Rhu Goes to the Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament

Here at Warhammer Community, we don’t just write about Warhammer – we play a lot of it too. We decided that the Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament was our chance to claim glory on a grand stage for the team, and we sent writer Rhu to do it. [Editor’s Note – He insists that he’s bound to win something eventually.]

Rhuairidh: I’ve been toying with a morale-manipulating Night Lords army since the beginning of this edition, and the Grand Tournament will be the perfect opportunity to do it. You’d be amazed how much faster one’s painting becomes when there is a tournament on the horizon where unpainted models aren’t just a minor embarrassment but are unusable!

Halloween is fast approaching, and I’ve decided I’m going to win my games the spooky way – knocking down enemy Leadership as much as possible, then letting Morale tests handle the rest!

Relying on morale is risky, but I’ve found in test games that it’s undeniably effective. Morale casualties are brutal; units like Plague Marines can’t rely on their excellent Toughness and saves, Necrons can’t resurrect from them (having presumably phased out after their terror-engrams overloaded), and – provided their character support has been dealt with – horde units are a lot easier to deal with.

The Grand Tournament also offers points for good sportsmanship and army quality, so I’ve decided that for the latter I’d scratch build or convert most of the army, and for the former, I’d practise saying “No, really, go back and do your Psychic phase. I forget it all the time too…” in the mirror.

The core of my list is five units of Raptors. The small unit size of these guys plus a fairly high points cost makes them a risky unit to use, but bringing them in with Raptor Strike and burying them in close combat helps mitigate this. I’m expecting to see a lot of armoured lists at the tournaments with the new Leman Russ rules, but these vehicles tend to really suffer if you repeatedly engage them in close combat. Meanwhile, thanks to Fly, the Raptors can slide out of combat while still firing on the enemy with their plasma pistols – each of my units has 4 of these, designed to pick wounds off key enemy units to trigger Morale tests. Combining the Night Lords Legion Trait with the Raptors’ Fearsome Visage and an Icon of Despair, I should be knocking enemy Leadership down by 5 whole points!

Leading my army is a Chaos Lord, for the re-rolls of 1s to hit on overcharging plasma pistols, as well as blending any particularly stubborn units in combat. A Chaos Sorcerer provides some much-needed support from the Dark Hereticus discipline, using Diabolic Strength to further empower my Chaos Lord (or my Leviathan) or Warptime to help move units around the table.

I’ve also taken Be’lakor for some further morale manipulation and impressive bite in close combat – thanks to the Fly keyword, this guy can even charge enemy air support! Be’Lakor also allows me to take another couple of powers from Dark Hereticus. In this case, I’ve opted for Death Hex to rob large units of their invulnerable saves and Infernal Gaze for an easy source of mortal wounds that can be used to snipe at key characters.

To cope with heavy armour, I’ve taken a Leviathan Dreadnought. These guys are simple but effective – they hit hard, they’re incredibly durable and they excel in a variety of battlefield roles.

My backfield is primarily being covered by a Deredeo Dreadnought with a butcher cannon array and a unit of Havocs with missile launchers. Both these weapons are pretty versatile, with the butcher cannon array being an effective deterrent against flyers, tanks and swarms of infantry alike.

I’ve rounded out the list with three units of Renegade Marauders with sniper rifles. These units fill a dual role: I can position them during deployment to prevent enemies landing too close to my precious Deredeo, while their sniper rifles can strip key enemy characters (like Commissars) out of larger units, making them vulnerable to my Leadership-reducing shenanigans. Renegade Marauders are also a really fun potential hobby project. I decided to make mine out of Cadian Command Squad parts, combined with some spare autoguns from the Genestealer Neophyte Hybrids kit and heads from Skitarii Rangers for a scrappy, mercenary feel.

I also took a Chaos Spawn. For only 33 points, Chaos Spawn are a great disruption unit. They’re durable, they move fast, and, with some lucky rolls, are pretty dangerous in close combat too!

Altogether, this can be arranged into a Vanguard Detachment, a Spearhead Detachment and an Outrider Detachment, giving me 6 Command Points to play with – enough for a couple of key Stratagems or a particularly essential re-roll.

In terms of strategy, my aim is to try to get the Raptors and my Chaos Lord into combat as soon as possible. With Be’lakor nearby, enemy units will be taking effectively -6 to their Leadership, enough that just a single casualty could be potentially devastating for even more resilient armies. I intend to use Death Hex and my Leviathan Dreadnought to tackle bigger targets while stripping out enemy characters with psychic powers and sniper fire. It’s risky, and I’m more than a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to putting my theory-crafting to the test against some of the best Warhammer 40,000 players in the world!

If you’re attending, I’m looking forward to seeing you there (come up and say hi!). If you can’t, worry not – we’ll be streaming all the action from the top table on Warhammer Live – with any luck, I may even appear.

Thanks, Rhuairidh! Want to share your Grand Tournament list? Got some tips or tweaks for our intrepid writer? Let us know on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page!

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