40k List-Tech: Adepticon Champion Aaron Aelong!

Today on List-Tech we have a very special treat for you guys! I got a chance to pick the mind of Adepticon 2016 winner Aaron Aelong and his Deathwolf Star. For more great articles check out our Tactics Corner!

The list-tech segment is a series of articles designed to focus on unique, competitive lists crafted by established players in the community in order to provide new and experienced players with tactics, tips, and tricks to use in the heat of battle.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Keep calm and make a list

The Questions

  1. Tell us a little bit about your army, why did you go with certain units? Why did you pick this army list in particular? Is there anything special about your army that you want to highlight?
  2. What expectations did you have for the meta? Were there any armies you were worried about? What match-ups did you feel most comfortable with?
  3. Hindsight is 20-20 and looking back on the Adepticon was there anything you would have changed about your list to better accommodate the meta you experienced?
  4. What are some tips or tricks you have for people who might want to start using your army?
  5. We heard there was an issue with your list, What was it?
  6. How did the Adepticon judges handle the situation?
  7. What was your overall impression of the Adepticon tournament in general?
  8. How did your list change from the LVO list you brought to the top 8, to your Adepticon list?


CAD – Dark Angels

Chaplain: Bike, Fist, Lightning Claw

Ravenwing Command Squad: 2x Corvex Hammers, 3x Plasma Talons, Champion w/Blade of Caliban, Apothecary, Ravenwing Banner

Scouts: 1x Sniper

Scouts: 1x Sniper


Champions of Fenris Detachment

Iron Priest: TW mount, Thunder Hammer, Runic Armor, 4x Wolves

Iron Priest: TW mount, Thunder Hammer, Runic Armor, 4x Wolves

Lone Wolf: Power Armor, Melta Bomb

Lone Wolf

CAD – White Scars

Techmarine: Bike

Bike Squad

Scouts: 5x snipers

Allied Detachment – Blood Angels

Sanguinary Priest: Bike, Fist, Claw


Librarius Conclave – White Scars

Librarian: Bike, Lv. 2

Librarian: Bike, Lv. 2

Librarian: Lv. 2

Librarian: Lv. 1

Aaron Aelong’s list and the Adepticon 2016 meta is a testament to the nastiness 7th edition brings to the game. The tournament was covered with ranged D shots, unkillable deathstars, and massive amounts of cheap, deadly obsec units. It was a truly hardcore experience and the fact that Aaron Aelong made it all the way to the top playing at a disadvantage (more on that below) is a testament to both his skill as a player, and his lucky ability to dodge 6’s.

aaron lvo

  1. I have always loved assault ever since I started at the end of 4th edition. When 6th started everyone said assault was dead. I have been building assault style lists since 4th and desired to keep on with it. When I build any list, it has to beat my last list. It also has to stand up to what i believe to be the strongest codex: Chaos Daemons. Playing against what I consider the best three daemon players on the world on a semi regular basis, I needed a list that could hang with the warp. (Nick Nanavati, Justin Curtis, and Alan Bajramovic). The list I built started from a concept from Justin that I developed into the “Thunderdome” I developed it to be able to handle daemons first, then eldar spyder/scat bike spam. The final change came after I played Frankie Giampapa and Julio Rodriguez at Nova in 2015 and realized how I had to change to be able to deal with gladius.
  2.  The top three are still the toughest matchups. Daemons first, eldar 2nd, and gladius third. Obviously a mirror match is always tough. I played 4 eldar armies that were similar. Double WK, scat bikes, and spyders. I’m hoping people will venture out into other armies. There are so many great options. I’ve been making lists with sisters in it and think they can be a part of some great lists.
  3. One sniper rifle off the list. Besides that I feel the list was perfect for the missions and composition. Every model in my Adpeticon list had a role to play.
  4. Alot of people look at the list and have 2 trains of thought.”That’s it?””All you do is run forward and kill stuff” Both of these are inherently incorrect. Thus army is very difficulty to master. Yes it can have invisibility and is great on close combat, but I believe this is harder to play than all of my other GT winning lists.                Adepticon 99Aaron playing Matt Root in the finals.
  5. When building my list, which I primarily use army builder, I used adepticon’s composition rules to build a list with 5 sources. The blood angel’s codex that came out in 2014 has somehow gome nearly 2 years without anyone realizing there is an error in the code in reference to the Sanguinary priest. The Sang priest doesn’t come with a bolt pistol (I was unaware of this). I felt I needed more Powerfist attacks and so I bought a fist and a lightning claw for the Sang priest. Army builder allows the purchase were normally it wouldnt. When I was complete with the list I was at 1848 points. (or so I thought) I knew I would be short 2 Points due to the 63 mam bike squad. I decided to add a sniper rifle to two dark angels sniper scout squads just because. Unfortunately this made my list actually 1851. If I wouldn’t have added the sniper rifles the list would have been legal. (1849) I take full responsibility for the error. I am not makin excuses. The fact that I never fired them doesn’t matter. The list was 1 point over.
  6. During the 6th round, the judge running the champs made a decision to remove the obsec scout squad before they came on from outflanking the table giving my opponent double kill points for that unit. After the round Chris the head TO pulled me aside. Showed me the written policy and questioned me about the list and what happened. He stated he doesn’t feel it was intentional as this is a very unique situation. He showed me the rule that the illegal model would have to be removed for any further games. I’m round 7 and 8, I played 120 points down versus my last two opponents.
  7. It is always a great event. Very classy and well organized. I know they have taken responsibility for the error, but I am also at fault. And again I apologize for any inconvenience I have caused.
  8. With LVO I could only take 3 sources. The lvo list actually had more shooting.  But the Adpeticon list was more resilient in late game.
got a list
Did you just win an ITC event? Is your list dominating everyone it crosses? Did you just recently do well with a unique list at a large event? I want to hear about it! Just send it to
Please do not send your army list in a format such as Army Builder, send them in an easy to read, typed format. Thanks!



About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

40 Responses to “40k List-Tech: Adepticon Champion Aaron Aelong!”

  1. Avatar
    greggles April 12, 2016 10:33 am #

    One of the interesting things about attending many events (and running into the same guys every time), is seeing all the little tweaks and list refining they do. It’s pretty cool to see the lists honed to a razor sharp edge (until the meta shifts and mucks everything up again).

    • Avatar
      W April 12, 2016 10:47 am #

      Agreed, seeing the different tweaks that are made depending on a tournament’s comp and missions are very interesting

  2. Avatar
    Dakkath April 12, 2016 12:01 pm #

    Ok so I see you have about a hundred different ICs with bikes or bike equivalents and power fists but there’s nothing on actual tactics. Who goes where? Does everyone join up? Do certain ICs go with one unit and the rest for a star? Everyone on their own? Are all these scouts just sitting on backfield objectives?

    • Petey Pab
      Pablo Martinez April 12, 2016 1:55 pm #

      The point of my List-Tech segment is primarily to focus on a list and what thoughts go into listbuilding. If a player wants to add more tactics and insight I usually leave it up to them and try not to push to hard.

      In this case Aaron also had to answer more questions then other interviewees and I think that was a small factor on the quality of the content. In the future I will try to get more tactics for you guys, but I assure you I have some truly great write ups and analysis in the queue.

  3. Avatar
    gvcolor April 12, 2016 2:16 pm #

    Great read and insightful!

  4. Avatar
    Venkarel April 12, 2016 2:34 pm #

    This questions has nothing to do with Aaron personally but does have ramifications as a SW army builder, do Lone Wolves fulfill the Elite slot requirment in a CotGW detachment in the ITC format?

    • Avatar
      LordDrakon April 12, 2016 3:47 pm #

      No they do not, It was a mistake that the TO agreed too.

      • Avatar
        Gunter April 13, 2016 5:53 pm #

        It was also part of a secret email no one else at the event was aware of, must be nice getting special privileges from the TOs

        • Avatar
          DCannon4Life April 13, 2016 7:27 pm #

          Every player in the event (in every 40K event, not just the Champs), had the ability to send in individual questions. More than a few took advantage of this opportunity. None of the responses were made public, at least not in the context of, ‘Player so-and-so just asked a question, and this is what the answer was…’.

      • Avatar
        DCannon4Life April 13, 2016 7:21 pm #

        It was not a mistake.

        My answer contains as much validity as yours. If you take the time to substantiate your statement, I’ll do the same for mine.

        • Avatar
          Ibushi April 14, 2016 9:00 am #

          Yeah pretty much every tournament around here I find myself emailing the TO ahead of time to clarify codex-specific rules or composition things, seems like the most proactive and responsible way to participate at such a large (and expensive) event.

          That bolt pistol being a point over is such a small detail, seems fair to remove the models in question as soon as it is discovered and just continue as normal.

          Congrats to Aaron for bringing home another big win even with those setbacks!

    • Avatar
      bigpig April 14, 2016 12:47 am #

      I think that regardless of where readers stand on the ethical questions surrounding the victory and whether Aaron is an “asterisk champion,” there is a lot to be gained by reading his insight into his list design. We could have just as easily looked at any top 16 finisher and discussed their list with them and had similar insights so placing doesn’t matter… and Aaron probably would have placed in the top 25% regardless of questions as to whether his list was ITC legal or not (Adepticon uses a different standard than typical ITC format).

      Mistake of fact, “army builder oops,” or intentional manipulation…
      Smoky backroom dealings or an opportunity made available to all…
      bad guy, or good guy…

      Doesn’t matter. The idea of these segments is to see what the player was thinking when designing lists. There is a lot to be gained from that. I say put the politics aside and look at the merit of each decision because they can have bearing in whatever format just by changing out a unit or model or two

  5. Avatar
    Ming April 13, 2016 4:01 pm #

    I’m not convinced. The TO should have removed the sanguinary priest from the remainder of the tournament, as a BA player I always hated the pistol tax but I never saw an issue with army builder. Weird…

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 13, 2016 4:36 pm #

      As soon as someone caught it, they did remove it from his list, but it wasn’t until later in the event/.

    • Avatar
      Dbiesto April 13, 2016 4:57 pm #

      Always double check codex on points and upgrades, army builder won’t always catch errors, along with human errors. Quartermaster hasn’t updated units from the Wulfen book so added a Crimson crown for 30 instead of 40 for a list I submitted for review yesterday( already emailed Mariana the mistake and dropped a greater reward to a lesser reward). Army building apps are usually 10/10 accurate, but wont always catch something illegal.

      • Avatar
        Karaghul April 14, 2016 12:40 am #

        “10 out of 10 times, it works almost every time”. 😛

  6. Avatar
    chad l. April 14, 2016 2:17 am #

    Sad we’re examining an illegal list and talking about how good a player he is… c’mon guys, this guy is known for playing dirty and stretching rules. Let’s not have articles celebrating a cheat.

    • Avatar
      Trevor April 14, 2016 8:20 am #

      Chad you are spot on with your point of why are we Celebrating an illegal list. Your other comments are your own opinions, but with all the great lists that were out there at the event. Why are we even giving this list one more second of “glory” when it was clear it was illegal in points and composition. As tournament players we are suppose to be playing at the “pinnacle of the game” and we should account for ourselves in this manner when we come to the table. This includes correct lists, current rules, and all the tools we need to play the game for the full event. I’m disappointed that Frontline is promoting their friendship with Aaron, instead of promoting another more justified list, just shows that we do have a good ol’ boys mentality in our game too. Just my 2 cents.

      • Avatar
        Karaghul April 14, 2016 8:57 am #

        Well, “Frontline promoting their friendship with Aaron” sounds speculative at best. I think you are reading a bit too much into it. He won a tournament, and there was controversy, he was interviewed because Frontline though it could be interesting material.

        As of his list:

        I am really surprised so many people get hung-up on the 1pt list-building mistake. Sure, it is a mistake, but all things considered, it ended up being a handicap rather than an advantage, as he ended up playing 2 games with 120pts less, as opposed to having 1 extra Sniper Rifle.

        What I think is the worse part is the Lone Wolf filling an Elite slot situation, since there is, not even RAW, any way at all an English speaker would honestly believe that would be legal.
        Ultimately, it was the TO’s decision, so I suppose it is them who are at fault, but just the act of asking “can I use this?” when you know that no, you can’t (because, as a tournament-winning player, you can read and understand the rule)…just play with 2 Servitors instead.

        • Avatar
          DCannon4Life April 14, 2016 10:30 am #

          “What I think is the worse part is the Lone Wolf filling an Elite slot situation, since there is, not even RAW, any way at all an English speaker would honestly believe that would be legal.” By all means, please lay it out for us. When doing so, please include the previously made ruling regarding the Court of the Archon. A side-by-side comparison of the exact (relevant) wording for each would be much appreciated.


          • Avatar
            Karaghul April 14, 2016 12:07 pm

            “You can take a Lone Wolf for each Troops choice or unit of Wolf Guard or Wolf Guard Terminators in your army. This selection does not use up a Force Organisation slot”.

            Since it says “army”, and not “detachment”/”formation”, the first part is covered, as he has 2+ Troops elsewhere. No problem.

            “This selection does not use up a Force Organisation slot”, however. Well, that is a crystal-clear statement. That’s it.


            “For each Court of the Archon in a Detachment, the Detachment can include a Court of the Archon that does not take up a slot on the Force Organisation chart”.


            I do not know which “previously made ruling” you refer to, but there you have both rules.

            You are welcome.

          • Avatar
            Karaghul April 14, 2016 12:09 pm

            “For each Archon in a detachment”*.
            Good ol’ post-post proof-reading. 😛

          • Avatar
            DCannon4life April 14, 2016 5:31 pm

            And if you choose not to utilize the ‘non-slot’ Lone Wolf option? What is a Lone Wolf’s Force Org designation? Is it, perhaps, Elite?

          • Avatar
            Karaghul April 14, 2016 11:15 pm

            There are no “options” here.

            The rule reads:
            You want a Lone Wolf?

            >You need Troops in your army. Got them? Cool.

            >Oh, by the way, they do not “use”, ie. “cover” a slot.

            Their battlefield role might as well be “Baker” or “Annoying Neighbour”, they do not use one.

            However, if you either don’t want to understand a clear rule, or, in fact, don’t understand it (which in this case I doubt, so I would suspect the former), I’m afraid I can’t help you, so there is no real point in continuing with this conversation.

        • Avatar
          Elwrath April 14, 2016 11:48 pm #

          He couldn’t take servitors because they don’t fulfill the elite slot requirement either, if taken in a list with an iron priest (special rule of theirs called thrall).

          Honestly I don’t blame Aaron for the bolt pistol mistake that’s just stupid and clearly had no effect on the out comes of his games.

          No I’m saddened by the TOs mistake for allowing lone wolves when clearly neither they nor servitors are eligible to take up the slot requirements. That means that it’s not a few points extra but 95 (difference in cost of his 2 lone wolves with one melta bomb and 2 70 point units of wolf scouts) extra points Aarons list was allowed by poor judgement. That would actually required Aaron to have made some important list changes.

          Otherwise good article Mr the stache. Keep at it.

        • Avatar
          ryan April 15, 2016 9:33 am #

          It would be nice to see some comments from the 6 guys he beat before his illegal list was discovered and he played down 120 points the final two rounds. He should have been tossed out. I know i will never travel to any tournament that dosnt kick out people using illegal lists, accidental or not.

          Great player, but for somebody who prides himself on his theory crafting, there is no excuse.

          • Avatar
            Joshua Taylor April 15, 2016 11:14 am

            Adepticon illegal list policy is clear, when the problem is discovered, the offending unit must be removed. in this case he lost an entire HQ.
            Any of the 6 players he beat could have called this into question at any time.

      • Petey Pab
        Pablo Martinez April 14, 2016 10:11 am #

        Considering I have write ups of 7 of the 8 players in the top 8 and I seek to provide an interesting tactical article that won’t compromise my journalistic integrity I find your comments very offensive. I spent a long time debating how I would go about presenting this article and ultimately decided that it would be best to publish this article to both provide tactical insight into the game and also establish a “We have to be careful about our lists” rhetoric which would inspire people to take tournaments more seriously. I am glad you guys are mad his list was wrong, and I certainly want to promote transparency in all tournament organizations but at the same time saying we are “glorifying illegal lists”, and “promoting friendships” is flat out wrong.

        We would have put up the winner regardless of who won, or what their list was. the very first List-Tech article was the winner of the LVO. You might not like Aaron’s list, or him as a person but he does deserve to be talked about and portrayed as someone who is very knowledgeable of the game. He top 8s at large GTs he made the top 8 at the LVO (with a legal list), he dominated NOVA, and people want to see that. Whether because they want to beat his list or copy it or villainize him it doesn’t matter, and as a journalist I shouldn’t care.

        @chad I. why is it sad we are examining an illegal list? Would you rather everyone turn the other cheek and let something like this slide? Do the illegal bits deny the list’s core function? I mean even if you tweaked it to make it legal it still does the same thing.

        • Avatar
          Ibushi April 14, 2016 11:04 am #

          Good response Pab, +1!

        • Avatar
          ccrraazzyyman April 19, 2016 6:01 am #

          You did not provide a disclaimer that his list is illegal because of the Lone Wolf problem. You provided a list and some Q/A, and the only disclaimer is that it’s a point over because of the Army Builder entry being inaccurate. The fact that a reader has to come to the comments to figure that out is wrong.

  7. Avatar
    Lord Krungharr April 14, 2016 5:27 am #

    I like to use my Codex(ices) and a calculator and Microsoft Word. All those ‘army builder’ programs are very difficult to read and clearly dont catch everything they should.

    I’m not sure about the Lone a Wolf issue, but a very good example of a very good player using a tool box of good units (not even OP units) to great advantage. I wish I had the stamina of those championship players to play that many games in two days!

    • Avatar
      Vercingatorix April 14, 2016 12:48 pm #

      excel master race!

  8. Avatar
    zyekian April 14, 2016 9:28 am #

    Now Aaron will get to reroll his 97% unkillable death star’s saves.

  9. Avatar
    Nightman April 14, 2016 9:58 am #

    I find it hard to believe how anyone can really even entertain the thought of it being intenional. “I hope no one notices the 1 point tax i dodged so i can buy this 1 point sniper rifle, muahaha”. Internet always goes overboard with this kind of shit. Feels more like an excuse to make unjustified jabs at people.

    • Avatar
      Happy_Inquisitor April 14, 2016 1:35 pm #

      It is a 1 point tax. Plenty of those in the game and really I think an experienced player should expect some blow-back if they don’t include the tax and go over the points limit.

      Really I think this is a perfect example of “when list building goes wrong” because any honor and glory that Aaron might have wanted from the event is lost to issues with the list.

      i actually have a lot less sympathy for the TO who decided to OK the lone wolf thing. I think TOs are leaving themselves open to abuse by they way they are acting here and it has reached the point where the most highly competitive players are clearly taking advantage of any mistaken judgement they make – to the point where they are asking them to make lots of judgements on spurious questions hoping to capitalize on the inevitable occasional mistake. Looking to gain an unfair advantage from mistakes by the TO/judge is unsporting behaviour; in most sports it is despised to one degree or another.

      This is not a new problem, every competitive game has problems like this but 40K TOs seem to be actively encouraging the problem by the approach they take. They need to look at other sports etc and learn the lessons of how to manage and control the problem of players trying to game the judge himself.

      • Petey Pab
        Pablo Martinez April 14, 2016 2:02 pm #

        +1. As much as I respect the guys at Adepticon for everything they do and what they have brought to competitive 40k I do think they fell into this mindset a little and it sounded like the issue was clearly not looked at as much as it should have. I think we all need to take steps (especially TOs) to take the integrity of the game seriously and actually take the rules of this game into our own hands instead of just blaming GW’s porous rules making.

      • Avatar
        Karaghul April 14, 2016 11:16 pm #


    • Avatar
      ryan April 15, 2016 9:34 am #

      where do you draw the line on overpointed lists?

      1 point you dont care about, how about 3, how about 10? In my lifetime ive made hundreds of practice lists, the ones that go over, are worthless. Points limits exist for a reason

      • Petey Pab
        Pablo Martinez April 15, 2016 9:54 am #

        Good Question! Frankie and I had a long talk about this and decided that the line was 1 point over. If you catch it quickly and come to us (before round 3) We will handle it and modify your list, however if you make the top 8 with it you’re DQed. No questions. This, of course, is not the ITC’s official stance on the matter this is just what Frankie and I thought would work best

  10. Avatar
    Alpharius July 17, 2018 5:07 pm #

    This guy is a habitual cheater, and has been caught more than once. He should be banned from all tournaments.

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