Well, NOVA has come and gone. The Invitationals were great to watch, and the Open was equally as entertaining. With official Games Workshop streams going throughout the whole event, hosted by Frankie and Geoff, it was easier than ever to stay up to date on the comings and goings at NOVA. The BCP app and the dedicated bracket page for the Invitational also really helped in keeping tabs on the event. The NOVA provided a great look into what the best players in 40k are running and winning with and where the meta is headed for now. Unsurprisingly there were a lot of Castellans in the top of the Open, however, there was a distinct lack of Knight primary lists in the top. More on that in a bit. First, we have a new number 1 player in the ITC to talk about, the first new number one since Adepticon!
Mike Porter, is riding three big number one finishes into the top spot. With the win at the London GT and The Northwest Open that puts two first-place finishes at Majors and a solid 122.25pt number one placing at an RTT in March. Just 30 points ahead of the former, and long-reigning, number 1 place holder Matt Root. The competition for that top spot is still fierce with Matt Root, Josh Death, and Nick Nanavati all clambering within striking distance of the top of the mountain. It’s going to be an interesting few months until the LVO. There were also some shifts in the team scores. The top team remains the same but several teams have now cracked the top 25 who were well ranked last year and could make a run at unseating Beast Coast.
Now, back to NOVA. NOVA was easily the most important event in the last three weeks. It has a huge draw, a bit of gravitas given the nature of the invitational, and being on the East Coast but still accessible via the three major airports in the DC area, it also draws players from all across the United States. The list of contenders is veritable who’s who of the cream of competitive 40k if you are anyone in competitive 40k you at least tried to make it to NOVA. The Invitational was a great success, the single elimination brackets are a unique way to organize a 40k event and the fact it is seeded based upon player strength makes it even better. The Open, especially the streams, provided us with ample opportunity to see some of the best players in the world compete at a high level and see first hand the meta these players build and prepare for. A lot of Castellans, Astramiliwhatsit CP batteries, and Blood Angel CP batteries were on display. Looking at the top three lists you can see that is readily apparent.
So we have two lists featuring the near ubiquitous Castellan and both the AM and BA CP battalions. These style lists are just so efficient, with multiple threats in terms of both shooting and assault. Both lists are different from each other but they focus on the same basic ideas. Castellan for blowing models off the table each turn, cheap models to screen, cheap models, to infiltrate, some supporting fire in the shooting phase and Smash Captains to smash.
Nick, Brown, Nanavati’s list is the kind of Aeldari/Dhrukhari/Agents of Vect list that a lot of the top Aeldari Dhrukhari guys have been running. No, his list is not illegal by the way. There were a few totally calm and completely rational, not at all salt infested, discussions about this on the good old interwebs. The Dhrukhari detachment unlocks ALL the stratagems, the auxiliary of Blackheart unlocks the ability to then use the Agents of Vect strat. If all he had was an Aux of Blackheart then obviously no Vect, not Dhruhari strats of any kind, could be used. It’s really important if you want to compete at the highest levels, to pay close attention to the wording of restrictions on things, particularly stratagem and keyword restrictions. Taking a list that can utilize the vect strat to negate another player’s stratagem on a 2+ is a no-brainer in a meta that includes so many House Raven Castellans and CP farms. If you’re thinking of running any kind of Aeldari based list it’s almost an auto-include for you at this point in the season.
NOVA taught us a few things about the current state of the ITC. The first is that Knights are here in a big way, and the Imperial CP farms are an auto-include choice for pretty much any Imperial army, especially one using the CP hungry Castellan. Imperial Knights as the primary faction though did not have as good of a showing, meaning that at least in the NOVA mission set, you needed a lot more chaff on the ground, or at least a more well-rounded list, than just 3-4 Imperial Knights. The NOVA missions are markedly different than ITC missions, even though they borrow quite a bit from each other, but the NOVA missions are different enough that the best players definitely switched up their lists to tailor to these missions. I am willing to bet the top 10 players all practiced at least 10-20 times with the NOVA missions prior to going to NOVA if not many more than that number. If you really want to dig into the NOVA and the lists, subscribe to the Best Coast Pairings App, as a subscriber you can continue to look up events and examine lists from them, long after they’re over and even if you didn’t attend! It’s a great tool to examine the lists of the best players in the world. As always let me know what you thought of this week’s article and of the shake-up we had on the leaderboards this week!
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