Monday, 25 November 2013

Australian WFB Masters Lists

The gloves are coming off, only one can win

A lot has been spouted about the lists for the soon-to-be-upon-us Australian Masters tournament.
This is understandable.

This is a country that, between rage quits and trying everything in its naturally provided arsenal to kill every living human within its shores, has always played the game… well… differently to the Old Country. Now, I could make a witty comment about how this ties with how their ancestors clearly had different ways of interpreting legal conventions of the time and thus this is hardly surprising – but that would be cheap and easy. So I won’t.

Back in the “good old days” of Podhammer we would listen in rapture as bizarre lists swept the field, such reports always delivered in the cheerful arrogance that the British always wish they had and sometimes try and copy (though this normally ends in drunken brawls outside the local watering hole after one too many Jaegers). Since those heady days there has been a certain mystery to the goings on over there, partially due to its isolated nature, the perception that everyone stopped playing the game a couple of years ago and the whole upside down thing.

Thankfully Podhammer has been succeeded by two significantly better podcasts and we once again get to listen to the goings on of this far flung corner of the Warhammer empire. And good listening it is too (if I am being too nice about these dear colonials it’s mainly because their cricketers are mean and scary). Bringing their own brand of wacky goodness (shaped, no doubt, by being raised in the cradle of prehistoric comp concepts) they were deservedly the People’s Champions 2013 at the ETC.

So, what have their best of the best brought to this end of year showdown? What would their take be on the Swedish comp system?

I thought I should have a whirlwind look at the lists that were posted… if for no other reason than everyone else has. I may even try and do some predictions, but given that they swap armies around for a third of their event, in what I believe they call the “Sealed Section” (a brilliant idea that I am sure can be attributed to either sunstroke or the whole upside down thing) - something that needs to be born in mind (I believe last year the winner even lost two games with “his” army) - this makes an impossible task even harder.

A caveat (I do like a nice little caveat) is that this is, by necessity, purely based on lists, not having had the pleasure to meet any of these soundrels warrior poets.

This passes for cuddly in Australia

So, lets get this dance on the road

Well, this is, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the pinnacle of Swedish comp. And yes, I do feel bad and dirty (all at once) for saying anything nice about a Dwarf list.
Being the sick thing that it is, it on first glance struck me as a cool list.
It’s not.
6 warmachines and countless (maths has never been a strong suit of mine) road blocks is soul-destroying, warn-the-children, lock-up-your-kittens king of kind of evil.
It poses the classic Dwarf gunline conundrum that is ever so profitable for this stout, bearded, grumbling, and (let’s face it) fat race. It has effectively nothing that can fight. So you should be able to take it all off if you could just get to it… Which is of course exactly what they want, damn them all. (On a side note, I think Bulgarian ETC Captain Hristo’s Dwarf list for the upcoming Bjorn event is actually better, but that does not make this bad).
Will it do well?
There are a couple of ways this event could go for Adam:

  • No one runs at it and he has a bunch of 10-10s, where he picks up some points with artillery and they pick up some with magic (this list is relatively weak on the magic defence).
  • No one runs at it, hides behind the infinitely high hills and magics him from there. With only one artillery piece capable of indirect fire and minimal magical defence Adam loses a bunch of games 8-12.
  • People run at it, the warmachines do their thing and he wins a bunch of games 15+
  • People run at it, the warmachines fail to do their thing and he gets destroyed
  • Someone pulls off an epic uber spell and takes him off.

Overall, endless amount of fun is no doubt awaiting him.
Unfortunately for him, I do not think this list is hard to use. This means that the competition probably won’t do notably worse when using it.
That being said, I expect some people to think they can rush it and fail. Top 8 for Adam I think.

Starting off almost 400 points down in some games is not good.
Starting off almost 400 points down in some games when your only ranged threat is one flaming cannon is definitely not good.
Starting off almost 400 points down in some games when you have 600vps tied into one model is, well, worrying.

That being said… this is a cool list. The ever reliable “pin and smash” tactic is great. Nurgle units don’t go anywhere (and Swedish comp normally means less Death magic than normal). Bloodthirsters kill things. It’s a nice combo. An honest, simple combo. A combo you could introduce to your parents. A combo that is (relatively speaking) unlikely to leave you for the postman.
Add in hills to hide the Thirster behind when needed and I think this list could really smash stuff apart (and, on a topical note, could even potentially rush the dwarf list if it had to). The relentless advance of a Daemon army is hard to ward off.
Expect a top half finish for this Adam.

Ah… :)
Yup, I am still in love with this list.
Absolutely brilliant list. For the uninitiated this is a slightly different take on their ETC list from the summer. I took it upon myself to run it a bit, and its brilliant. Sure, its finesse tool, and could go very wrong very quickly.
But dammit.
Its cool.
Flying Death lvl 4 with is simply brilliant when playing infinitely high hills, giving you the speed to get to a hill if you don’t start off with one. Cue death snipes and purple suns ahoy! What’s not to like (other than everything of course)
The Dragonmage is both cool and brilliant. With the 2++ against the first two hits the rider it takes, it is also happens to be relatively safe points in a lot of games.
Like the dwarf list before it, it is important to understand that there are serious gunline aspects to this list that a lot of armies will simply have to react with.
A clincher here I think is that a lot of people won’t know how to use this list, so there is a good chance that two of the competition will suffer when the army swap rounds come along.
Was going to say top 5 for Chris, but it gets bumped up on sheer cool value – I’m expecting a top 3.

Orcs and Goblins… after Skaven and Dwarfs always the dullest lists to read.
Somehow Haig has left his artillery at home (I must confess to total ignorance to on what Swedish comp did to O&G) and instead has brought a quasi-MSU list (quasi because he does after all have 6 characters).
He gets props (in the “proper recognition” as opposed to less than handsome rugby forwards) for this approach, something that Mark for the famed Bad Dice Podcast keeps threatening to take, before bringing 20 trolls.
Alas, I don’t think he has enough here. Haig, like Chris, will benefit from others being utterly incapable of making this work.
That being said of course, he could just Foot of Gork the event off the table, and win it the whole thing….
Barring that, and factoring in that this starts at almost 100 points down on some other lists, I think bottom 8 for Haig

This is a brilliant list. Simple really (and yes, this is partially because you can call it the Payne Train).
Factor in that Bretts are (and always have been) very good in 8th edition and this list has the potential to gallop (see what I did there?) all the way home.
This list sort of has everything.
Fantastic combat potential, the ability to tie down solo characters with ease, fast cav to avoid the fights Jamie doesn’t thing he can win, 180 points worth of broken trebs to put pressure on from range (plus any Beast magic goodness he rolls), 3 solid units to counter attack with, MR to keep the points safe against magic barrages.
If this was a singles event I would posit that this list could/should win the whole thing. A lot comes down to how he does in the army swap rounds.
I shall repeat, because I can and no one can stop me, this is a brilliant list.
Top 3 for Jamie.

Those that know me will know what I am going to say.
I bloody love this. Well done Joel
Is it gimmicky? Hells yeah. Is it cool. You bet.
Sure, there is only a 12% chance of each chosen unit getting the double 6 they want… But there is 3 of them. And percentages only go so far in the game. I can tell you the last 3 games I have used Chosen + Shrine I have gotten a prince. Add in Death Magic a (comparatively) MASSIVE unit of Nurgle warriors, and I think this list isn’t getting the respect it deserves. Even if the factory runs out of princes  5 chosen can still pump out a decent amount of damage and are ‘only’ 120pts.
Mark of Nurgle Ironguts are also cool.
Tzeentch Warshrines are a nightmare to kill.
And Death Magic. You can never rule out Death Magic.
The only thing I don’t really “get” is the Palanquin – though maybe there is one attack denial goodness going on here and Daemonic Steed was too many comp points?
Definite top 8 finish here.

Empire were known, historically and pre discovering a Demigriff grazing on the side of the road and deciding to ride it to battle,  “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. And this list falls within that camp.
With the greatest of respects to Max, it is not overly noteworthy. Sure, it has Heavens magic and 3 1+ armour save units, which is universally accepted as a Good Thing. And Heavens Magic, and Engineer and a Hellblaster, accepted by those who have faced it as a Very Good Thing.
After that though (and against what one assumes are good players) I am not completely convinced. It lacks a killer edge. Which is what Empire should be like, but in reality… I am not convinced.
Bottom 8 for Max barring a stellar performance in the Sealed Section.

Well, monsters are cool. Aggression is cool. Dark Elves are not cool, but then we always knew that.
3 Monsters, a combat unit, some chaff and some shades is cool. Somehow my gut tells me it is lacking something, but then again, looking at the other lists there is no reason this could not do well. I think I would prefer it if there were some Warlocks kicking about (well, no, I bloody hate Warlocks, but in pure power terms, they rock). Swedish normally encourages Multiple Medium Units (MMU), and against those Cold One Knights are potentially devastating. Factor in this infinitely high hills they are trying out and you probably have a way of bringing 3 monsters half way across the table.
I didn’t like this list (monsters notwithstanding) the first time I read it, but in the opposite situation to the Dwarf list, the more I read it, the more I like it.
This is an elegant list that if well played could go all the way, and if badly played could still push monsters at people and win.
Lets go with a top 8 finish here (the top 8 is getting crowded!)

Everyone loves a Vermin Lord!
Well, Skaven players often don’t, and people being hit by them don’t, but they are cool, of that there is no question.
Are they quite as bad as everyone says? Well, in an event with limited cannons and big hills, actually no. They kick the ever living shite out of a lot of things in combat after all, and get the tasty tasty Skaven magic to boot. Lots of armies at this event won’t want to be anywhere near the Dreaded 13th Spell.
It also does a decent job of target saturation – Abom, Doomwheel and Rat Ogres can also all put a dent in an army. Factor in the Storm Banner (and maybe even the odd Howling Warpgale) and you can see this getting into the lines of one of the MMU lists and causing havoc.
You need a lot of luck for that though, and the rest of the list…. Is not quite there for me.
Could do well, but will call it at bottom 8 for me.

So… Good old Vampires.
I quite like this list. A  nice mishmash of units that is all played well can do a job. Its 1 Swedish Comp point softer than my list in my previous “Bad List Writing” blog, and not sure I like this one more. Crypt Horrors are great for sitting on things (though Michael should have taken a champ in that unit if remotely doable points wise). The idea of pin with Horrors and hit with +1 to hit Grave Guard is solid and works. The issue is if the opponent dictates the combat. Serious combat units will pick up the 416 points for the grave guard in 2 rounds (if not sooner) if they can force the engagement on their terms. Of course, this is Swedish Comp, so there probably won’t be all that many serious combat units out there. But I don’t think this list can force the issue. And starting points down against a lot of the other lists could be an issue. That said, the list should do solidly, just not set the world on fire.
It doesn’t help that I hate ghouls of course – maybe that is clouding my opinion.
Top end of the bottom 8 for me.

This is a lovely fluffy list.
Given that I have spent two of the last three months spending far too much time thinking about Lizardmen lists under Swedish comp, I would have dropped to a 13 and taken a far stronger (and most would say, duller) list. Putting that to one side, this list is great in that it feels like how Warhammer should be played. Three “combat” units, none of them big enough to be a points sink (conversely, none of them big enough to be all that threatening), with plenty of supporting elements on the fringes. I’m on record in suggestion Death is far better on the Slann than loremaster High, but it is a nice toolbox to have.
I wouldn’t expect big things from this list, except that you can say that about any lizard list, and if played exceptionally well there is nothing that they can’t do.
A further benefit is that you are either good with Lizards, or not. I foresee other generals struggling with this list in the Sealed Section, helping Nick to get into the top 8 if he can pull off some big wins, either with this list or, more likely, with the random armies he gets.

Well, the best Warhammer player (impression I get listening to him, so assume this is true) in Australia is rocking out the filth.
Its such a good list that there is so very little to say about it.
Brilliant. Safe, damage-causing damage. Combat stuff. A cannon. Nothing over 200 points.
I’m sure he would want the awesomeness of this list explored in greater detail, but there is not much to say here – it’s the “best” list at the event (though interestingly there are others that could cause this problems).
Top 3 for Nick (2nd to be precise).

Lovely MSU High Elf list this. Its pretty, lovely, and probably plays the harp and wears flowers in its hair.
I hear he is Polish, which makes it scary. Seriously, Warhammer ability is indeed a national trait. It’s always hard to comment on a pure MSU list – by definition it is better than the sum of its parts. Once again being guilty of listening to podcasters podcasting prior to writing this, I know this is the same/similar to what he normally runs… Which counts for something on the table, but not in the crazy world of the interwebs. Going purely off lists I think this is a case of bringing a harp to a rock concert. The one saving grace is that people will struggle to make this list work, the one issue is that I think Pawel is “people”.
Bottom 8 alas.

This list isn’t really about the messing around it is? Rhys could do well if the natives of that fair land have not yet worked out how to combat the Warrior Menance.
Assuming they have… well, he is in trouble. Rocking out a 12 is balls-out in the land of 200pt caps. I think he had to make a lot of concessions to get in the tooled up Nurgle Prince. And really would prefer to see the banners on the warrior units switched out personally. Overall, it has a lovely face and tail, the issue is the middle bit. Too much is not worried about the warriors, hounds, Hellstriders and trolls. Nurgle Giants are fun, and better than normal giants. But then so are gnoblars.
All this aside, there is a lot of forward threat here, and if Rhys manages to pull off the one-two punch of the heavy hitters being followed by the infantry, he could take on anything at this event.
I think overall it’s the lack of a trick that makes this one fall a bit flat for me. Factor in that everyone has been playing against this sort of thing since the book dropped and the comp it comes in at… solid, but unspectacular.
Bottom 8.

This quintessentially Australian gent is rocking out this most Australian of lists. Full marks for the author of it.
I am utterly in love with this, and want to run something similar (think you could play a bit safer and have the lvl4 on a steed and have a similar effect, but them we all know I am not cool enough to come up with something like this). Sure, the headline act of Middle-of-army-6-dice-Choir hilarity is obvious, potentially game winning and great. But this threat is real because of the power of the rest of the list. 3 monsters and 24 Chaos Warriors is not something to mess with, and that is before you factor in the nimble nuisance that is two fast-cav Exalteds.
The beauty is that this list is mobile enough not to need to rely on big choir. Two spells in the lore limit movement, allowing the concentrated power of the combat elements to pick a target and destroy. Add in some Death Magic to draw dispel dice and you are not stopping both spells.
Of all the lists here, this is probably the one I would most consider a “tabling” army. And it’s a 13.6 comp.
If I was allowed to change lists for my upcoming event, I would rock something very similar to this.
Top 3. Bosh.

MSU HEs with shooting. Yay. Dragons? Nope.
Really, that’s all there is to say about it. Absolutely no idea why THE banner is on Phoenix Guard over White Lions though. With the greatest love and respect in the world, a rather nothing list. A lot depends on the amount of damage the bolt throwers can dish out (and the Heavens Magic). As has been mentioned many times thus far, hills being rather tall does limit their effectiveness somewhat though, and a lot of armies don’t care that much about RBTs. The issue I have is that RBTS+ Heavens magic is great at making the opponent have to engage, but I am not overly sure that this army would want anything to actually engage it… I am sure I am missing the pure undiluted glory of this list somehow, but will have to say… Bottom 8.

So… there we have it…

9 players to definitely finish in the top 8, and 4 in the top 3.
Bloody awkward Aussies.

Wargammers like to rank things, so here we go.
With some shifting around due to their awkwardness, based partially on lists, partially on gut, the fact it sounds like Nick Legrand never finishes an event where he wants to, and pure laziness, we end up with the following table:

If even one of these results is correct, I will be frankly shocked :)

Just a quick one today folks, I for one look forward to hearing the inevitable coverage of this event (though arguably not so much to the inevitable karaoke).

Not above a spot of casual violence

Until next time,



  1. As the author of Sam's list, I'll take your compliments at face value and run! I think it's awesome fun to play with. If it was me using it the only change I might have made would be to take the extra hit and give the carpet guy death. Because it would be death on a flying carpet. With 5 spells. How it that not the best thing in the warhammer world? Also your predictions of legrand are correct. *choking sounds*

    1. Have you used it? It seems simply brilliant.
      Whereas yes, DeathCarpet is indeed the best thing in warhammer (putting aside the fact that Death magic itself is a blight on the game :) ), Slaanesh magic is just cool and so rarely seen!

      Well done you!

    2. I have mate, it was my unit of back in episode 2. Slaanesh magic is incredibly underrated and it has a lot more to offer than simply 6 dice choir. Though flying carpet jukebox has always appealed to me...
      Sam Moore, new name: flying carpet karaoke! Spreading the love all over the battlefield ;-)

  2. Dear Rafael,
    I just wanted to take the time to say thanks for all your entertaining blog entries. I have finally got around to reading them all and must say they are both amusing and informative. Wish we'd been able to get in a game or three during my time in the UK!
    Will be watching for more posts.
    All the best,

    1. Squeeee! (plus other assorted fanboy gushings)

      Glad you like it mate - and a real pity indeed we never played. You played a massive part in getting me into the tournament side (and by association the other bits) of this hobby without knowing it (OK, now that sounds proper stalkerish....).

      My first event ever was the Unseen Lerker GT at WHW, followed shortly after by the Masters Open event, where I got to witness your glorious flaming-mindrazored-blackguard incident (sorry to bring that up ;-) ).

      Your write ups were always fantastic, and something I wish I could do, but I have no flair for writing up battle reports, so instead I write nonsense.

      Gives me something to do at work at the very least!

      If you ever want to write up anything from your current warhammer travels on here, let me know - you have an open invitation :)

  3. You gonna revisit this in light of the results? Interested on your thoughts given your last place player won the event but then again he did a lot of that through winning big with other armies and keeping it tight with his last two games to eek out the win, which is pretty much the same thing Chris did last year.