Pebbles on the Podium: Dalton’s Rogue Idol Smashes It

The third and final article in our series on Summer Smash is an interview with Dalton Copeland. Dalton will be very familiar by now to followers of the Blog, so let’s join him for the journey as the Big Waaagh rolls into town!

Dalton Copeland, Australia

Dalton is one of Australia’s top Destruction players, regularly repping the Boys in Green at major events. We also have an ongoing personal rivalry, since we are both usually contenders for Best In GA Destruction at any tournament we both attend. Dalton’s recent achievements include 4th Overall and Best Destruction at Cancon 2020, and 2nd Overall at Summer Smash 2020.

The List

Allegiance: Big Waaagh!
Mortal Realm: Ghur

Orruk Megaboss (150)
– General
– Command Trait: Brutish Cunning  
Orruk Warchanter (110)
– Warbeat: Fixin’ Beat
Wurrgog Prophet (160)
– Artefact: Mork’s Boney Bitz  
Wardokk (80)
Maniak Weirdnob (120)

6 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (320)
– Pig-iron Choppas
30 x Savage Orruk Arrowboys (360)
30 x Savage Orruks (300)
– Stikkas

Rogue Idol (400)

Total: 2000 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 0
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 197

You came into this event fresh off a 5-1 performance at Cancon, securing 4th place out of 219 players and Best Destruction.  Hail Dalton, King of the Orruks!  As you know I’m a big fan of your list.  What were your takeaways from that event, and did you feel the need to make any changes?

Not King yet, there’s still some challengers to the throne! ​I had noticed that I had defintely not practised enough for the event, especially since the eventual winner informed me I had been gimping myself with the range of Mighty Destroyers and the Weirdnob’s re-rolls being every turn. 

Outside of needing more matchup-specific practice I found no real glaring holes in the list, which was kind of the entire point behind going the toolbox route in list building. I did however notice that I should be playing some parts of the list differently, namely utilizing the Megaboss on foot for more than just a Waaagh! point battery. There had been some tentative list revisions replacing Pebbles and the Megaboss on foot with a Mawkrusha and a second Wardokk, but thats more so I can bully myself into painting my second Mawkrusha and Wardokk.

What are the good and bad matchups for your list, and how do you feel it performs against armies at the top of the meta such as OBR, Tzeentch and Fyreslayers?

​I don’t really have a ‘bad’ matchup per se, I have match ups varying from easy to hard, but crucially, no real auto losses. What screws my list over is the combinations between match-up and mission; Two Places of Power against Fyreslayers for instance, which sometimes having the deepest toolbox won’t help you win, though smart play can let you drag it to a minor win/loss scenario.

Which leads on to the ‘boogeymen’ in the meta: I have, in my mind, at minimum a 50/50 chance against the best lists from OBR, Fyreslayers and Tzeentch. My toolbox enables me to always have some kind of game plan against whatever the opponent is gonna throw at me: for instance game 5 at Summer Smash had me up against a club mate running changehost who ended up alpha-ing the Savage Orruks and nearly killing the Rogue Idol turn one. Having the ability to move my buffs onto the other pieces and having alternate threat units was what helped me get back into that game.

You certainly had to earn your podium at this one, doing things the hard way and facing off with Changehost not once but twice.  You came out on top on both occasions.  Can you talk us through how you achieved that?

Long story short, both games I got a turn one charge onto the Lord of Change and some Flamers; how I got there for both games is a very different story. 

Game 1 was against a new player, and while he did screen out a charge coming from the front he did not consider the application of a high speed flying rock from 40 inches away, and after that it was mostly a game of mopping up and keeping bodies on objectives.

Game 2 was an entirely different beast. I was up against fellow Measured Gaming lad Tyson Gleeson, which I was not terribly enthused about seeing as the man is a very good player and takes sadistic glee in making people take their toys off, especially if he knows he can shit-talk them about it later.

We set up, I did my best to have my heroes and pigs out of range of Flamer shooting, parked the Idol and stabba boys on some Mystical terrain, and hoped Tyson might be dumb enough to give me first turn.

He was not…

My Savage Orruks got decimated, my Idol was left on 4 wounds and some of my Arrow Boys got hoovered up by the Purple Sun. Luckily my pigs, Megaboss and very not-healthy Idol got turn one charges and we got stuck in.

I won the double and had most of his Flamers and support heroes off by the end of my turn 2. After that we kept trading punches: Tyson ripping my pigs off, me taking out a Horror unit with my Megaboss, all while my Arrow Boys were doing their level best to strip wounds off Tzeentch heroes and the odd Flamer. Eventually we got down to a Minor since neither of us had enough stuff left to clinch the Major, as well as time running out. Luckily for me I had still managed to snag my secondaries all weekend which let me pip someone for 2nd (I’ll let you guess who dear readers!)

At this event you went 4-1, losing only to the eventual winner on Knife to the Heart.  KTTH can sometimes give you odd matches – how did that one play out?

It was an awful bloody game, both Joel and I knew that if we moved off our objectives to try and contest our opponent’s we’d be handing them the win. Even pushing units forward to fight would be handing a Minor win over.

What specifically happened was that I ended up being the one to blink first after three Battlerounds of waiting, and threw my Idol forward to bag his Gore Gruntas; he reciprocated by puting his Maw Krusha into the Idol and pulling it off. I also tried a gambit to sneak his objective with my Savage Orruks, but the Maw Krusha parked on it killed enough naked green men for me to fail Battleshock sufficiently spectacularly, ending the game with a Minor in Joel’s favour.

Who did you play in your other two matches, and how did they go down?  Any key learning points or exciting moments from those two games?

Round one was against Nathan Thompson running Hermdar Fyreslayers, running a double battalion list, Forge Brethren and Lords of the Lodge if I recall correctly. We were playing Total Conquest and he split his army between his two objectives. I waited a turn, buffed up and punched through 11 Hearthguard in a turn, killed some of the guys with fyrepikes and outbodied him on the objective and kept it that way all game.

My other non-Changehost game was against Sam Morgan’s Mixed Order, this was on Relocation Orb. He had the advantage by essentially being able to drop where he wanted, when he wanted. It was really cagey, but with Sam only getting one turn on the objective and my army essentially swarming it every turn kept me in the game. There were occasional trades of units; Sam smashed my pigs off with his 12 Terradons, who promptly got introduced to a High-Speed Attack Rock.

Having given him first turn in Battleround 5, Sam dropped 30 Vulkite Beserkers onto the objective, screened by two units of Chameleon Skinks. However he had messed up slightly, having left his hero in range for the Rogue Idol to kick it over the top of its Vulkite Beserker bodyguards. Meanwhile my Arrow Boys had cleared a lane through the Skinks for two of my own heroes dive in and cap the objective, securing me the win.

How about the social aspect to the event?  What I’m asking is – did you have a good weekend on the piss?

While I did not drink as much as I usually would at an event, I had an absolute blast at the BBQ on Saturday night. Clarkey definitely puts on a good spread, and a highlight was watching him and Joel McGrath playing the most beligerent game of ping-pong I’ve ever seen.

Now it seems like you’ve got a Netlist on your hands.  How does it feel to have people imitating your army – is it flattering, or annoying?

Is both an answer? I mean its nice to hear people like something you’ve put together enough to build it all themselves, but it also kinda stings when everywhere I look I see my list, which means inevitably I’m gonna have to rip it apart, or I’ll move onto the next list. Either way the Orruks win!

We’re on a short Masters season in Australia this year, as the calendar recalibrates to move the big show away from Christmas.  With two massive results already under your belt  from Cancon and now Summer Smash, you’re already putting together a solid run for an invitation.  Was that your objective for the season?  Do you have any other goals that you are seeking to achieve this year?

Yeah, a Masters invite is definitely the goal this season having taken the last one off from competivtive AoS. While I didnt miss events, I was there more to drink beers and roll dice than anything; sneaking a podium would have been awesome but I wasn’t aiming for it.

As for the rest of this season I’m aiming to get myself the Big Waaagh! Icon on the rankings and even potentially bring the Masters title home to Bendigo, who knows maybe Gorkamorka will smile on me…

What’s next?

Event-wise I’m attending Brizhammer and RRRR in Bendigo. If i do it right I should have my Masters ticket punched before RRRR, but Brizhammer is shaping up to be a big event so there’s bound to be some stiff competition, not least because there’ll be a big Measured Gaming contingent making the trip.

Hobby-wise I’m sitting here waiting for the Sons of Behemat release. An army full of a Godbeast’s unruly spawn? Hell yeah! 

Hell yeah indeed! My thoughts exactly. Thanks for that Dalton – that wraps up our coverage of Big Waaagh taking out the whole podium at Summer Smash, so if you haven’t already, be sure to check out mine and Joel’s articles in this series.

Up next on the Aussie calendar is SAGT, a 50-player event in Adelaide hosted by Doom and the boys. I’ll be there, with my Big Stabbas stabbing biggly; Joel will be there too, running a Rogue Idol list that might look quite familiar after what you’ve just read!

I’m hoping to do a preview article, but either way I will be seeking to avoid the mistakes of last year, when I went drink-for-drink with Mick from the Failed Charge on the Friday night and got completely fuck-eyed. Those Queenslanders can drink, let me tell you!

Until then: May Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom.

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