Chapter Tactics #145: A Quantitative Analysis of Space Marine Dominance at the LVO

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today Peter the Falcon takes the gang on a ride through the statistics of the 2020 Las Vegas Open, Petey Pab opens up about what goes into running such a large event, and Sean and Brandon Grant talk about their tournament experience.

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Show Notes:

  • If you’re interested in just the stats stuff, just jump to 1 hour in the episode
  • If you’re interested in looking at some of Peter’s stats, he wrote a great article on them found here.
  • Head on over to for more faction stats for all major ITC tournaments!
  • Support us on Patreon this month and get a chance to receive random stuff from us!
  • Click here for a link for information on downloading best coast pairings app where you can find lists for most of the events I mention.
  • Check out the last episode of Chapter Tactics here. Or, click here for a link to a full archive of all of our episodes.
  • Check out Skari on Skaredcast, for excellent 40k tactics videos and Monday Meta analysis.
  • Commercial music by:
  • Intro by: Justin Mahar


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.

35 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #145: A Quantitative Analysis of Space Marine Dominance at the LVO”

  1. Avatar
    Ishagu February 4, 2020 4:05 am #

    At the recent Warhammer World GT, 100 man tournament, Astartes didn’t even make the top 4.

    Thr Warhammer GT uses the Chapter Approved mission format which is more condusive to a balanced meta.

    • Avatar
      Greyknight12 February 4, 2020 9:43 am #

      If a running offense dominates a small college football conference it doesn’t mean it’s more balanced…it might just mean all the good passers and receivers are in a different conference.
      Assuming for the sake of argument that 40k is 40k and the best players win across formats, then without their participation it becomes difficult to judge since the people who can and will crank up the competition to max aren’t playing.
      Put another way, no one was running the Brohammer list, but It would absolutely dominate the CA Eternal War missions (Ascension would be laughable) as would the “all-in” Imperial Fist artillery lists since it can shoot you off objectives before you can score them at the start of your next turn. Raven Guard would probably raze every single objective in Scorched Earth.
      I’m not saying ITC missions don’t need an update (they do) or CA missions are bad (they aren’t terrible), but to say that CA missions fix Space Marines based on one tournament misses a lot of factors.

    • Avatar
      NinetyNineNo February 4, 2020 10:14 am #

      I’ve hear this point elsewhere, but the sample size is by far too small, not to mention biased given that no top players attended the WHW tournaments, to try and use it as conclusive proof. Feels like deflection from the ridiculousness of Marines, honestly. That said, it does seem like the preponderance of kill-based secondaries is giving an unneeded extra edge to Marines in ITC, who are great at both killing practically anything efficiently as well as not presenting many good secondary targets in many lists (other than gangbusters in Centurion/Aggressor spam lists).

      • Avatar
        The Falcon February 4, 2020 11:11 am #

        This guy gets it. The last WHW event took place concurrently with a large major in the same part of the world (Caledonian Uprising) that saw many of the ‘bigger names’ in the community attend it instead. If you look just a couple of months prior to the previous WHW event, almost every army in the top 8 ran Imperial or Crimson Fists as many of these players had no other commitments. Drawing these kinds of conclusions off of a single smaller event is not good for community development and is rather old thinking when there is so much more data available out there now more than ever.

        • Avatar
          Ishagu February 4, 2020 1:04 pm #

          And if the balance of the game is the same, but the mission variety is better, what reason is there not to switch over to CA missions at this point?

          Ironically many of the top ITC players cannot categorically dismiss them as they don’t have experience with the new CA missions.

          • Avatar
            David February 4, 2020 4:50 pm

            The ITC missions are designed to give a reliable, repeatable experience. They remove as many random elements as possible, so the game is player vs player. Variety would be a counter to their propose.

            I’m dubious about your ability to speak for top ITC player’s experience with CA missions.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy February 5, 2020 9:22 am

            You say that the missions variety is better and the balance is the same, but you haven’t really supported either of those claims with anything but opinion.

        • Avatar
          happy_inquisitor February 5, 2020 9:47 am #

          Yet that other event – Caledonian Uprising – was also not dominated by marines.

          So “all the dominating marine players were elsewhere” just does not wash. If they were at Caledonian Uprising they were not very dominating. It used a combination of the Eternal War and Maelstrom missions from CA19 – not the ITC missions. Are we seeing a pattern here yet?

          Actually this is incredibly arrogant – “oh all the GOOD players must have been at the ITC ranked event so everyone at the GT finals was really just a scrub”. Nobody was there who did not qualify by playing well in a previous major-sized GT event.

          OK, I’m done. Time to walk away when discussing this stuff is actively annoying me.

          Carry on, as you were.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy February 5, 2020 9:58 am

            Just to be clear, when you say “weren’t dominant” at Uprising, what you specifically mean is that five of the top ten players were Space Marines of some variety and twelve of the top twenty players were. That still seems pretty dominant to me.

            >“oh all the GOOD players must have been at the ITC ranked event so everyone at the GT finals was really just a scrub”

            That is one hell of a strawman you have constructed. No wonder you’re furious about this, you’ve imagined an entire book of rhetoric into people’s mouths before they even say a word.

  2. Avatar
    Panda Pants Tony February 4, 2020 6:33 am #

    My grenade & trident are ready for the WTC/ETC anchor-off!

  3. Avatar
    ghostvalley February 4, 2020 7:43 am #

    Sean/AP: Would you be able to expand on the eldar test list you were working on – specifically how you were outfitting the Wraithlords and War Walkers?

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy February 5, 2020 9:28 am #

      Sure- it’s pretty similar to lists that Colin Sherman (who I got some of the inspiration from) and other players have been trying out, using many of the same pieces.

      Wraithlords get twin Missile Launchers and usually twin Catapults, although points permitting I’ll go for Flamers instead. War Walkers are likewise outfitted with paired Missile Launchers.

      As an aside here, with its price drop and the current meta and Craftworld traits available, EMLs are very good. Bypassing cover means that AP-2 isn’t as much of an issue on the big shot and AP-1 on the small shots will do work against a lot of infantry. The flexibility makes it an excellent weapon to take in numbers, as there’s basically nothing that it is bad at shooting. Starcannons should similarly be on the same shortlist, as they have many of the same advantages but with worse anti-vehicle and better anti-Marine uses.

      • Avatar
        ghostvalley February 5, 2020 10:25 am #

        Thank you. I’ll check his list on BCP.

        I have two Eldar start collecting boxes and a few assorted characters that have been sitting in shrink wrap in my hobby closet for a long time now, so what better time than now?

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy February 5, 2020 11:23 am #

          I believe Colin ran a different army at LVO itself, but he’s talked about his army on Best In Faction a couple of times and there’s lots of other Craftworlds players running similar. It more or less looks like:

          3 Wraithlords
          2-3 War Walkers
          6-9 Vibrocannons
          2-3 Night Spinners
          miscellaneous psykers
          other tanks or airplanes to suit, possibly with some troops for extra CP

          • Avatar
            ghostvalley February 5, 2020 8:31 pm

            That is a great starting template for me. And I’ll check the BifPod episodes. Appreciated.

      • Avatar
        Martin February 5, 2020 11:50 am #

        I would like to expand that comparison with vibro cannons that are common now. Do you prefer war walkers to weapon platforms? I know they have different roles but I flip back and forth to decide which to take.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy February 5, 2020 7:48 pm #

          They both are ways to bring heavy weapons to the table, but they are radically different in how they function, so I wouldn’t really compare them directly- at most, I would say that they often feature in the same sorts of lists.

          War Walkers are intended to be durable, by virtue of either being off the table or having that 5++ against big hits, as well as reasonably cheap. They can come in from any table edge, allowing them to snipe at targets that are otherwise hiding behind terrain and can even move in to threaten objectives, providing the list with some forward threat that becomes active in the late game.

          Vibrocannons, meanwhile, are the very definition of static artillery. Although their weapon profile is excellent for their cost, their inability to get on top of ruins or other elevated firing positions means that they are heavily reliant on the general to anticipate where the battle will take place and position them appropriately in order to take advantage of firing lanes. They also generally will not be able to score objectives in any meaningful way or otherwise contribute to the battle outside of “I existed for many turns of the game.”

          • Avatar
            Martin February 6, 2020 11:19 pm

            Thanks for the clarification. I’m also interested in the wasp walker, it’s great that it has fly and deep strike but 20p more expensive than the war walker so maybe not worth it.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy February 8, 2020 11:47 pm

            I had looked at the Wasp a bunch and it has some interesting features- fly is great and the ability to arrive from reserves more flexibly than the War Walker is cool, but the 20pt price difference is a lot to ask on a unit whose main virtue is cheapness.

  4. Avatar
    David February 4, 2020 8:14 am #

    I don’t think the Head Judge of LVO should be involved in the LVO fantasy league. It opens him up to accusations of impropriety.

    • Avatar
      The Falcon February 4, 2020 11:15 am #

      This is true. The fantasy league with no monetary commitment or prize is absolutely the first place I would look at when considering judge corruption at the LVO.

      The Latin Gandalf loves his drama.

      • Avatar
        David February 4, 2020 4:54 pm #

        Dismiss my concern if you want too, But it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of internet drama as been started with much less.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy February 5, 2020 11:26 am #

          If the implication is that the head judges should not be allowed to participate in any activities even tangential to the hobby because it might somehow “corrupt” them, you’ve got a real hard sell on your hands. These people are volunteering their time and usually spending money of their own in order to help run the tournament. Telling them that they have to distance themselves _even further_ and are not allowed to have fun is, at best, going to drive them away entirely and leave the event without any judges.

          Unless you’re willing to shell out for the 10-20 paid judges that would be needed, all of them working twelve hour days all three days of the tournament…

  5. Avatar
    DaRoyalKind February 4, 2020 1:36 pm #

    I just wanted to say what a wonderful job the 40k stats centre did during LVO. This is definitely the way to go for 40k tournament coverage rather than focusing on one game. It was entertaining the entire time since we were able to see multiple tables each round. The on the spot player interviews were just fantastic. With a little more tweaking and experience this could be something special.

    Frontline, I saw the glimpse of the future at LVO with their stream and if you want this game to be the esports you are trying to get it to then you really should be looking more closer to what these guys did and put some more resources into it.

    • Avatar
      greyknight12 February 4, 2020 9:06 pm #

      I agree. I think the way to combat “boredom” with a single 2.5 hour game is to show multiple games…if I miss the movement phase on a table someone can show me before vs after and explain in 10 seconds what happened. And there are multiple games I want to watch, not just the one that happens to be on stream.

  6. Avatar
    Jesse Hall February 4, 2020 2:42 pm #

    I’m really curious what space marine dominance looks like on the lower tables. To me, the fact that so many top players switched to marines and performed well with them is almost more telling than the raw faction win rates, but it would be interesting to see what the data looks like if you exclude the top 10% of players who presumably skew the win rates a bit.

    After all, if it’s jockey rather than horse, we should account for the skill of the jockeys before we try comparing the horses.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy February 5, 2020 9:29 am #

      There were lots of Marine armies at the mid/lower tables that were also consistently scoring wins- that’s actually where raw win percentage starts to be more useful, because unlike TWiP and other metrics it completely discounts player skill.

      I imagine Falcon could give you the actual numbers if you were really curious.

      • Avatar
        Office Waaagh! February 5, 2020 2:33 pm #

        Not…really. The raw percentage is susceptible to being skewed by high or low performers, for example the winning iron hands list that had a much higher win rate than the faction average. The problem with averages is that there’s no such thing as an “average” player, the average is a mathematical construct. That’s why a lot of statistics get reported for the median rather than the average, for example.

        To be clear, I’m not disputing that space marines are too good. I’m curious whether their dominance is more or less pronounced at the mid-level tables, whether they’re being held in check by top players from other factions being able to beat them consistently, or being made to look even more dominant than they already are because so many top competitors are playing marines.

        The average win rate is only really meaningful if you assume that player skill is distributed roughly evenly across the factions. If you instead allow that better players will switch to the best faction, then the average win rate for that faction will be magnified. So are space marines dominant because good players are all taking them, or are good players taking them because they’re dominant anyway? Presumably both factors are in play, I’m just kind of interested in the size of each effect.

        • Avatar
          The Falcon February 5, 2020 5:36 pm #

          At LVO, the quartile win % numbers for Marines looked like this:

          4th Quartile: 80.75%
          3rd Quartile: 66.27%
          2nd Quartile: 52.61%
          1st Quartile: 33.69%

          Iron Hands players were:

          Compared to Eldar which was:

          Or Chaos Space Marines:

          Just prior to the LVO, a fellow I know took my stats post-Iron Hands FAQ and compared player performances pre-marines codex to how they performed post-marines after switching to Iron Hands (or continuing their play as them for the handful that had prior. Of the 99 players that had results both before and after the release they went as follows:

          4th Quartile players went from a 77.3% win rate to a 76.5%.
          3rd Quartile players went from a 63% to 68%
          2nd Quartile players went from a 52% to 68% and
          1st Quartile players went from a 31% to a 61% win rate

  7. Petey Pab
    Petey Pab February 5, 2020 4:52 pm #

    “Frontline” here. We agree. I was the one who pitched the idea to get it greenlit in the first place, and picked Val and Pete to be our guys. Val and Peter then took that small handoff and ran with it.

    This is absolutely something we will encourage in the future.

  8. Avatar
    Steven Pampreen February 6, 2020 12:04 pm #

    I just listened to the part where you guys talked about my proposed changes.

    Your first critique of kingslayer being easier. It’s 4 wounds again, brandon grant and I talked about it. We also added a requirement of 8 wounds for titanic so it’s not an auto take vs knights.

    On more thought about mark for death and pick your poison. I really don’t love either of them so I would be fine of they dissapeared. I saw a super interesting proposal from Pittsburg gt to make pick your poison score 1 point from different secondaries which is cool.

    I agree with the comment about cowards being awkward, my biggest concern is alpha strike armies using it to score points. I think a few test games could clean it up. Also, make sure you actually read it. Most complaints about it were assuming it worked a way it doesn’t.

    The biggest changes were requiring neutral objectives which you touched on and sweeping changes to bonus points which are the two most important changes IMO.

    Anyway, thanks for reading my stuff!

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy February 7, 2020 10:23 am #

      I definitely think there’s some interesting ideas in the document and I appreciate what you’re trying to do and how hard it is, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of the routes you’re taking and choices made. But that’s not a strike against you and it may very well be your assessment is closer to the mark than mine is.

      That said, I really think PYP needs to be dumped, and I also believe that a lot of the other objectives probably need to be changed a bit- if for no other reason than to mix up the missions so that people aren’t getting bored with them.

  9. Avatar
    Martin February 7, 2020 8:36 am #

    Abusepuppy: By the way, will there be any new episodes of In the finest hour? Haven’t seen any since November.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy February 7, 2020 10:18 am #

      Real life has made producing episodes a lot more problematic, due to schedule changes and other stuff. However, we are trying to work things out, and the hope is that we can release a new episode soon.

      • Avatar
        Martin February 8, 2020 3:41 pm #

        Looking forward to that!

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