The Eve of Warzone Houston

Competition, July 06, 2018

On the eve of Warzone Houston, I’ve taken some time to get my thoughts out on what I’ve changed since Dallas and how things look going into the weekend.

Looking Back to Dallas

If you read my Dallas Open debrief, you’ll know that I had a pretty solid result about a month ago at the 71-entry Dallas Open. The key to my list was a host of some of the best stuff in the Thousand Sons’ arsenal. Magnus, Tzaagnors, Enlightened, and 3 Daemon Princes. I ended up finishing 16th and you’ll find plenty of details about how those matches went in my write up.

We Learn Through Failure

The drive from Dallas to Houston is about 4 hours so, it gave me plenty of time to decompose my losses while they were fresh in my head. Both losses I suffered came against two armies that placed top five. With regard to those losses there were questions I was asking about what separated those armies from mine. It came down to one factor: my army relied on going first and their armies had the ability to go first or second.

This meant I had to rely on being able to go first five games in a row. Even in games where I didn’t go first, I then had to hope I matched up with an army that needed to come to me - like Blood Angels. My game with Matthew’s Dark Eldar was extremely telling - by the end of his first turn, Magnus and my Enlightened were gone.

I had to face some tough questions about the composition of my army, facing the facts that good armies will be able to eliminate Magnus or hard-hitting units like my Enlightened turn one. So, if I knew they would be the prime target and could be taken out right away, why did I have them in my army? You kill them both and you pretty much have me beat.

It meant I had to make some tough choices.

What Have You Done For Me Lately

The hard realization was that Magnus and the Enlightened, as awesome as they were on paper, had to go. They were a liability because they can be targeted and removed turn one and were a core to my strategy to win.

The second things to go were the Cultists. Now, I know they are good in big blobs with The Don, firing twice, regenerating on the board. But as a screening unit, they were marginal. The best thing hey had going for them is they were cheap.

Tzaangors on the other hand, get the thumbs up. But how I use them is changing. At Dallas, I ran one big blob of 19x, which is a great strategy. What I realized however, is when you use them against the right targets, you don’t need that many. I could take two smaller 10-man units and get way more tactical use out of them. These guys work great when you save them for turn 2-3 and go after enemy characters in the back field or chaff units sitting on objectives. For just about the same points, I can go after two different targets rather than one and morale becomes much less an issue in the smaller groups.

Lastly, the Daemon Princes are great, especially the Tsons Princes. And, you need at least one of them in order to get access to the Tzeentch spell tree (without command points).

The New Army Takes Shape

What I realized I needed to focus on were three main themes:

  1. Going first or second and having the same outcome
  2. Smite
  3. Make better use of Stratagems available

So, right away it became apparent that I needed lots of bodies and have them be as durable as possible. Going through the options, you’re looking at a few different choices:

I’ve already covered why Cultists or Tzaangors wouldn’t be the right choice here. So, it came down to Horrors or Plaguebearers. Both go about their saves in different ways but one has a much better survivability when it comes to taking damage - Plaguebearers. With their 5++ and 5+++, you had a really tough task cutting through models, especially if we’re talking about 90 of them. What puts them over the top is they are so much better when it comes to synergies with their characters - Poxbringer, Bilepiper, and Scrivener.

The List

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Daemons) [47 PL, 889pts]

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [60 PL, 1110pts]

Breaking It Down

With the formula set, the core of the army is composed of roughly 90 Plaguebearers being buffed/boosted by a Poxbringer with Miasma, Scrivener, and Bilepiper. Here’s how these guys break down:

These guys serve as a walking shield to my core of smite-spamming characters:

What I’m left with are some points to fill out the Tsons Battalion, which I take a Rubric squad for another smite and tactical use, a Rhino to give them a little protection, and 2x 10-man Tzaangor Squads for deep striking.

In my practice runs this past weekend, I faced Dark Eldar, Knights, and Blood Angels. In 2/3 games, the army worked exactly as it’s designed, putting so many bodies in the enemies way that my smites and psychic powers could do their job. In my 3rd game, against Dark Eldar, the match went a full 6 turns and I was able to controll the board and objectives, scoring 4 points/turn while his Dark Reapers double-tapped my Plagueberers - which by the end, they were all dead but the damage had been done.

That last match gave me the confirmation that I needed, this army could hang around more than a few turns and give me a chance to let my Psykers do their jobs and smite the fuck out of the enemy.

Looking Ahead to Houston

I write this on the evening before Warzone Houston. From what I’m hearing, I expect to see a lot of Knight armies and a lot of Knights splashed into Imperium lists. I feel pretty confident that the sheer number of bodies I have can go toe-toe with those lists.

What worries me is that I’ve also been hearing about more players digging up their Orks and bringing “Green Tide” lists, especially after saw how well they did in Dallas (hint: they nearly won).

As with any tournament, my expectations are tempered. I feel like I’ve done my best to give myself a chance but you never know how things are going to shake out until you start throwing some dice. What I do know is it should be a great time and I’m excited to throw this unholy alliance into some followers of the corpse emperor.