand would be important (spoiler: I didn’t haha). The tertiary objectives are similar to ITC Old School/OG GW Secondaries: Solo Blood (kill a unit in a turn that your opponent doesn’t), Linebreaker, and Slay the Warlord.

Another HUGE difference with Adepticon missions, is that players alternate placing terrain at the beginning of the match. Which can lead to some really slanted tables. So winning the roll to pick your deployment zone is preferable, otherwise you may end up with unfavorable terrain.

As far as over arching GK strategy, I came up with a few major combos (if you want to see a full GK tactics breakdown, check out our Start Competing guide) and made myself some reference material, because honestly this was entirely untested for me, so it was a crap shoot haha. (One thing I’d recommend is making some references, for example I made psychic cards and stratagem cards for the new Psychic Awakening abilities which drastically helped. I also make a spreadsheet with my units and possible psychic powers, so I could pick each game and have it easily identifiable.)

I wanted to use the Paladins to bully the objectives, and the Strikes to drop down where needed. Voldus and the gang would roll with the Paladins. I know that I can clear drop zones by shooting in the Psychic phase and then Gating over, or clearing a screen from a target about to eat a bunch of smites. Also since Brotherhood of Psyker units choose which model in the unit manifests the power, you can do funny things with smite, since the target is the closest visible to whichever model actually casts the power.

Since I hadn’t played GK in years and hadn’t really played Adepticon format, I was in for a total mind fuck of an event haha. Thankfully knowing this beforehand meant I had no expectations, so was mostly stress-free.

 

Round 1 – Ian Macphail’s Blood Angels

Credit: Shane Watts

So round 1 I am fighting Blood Angels who, like me, want to get all punchy. He has two tanks for a little fire support, so this should be interesting.

Ian's List - Click to expand

Blood Angels Battalion

HQ: Astorath
HQ: SLAMGUINIUS
HQ: Phobos Captain, warlord

Troops: 5x Scouts w/knives
Troops: 5x Scouts w/bolters
Troops: 5x Scouts w/bolters

Blood Angels Battalion

HQ: Mephiston
HQ: Librarian Dreadnought
HQ: Sanguinary Priest

Troops: 5x Infiltrators
Troops: 5x Intercessors
Troops: 5x Intercessors

Elites: 4x Sanguinary Guard w/ swords
Elites: Relic Sicaran Battle tank w/ heavy bolters

Blood Angels Vanguard

HQ: The Sanguinor

Elites: Relic Sicaran Battle tank w/ heavy bolters
Elites: 6x Sanguinary Guard w/ power fists
Elites: Sanguinary Ancient w/ relic banner (models within 6″ get a 5++)

The Plan: Kill the Sicarans, screen out Sang bombs with strikes, and take the center of the board. Punch him better than he punches me, while seeing where the next wave is, and hopefully avoid it.

Summary: I deployed fairly aggressively, all the Paladins in a circle around the character blob in the center of my deployment. He hid most of his punchy units and had his forward screen set up. I went first, killed his screening Scouts and pushed into the center of the table by charging his Infiltrators and mulching them. I managed to kill the Sicarans without taking much damage in return and we had a brawl in the center of the table. His characters came in piece meal to the Paladins in the center, and we trade models. Since I dropped my Strikes outside my Paladins, the Sang Guard coming from reserve would show up and kill the poor power armored Marines, only to die for their efforts. At one point he got a cheeky wrap off with the last Sang Guard unit on some Strikes. I started to setup units to smite me out of the wrap and get charged by Paladins, only to remember I can gate myself out of the wrap. So I did that instead. I end up tabling him turn 4.

Result: Victory 40-0 (For those not familar with Adepticon, it uses differential victory points, with a base points of 20. So if you score 20 points or more than your opponent in the course of the game, you offset your 20 points by that, so a 20-20 becomes a 40-0, like here.) So far it seems like I can out punch BA, or at least I did this time.

Record: 1-0

 

Round 2: Josh Kinder’s Chaos

Credit: Zuul the Cat

 

The TO, George from Warp Charged Gaming, is super excited that I matched into Chaos as the only full Grey Knights list at the event, and so he decided to put us up on the stream table.

Bash Bros REDUX - Click to expand

Thousand Sons Supreme Command (Cult of Magic)

HQ: Ahriman on disc of Tzeentch
HQ: Sorcerer in Terminator Armour
HQ: Sorcerer in Terminator Armour

LoW: Magnus the Red

Flawless Host Battalion

HQ: Lord Discordant w/ baleflamer
HQ: Lord Discordant w/ baleflamer
HQ: Daemon Prince w/ The Rapacious Talons, Warlord: Ultimate Confidence

Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5, Champion w/Power Sword
Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5
Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5

Death Guard Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment

LoW: Mortarion

The Plan: His list is mostly punchy, so I’ll move out onto objectives (three of 5 of the objectives are in the middle of the board) and make him come to me. 4D smites could come in handy here.

Summary: He makes me go first; thankfully there is no need to go for kills like ITC, so I just move out to the objectives and wait. This lasts for two turns, and then he decides to come out. He pushes out the Lords Discordant, Magnus, and the Daemon Prince. Mortarion sulks in a corner on an objective. I manage to deny the Warptime cast (3D6 use the 2 highest for denies is super handy) which keeps all of his punchy things only in striking range of Strike squads. He deletes 4 squads of them, but more or less dies for the effort. Both discos, the prince, and Magnus die. I used a hill to block LoS for some of my models, in order to toss mortals onto Magnus, but ultimately Magnus dies to a hail of bullets (using the Bring down the Beast Stratagem to re-roll wounds). Mortarion goes for a last turn hail mary and nearly dies for it, but isn’t able to do enough.

Result: Victory 30-10   So I did end up taking a bunch of damage from this Chaos list, despite being considered a favored match up (at least from the internet hype) but by holding midfield easily, the game was mine to lose.

Record: 2-0

 

Round 3: Daniel Kennedy’s Imperial Fists

Daniel and I got a chance to play in the Atlanta Open before, although I was running a very different list at the time. Looks like a rematch is in order.

Daniel's Fortified Position - Click to expand

Imperial Fists Battalion

HQ: Venerable Chaplain Dreadnought w/ twin lascannon
HQ: Primaris Captain, Warlord

Troops: 5x Intercessors w/ stalker bolt rifles
Troops: 5x Intercessors w/ stalker bolt rifles
Troops: 5x Intercessors w/ stalker bolt rifles

HS: Thunderfire cannon
HS: Thunderfire cannon
HS: Thunderfire cannon

DT: Impulsor w/Shield dome

Imperial Fists Battalion

HQ: Venerable Chaplain Dreadnought w/ twin lascannon
HQ: Phobos Captain w/Eye of Hypnoth, Chapter Master

Troops: 5x Intercessors w/ stalker bolt rifles
Troops: 5x Intercessors w/ stalker bolt rifles
Troops: 5x Infiltrators

Elites: Primaris Apothecary

HS: Centurion Devastator Squad x6 w/Heavy Bolters, Hurricane bolters
HS: Whirlwind w/Castellan Launcher

 

 

The Plan: Hide from his direct fire, get paladins into his castle to disrupt, hope my board control is better. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of indirect fire compared to a Mani style list, I am somewhat terrified of it, especially tremor shells (no charge’s from Gate since I can’t roll an 18).

Summary: He gets to choose deployment zone and to go first. Bad news for me, the deployment zone I end up with has one L centrally placed in it (that I put down), but not much else to keep me safe. He kills 5 Paladins turn 1 and the other squad is in reserve. I hunker down. His turn 2 sees 4 more Paladins dead. So I have 1 remaining before my reserves arrive. I bring in the Strikes and Paladins turn 2. I drop my Paladins near his Cents and consider what to do, meanwhile he Auspex Scans them, and 7 die. A serious misplay on my part, combining with a dis-advantageous board state, puts the nail in the coffin of this game. Long story short, this game went sideways fast.

Result: Defeat 0-40. Ugh I knew ignoring cover artillery would sting if it goes first, but that was a lot harder than I expected it to hit. Due to the board state he was able to place a bunch of Intercessors after me, that all ended up in a pile with LoS turn 1, so I think the terrain and just deploying better is what I need to focus on.

Record: 2-1

 

Round 4 – Michael Pestilens Chaos

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Michael's Smite Club - Click to expand

Thousand Sons Supreme Command (Cult of Magic)

HQ: Ahriman
HQ: Daemon Prince w/ wings, Malefic Talons
HQ: Sorcerer in Terminator Armour

LoW: Magus the Red

Chaos Daemons Battalion (unaligned)

HQ: Lord of Change w/ The Impossible Robe, Warlord
HQ: The Changeling

Troops: 12x Horrors – 1 Blue, 11 Brimstone
Troops: 6x Nurglings
Troops: 6x Nurglings

Nurgle Spearhead

HQ: Poxbringer

HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/ plaguespitters
HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/ plaguespitters
HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/ plaguespitters

 

The Plan: Take the midfield (all 5 objectives are in the middle of the table), screen out daemons that repopulate from the warp (Daemons strat to bring back a unit destroyed by Grey Knights, setup 9″ away at end of next daemons Movement phase). Keep the pressure up and hold the table.

Summary: I deployed on the edge of my deployment with all the Paladins and characters behind them, kept a few strikes in reserve to pop onto objectives later. I take the middle of the battlefield and drop shots into the only meaningful unit that I can reach (that doesn’t come back) which is a PBC, in response he moves his smite club forward kills 9!!! Paladins in the psychic phase turn 1 and then warp times Magnus back out of harm’s way. I kill Nurglings screening the Lord of Change with shooting in the psychic phase (he then uses the strat to bring them back), then smite the Lord of Change to death! Glorious vengeance, as now he can’t use the strat on the Lord of Change, because he already used it on the Nurglings that phase. He spreads out while I hold the middle, clawing away at his units. At this point we slaughter each other, but I have enough of a lead to take the game.

Result: Victory 30-10    Well I certainly didn’t expect to take so much damage from Smites, but wow. Part of the issue is that I had gated that squad too far forward, so I wasn’t able to leverage more than a couple denies. I think a Chaplain for the 5+++ vs mortals aura might be a good add, or just not being dumb with pushing Paladins on their own.

Record: 3-1

 

Round 5 – Stephen “Juice” Fore’s Iron Hands

Credit: Steven Vallee

The Steel Juice Box - Click to expand

Battalion

  • Captain, chapter master, jump pack, storm shield, teeth of terra
  • Primaris Chaplain
  • 5 Intercessors w/ stalkers, power sword on sergeant
  • 5 Intercessors w/ stalkers, power sword on sergeant
  • 5 Scouts w/ sniper rifle
  • 6 Aggressors w/ boltstorm
  • 6 Assault Centurions w/ flamers and hurricane bolters
  • Primaris Apothecary, chief apothecary, vox espiritum, warlord
  • 5 Devastators w/ 4 grav cannons
  • Relic Leviathan dreadnought w/ 2 storm cannons, 3 hunter killer missiles
  • Drop Pod

Battalion

  • Feirros
  • Primaris Lieutenant, stalker bolt rifle, the ironstone
  • 5 Intercessors w/ stalkers, power sword on sergeant
  • 5 Intercessors w/ stalkers, power sword on sergeant
  • 5 Intercessors w/ stalkers, power sword on sergeant

 

The Plan: Playing Iron Hands piloted by Juice, my plan was don’t die haha. I knew I needed to kill his “drones” quickly while trying to mitigate my own damage taken, look for a wrap where possible.

Summary: Well I forgot that his reserves can come in turn 1, so my turn 2 reserves can’t screen them out hahaha. So I chose to go first, thinking I could drop my strikes from reserve to limit where his pod would arrive. My turn I buffed up, moved onto objectives and killed some Intercessors. Unfortunately for me, his turn was much less forgiving. He killed 18 Paladins that turn. He was able to get the Devs from the pod on one squad and killed them with that, but that was after the rest of his shots took the main Paladins down to 2 remaining. I clearly forgot to mitigate the damage I would take in return. My Strike squads took revenge by killing more Intercessors and the grav Devs (but they certainly had already done their job). The remaining characters surge forward to take revenge, and get a charge off into some Intercessors and Feirros. Despite Draigo personally stepping up to Feirros, the machine man lived to see another day. After Juice’s turn, I have 1 character, and 4 Strike marines harassing Scouts and a Drop Pod. So I realize there is no way he could score less than a 20pt differential and wave the white flag of defeat.

Result: Defeat 0-40. Well I definitely chose wrong here with going first (or leaving hiding turn 1). Really I played myself here, if I had just shot from out of LoS with Astral Aim and made him move forward onto objectives, he would have done very little damage if any at all turn 1. I gave this away by hopping out of hiding turn 1.

Record: 3-2

 

Lessons Learned

I learned so much about how the list plays, important match-ups, and the Adepticon format. This event also taught me some hard lessons, haha.

The big thing I think is just being more conservative in certain match ups (where you get out shot), I can shoot out of LoS with Astral Aim, and a unit can use Edict Imperator to do jump shoot jump shenanigans (move out in the move phase, shoot and move back into hiding in the psy phase). Also I think I can be more aggressive with my Strike squads (in certain scenarios) simply because they can smite, shoot, and charge. I kept thinking of how fragile they were, so kept being too conservative with them.

Another big take away: even though psilencers generally perform better damage per point spent, I found they are super reliant on the Psychic Onslaught stratagem. With the list already being super CP hungry, I think I am going to try out psycannons instead, because they don’t really need Psychic Onslaught.

As much as I like Draigo, I think I am going to try out a Chaplain + Apothecary (they are roughly the same points). Even though the Litanies aren’t the most reliable, being able to tack on another -1AP onto shooting (without needing to use CP) or having a 5+++ vs mortal wounds, I think might be seriously good additions to the list. The Apothecary speaks for itself, healing/reviving Paladins and healing Perils wounds from characters is a huge boon to the list.

Side note: The Marine FAQ dropped as I was writing this article, so this could drastically change some of these match ups. My Grey Knights list isn’t affected by any of these FAQs directly, but with a nerf on IH/IF I think GK is looking better. Having to move forward with doctrines will mean less times Paladins are getting pushed to invulnerables, so they “should be more durable.” In my match with Juice, the Leviathan and grav Devs did almost all of the damage, with the doctrine changes (and suspected meta list shifts), this occurrence is much less likely to happen. Time will tell.

Thanks everyone for coming along on this journey with me, see you next time on Goon Hamball Z! As always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below, hit us up on Facebook, or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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