This Week in the ITC: The Direction of the Meta

Hello, fellow Warhammer 40k fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio, and one of the Las Vegas Open Head Judges, here to bring you another article reviewing the ITC Standings for the 2019 season with the new scoring method in place. This week I wanted to take a quick look at the direction the Competitive Meta in the ITC could be moving.

There is a lot of change happening in the overall meta of the ITC right now. We are heading into a potentially huge shakeup in the next few months, the early rumblings of which have already begun. Let’s take a quick look at those changes, both real and potential.

Orks are the biggest shift so far. The Ork meta of the future that was anticipated at last year’s LVO failed to materialize. The book was relatively new and several nerfs to other factions hadn’t yet occurred. Astra Militarum and Aeldari were still dominant forces in the meta and the popular builds for Orks early on were not up to the task. Post FAQs it would seem the most dedicated Ork players have dialed into the book’s strengths and begun to run roughshod over some of the former power lists. Ben Jurek and Rich Kilton, in particular, have two, distinctive, lists that are performing well. Rich has now won a large tournament with his Ork list and has put the fear of the Greenskin back into players the world over. As we go forward in the season expect to see more and more players jump back onto the looted bandwagon.

Disco Lords are bringing Chaos back, although was it really ever gone, in a big way. Triple Lord Discordants are hitting the tabletop everywhere and some of them are kicking ass and taking names tournament after tournament. Most recently a trip disco lord plus Mortarion list stomped a trip Calladius Adeptus Custodes power list to win the Flying Monkey Con. If you didn’t watch that game, you can still watch it over on their Facebook page. With the success of the Morty plus Discolords list, and the ability to deal with a variety of the more common lists out there, I would expect to see more of these lists as well. It’s relatively low entry point in terms of cost also removes a barrier for entry to the army. You can find Mortarions fairly cheap on eBay these days, though that may not last, and a lot of players already have the requisite Plague Bearers. It’s a solid list that takes a minimal number of games to get the hang of. It also looks cool on the table top!

Chaos Knights are coming. Last year we had the summer of the Imperial Knight and it looks like we may be poised for this summer to be the summer of the Chaos Knight. With preview copies arriving today and tomorrow, the world over we should start to see very soon if the predictions and rumors over the power of the codex are true. With the ability to take the already powerful Plague Bearers in an allied Battalion, or even the Disco Lords, combined with all those Loyalist Knights people have lying around and we have the potential of seeing a ton of Chaos Knight primary armies in events the next few months. Even if they don’t end up being dominant the way Imperial Knights were you can still count on seeing a fair number of these in the field at the ITC tournaments the rest of the year, so plan accordingly.

Custodes. Oh boy, the Golden Children of the Emperor. Until the Beta rules become real rules, and the probably nerfs hit, you can definitely expect to continue seeing triple Calladius lists running around tournaments. The ITC tournaments will almost certainly continue to see a large number of Custodes lists, or detachments in lists, for the foreseeable future. I have no idea when the beta rules for the Custodes Forgeworld units will be changed over to real rules, or if the needed balancing to them will take place, so keep planning to see these.

Tau represent a hard to pin down faction meta wise. They have yet to become a hyper dominant faction in 8th edition despite their massive amounts of fire power. Always the bridesmaid and, almost, never a bride is a decent way to look at them. However, as Stats Center pointed out last episode, there’s been an increase in the number of Tau players at events. Tau being more common is definitely a problem for some players and army archetypes, so it’s important to note an increase in their appearance at events and also an increase in the abilities, and placings, of the best Tau players as the season progresses.

Imperial Knight and Astramilitarum have continued a slide into obscurity. While you will still see these a lot in tournaments simply due to popularity the equation on them has been solved by most of the best players. So running one of these, or the combo army, as a mid-tier player won’t garner you the types of wins you might be used to getting just a few months ago. You can’t count them out when planning for a tournament but they aren’t the uber lists they once were.

Potential boosts from Apocalypse rules are still a major X factor. It is hard to tell what rules that have been leaked are going to be Apoc only and which will be for 40k too. For example, will Primaris Eliminators have the new las weapon, hell will Eliminators even get their own box yet? The new Adeptus Mechanicus and Primaris Repulsors are definitely getting 40k rules, but will they be points costed in a balanced way, and therefore be suboptimal in already suboptimal factions, or will they be under costed and breathe life into those armies? It is a major variable in the meta equation that will require you to keep an eye on.

So what do you think we are going to see in the ITC Competitive 40k meta in the next few months given the paradigm shift we’ve seen since April? Let us know in the comments!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

13 Responses to “This Week in the ITC: The Direction of the Meta”

  1. Dakkath July 4, 2019 1:07 am #

    As a tau player, I look at some of the dominant lists and just scratch my head trying to figure out a list that can alternatively deal with ~200 orks, ~100 plaguebearers, 3+ knights, or any variety of fast smashy characters with good invuls.

    • abusepuppy July 4, 2019 4:46 am #

      200 Orks and 3+ Knights you handle pretty much the same way- Tau’s best options are mostly multidamage high-RoF guns (on either Broadsides, Riptides, or Hammerheads). Plaguebearers are harder, due to their hit penalties, but there are ways to get around that. Most smashy characters can’t survive overwatch on a Tau gunline (barring those few that ignore it, of course), so they aren’t so much of an issue.

      • Reecius
        Reecius July 4, 2019 7:17 am #

        Yeah, T’au is on the rise hardcore and it’s because they DO have the tools to take on the other common meta lists at present.

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 8, 2019 6:18 am #

          Your support of the Tau confuses me. 😀

      • Dakkath July 5, 2019 11:08 pm #

        So basically, once again, tau devolves back to missilesides and burst-tides.

        • abusepuppy July 8, 2019 7:47 am #

          I mean, yeah. There is a Hammerhead build out there as well, although I think with vehicles on the rise it is probably not going to be as good as other options, in all likelihood. But what else did you expect? Tau have a handful of heavy firepower units in their codex, and three of those five-ish units are currently considered good enough to be the centerpieces of the army right now. Doesn’t seem all that shocking or disappointing.

  2. Scott Bernard July 4, 2019 2:02 pm #

    Ork evaluation in my opinion is incorrect as an overall as the ork winners at events that contributed to this article’s evaluation just got lucky in their match ups (against both armies and or the opponent player match ups).

    The rest of the article seems true except the future of Tau lists. The effects of the nerf to Tau For the Greater Good ability will start to show up and then force some Tau players to play other factions if they have one.

    Glad to see Chaos as a whole move back into the top spot light for the season and hopefully ongoing lol

    • abusepuppy July 4, 2019 4:36 pm #

      Rich Kilton, Ben Jurek, and the many other high-tier Ork players must have been “getting lucky in their matchups” rather a lot, then, because they’ve been doing quite well on a consistent basis.

      • steven pampreen July 8, 2019 5:39 am #

        I’m gonna get so lucky.

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 8, 2019 6:17 am #

          Just make sure you get lucky at LVO then. 😉

      • SaltyJohn
        SaltyJohn July 8, 2019 6:16 am #

        Yeah, Scott’s comment is definitely a classic “bad take”.

    • Dakkath July 4, 2019 11:00 pm #

      What nerf to FtGG?

      • abusepuppy July 8, 2019 7:48 am #

        I believe they clarified that you must declare all of the units that will be activating FtGG before rolling any dice for overwatch, which was not previously the interpretation that was commonly used. It makes staging multiple charges on the Tau a more dangerous option, if you can do it.

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