Danny’s Road to SoCal: Refinement

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I continue documenting my preparation for one of the best gaming events of the season, the SoCal Open 2021. The last few times, I’ve discussed my expectations and of course, battling temptation of shifting lists or even games, but this time, I have a list, I’ve gotten some reps in, and now it is time to start tuning the list to its final form.

After a mad scramble to source models, either buying them or borrowing them from my compatriots over at TFG Radio, I do have all I need to play a list that meets my requirements: fast to play, relatively direct play style, and of course, dedicated to Blood for the Blood God. The twelfth legion rides for Del Mar, or rather, rumbles forward.

The List:

World Eaters Patrol

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor. Warlord. Violent urgency. Power Sword. Z’aall. Red Butcher.


3×5 CSM with chainswords.

7 Warp Talons

World Eaters Super-Heavy Detachment

3x Lord of Skulls with Gorestorm Cannon/Gatling Cannon

So the list that I mostly settled upon is 3 Lord of Skulls backed up by a little bit of infantry. Why Lord of Skulls in World Eaters? First off, Khorne, so there we go. Second, they provide a great combination of ranged threat and versatile melee, so they are generally equipped to handle most problems. Third, it gives me a chance to use my Kharn, whom I love, but for 115 points, he also gives full reroll to failed hits for the big guys when he is within 1″ (yes, this is the old wording so he isn’t as effective as a true, full reroll, but still 16% better than a standard Chaos Lord. Plus, Kill Maim Burn!)

I have played a few games so far with the list, and I have run into two distinct areas for refinement. Part of getting these early reps in is not just to gain that crucial list fluency that is so necessary to do well at an event, but it is also to see where the list can be tweaked to maximize the horsepower.

The first are the Lord of Skulls themselves. The Gatling Cannon is a solid choice with 12 S8 AP-2 D2 shots and generally far more reliable than the Skullhurler, but it is the belly gun that is giving me pause for thought. The Gorestorm is nice for an 18″ flamer of death that also goes up to 2d6 against a unit of 10 or more, but the problem is that all of my shooting is Damage 2. Against Magnus, Mortarion, or Contemptor Dreads, this -1 damage really, really cuts down on their overall output, and it usually takes me 2 full Lords to take down just 1 Contemptor Dread. That isn’t ideal. To address this, I can pump 2 of the Lords down to Ichor Cannons, Range 48″ Heavy d6 S7 AP-4 Dd3 shots, and with the points saved, I am able to get the last Lord to the Daemongore Cannon, Range 18″ Heavy d6 S:user, AP-2 D3 flamer. This adds at least one flat damage 3 gun to the mix, but the Ichor Cannons are d3, so at least 33% of the time, they are doing more damage than the Gorestorm, and against the targets that I have been struggling with, namely anything with -1 damage, there really isn’t much loss with the d3 but again, a 33% chance per roll for 2 damage rather than 1. The Daemongore at flat damage 3 also means that any damage converted is D2, and against targets like Terminators, killing 1 per failed save is pretty sweet.

The question is really about overall gain. Against -1 damage target, the Ichor Cannons and Daemongore have just more potential for damage, but against horde style armies that bring units with 10+ models, they are certainly less impactful. Another factor is that my general plan in most games has been 2 Lord of Skulls with Kharn in between, and they actually don’t advance much as they shoot so well that it invites my opponent to try and come towards me, which is what I generally want. I don’t have to overextend to try and get a charge and can pick the lanes I need this way, so having the Ichor Cannons with their 48″ range really helps as this way, both guns are firing each turn rather than just the Gatling. While the Ichor Cannons don’t autohit, they still get to reroll a bit thanks to Kharn, so that helps take the sting out of that. The Lord of Skulls with the Daemongore advances up a flank, and it is far more aggressive, so the Daemongore is generally in range of a target from turn 1.

I do not know if I am going to see a lot of horde units as SoCal as Orks tend to run Buggies, Tyranids run Dimachaerons, and Guard isn’t too popular right now. I think looking at the meta and looking at how I generally play the list, the Ichor Cannons with one Daemongore are a better choice. I still have to play a few games though to test that.

The other refinement point is the Warp Talons. The basic idea is that they hit decently hard, have an 8″ charge out of reserve with no Overwatch when they drop with the Red Butcher Lord, and the Red Butcher Lord on his own is a pretty sizable threat with a total of 13 attacks between 2 activations that are S7-11 AP-5 D2, assuming I don’t roll a 1. The issue is that Warp Talons are 163 points for 29 attacks at S4 AP-2 D1 rerolling wounds. With World Eater strats, I can get +1 to wound, +1 AP, and even better Death to the False Emperor, so they can punch above their weight. The issue is that they only have 7 wounds, so they die very quickly.

On the other hand, I could take 5 Red Butcher Terminators with Double Lightning Claws and an Icon of Wrath for free reroll charges, and these bad boys put out 47 attacks in two activations at S5 AP-2 D1, rerolling wounds, and they can get all the same strats that the Warp Talons do. On top of that, they also have 10 wounds at a 2+/5++, and with the points left over, I can get even throw in a Spawn for more objective camping. On the downside, I lose the Red Butcher Lord, putting his offense into the unit instead, but I also lose a unit that cannot be Overwatched on its drop and cannot Fly. The Red Butchers, on paper, are just superior in offense and defense, but tactically, they are much less flexible and have less tricks.

I am going to try the Red Butchers, but I think it will really come down to matchups. There are certainly units that will do way too much damage in Overwatch, but then, will I see them? The pure offensive power of the Red Butchers is good in almost any matchup. The other small point here is that I can try to take 6 of them, but that would mean bumping down all 3 Lord of Skulls to Ichor Cannons, which could be doable, but I do lose out on the autohitting Damage 3 Daemongore cannon. I really have to test and see how noticeable that is.

Well, that’s the point of experimenting and practicing. The general archetype of the list remains the same, so really, it will come down to what feels the most effective and what is most likely best against a variety of opponents. At an event as large as SoCal Open, you never know what you are going to get, and while I could try to scope what the Top Players are going to bring, let’s be real: I am going there to play games, eat food, drink my drinks, and have fun.

Thanks as always for reading, and if you have any thoughts or possible areas for refinement, I’d love to hear it. Play games and be nice to each other, and hey, if you can, find a way over to SoCal 2021. It’s always a blast.

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



About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.
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