Well, here we are nearing the close out of the ITC season heading into the Holidays with a good head of steam and the Las Vegas Open looming ever closer. The SoCal Open was a huge event this past weekend with 172 players for Warhammer 40k showing up out of the almost 200 registered for the event! 172 is a big number like I said last week I hope the ITC takes some time to reevaluate the criteria and break down for event sizes and point bonuses attached to them. Personally, I would like to see a GT defined as a 2 day 5 round event with 50 players minimum, Major a 2 day 6 round 100 player minimum, a Super being a 2+ day 6+ round 150+ event. I have no idea if that’s in the works but it seems odd to me that an event like, say, the Barnyard Brawl with 60 players is scored similarly to the So Cal Open with 172 players. Moving on, the SoCal Open was a great event from most reports, and it’s a good indicator of the post-September FAQ meta, now that FAQ has time to really sink in. So I want to run through some of the results and other items from the event for people to chew on until Chapter Approved. There’s definitely a few things to note if you plan to attend the LVO this year as well.
First, let’s take a look at the results.
So what exactly do I mean by the title “return to the Pre-Knight Meta”? It’s rather simple. Prior to the Imperial Knight codex, the dominant faction(s) were Aeldari, and believe it or not Tyranids. Tyranids are by and large a deeply misunderstood codex in terms of efficacy. Aeldari, of their different stripes, usually include Aeldari proper. Dhrukhari lists normally include some Aeldari, same with Harlequins. Not always, but usually, and Ynnari was an extremely popular faction prior to the IK codex. After the release of Imperial Knights Aeldari, of all stripes, took a big hit in performance at tournaments because Knights were really good against them. The September FAQ hit Knights the hardest and as a result, they dropped significantly in popularity at events, especially among players who stand a chance to do well at events. With Knights taking a hit, and most other factions surviving pretty much intact the meta has shifted back to the Pre-Knight meta in most respects. With 5 of the top 10 at SoCal Open being Aeldari of some type, 7 of the top 20 being a type of Aeldari and not a single Imperial Knight primary in the top 10 we can see the top ITC players meta fully shifted to account for the September FAQ. If you’re planning to go to the LVO it’s important to know that while planning, it’s also important to pay special attention to what Chapter Approved has to say about the Aeldari factions of all stripes, as it will more than likely be in play at the LVO.
Chapter Approved and Orks represent the next big game changers, the ITC meta will need to react to both those items for LVO. So if you’re planning to travel to the Las Vegas Open with the hopes of performing well, pay special attention to the effects Orks and CA have on the most dominant factions currently in the ITC. Chapter Approved could be game-changing for a few of the factions really hurting right now like Necrons, I doubt we will see meta busting changes from Chapter Approved in terms of faction rules or points. The only real potential in my opinion for meta shifting influence in Chapter Approved comes from potential changes to core game mechanics and the Sisters Beta Codex. The former definitely seems more likely to influence the ITC meta heading into LVO than the latter. I just don’t see a beta codex being released that is a true departure into a new faction shifting the meta away from the trajectory it will be on after Orks are released. I could be wrong, and Sisters are the perfect counter to Orks and then where will we be? I don’t think that’s likely so Orks will be particularly important to track until we see Chapter Approved. It is unlikely that Orks will change much, if at all, from release to the Las Vegas Open. Chapter Approved will come hot on its heels and it would be irregular for either CA or a codex specific FAQ release to drastically change a codex released that close to Chapter Approved, and far from the next big FAQ. So pay attention to those pesky Greenskins. They could prove to be to Aeldari what Knights were but could continue to be that all the way until LVO. Why harp on this so much? Because Aeldari is a popular faction among the best players again, if that changes before LVO then you know the new big boy on the codex block is probably Orks so change your lists and game plans accordingly!
Another big thing to come out of the SoCal Open, pun intended here, is the new Hangar terrain piece from Frontline Gaming. This terrain piece is huge and if placed in the center of the mat and utilized well by your opponent can be truly game-changing or game-winning. This terrain piece will probably be on many of the tables at the LVO and you need to be fully prepared for how to play it, how to use it, and how to deal with it. I strongly suggest getting one, or two, for you gaming club, team, or store so you can properly prepare for it, I also suggest you read through some of the reports from players who played with it at So Cal Open or listen to some podcasts from players who were there who played on tables with it. Don’t go into the LVO blind, and unprepared for big Line of Sight blocking pieces of terrain, and this new piece of terrain in particular.
The best players adapt to the changes in the meta on every level. The top players in the ITC consistently play games against varied opponents, lists, terrain types, etc. The best performing teams have successful local league/40k nights, chats or groups to talk shop, a plethora of armies, and probably terrain that’s just for their use. If you hope to do well at the LVO this year tracking the meta post Orks, Hangar Terrain, and Chapter Approved will be critical, just like tracking the meta post September FAQ was critical to success at the So Cal Open last weekend.
Next week I hope to begin wrapping up this series on the ITC by beginning some interviews with the top players from the ITC who also plan to go to the LVO this year. As always let me know what you thought of the article in comments.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!