Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The North East Rides to the Masters

Long term readers will know that I am a fan of what I like to call Universal Truths (new readers should take my word on it).

Warhammer has several of these truths. With any knowledge of the game, you come to realise some things:

  • It is known that the Old Ones descended upon the Old World and gave Poland the ETC gene.

  • It is known that Lizardmen will kill Abaddon’s ass when they transition to 40k (the double flee will melt his brains).

  • It is known that Daemons and Dark Elves are broken.

  • It is known that no comp pack will ever achieve universal acclaim, and, furthermore, none of them will ever make them perfect.

  • It is known that the only people that think pushing Malekith around ftw is tactical are the people pushing Malekith around ftw.

Because it is the Greatest Nation on Earth ™, America does most things everything better.  

As most will know, the US Masters (surprised they are not calling it the World Masters…) are upon us.

The build up, as in any red-blooded American event, has been exceptional yet again – Check out the videos on OnceBitten360 youtube channel

(I would skip the second one personally, that guest is a muppet…)

Being from the US (USA! USA! USA!), it is of course, bigger, louder and meaner than any other in the world.

The ‘trash talk’ (or slanderous hate-sodden drivel, if you have a delicate disposition) and the various #Gates on the site and across the Twittersphere have been truly epic.

Of all the Universal Truths to have come out of the USA over the past few years, one stands out as being far more, well, universally true than the others.

The North East is where it is *AT*.

The rest of the country, bless them, get confused easily.

[shush at the back there, no one wants to hear that the defending US Master is not from the North East! Trying to ruin my flow dammit].

The stats are impressive – most of their ETC team historically comes from there (which means whatever you want it to mean, but what you hear is that they are all top players), they dominated the top 10 at last year’s masters and, I am pretty sure, they are the undeniable gods of internet trash talking and trolling (I hope its trolling, otherwise they appear to get very very worked up about things).

I was thinking about doing an overall review of the lists and/or matchups for this great event. As mentioned, however, OnceBittern360 have done a fantastic job, so go check that out.

Instead, I thought I would look at what the self-proclaimed “Best of the Best”, these Jedi Masters (or is it Sith?) of Warhammer, were bringing to the party. What have they come up with under Swedish comp to decimate the mere mortals they are cursed with sharing a nationality with (I’m sure they like the Canadians, everyone likes the Canadians)?

Only found in the North East. Fact.

So, with no further ado, let’s have a quick look at the lists coming out of the North East:

[point of note, under masters comp pack hills block Line of Sight, and there are some scenarios/missions in play. The event is 2500 points, comp scores between 8 and 14 (I think)]


You see, this is why I like Swedish. Sisters of Slaughter! I honestly have no idea what they do, but it’s cool to see them! They are pushing a Cauldron no less, so have some added cool points Alex.

Other than that though, it’s a standard Dark Elf list (which is to say, filth). It’s a real show of the book’s power.

A brilliant list for a 13.6


Yay, Orcs and Goblins! Everyone likes to see those boys. Black Orc on Wyvern and Arachnarok aside, a pretty ‘normal’ army, and a real threat to lower comp armies with its 13.2. For some reason this sort of list never seems to do that well over here. I like it, take a bow.


Yay, Orcs and Goblins! Two of them! This one far more normal, and far meaner. MASSIVE Savage orc unit (no bigguns for comp one assumes), two big units of Trolls. Bosh. Done. This will ruin some people. Mork’s War Banner is a nice to see – it *can* be awesome.


Sigh… I hate Empire. That said, its solidly solid, and the concessions he had to make for the comp aren’t *really* concessions (not in any real sense). Magical and gunpowder ranged threat, two large and surprisingly good Halberd blocks, big unit of demis and some stubborn Knights, because why not? Literally ticks all the boxes. At 11.5 comp he is likely to start some games around 200 points down, but not an insurmountable problem for such as safe list.

Keith B:

OK. At what point does seeing Orc and Goblin lists stop being fun, and become tedious? Rather similar to the last one we saw, this list has no s**ts left to give, and will ruin hobbies. 12 comp is the perfect spot, and brings the nice combination of ranged threat and units no one wants to fight, and very capable of pushing, as well as pretending to be dwarfs. Nice to see Mork’s Banner popping up again too.

Keith C:

Speaking of Dwarfs… I’m no expert on the new book, but this seems very solid. Two big blocks few things want to (or can) fight, couple of Gyrocopters to chaff things up/scald them. 3 solid artillery platforms to bring the pain, a BS4 Organ gun for close protection. And, of course, two destroy scrolls. Literally nothing not to love. Despite the power, Dwarfs don’t normally do all that well in the UK, but be interesting to see how the colonial types do.


The king of trolls has the perfect list. And I don’t say that because we have spent the better part of six months debating almost every nuance of it. Lizardmen are great under Swedish comp – you effectively have to make no concessions at all (if you are not spamming certain things). Lore of Life for Dwellers fun (and to make the likes of Temple Guard world beaters)? Check. Support magic? Check. Old Blood to ruin things threatening the Temple Guard? Check. Couple of 1+ save, strength 7 Scar Vets? Check. Nuisance Chief? Check. Core allowance bringing over 90 shots for minimal comp investment? Check. Temple Guard to allow to you dictate the matchup? Check.

It is, quite simply, brilliant. At a 13.4 comp I expect Larry to do *very* well this weekend.


They say Dwarfs are a no nonsense race, so they would be proud of this list. All the anti magic it will need, no wasted points in Lords. Shooting core (because it may as well). Hard as nails combat block, because that too is sensible, and plenty of additional shooting for the lols. I also personally love Irondrakes. Now, with the Line of Sight system it is easy to say “hide! Why on earth would you engage that?”. Here his brilliant comp of 13.2 comes to play.


I may have mentioned that Empire bore me. Generals of the Empire on Griffons, however, get me all warm and fuzzy. Add some light magic hidden in 1+ save walls and some cannons and it is very hard to argue with the overall effect of the game. Engineers + Hellblasters also understandably scare the hell out of some people (sure, you can play around it/minimise their effectiveness, but that presupposes you have the tools to do so and that those tools could not be better used doing something else). I like how this list is well set up to make the best use of the Light magic combat buffs too. Comp 12.2 should mean never having to chase too much uphill.


Well, not much army variety in this cold corner of the United States is there? You don’t have to take a lot of different armies to do cool things with them though. The last Dark Elf army had Sisters of Slaughter. Rob is doing his bit for the rule of cool with a Black Dragon. Not enough for you? Fine, have two (yes, TWO) Manticores! Ultra fast and mobile army, it should able to engineer the decisive combats it needs. Rob is also going balls out with his 10.6 comp score, so he has to back himself to crush people with his monster airforce. And who doesn’t want to see that?!

And there we have it. The lists from the top ten players form the top region of the top country in the universe.

Be interesting to see how they do! (I’m personally tipping Larry for the title here, but we shall see).

There are some non-North East lists that are very good, and, it probably goes without saying, some great players who don't come from this corner of snow-clad brilliance, you should really check out the youtube shows for that though!

Interesting that 7 of the ten armies are Empire, O&G and Dwarfs. The power is clear, does make me think about the difference meta makes. And no Daemons.

This boggles the mind.

In comparison, the make-up of the top placements in the last big Swedish event in the UK (a couple of months back now) tells a different story:

[worth noting the comp has change since then, and we played 2400pts]

1              Daemons of Chaos

2              Daemons of Chaos

3              Vampire Counts

4              Daemons of Chaos

5              Warriors of Chaos

6              Warriors of Chaos

7              Daemons of Chaos

8              Vampire Counts

9              Dwarfs

10           Lizardmen

11           Empire

12           Empire

13           Ogre Kingdoms

14           Ogre Kingdoms

15           Warriors of Chaos

16           Dark Elves

17           Lizardmen

18           Wood Elves

19           Daemons of Chaos

20           Lizardmen

So, the wait is almost over – who will triumph and officially be crowned best player in the world?!

Until next time!