This past weekend Games Workshop held the third and final of their US Opens of this ITC Season in Austin Texas and it was a great time. You can check out armies from the event on the Warhammer Community page. The weekend saw great coverage on Twitch as well with multiple cool games streamed live. This was also the first large event using the full Balance Dataslate and it had a huge impact on the meta, from army composition to what factions were in the running. Chaos Knights, and Imperial Knights, had a great boost from the Balance Dataslate and performed well over the weekend in Austin. Tyranids were a relevant faction competitively for the first time since very early 9th when triple Dymacherons were a thing for about 2 weeks! Some factions have lost a bit of their competitive edge, Adepta Sororitas for example, and Cult Mechanicus to a certain extent. The biggest story is probably the adjustment Drukhari players made to their lists and the new dominant list archetype that came about as a result. Here are the top 10 from Austin:
The top 10 is definitely not as diverse in terms of factions as many people probably hoped for after the Balance Dataslate. The dominance of Drukhari continues to present an issue but the presence of both Tyranids and Imperial Knights, two formerly floundering factions, is encouraging. It will be interesting to see if the Drukhari lists that were so good at the US Open event can repeat that success later in the season after people have seen the list and adjusted for it and on different terrain. The Games Workshop event terrain layouts are very specific and because the team at the events do a good job constantly adjusting the terrain to have it be more or less the same from table to table, round to round, it’s a factor a player can plan for and write their lists to take advantage of. That’s not true of any other events in the United States, or the world, as far as I know, so it could potentially create an outlier in the meta in terms of list builds that perform well. Let’s take a look at Richard Siegler’s winning list.
- Drukhari Patrol, Custom Coven (Artists of the Flesh)
- 16 Wracks
- 2×4 Wracks
- 2×4 Grotesques
- 2×2 Talos
- Drukhari Patrol, Custom Coven (Dark Technomancers)
- 1×4 Wracks
- 2×3 Cronos
- Drukhari Patrol, Kabal of the Black Heart
- Court of the Archon with Sslyth and Ur-Ghul
- 1×4 Wracks
- 1×4 Mandrakes
This is quite the departure from what was previously seen as a dominating Drukhari list. The Raider rush lists of just a few months ago don’t seem to have what it takes post Balance Dataslate and the adjustment toward Wracks, Talos, and Cronos seems to be an effective choice. Another big change was to Tyranid rules making Hive Guard in large numbers quite scary. Hive Guard was a scary Tyranid unit before but now they’re even more so and facing down 12-18 of them on tables where they can be hidden out of Line of Sight easily, but still fire freely, which makes them a real challenge to deal with. In several of Mani Cheema and John Lennon’s games, the Hive Guard went entirely, or almost entirely, untouched by their opponents because getting an angle on them through the chaff of the lists and the ample Line of Sight blocking terrain proved very difficult. Easy to hide units that don’t need LoS to fire are very good on a table with a lot of Line of Sight blocking terrain you can deploy directly into.
- Leviathan Battalion
- Tyranid Prime
- 2x Genestealers
- 2x Termagants
- 5 Hive Guard
- Kronos Patrol
- 2×3 Tyranid Warriors
- 2×6 Hive Guard
- Genestealer Patrol “Cult of the Four Armed Emperor”
The other big news that came out of the Games Workshop US Open series was the announcement of the Invitational Finals for both 40k and Age of Sigmar! The format sounds very interesting and if rumors are true the players will be using the new GT Missions that are set to release in 2022! That means in just under two weeks we will get to see what changes are being made to the Grand Tournament Missions for 2022. It has been rumored the changes are more significant than the last round of changes, which was more of an update to the previous missions than any real change overall. We are very close to finding out if those rumors are true or not! So if you like to stay up on the meta and how things will be changing in the competitive, or match play, world of Warhammer 40k then pay attention to the Dallas Invitational because it’s going to give us a great sneak peek at what is coming down the pipe from GW.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!