Tournament Report: Warhammer World Killteam Matched Play June 2022

 


Alot has happened since my last Kill Team event. The most notable being the arrival of our first child so I find myself with even less free time for actual gaming than I had before. Admittedly I've not been able to play all that much Kill Team since my last outing to Nottingham in September 2021 (I think it's probably 2-3 games total) and there have been many (many) releases between now and the compendium and just the two Kommando and Veteran Guard bespoke lists.

I wanted to take my Necrons from last time to this event but given just how far they have been outpaced I decided to take something new. Originally I was looking at regular compendium Sisters of Battle as I think that they are one of the sleeper hits of that book (with 2 meltaguns, a combi-plasma, suspensored heavy bolter and a number of grenades) but after a good amount of persuasion, I decided on taking Novitae instead as they are 'apparently' better then meltaguns and grenades (come on, who doesn't like meltaguns and grenades?).I did play a couple of test games on the day before vs Harlequins and Kommandos and was happy that I had the Novitiates with me; The power level is way too high nowadays and the Necron movement issue is crippling along with no way to get extra APL for mission actions; Essentially you can't get to objectives fast enough to do anything.

Incidentally the hobby side of how I converted and painted my sisters can be found in my Tale of Four Gamers series of articles HERE.

Let's take a look at the day in some more detail.

Event Essentials



The format of the event was fairly standard; 3 games in a 1 day event (less then last year due to this event falling on a Sunday and Warhammer World closing earlier). Players were required to bring a matched play roster so they had some flexibility during the day and could bring the best options depending on which opponents they were facing and the mission requirements.


The scoring system followed the precedent set in the last events, using a Victories -> Tac Ops -> Overall VPs priority. It encourages players to actually try and score as many secondaries as possible over just overlooking them and focusing on primaries (appropriate given that they are one third of your total VPs for a game). Given the higher level of lethality in the game since I last played this makes sense as it's very easy to build a team to wipe out your opponent and then pick up minimal primaries to win the game over actually having to play the game properly.


Missions and Terrain


This is where I feel like Games Workshop has set the standard for Killteam Events. To be played at it's best, Killteam requires a certain level of terrain and even that has to be of a specific type. Otherwise some killteams are disadvantaged due to open fire-lanes with no cover/obscuring pieces and similarly others are at a massive advantage; too much terrain favors close combat teams, and too little favors ranged. To solve this issue, Games Workshop set up standard terrain for every board in the event.


There seemed to be three types of board layouts depending on which terrain was used (Octarius, Vertigus or Nachmund) and they also provided a breakdown of each terrain piece along with it's specific rules (cover and traversable/heavy/scramble/etc.). Each layout had a good amount of both heavy and light traversable terrain (with the exception of Nachmund as it's all heavy) with no easy firelanes and no vantage points in the deployment zones which meant that operatives at least had to move to where they wanted to be.

The boards themselves were asymmetrical so for me it felt like there was a real choice to be had when choosing to attack or defend (As defender chooses the killzone), and during the day I was never unhappy with having to play as the defender and go second.

The Games



My Synthwave Sister's Pronatus and Duellist. Check them out in my Tale of Four Gamers series of articles HERE

Every game I brought the Sister Superior with power weapon and plasma pistol, the Penitent, a pair of Purgatus, the Pronatus, Exactor, Preceptor, Dialogus, Duellist and Condemnor (or as I like to call them; leader, flamer, cup, whips, mace, stick, duellist and sniper; seriously Games Workshop, these names you come up with are overly complicated sometimes). For Tac-Ops I always go for Security if it's available as it's simply the most consistent deck in trying to maximise secondaries and going for Plant Banner, Central Control, Seize Ground and Hold the Line with the Novitiate Tac-Ops two and three (Reconsecrate Ground and Glory to the Martyrs). Novitiates want to be fighting in and around objectives to be able to maximise damage from the Defenders of the Faith Strategic Ploy so looking for Central Control and Seize Ground, when there are usually objectives in the center of the battlefield and near terrain specifically is a good idea and combined with Reconsecrate or Glory, you can reliably score multiple secondary objectives whilst pushing for your primaries by playing the game normally. My item load-out in every game was Icon of Faith on the sniper and duelist, auto chastisers on the leader and flamers and one krak grenade; this allows both the sniper and duelist gets a free act of faith once per game to auto crit with if they hit and re-roll 1s on the plasma pistol and flamers which gives them super consistency.

I didn't keep a detailed account of my games as I played them (because I prefer actually playing instead of book-keeping) but here are some hot takes;

Game 1: Novitiates vs WyrmBlade (Awaken the Data Spirits)


We both made liberal use of the smokestacks in this game. You can see the my token near the crane for Sieze Ground so I focussed the game between its nearest objective and smokestack.

My first opponent of the day had Wyrmblade; I hadn't played against this killteam before but I did know that they had a number of deployment and activation token tricks and also that I had to kill the specialists quickly to avoid being overrun by them. My opponent took the Sniper and Locus as their specialists along with a Heavy Stubber and Seismic Cannons for his heavies and a pair of infiltrating guys with grenades.

We were playing with Killzone: Nachmund so the smoke stacks did a good job of hiding my advance up the table. I drew into both Reconsecrate Ground and and Seize ground as my Tactical Objectives so I was able to focus my game around one of the three central objectives (which incidentally was also in range of a smoke stack which forced my opponent to come towards my Flamers. I split my force into roughly two groups, one going for the uppermost objective and the other moving along the bottom edge of the board taking advantage of the light cover to get to the lower objectives. My sniper managed to climb up to a vantage point on turn 1 and filled a Seismic Cannon with holy stakes before it could even activate and I managed some impressive double charges with the Penitent and managed 5 kills from one flamer over 2 turns using Defenders of the Faith. His Sniper essentially tried to kill one sister a turn which was largely mitigated using Faith Points but I had to feed people to his Locus to delay long enough for me to deal with it through shooting.


By the end of the game there was only his Sniper left and I picked up both points from Seize Ground, Reconsecrate Ground and Hold the Line netting me 4 points on the last turn and winning the game at 15 to 14.

Game 2: Novitiates vs Hive Fleet (Sieze Ground)

The terrain from my perspective. There are doors in the central building and under the building to our left.

It looks like I annoyed the Hive Mind after my win in Game 1 so they sent Genestealers and Warriors after the sisters next to try and deal with them in Killzone: Chalnath. I have never played on Chalnath before but the gimmick is that everything is heavy cover which essentially means that I would never get to shoot at anything unless it was out in the open. Of course this applied to my opponent aswell with his Warriors so despite having to deploy in a mostly boxed-in area I tried to deploy my barricades out of the way of objectives to make sure that I could get a clear line of sight.

We were playing Seize Ground so we could capture objectives and then leave but I need to fight around them to be successful so I tended to capture mine and stick to them trying to have the Tyranids come to me instead. There are only so many people Genestealers can kill in one turn and I outnumbered my opponents killteam so I could offer sacrificial sisters to get them out in the open and burn with righteous fire. I think my favorite play of the game was running my Duelist into a warrior, netting 2 crits and parrying with her ability to do a chunk of damage before I went down. The Duelist has actually really grown on me during the event so I look forward to using her more often. The game was very close right until the last turn where I managed to do enough damage leaving just the one Warrior left and I managed to net 3 victory points from having enough sisters to capture my opponent's objectives as well as the Central Control and Seize ground secondaries.


Personally I don't think that Chalnath is all that well thought out as a terrain set; especially compared to Ocrarius. As I mentioned before, killteam requires that you have quite specific terrain and just having everything as heavy cover essentially means that combat teams are largely impossible to hit via shooting even with vantage points (which only removes the bonus for light cover) and the big, long walls of the terrain make getting around very difficult unless you have extra moves or fly.

Game 3: Novitiates vs Void Dance Troupe (Duel of Wits)



Time for the dreaded Void Dancer matchup! I had only played against these once the day before the event (and played Duel of Wits also) and got thoroughly beaten. It turns out that a team that is all but immune to shooting vs a team that is also all but immune to shooting thanks to Domino Field but also has weapons that can insta-kill a seven wound character in combat and the mobility to get there is a pretty hard matchup. We were playing on Killzone: Vertigus so at least I had played on that particular terrain set before. My Tac-Ops were Hold the Line, Seize Ground and Glory to the Martyrs; I would have preferred Reconsecrate Ground instead of Hold the Line but I drew it at the same time as Martyrs and having my guys die on objectives seemed the more likely scenario.

My opponent took the Shadowseer and the Death Jester as his specialists along with the grip for the Jester, 4 Harlequin Kisses, Grenades and a Wraithbone Amulet. We both played very cagey for the first couple of rounds with me gaining a good lead in primary VPs and stopping my sisters from getting hit by the Death Jester through liberal use of Blinding Aura but once they were in position the tables turned very quickly in turn three as the charges with the insta-killing kisses hit home and by the beginning of turn four I was only two VPs ahead, though a good amount of harlequins had already been killed through flamer fire which had to get within two inches to see through the Domino Fields.

The last turn saw little action as most of the remaining Harlequins were out of charge range so they consolidated onto objectives and Blinding Aura protected me from the Death Jester's shooting. My Dialogus could have been the hero I needed if her shooting could have killed a Harlequin on the objective next to her to perform a mission action by holding the point but she failed and retreated back to secure my second VP from seize ground.

That draw made quite a few people happy at the end of the day.

Ultimately if one of my two Krak Grenades had killed instead of wounded due to invulnerable saves then I would have been able to score the final VP I needed to win the game (and the whole event). Alas it was not to be and we ended on a hard-fought draw. I think MVP goes to Blinding Aura as it totally shut down the Jester's shooting. Otherwise it would have easily killed a sister a turn which would have resulted in a solid game loss.

Final Placement and Thoughts




Overall with my 2 wins and a draw and a healthy 16 VPs earned through secondaries I did well enough to come 6th out of the 50 participants. I feel like killteam is in ways, a very different game from the event that I played last November; The top few teams have become more lethal, more complicated to use and most strikingly, more prone to breaking the core mechanics of the game which overall I think is less healthy (especially considering that there are some 20'ish compendium factions which are yet to receive an update). There was certainly more variety in the top players of a mostly compendium only format so I think that Games Workshop really have to work hard to push out those compendium team updates.

On the point of Novitiates, I think it says something that if someone can effectively not play the game for 8 months and then pick up a killteam, play 2 games and then go 2/0/1 at an event then its probably too strong in some areas (though with a bit more practice I think I could have won that last game). I'm inclined to think that they actually generate one too many fate points per turn; 3 basic plus 3 from the chalice (which is very easy to use given that she mostly sits on the backmost objective every game in concealed) allows 3 Blinding Aura or 2 hit to a crits or 6 additional re-rolls per turn in addition to your standard allotment of CP. The chalice should probably be 1+1 if near an objective so you max out at 5 faith points per turn which actually requires you to think about what you are doing and limits your shooting defence to just two operatives instead of three. The actual skill in the team is actually figuring out what combination of faith dice and CP to use for any given action to get the results you want but that comes with time.

I also think that after the two games I've had against them and feedback from other players, Void Dancer Troupe are too good also. With their near-immunity to shooting, extreme mobility, 3 APL a piece, very effective shooting of their own, and the ability to insta-kill most models in combat they are too efficient in nearly all parts of the game to be able to carry on as they are. They probably need a hit in the APL department; maybe dropping to 2 but staying at 3 for the characters or else giving them 2APL but a free dash like the other Eldar teams and they most definitely don't need fly as it enables them to effectively ignore all terrain whilst 99% of all other teams have their movement severely hampered. Perhaps changing their fly to climbing hooks to represent the flip belts might be better though it's unlikely Games Workshop will take this route.

A quick note about security as a Tac-Op deck; I think that something has to be done here; It seems like you always take security if you have access to it and it's probably the easiest deck to achieve whilst just playing the game; I don't know if the others want to be a little easier or if security wants to get a bit harder but there is something to be said if the majority of players go for one deck if they have access to it.

Overall it was a fun event and I look forward to participating in more in the future as time allows. Here are the final standings for everybody's reference:

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