Interview with Lachlan McLean, Winner of Vic GT

Lachlan, who is a good mate of mine and a fellow Gits player, took out Vic GT in March 2021. With 62 players in person on the day, Vic GT is the biggest event in the world this year, so let’s raise a glass to that lad and find out how he did it.

How the devil are you, man?

Going great Pete and can I say, it is an honour to be involved in your amazing blog. I have been a fan since day one.

What’s your background in AOS?

Going way back 18 years ago I collected the Battle Games in Middle-Earth magazine and played games with my eight Moria goblins at the local wargaming club. Most of the other tables were full of Warhammer Fantasy games and 40K. I would always be drawn to the Fantasy armies, fascinated by the huge red rulebook and all the crazy magic happening in the game – we will come back to crazy magic soon. I then drifted away from the hobby until… 

In early 2018 my mate who I used to play with 18 years ago told me that he was getting back into the thick of it. I jumped onto the opportunity too and got myself a Celestial Hurricanum – a model that reminded me of the old school fantasy days (you will see a theme happening here). Not a lot of hobbying really started until the release of Gloomspite Gitz in early 2019. As soon as I saw the old school goblins re-imagined I was hooked as strongly as a git to a madcap mushroom. Never looked back.

Apart from Gloomspite Gitz and a scattering of Cities of Sigmar, I collected two other Old World-era armies in 2019; Seraphon and Slaves to Darkness.  I enjoy using the old Fantasy armies for that nostalgia kick.

My biggest achievement is obviously winning the Victorian GT. Almost every event I have attended I have dropped one game and so finally going undefeated was a proud moment.

Can you run us through your list?

I took a Starborne Seraphon army in the Fangs of Sotek constellation. Essentially this involves strong teleporting, summoning, high damage output, and lots of magic:

Allegiance: Seraphon
– Constellation: Fangs of Sotek
Mortal Realm: Chamon

Lord Kroak (320)
 Spell: Stellar Tempest
Saurus Astrolith Bearer (140)
 Artefact: Serpent God Dagger
Skink Starpriest (120)
 Spell: Hand of Glory
Skink Priest (70)
Celestant-Prime (300)

40 x Skinks (240)
 Boltspitters Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers
10 x Skinks (60)
 Boltspitters Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers
10 x Skinks (60)
 Boltspitters Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers

3 x Salamander Hunting Pack (330)
10 x Chameleon Skinks (180)

Endless Spells / Terrain / CPs
Balewind Vortex (40)
Bound Geminids of Uhl-Gysh (70)
Extra Command Point (50)

Total: 1980 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 1
Allies: 300 / 400
Wounds: 117

This list has Kroak with an Astrolith Bearer and a Balewind Vortex to ramp up his power to arguably unparalleled magical dominance. Combine that with 40 skinks with blowpipes, Salamanders and Chameleon Skinks who all can be buffed in multiple ways from Skink heros due to their SKINK keyword and you have a potent army. My personal spin on the list was to add the Celestant Prime as an ally to complement the teleporting and damage output. 

Why did I settle on this list for Vic GT? I didn’t tailor my list per se for the event but all I can say is this: Playing an old school fantasy army WITH magical dominance? Yes please!

What were your good and bad matchups?

Good matchups: Most melee armies without strong alpha potential

Bad matchups: Big Waaagh, KO, IDK, Lumineth, Tzeentch

Before getting into the summary, I want to point out an interesting fact: I never used the Fangs of Sotek Parting Shot ability during the entire event!

I also fortunately didn’t lose a wound on Kroak, didn’t lose a single Salamander model, lost only one Chameleon Skink, and didn’t get the 40 blob of Skinks lifted – some got close!

Let’s have a rundown of your games on Day 1

Round 1: Luke’s FEC was up first. I made an error in my first decision of the entire event by being greedy and deploying Kroak on an Arcane terrain piece that was close to the front of the deployment zone. Luke smartly tried to capitalise on this with his Terrorghiest turn one, but in his first activation he killed 0 Skinks in my 10-man screen! Lucky!!! After that gambit failed the FEC were defenseless and he lost his army in a few turns, but he did play the objective game well. Well played Luke!

The FEC Alpha

Round 2: Jordan’s triple Black Coach and Gargant list was baller!! And he was one of the most positively enthusiastic players walking around the event. He also decided to take first turn and went for the alpha with most of his army.  He cracked off a few 10+ inch charges and did some good work early… but unfortunately not enough. And again, with everything up close to Kroak, the Nighthaunt army melted quickly over a couple turns. Props to Jordan for the coolest army at the event!

The NH Alpha

Round 3: Round three against Arthur’s OBR double Crawler list was fundamentally different to games one and two. The battleplan was Knife to the Heart and he had two Crawlers on the table, which are very threatening for my army. The best way to describe this game is ‘calculated’. I was losing Skinks by the bucketload to Crawlers and did very little in return.

I eventually saw a potential opening to take out his Harvester with the Prime – leaving the rest of my army to kill the 40 Mortek Guard and ultimately sealing the deal. What a cognitively exhausting game! I’m glad we played because now I have a new friend, thanks Arthur!

Deployment against OBR – hiding from Crawlers!

And now a rundown of your games on Day 2: how did the shootout with Tzeentch play out? 

The grand shootout against Sam’s Tzeentch was not an all-out kill fest as might be expected. It quickly became a game of positioning. Kroak was doing work taking out Flamers each turn, and the pressure was put on Sam to start the offence before he lost too much of his army. Fortunately for me the Flamers didn’t do as much damage as they needed to. The Celestant-Prime dropping down and reclaiming an objective gave me the points lead I needed to clinch the game. Thanks for the game Sam!

Tzeentch get the double into Turn 2

Going into game 5 were you nervous at all? 

Not at all. It all just clicked into place. I was very focussed and maintained that throughout the game.

What was your strategy against KOTET: were you tempted to nuke the Varanguard early, or did you go for a controlled approach? 

I was excited to play Dave’s KOTET in the final game, since it’s an army I play myself! I knew all the tricks. I also knew that his allegiance ability was a direct counter to mine – the fact he could pile-in instead of charging which nullifies my Parting Shot!

Going into the game I mumbled to myself ‘kill everything but the Varanguard’ three times. What did I do? I killed the Varanguard first… but you will see why!

How did the game play out? 

Dave did very well at zoning off his entire back board – which was easier than normal given we were playing Battle for the Pass. I did not have an opening to teleport behind his lines. This gave me two choices: overcommit to kill his non-Varanguard units or play it safe but shoot at the extremely tough unit. It was a hard decision not to pull the trigger but perhaps the correct one. I was given turn 1 and simply cast out Geminids, moved up 10 Skinks to be sacrificed and called it a turn. Bunker up lads, the Varanguard are coming!!

In Dave’s Turn One he buffed up his Varanguard but failed the Warshrine buff for +1 to save. He pushed them forwards, wiped my units of skinks, and then it was the priority roll.

I won it! This was the only priority roll I won on Day Two!

I take the turn and I am told that my Salamanders were ‘Be’lakored’. Kroak did Kroak things, and I made sure to slap some wounds onto the units supporting the Varanguard. I buffed up my 40-man unit of Skinks, and when I attempted to move my Salamanders (despite being Be’Lakored) I nailed that natural 6. So I ran them 14 inches….backwards, because safety first!! The odds of me rolling another 5+ up in the shooting phase wasn’t worth the risk.

My hand was forced by Dave and I had to try to lift the Varanguard off the table, since they were right up in my face and he was on for a potentially game-ending double turn.

I dropped the Chameleons and the Prime and shot with everything I had into them – excluding the Salamanders.  The 40 blob of Skinks got a lot of hits through and rolled about 10 MW on the wound roll. I then popped the triumph to re-roll wounds on the remaining 50 or so dice. Rolled no sixes!! Devastating!! The Chameleons fired next and chipped off a few more wounds. The Prime lasered some heroes down behind the Varanguard and then auto-charged in 12 inches. At this stage I had only taken down about half of the Varanguard and it was not looking too great at all!

But it was Prime-Time! The hammer went swinging and the Prime did a whopping 12 more wounds! Boomshakalaka!

Only 2 Varanguard remained, they could have battleshocked off if a CP wasn’t spent!

From that point onwards it was about not letting Dave score my home objective with his sneaky command ability, ensuring I was recapturing the two neutral objectives each turn and chipping away at his backboard with Kroak and the Prime.  A turn later Dave failed to bring back his Varanguard and Kroak dropped a comet on the Chaos Sorcerer Lord’s head, killing him. That allowed me to drop 20 Skinks on his home objective. Going into round five there was still 70% of my army on the table compared to 10 Chaos Warriors and we called it there. 

Deployment against KOTET

Niceeeee! What’s the smartest decision you made all weekend?

Getting a coffee and some warm food before Game Five!!

And how about the dumbest?  

Almost getting Kroak killed by deploying on Arcane terrain in Round 1!   

I am also kicking myself in Game Five for forgetting that the Marauders should have been -1 attacks when they teleported to attack my Salamanders, because they’d been tagged by Geminids.

What power move from one of your opponents had you worried?

Being forced to shoot at the Varangaurd without my Salamanders, and effectively doing less than half of my normal damage output.

How do you feel about where AOS is at currently?

I personally think it is in a great place! Look at the new Be’lakor and new Kroak models!!! Now we just need a new Goblin model don’t we, Pete?!

I definitely wouldn’t say no to some support for Gloomspite. Any hopes and dreams for Broken Realms?

I just go with the flow and accept whatever Games Workshop release. It’s all about enjoying the hobby at the end of the day! I like adapting and am excited to see what is coming next.

I’d like to make a point that no matter what Games Workshop does, some people are going to complain. That’s the nature of the beast! 

OK you’re in charge of the next General’s Handbook. Give me 3 points increases, and 3 points drops.

– Blight Kings up by 20

– Phoenix Guard up by 20

– Skinks up by 20

– Mangler Squigs down by 30

– Arachnarok Spiders down by 40

– Fanatics down by 40

Anybody you want to give a shoutout to?

Yep, heaps. My local Ballarat lads, especially Matty and Roogas. Warpling friends from Melbourne for their support. Measured guys for running a top event and for supporting me over the weekend. And a whole crew of online guys from around the world – they know who they are – who provide me with 90% of my practice games.

What’s next for you?

Painting up the new Kroak model.

There’s a few exciting events coming up such as Australian Masters and AOS Worlds events which seem very exciting. Something you should be considering Pete.

Thanks for your time mate, and congratulations on the big win! Onwards!

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