Introducing Your 2019 Las Vegas Open Top 8 Players

The 2019 LVO is promising to have the biggest finish yet! I’m bringing you the Top 8 Players and their lists in this Day 3 recap. With some color commentary and interesting facts brought by yours truly. 

One thing I love about the top tables at this LVO is the diversity. In years past (looking at you 7th) we had the same factions, list concepts and players plaguing the top tables at events around the world. This year, we have a lot more parity. More than a few favorites to make the top 8 suffered defeat at the hands of people they normally wouldn’t play against. A phenomenon I love, and global events like NOVA, Adepticon, and the LVO encourage. There was some controversy (honestly, there always is) and every game didn’t go smoothly. However in my opinion, from what I saw on the tabletop, and based off of their performances at this event alone I believe each player in the top 8 deserves to be here.

Without further ado, here are your top 8 in seeded order.

#1 Seed Michael Snider: AM/IK (“The Castellan List”)

  • I’m going to have to apologize for a little bias in advance. Michael is a player who has seen his fair share of close heart breaks. He has three 5-1 performances at the LVO, and has come just shy of making the top 8 once with a 9th place finish in 2017. In years past Michael has tended to over perform with under powered armies and really burst onto the scene as a dominant player when he took the “Bark Star” list in 7th edition with his team mate Brandon Grant to multiple GT finishes. His 203 point performance is the 4th highest among players with at least 5 wins, and looks posed to finally win with something he has never had before in these situations. Luck, and a hyper competitive list.

#2 Seed Alex Harrison: Ynarri/Eldar Trickery

  • Allow me to address the water bottle sized elephant in the room. Alex Harrison made the top 8 more than half a year removed from his 2018 season controversy. I won’t go down that particular rabbit hole, click on this link if you want to know more. What I do want to talk about, is Alex Harrison’s 2019 LVO performance. Think whatever you want about the guy, but he took down two of the best Ork players in the tournament, and two all star players running one of the premier lists at the event. Steven Pampreen, and Nick Nanavati. All with dozens of people crowded around his table and under a judge microscope. He built a list that would get him to the top, and give him the tools to beat the Ork lists we expected to plague the top tables. Give credit where it’s due, this was a spectacular tournament performance. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Eldar Wind Riders may be making a comeback to fight the new horde meta.

#3 Seed Justin Lois: AM/IK/Mech (“A Castellan List”)

  • Before Justin Lois and others get on me. I understand Justin’s list isn’t THE Castellan list. It has some cool aspects I like that set it apart. However it is still a variant of the Castellan list, and thus, the second Castellan list in the top 8. At least, that’s what the internet warriors are going to be typing in their letters to GW. Joking aside, Ad Mech look like the benefited the most from the CA points changes with three 5-0 records going into round 6 and a couple of strong performances from pure Ad Mech lists on the top tables. Look for the rusty Mars bots to make top 8 appearances in future tournaments.

#4 Seed Brandon Grant: AM/IK (“The Castellan List”)

  • I’m proud to call Brandon a team mate, mentor, and friend. He deserves to make the top 8 after all the hard work he has put in. Now, having said that… I really wish Brandon would have ran literally any other list. Couldn’t he just have run pure Space Wolves to really shake things up? Or literally any other Imperium list. I mean, we all know he can win with it anyways.


#5 Seed Sean Nayden: Ynarri/DE

  • Our first survivor of the brand new “Ghost Round” to make the cut into the top 8. Not much else to say about a guy who has made it to 5 straight LVO top 8s. I understand the diversity in the top 8 doesn’t look so hot at the moment, but Sean’s list is not your typical Eldar soup list. Though no “Lictorshame” I still think Sean is over due for an LVO win with a unique list. In my opinion he has to be the favorite to take home everything.

#6 Seed Will Abilez: Tau

  • This is Will’s second top 8 at the LVO, and once again his Gundam Tau conversions are all the rage. I think this was a bit of a surprising result for a lot of analysts and tournament players. Though Tau did get a buff in CA, I think the “Magic Box” meta and general feel of the codex lead a lot of people (myself included) to believe that Tau would be stuck in a gatekeeper role. Will’s result proves otherwise, and going 7-0 with any list is quite an accomplishment for the faction and the player.

#7 Seed Joshua Death: Chaos Soup

  • There is a lot to like about Josh Death’s list. It has all the tools it needs to succeed on the field and an entire toolbox of hundreds of reserve points to summon the tools it needs. Josh Death scraped through all 6 games undefeated with one of the lowest scoring performances I’ve ever seen out of an undefeated player. The good news for Josh is points scored in the top 8 only matter if they are higher than your opponent’s. There are no tie breakers that can effect his positioning anymore.

#8 Seed Matthew Allee: “Boring” Eldar

  • With a win over the Knight Lancer pictured above Matthew became the only player to make the top 8 without posting 6 wins. I’m afraid I don’t know much about Matt, but every year we get someone into the top 8 who I have never heard of, and then they prove why they deserve to be there. Matt is running your standard boring Eldar/DE list (his words not mine), but I think honestly that’s a good thing. Net lists are here to say, and though you can think whatever you want about running them, it still takes a skilled general to make the top 8.


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.

57 Responses to “Introducing Your 2019 Las Vegas Open Top 8 Players”

  1. happy_inquisitor February 10, 2019 4:54 am #

    Less diversity than we would have hoped for but that is not on the players, that is for GW to see and tweak with their next FAQ. Its not like Ynnari and Castellans have been obviously a bit too good for a while or anything 😉

    Props to Joshua Death and Will Abilez for bucking the trend and making it all the way. Any chance of some pictures of those gundam T’au?

  2. Andy f February 10, 2019 4:58 am #

    So… castellan nerf coming up? Lol

    • GABMAT February 10, 2019 9:09 am #

      The castelan is not the problem. Did u see a stand alone knight army to be so power-full. The problem is that u can use cp for power-full stratagems , relics and warlord traits in the knight codex generated by a detachment from another codex.

      • happy_inquisitor February 10, 2019 1:23 pm #

        3 of the final 4 lists are Castellan lists and you still do not think it is a bit undercosted?

        Whatever. I guess nothing will ever persuade you so I’m not going to try.

      • N.I.B. February 10, 2019 1:32 pm #

        So give it the Genestealer Cult treatment – if you soup a Castellan, it can’t benefit from strats, orders and things like that.

      • Zweischneid February 10, 2019 11:06 pm #

        The Castellan is absolutely the problem. It just invalidates sooo many models and army builds.

        If the Castellan goes up a few hundred points, it might not win tournaments anymore, as hordes and anti-Castellan builds get an extra edge, but it’d still invalidate Predators and Hammerheads and Falcons and Repulsors and Nightscythes and hundreds of other models that (some of them at least) would otherwise perhaps sneak their way into creative and innovative lists.

        The Castellan is a game-design fubar without equal (at least since Chaos 3.5).

        • GABMAT February 11, 2019 9:34 am #

          Even if they increase the price for the castellan u will see the exact same lists replaced with the crusader. 4 less wounds but the same toughness and still a beast in terms of firepower. They need to change the way cps can be used with allied detachments. It would make balancing much easier for GW.

          • tag8833 February 11, 2019 1:49 pm

            I think the Knights codex is so poorly balanced, they should just scrap it, and release a new one. In fact, they should do what they always should have done, scrap both the knight and Ad Mech codex, and release a new combined codex.

            Barring that they’ve got to fix some of the relics, and stratagems, and maybe a few stats, like the range on the Volcano Lance (18″, and the Castellan is much less of an issue)

            But if I had to try and fix everything by adjusting points only.

            I’d bump points for Knights generally.
            Castellan +140 pts
            Valient +60 pts
            Crusader +80 pts
            Gallant +70 pts
            Warden +40 pts
            Paladin +40 pts
            Errant +40 pts
            Helverin +25 pts
            Armiger +15 pts

            The FW knights also need a number of bumps in light of the OP nature of the codex stratagems.

            And at those points levels Baneblade varients, and Stompas are still significantly overcosted.

            Knights as a primary army would be much harder to play, but that is the lengths you have to go to under the constraints that you can only tweak points.

      • Heldericht February 12, 2019 12:31 pm #

        “The castellan is not the problem.”

        Lmao, the denial is real.

        Are we playing the same game? It’s undercosted and way too durable while being oppressively strong in its damage output.

        It literally invalidates entire armies and builds and forced us into the current horde meta because it deletes anything big without any counterplay.

        It’s a problem.

  3. Shas’O February 10, 2019 5:09 am #

    “One thing I love about this top 8 is the diversity.”

    Of the top 8, 3 were eldar and 3 were castellans. I’m not seeing laudable diversity…

    Everyone has known, for some time now, that castellans and eldar are very powerful and have been dominant. I know I’m not the only one who was surprised when chapter approved didn’t address either. Hopefully GW will balance this out.

    • Rakdarian February 10, 2019 5:40 am #

      I was not surprised that the Castellan was not hit, Given that its the best selling model for GW. Remember kids GW is a business.

      And GW has made a habit of not doing anything to eldar.

    • Petey Pab February 10, 2019 8:41 am #

      Sorry! It was meant as sarcasm. I wrote the article at 2am, after the ghost round ended at midnight.

  4. ChrisG February 10, 2019 5:36 am #

    Its the same pre CA castellans and aeldari in the top 8 really. I think we need a drop to the castellan to see a more fundamental meta shakeup as the existance of the castellan in its current form is just too prohibitive to lists trying to bring any armour. Anyway best of luck to our top 8!

  5. ghostvalley February 10, 2019 6:26 am #

    Where can we see the results of the Ghost Round? Obviously the space marine player, Aaron, and the other guard player are out…but there is no info or results on bcp

    • Petey Pab February 10, 2019 8:42 am #

      If you click on the link in the article it takes you to videos where we streamed the ghost round.

      • ghostvalley February 10, 2019 10:27 am #


  6. Ryan bridges February 10, 2019 6:33 am #

    Matt Allee is one of the better players, tbh I’m surprised he even had a tie. Keep an eye on this one guys.

  7. sloppityboyee February 10, 2019 7:01 am #

    Only “diversity” I see here is the Chaos player, Tau always show up 1 off in most GT’s at least, eldar/ynarii/castellan show up everytime. Props to Joshua.

    Lists shown as is shows lack of diversity at high level tournament play and GW’s refusal to bring models in line with CA until they are satisfied they have sold a ton (eldar holiday box and castellan box were perfect xmas gifts).

    • Wayniac February 10, 2019 3:02 pm #

      Yeah, there’s no real diversity here. Maybe seeing Tau and the Chaos (which is the same old boring Chaos soup we see elsewhere), but 6 out of 8 are basically the same old, same old and as usual, it’s being peddled as “diversity”.

  8. CaptLysander February 10, 2019 7:28 am #

    Oh boy, here we go again, “Nerf the Castellan” crap. How about something different in realizing it might be a change in the mission format that the ITC does. Maybe that might change the meta instead of just changing the units all the time with FAQs and point changes. We all develop lists to take advantage of the ITC format and the Castellan and Ynnari take full advantage of this with the capability to “99%” of the time, kill something and take objectives more effectively than other lists.
    Each of the “Castellan list” does have a different flavor to them and very skilled players behind them. Yes, they have a staple to them of the big metal giant but so what. They have other elements to their lists that can still do things even when the Castellan goes down.
    With the Ynnari, I would really like to see some form of the codex or something to truly clean up their rules. They do have the best ways to take advantage of the mission rules and achieving said mission parameters with Soul Burst.
    I truly believe, instead of just point changes and FAQs, it’s time to change the missions of the ITC so that maybe those will make the meta change for tournaments. All we do is ask for nerfs, point changes and FAQs to change the meta. 8th edition is one of the best editions of the game so far and seeing all these cries for those mentioned above also hurts the casual, and narrative community as most of them also use points more than they do Power Level to play just fun, casual games.

    • rvd1ofakind February 10, 2019 7:31 am #

      Someone just bought a Castellan I see

      • CaptLysander February 10, 2019 7:43 am #

        Nope, had one since it came out. Good try.

      • Ujayim February 10, 2019 8:17 am #

        He’s not wrong on missions. They tend to skew very certain kinds of armies.

        • abusepuppy February 12, 2019 10:53 pm #

          The thing is, the Castellan’s dominance has absolutely nothing to do with missions- it is powerful in any format where shooting dominance is useful. BRB missions, ITC missions, NOVA missions, it doesn’t really matter- that kind of firepower can clean the enemy army out and if your opponent has nothing left at the bottom of turn 2, you’re gonna win the game.

          • ujayim February 13, 2019 5:26 am

            It’s why I made a point to note “very certain kinds of armies” rather than “castellan man BAD”

    • abusepuppy February 12, 2019 10:59 pm #

      The Castellan has repeatedly proved itself to be incredibly dominant in a wide range of formats and over an extended period of time. Even with players fully aware of its weaknesses and building with tools in mind to beat it, we are still seeing Castellan/Guard lists being extremely dominant at big events. More than that, the very existence of the Castellan completely negates any opportunity for codices to bring vehicles that don’t come with at least a 5++ save- anything less than that and you’ll simply see them cleaned off the table turn 1, as a Castellan can reliably kill 2-3 vehicles per turn.

      That kind of distortion of the game as a whole isn’t good, nor is the incredible dominance that the Castellan especially and Knights and general have continued to demonstrate. There are other offenders as well (looking at you, Ynnari), but the Castellan has consistently been the worst of them.

  9. Kalkan February 10, 2019 7:45 am #


  10. Mush February 10, 2019 8:00 am #

    Awesome to see a summoning list in the top 8.

    As a knight player I hope the castellan gets nerfed. But in a way where it doesn’t neuter the other knights. Both the CP increase for in our darkest hour (zombie knight) and order of the companions (re-rolls all ones in the shooting phase) have made those two stratagems even less viable to use on knights that are not castellans and they were alreay somewhat questionable on non Castellan knights when they were 2CP.

    So yes, nerf the Castellan but don’t nerf other knights/mono knights (who don’t have the CP to make the castellan good anyway).

    Every nerf that comes out seem to trash mono builds despite targeting soup. Do you see dark reapers/shinning spears outside of yanari soup? Do you see the Castellan outside of imperial soup? Did you see smash captains outside of soup? Every time a balance change is targeted at a powerful soup unit it’s mono faction gets nerfed despite most mono factions not being viable in the first place.

    Food for thought.

    PS: can we have tactical terrain rules like city fight as core mechanics, right now the game feels very attrition bases with less emphasis on manoeuvre.

    • NinetyNineNo February 11, 2019 6:47 am #

      Whack-a-mole balancing where whichever unit’s overperforming gets nerfed until the next offender pops up will keep being the norm until soup gets reined in in some way. When there is no downside whatsoever to just picking and choosing the best units of a codex to include in soup, especially when magnified with cross-army buffs and humongous CP pools, there’s no way for units to be balanced against their codex rather than against all their superfaction’s comparable units.

      That said, nerf the Castellan.

  11. Frag_Panda February 10, 2019 8:22 am #

    Matt is the current Texas Circuit Champion and a friend. Stupid good player who thinks outside the box and reacts well to the ebb and flow of the game. Really happy to see him representing Texas in the Top 8. Keep and eye on him for a dark horse finish at the final table today.

  12. sultansean February 10, 2019 8:41 am #

    I think looking for diversity in just the top 8 is a little disingenuous. It makes sense, that with people having to build and paint models that the lists which have been good, would continue to have more players, and place better. If you look at all the 5-1 players, people who were 1 win away from potentially making the top 8, it is quite impressive! You have multiple, Tyranids, Drukhari, Sisters of Battle, Ad Mech, Tau, Orks, Marines, Custodes, Death Guard, and Demons, as well as individual players with: Harlequin, Space Wolves, and Dark Angels. Yes the Castellan needs a tweak but I think it is great that all these other players found interesting combinations. I would have never thought a marine list with Predators would go 6-0, and Space Wolves? What even is a Falchion?

  13. Adam February 10, 2019 8:59 am #

    I’ve heard people talk about Joshua Death’s “bad reputation” and “previous controversies” but can anyone tell me any specifics?

  14. Víctor Yanguas February 10, 2019 9:20 am #

    Where can I see the army lists of those top 8 LVO players?

    • Petey Pab February 10, 2019 8:31 pm #

      Hey buddy! The Best Coast Pairings player App

  15. Kitani February 10, 2019 9:35 am #

    I’m surprised Tau and Chaos are in Top 8, but not Orks. Maybe it’s the ITC format? Since they appear to be crushing it all over the place.

    • sultansean February 10, 2019 9:39 am #

      Yeah I would have put money on Nanavati or Pampreen to make the Top 8. But that’s why we play the game, rather than just looking at lists on the internet 🙂

      • Jamie Martin-Cortez February 14, 2019 12:41 am #

        I think the chess clock is a problem for orks, you will end up hitting the time wall T3/4.

        Turns should be time limited, with less time the later the turn as model count drops.

        • Reecius February 14, 2019 10:21 am #

          I only saw one of the top Ork players clock out but still, that’s only fair. You should only get half of the time.

  16. Jim Griffith February 10, 2019 11:50 am #

    @Petey Pab

    Thanks for the updates.

  17. Dakkath February 10, 2019 1:23 pm #

    Happy to see Tau in the top 8, surprised not to see orks, disappointed there 3 each of ynarri and imperial castellan.

    Now if I could just find those lists somewhere computer-friendly, which BCP really is not.

  18. NHSmith February 10, 2019 1:45 pm #

    This writer is being disrespectful tonally to some of these players. Irrelevant of lists, all of these competitors should be awarded the respect due to them competing at high levels of 40k. This is only the largest Warhammer tournament in the world. I would hope FLG in the future refrains from utilizing language that can be interpreted as insulting.

    • Petey Pab February 10, 2019 8:30 pm #

      You should probably refrain from using language that can be interpreted as insulting. I think it will probably save you a lifetime of commenting on internet blogs.

      • ghostvalley February 11, 2019 5:36 am #


  19. Wayniac February 10, 2019 3:00 pm #

    Really? You call 3 lists with Castellans and 3 variations of Aeldari “diversity”? Are you serious? What’s diverse about, for example, a list with Loyal 32 and a Castellan compared to a list with Loyal 32, Admech and a Castellan?

    That’s the equivalent to having a Toyota Camry LE, a Toyota Camry SE and a Toyota Camry Hybrid and saying look how diverse the selection of cars are.

    • Ujayim February 10, 2019 5:49 pm #

      He commented hours ago saying he was sarcastic. Read the whole thing next time.

    • AllHail February 11, 2019 4:47 pm #

      The 3 Aeldari lists are different from one another and different from the standard Ynnari Dark Reapers + Shining Spears lists. One has 7 flyers and Ynnari Windriders, one has the Yncarne and Ynnari Harlequins with DE Wyches and CW Shining Spears, the other doesn’t have Ynnari as far as I know and is Craftworlds + Dark Eldar.

      Saying they are not diverse is like saying there are too many Imperium lists in the tournament.

      The Castellan is a cancer on the meta though, all of those Castellan lists are pretty similar.

  20. Jordan Smith February 10, 2019 4:33 pm #

    I play pure imperial knights. The castellan is far better in a mechanicus household (cawl’s wrath is just the best relic I have ever seen). In an imperial household, I find the thing to be lukewarm at best. Removing it from my lists was no tough decision. I feel like the crusader is a far better deal – rotate ion shields is cheaper and it hits things on 3s in melee as well.
    The diversity there is better than I expected. Player skill is definitely shining through, despite the obvious power lists. While I was expecting to see an ork player in top 8, the meta lists do carry extra power to a skilled player. I see that 8th is at least better balance wise than previous iterations of warhammer’s ruleset, though there is definitely work to be done.

  21. Medjugorje February 10, 2019 8:44 pm #

    NO Balance… just Castellan everywhere. Dont want to troll – but this is GeDub ***********

  22. Nick Wenker February 10, 2019 9:44 pm #

    It’s not just the top 8 where the lack of diversity is sad. Look at the top 40 and count the Ynarri / Drukhari and IG / Castellans. And the other stuff belongs to a small cluster of other things as well. The Castellan was obviously a big mistake from a balance perspective but it’s also painful that a year after Ynarri took top 3 at LVO they (and now with undercosted DE for extra flavor options) are still so overwhelming at the top. It’s crazy to see so much Eldar soup so high up even though it’s not even the very best list.

  23. NC February 11, 2019 5:16 am #

    so the same dreadful boring WAAC lists over again that bear no resemblance to the Warhammer background whatsoever. Disgusting…

    • rvd1ofakind February 12, 2019 9:18 pm #

      Here’s how to ruin yourself in my eyes: call every top competitive player WAAC.

      Once a year tournament. Biggest in the world. Very expensive to travel to and get a hotel. You have an entire year to think and practice what’s your best chance to win it. Why would you take something that’s not your best chance to win using the collection you have? That’s idiotic.

      • Reecius February 12, 2019 11:11 pm #

        RVD, you can be very caustic sometimes, but also, sometimes, you hit the nail directly on the head, buddy. You said it.

  24. John February 12, 2019 12:15 am #

    Eldar & Castellans definitely need looking at, but the easiest way to fix all of this is to do something around allies.
    i.e things like:
    Your warlord must come from your most expensive battalion
    Allied Battalions generate half CP’s
    Allied Stratagems cost 1 CP more.
    Too much of what we see in netlists, or top competitive lists is about abusing CP’s, a change to those would make a significant improvement, and might stop you needing to nerf points costs of units (no more Imp Guard Battaltions costing less than 25% of the army with a Warlord present and bringing 5 CP’s under those rules!

  25. Chris Martin February 12, 2019 4:53 pm #

    Actually, imperial forces almost always fight as a coalition so IG/AdM/IK “soups” are 100% in-line with the fluff. The Eldar forces are much less likely to fight together outside of those drawn to Ynnari beliefs.

  26. Chaz Sexington February 14, 2019 9:40 am #

    Any chance of a summoning tactica on CT from Joshua Death (or Pampers)? I’ve never been able to really figure out how to do it – giving up a model’s movement and the randomness always wrecks it for me when I try it.

  27. MagicJuggler February 15, 2019 10:46 am #

    LVO 2015 was Tyranids, Sentinel Scouts with a Centstar, Eldar, Fateweaver Daemons (Nick graciously chose not to use Grimoire), White Scars with Dreadknights, Guard in Space Wolf Pods…

    LVO 2016 had Eldar, Eldar, Marines, Daemons, Necrons, Marines, Necrons, and Space Wolves.

    LVO 2017 was weird. Ordnance Tyrant Renegades, a Barkbarkstar, Daemons, a War Convocation, Corsairs, Daemons, pure Tau, and Eldar. Weirdly enough, Eldar did not make the rop 4.

    LVO 2018 was Ynnari, Ynnari, Blood Angels, Ynnari, Ynnari, Soup, Alaitoc.

    “Variety” is a little disingenious, especially when ITC’s mission packs fluctuate between favoring durable blobs vs MSU rocket-tag from year to year…

  28. Icoop February 15, 2019 11:21 am #

    Just need to require detachments to be subfaction battle-forged and non-auxiliary to get access to stratagems. It would lowkey “nerf” the Castellan/+CP lists because they’d at minimum have to take two Helverins/armigers for their cool tricks, and leave Ynnari as just soulbursting for free action instead of free action + stratagem action.

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