There are going to be unaccountable amounts of heavy hitting 40k lists at this year’s Las Vegas Open. Here are the top 10 competitive lists you will see at this year’s LVO.
This is an opinion piece. I have no idea if any of these lists will win the tournament, nor do I expect one to. I just wanted to rank the lists I felt were the most powerful in the current ITC meta. I also wanted to write this article for people who may be preparing to play in the LVO 40k Championships who will want to know what kind of lists their list should beat. As you are reading this I encourage you to imagine the potential of each list because I do not have actual army lists. These are more army list concepts that expert players use to tailor fit the perfect list that caters to their playstyle. Now, without further ado…
Tau w/ Piranha Firestream
Now, I might not have even placed this army list in the top 10 if it wasn’t for the results of the TSHFT championship and Andrew Gonyo breaking into the top 5 in the ITC rankings. I went over this style of list on my 18th episode of Chapter Tactics but i’m going to break it down a little here. Basically this is a Tau list that is Riptide-lite and focuses on the Tau Piranha Firestream formation and healthy amounts of markerlights and crisis suits. If you want a perfect example of a similar style of list, check the BCP player app on your smartphone and look for Paul McKelvey’s TSHFT winning Tau list. This Tau list has the models to compete with MSU, and still contains enough Tau firepower to shoot most armies off the board. Players who run this list tend to play really intelligently and cagey and I think it has surpassed the Tau “Monster Mash” list you would come to associate with the faction. This list is a refreshing reminder that Tau don’t always need big monstrous creatures to win.
Tripartite Lance w/ Psyker Support
Here is the only Imperial Knight list worth worrying about right now in the meta. Sure, if your army can’t deal with Imperial Knights you may have a hard time, but Imperial Knights can be outplayed with solid movement phase fundamentals and enough warm bodies. Deathstars have an even easier time dealing with knights, and most dedicated shooting armies use killing Imperial Knights as the golden standard for what your army should be able to blow up. Enter Joshua Death. Josh may not be the sole person responsible for building this list, but he is the guy I would expect to be across the table from me when i’m quivering at the thought of playing this list. Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Pablo, he is only one guy. Why should we worry about him in a 400+ person event?” Well, this army is EASY to build, and pretty easy to pilot. You have a Tripartite Lance. A single unit made up of a Knight Gallant, Knight Crusader, and Knight Warden. A Librarius Conclave, and a Psykana Division which summons a healthy sprinkling of demons. I could easily borrow the models for this list. Every Imperium player worth their aquila has at least one Imperial Knight now, demons are everywhere, and librarians are easy to come by. All any player has to do is obtain this mishmash of 15-20 models, roll for key powers, summon demons on objectives and hope for the best. Now, Josh Death obviously plays this list a lot better than that, but I think it is a list you will see spark up a lot more. There are already a lot of Knight players because of how easy of an army it is transport. How hard would it be to grab some demons and librarians on the way out the door?
Riptide Wing + Best Ally Units Available
I know I know, this is an open ended list concept and barely counts as an actual list. But hear me out on this. This is a staple of some of the best players I know. Riptide wing is such a splashable formation that it can often times be one of many pieces of a swiss army knife. A buddy of mine dominated some of the best players with a Riptide wing, Wraithknight and friends, and 2 units of Wulfen in drop pods. Sean Nayden was recently spotted at the Goldensprue Cup GT with a Riptide wing, Corpsethief claw, and Skathatch Wraithknight. Basically the concept behind this list is Riptides for shooting, a powerful self-sufficient melee threat, and good scoring capability. If your army can’t deal with Riptide wings you may want to re-evaluate your list.
Right now I think Genestealer Cult is the most overrated underrated faction in the history of 2017. Everyone I talk to has them making the top 8, everyone is preparing for them. The truth is, there are not going to be a lot at the LVO. The few that will be there are going to do really well. Geoff Robinson, Todd Silber, and Tyler Devries come to mind. The truth is, this faction is a balanced competitive faction that you should worry about, but it is still not better then a lot of the other more established factions. It is also a bit luck dependant. It is a dynamic army that can either look like the greatest army in the world, or the slowest. Which is why it is only number 7.
I was so tempted to put Genestealer Cult above Taudar, but two things made me change my mind. Taudar are a lot more consistent, and they can take a Skathach wraithknight. Basically TauDar lists are an Eldar list of the usual suspects, mixed in with a riptide wing. Nothing fancy, just a bunch of amazing units which can put out a lot of firepower and jump on late game objectives. This list beats regular pure Eldar lists because it has a better capability of shooting vulnerable demon flyers off the board. Something a lot of armies really need to be able to do.
Ah, the perpetual 5-1 list. This list is actually in a better spot than it was last year at the LVO because a lot more armies are starting to become more susceptible to losing purge the alien. Also, battle company players got a mission boost in the form of Big Game Hunter. Because of the MSU nature of the list battle company players have an important tertiary point they can easily deny and take. Whichever battle company you decide to take (White Scars or Dark Angels are your only options) the battle company still suffers from a serious lack of top tournament wins though, and I don’t think has what it takes to beat the next 4 armies on our list from a threat-level perspective.
Renegades are a great army. They do everything the elite guard lists of old used to do, but better, and cheaper. They can shoot any army off the board with tough T7 artillery, they can tarpit and zone with obsec zombies, and have access to melee threats like screamer stars and renegade knights. Throw in Fateweaver and a little demon summoning actions and you have an army which has evolved from a more static army, to one which can threaten every part of the board and contest any objective. Oh, and that GW FAQ didn’t hurt either. The only armies which don’t fear renegades, are the ones which don’t need to hide in multi-level ruins. Which brings me to…
Magnus and Friends
If you were wondering where big bird brain was, in all his horn-nippled glory he was right here. The Rehati War-Sect is the new kid on the block of tough formations, and it is kicking butt and taking names. This list is a very simple design but is oh so hard to general at the highest level. As one great 40k player said a couple weeks ago “This list is deceptively easy, but one mistake, and you lose your Magnus and the entire list comes crashing down from the sky”. Which is why I am going to put it at number 3. Nick Nanavati recently won an event with what I think is the most optimal way to run this list. Basically a Rehati War-Sect and as many brimstone horrors as he could fit. These lists are nasty because they can do a variety of things in multiple phases of the game. They have close combat threats, a variety of shooting attacks, access to cheap obsec, and mobility in the form of hard to kill flyers and demon summoning.
James Carmona can explain this list way better then I possibly could. So if you want to listen to his analysis here and here I will not be offended. In the mean time let me explain to you what exactly it is you are dealing with, when it comes to Cabalstars. You are dealing with the best psykers in the game. That’s it. Nothing else. The chaos factions have cheap warp dice (brimstone horrors), cheap IC warp dice (heralds), the best generic psyker HQs (sorcerors), the best FMC flyers (Magnus, and Fateweaver), and access to the best non-psychic deathstar buff in the form of the Grimoire. Not to mention summoning, and fast dogs of their own. The beauty of these lists is you can run a cabalstar in any list exactly like a librarius conclave. The rest is up to the player and their preferred playstyle.
I do think these lists have one achilles heel though. They can be really dicey. Warlords like Fateweaver, and pink heralds can blow themselves up or wear themselves down over the course of the game. These lists also don’t have easy access to mobile obsec (unless you count deep striking demons) which means they sometimes have a rough time beating armies like battle company. Speaking of which…
Battle Company w/ Deathstar
So, I know this is a battle company. So it should be ranked number 5. However this army concept is so much more terrifying and different then it’s less furrier barkstar-less counterpart. Basically Superfriends players and battle company players got together and decided that they were sick of losing specific missions like The Scouring, and Purge the Alien. So people started running deathstars in their battle company lists. You will see some prominant players run these lists, and you will see almost as many battle companies with deathstars as ones without. These lists come in a variety of chapters, deathstars, and styles but they all play the same. They shove a hard to kill unit down your throat and cover everywhere else with cheap obsec. The worst of these lists is the Dark Angels battle company with a non-psychic dependant barkstar. Which trade an expensive deathstar unit for one with a larger footprint that cannot get it’s buffs turned off.
Also, in case you were wondering Brandon Grant’s recent reign of terror did have an effect on my decision. Matt Root may be the number one player but I honestly think Brandon Grant is the hottest player of the ITC season right now.
Did I miss any armies? Agree with my list? Which armies would make up your top 10?