Hey guys Petey Pab here! Welcome to the first of many posts covering the 40k LVO championship.
This year Frontlinegaming is going to bring you a lot more media coverage than any other previous LVO has ever seen. We have a Twitch schedule here, I am going to be running up to date blog posts every day, and we have an amazing crew running around the clock taking pictures, filming and generally showing the kind of experience you expect to come across when you come to Las Vegas to sling some dice and have a good time.
The ITC is growing bigger and bigger every year and every LVO brings new challenges and narratives concerning competitive 40k. This year we had the formation-based detachment unveiled, Khorne Daemonkin charged into the scene, Tau got some love, The War convocation showed us the joy of running a new army, and the recent surge in Void Shield Generators being used gave the middle finger to all those pesky grav armies. Along with these new changes we have old 6th ed. favorites, White Scars bikers, Eldar, Tau shooting (complete with their shiny new toy the Stormsurge) and Centstars. Both the ITC and 7th edition have ushered a new era of balanced competitive 40k that we haven’t seen in quite a while. I can confidently say that this is going to be a fun diverse tournament full of the best players and most heinous lists anyone can possibly encounter. Having said that let’s dissect some of the metagame and stakes that the over 300 players who have signed up for the 40k championships are going to face.
A diverse meta makes it hard to playtest or beat every list you may see. I break down these lists into three sections.
The Favorites: These are the lists you will so most often because players view them as the most outwardly competitive lists. Meaning they are usually strong lists with little weaknesses and are known to be tried and true. This does not mean that one of these lists will win the championship, you may not even see all these lists in the top 8 on Super Bowl Sunday, but you will see these lists everywhere and if you are serious about winning these are the lists you need to beat.
- Battle Company: Space marines are popular. They have been commonplace at tournaments for as long as I’ve been in the hobby, and I’m sure they were popular before that. The Demi-Battle Company defines the meta that we play with its copious amounts of obsec and diversity. Sadly the large amounts of units means winning purge the alien is a monumental task for any BC player. We have to keep an eye on these lists during round 3(Purge Mission) to separate the average battle company players from the elite.
- Eldar: Everyone knows the scary things Eldar bring to the table in their CAD. Wraithknights, Scatbikes, and Farseers aren’t the only thing Eldar got going for them. Since Doom of Mymeara Eldar have knew toys that give them even more versatility. Webway Maze gives you a unique answer to deathstars by sending them on ongoing reserve, and the princes might be the beat stick chapter master characters the Eldar need. Eldar are a popular army and do own the highest win percentage over every other faction however, they are a glass cannon army and are susceptible to alpha strikes.
- Tau: Those pesky space commies have everything they need to win the entire LVO. They have high-octane shooting, mobility, durability, and with the addition of the stormsurge…assault capabilities? Tau are a well-rounded army by themselves and with the riptide wing formation are an easy ally option for any army. Expect to see a lot of Tau allies and riptide wings this year.
- Khorne Daemonkin: A new addition army bolstering an old concept. Laugh at your opponent’s lame attempts at a plan as you throw wrench-shaped angry daemons in their face. KDK punishes armies by getting up close and gaining board position. They have the ability to take a durable knight, can ally in the best Codex Chaos Daemons has to offer, and their blood tithe keeps them durable through an entire game. I expect KDK to be featured heavily in the top 8 and unlike the lists above each of those lists has the chance to be highly varied and play differently.
- The War Convocation: The newest addition to this list, War Convocation came out a while ago, but took a long time to come onto the scene due to how hard it is to play. Over 600 free points in upgrades and three codexes is a lot of information to build a list out of. I was originally not going to place it on this list but Geoff “Incontrol” Robinson is the second ranked person on the ITC and this is the faction he is going to be running. TSHFT as well did have a lot of war convocation lists and maybe this is the year where this formation really can break out.
Under the radar: Maybe these factions need some help, or maybe no one knows about them yet. Either way these are the lists you will expect to maybe break into the top 8 as an 8th or 7th seed but are certainly lists that are capable of beating any top tier list on any given day.
- Chaos Renegades: There are a few variations but the most common list I think you will see contains Artillery, A knight, and large amounts of fearless objective secured, cheap zombies.
- Big Mek Buzgob: A cheap stompa is no joke. This buff to orks puts them in a legitimate place to win the entire tournament. Although they have other lists I feel like this is the one to keep an eye on. You can do so much with a stompa and nob bikers.
- Deathstars: I know I know, how can such a common, top-tier army fly “under the radar”? Well there are a few key releases that, when paired with the nature of ITC missions, can give most deathstars a hard time. I mentioned the Eldar’s Webway Maze earlier, and then there’s the hunter’s eye. The HE paired with grav weaponry ignore any rerollable jink save Ravenwing bring, and centstars are a dying breed (Sorry CaptainA!). In my opinion the only contender is the Thunderwolf star, with mobility, durability, and killing power it has a large footprint which can actually handle an MSU filled meta.
- White Scars bikers: Last on the list is an old 2015 LVO favorite. Fire Raptors, Bikes, Khan, and a simple CAD. These lists are the only other competitive lists space marines have to offer. Most Skyhammer formations will be paired with battle companies or not be featured heavily, so expect the space marine faction to be represented by the Biker CAD and the BC.
Spoilers: These are the lists you bring to absolutely wreck a specific type of list. You may not see any of these armies in the win columns, but they are deadly snakes in the grass waiting to snatch unsuspecting victims.
- Knights: Does your list have the capability to deal with 5 knights? No? Then let’s hope you don’t draw one of these matchups. Some of the top-tier lists don’t have a lot of answers for Multiple Imperial knights and although I don’t think you should plan to play this list, you should have a contingency plan in place in case you run into this list.
- Greentide Orks: Mass amounts of orks, a Void Shield Generator, and the wrong mission could be a killer. Last year my LVO run was cut short when I ran into a greentide list during a relic mission with a centstar. Sometimes all you need to win is bodies running at your opponent and a good attitude.
Some players we are going to be keeping an eye on.
- Alan “Pajama Pants” Bajramovic: The front-runner to win the $3000 prize for winning the ITC championship. He is hot right now with multiple straight GT wins and a knack for winning with any list. Alan doesn’t need to win the LVO but he does need to perform well to have a shot at winning ITC champion.
- Geoff Robinson: Incontrol is in second place in the ITC and a possible first or second place finish for him almost solidifies his chance at winning. Obviously everyone in the running for ITC champion needs “Pajama Pants” to lose. But is Alan slips up you can be sure Geoff and his War convocation will capitalize
- Cooper Waddell: “Coop Nasty” is in third place in the ITC and my favorite to win Renaissance Man. His army is gorgeous and he has been playing the same White Scars CAD since the 6th edition book dropped.
- Steve Sisk: 4th in the ITC but only 1 point behind Cooper, last year Steve piloted his “UltraScars” biker list to victory in the 2014 Bay Area Open, had a top 8 appearance at last year’s LVO and is a consistent top table player. I’m not sure what army he is bringing this year, but you can be sure it will be blue, and clad in power armor.
- Sean Nayden: The defending LVO champion, while Pajama Pants has been out dominating GTs Sean has been practicing and training for this tournament. Sean brings his A-game to every tournament and has a chance to deny the ITC championship to a lot of good players.
- Other Notable players: Nick Nanavati, Nick Rose, Aaron Aelong, and Julio Rodriguez.
I could type all day about players, their lists, and who we should keep an eye on, I have to cut this list short but there are a ton of great people over here and I’m looking forward to drinking with them all and having a great time. Stay tuned for more LVO coverage tomorrow with the Day 1 LVO blog, and as always check out the tactics corner for more information about competitive 40k.
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QOTD: Which players and lists do you guys want to see in the top 8? Who are you rooting for?