If you snooze, you lose. This 60-player Measured Gaming event sold out quicker than a content creator offered free review copies, cementing Bendigo’s reputation as a world-leading regional centre for Age of Sigmar. Seriously, if you know a town of similar scale that has produced this many Masters-level players, and can sell out events of this size this quickly, please let me know. Vic GT sold out in under 2 hours, so if you do want to go next year, don’t fuck about when the tickets go up.
Sadly I have had to drop, which means we’ll all have to wait a little longer for that world-first 5-0 with Bonesplitterz. However that does open the door for someone else to win the event, so today’s article explores the likely contenders, with a series of guest writers from AOS scenes around the world picking a power list from each Grand Alliance, as well as a list that stands out just for being so damn cool.
And just for fun, I’ve ploughed my ticket fee back into sponsoring a prize for the Coolest List; so I’ll pick my favourite from amongst the four selections here, and that person should speak to TO Corey B on the day to grab their prize.
You can see the full set of lists here:
So let’s get into it! Ready? Let’s go.
Chaos: Gabe Hanna, Queensland
Representing the view from the deep north we have Gabe, best known as The Other One from niche Warhammer podcast “Jimmy and That Other One”. They have perhaps ill-advisedly taken the fight to Measured Gaming’s Bush Radio in their Australian podcast beef*, getting under Pat’s skin so much that I reckon he’d fly up there and sort them out if only he could afford the two plane tickets his gigantic ass requires. Take it away, Gabe!
Power Pick: Beasts of Chaos, Joel McGrath
With a staggering 185 wounds, and more Rend than a Gargant could possibly stuff down his pants, it’s hard to ignore Joel McGrath making his triumphant return to Beasts of Chaos. The new update has breathed some unholy energy into the army, and that’s on full display here. With Bullgor and Dragon Ogors making their presence felt, and monsters doubtless charging in from all table edges, it will be very interesting to see what the army is capable of now, in the hands of someone who is very familiar with them.
Coolest List: Kyle Hoffman, Blades of Khorne
Coolest army vote has to go to Kyle and his Khorne Daemon army. It’s been a few spins around the sun since the dreaded Murderhost days when Bloodletters reigned supreme, but that’s not stopping him! With Bloodcrushers, Heralds, Bloodthirsters and even Skarbrand, he’s brought almost every flavour of Khorne Daemon he can (not you, Skull Cannon. Sit back down). And reinforced by a Bloodsecrator, a Slaughterpriest, and Khorne’s favourite wheelbarrow for his massive brass balls, Kyle is ready to spill some Blood for the Blood God, meta be damned.
Death: Darren Watson, England
Yeah yeah yeah, I’m not kissing his arse two weeks in a row. If you don’t know who Darren is, take a look at
yourself his Curse list.
With seven heroes running Death lists into an uncharacteristic field for an Aussie tournament (when did all these netlists start to appear in Oz, or have I been wrong all these years to love your crazy scene?), they represent a mere 12% of the armies taken.
However, that’s probably double the percentage of Death lists ever represented in a UK event, so you guys still hold the moral high ground.
The two that stand out the most to me are Nicole’s Gashhaunt and Dean’s one-drop Soulblight.
Power Pick: Dean Rossiter, Soulblight Gravelords
Dean opting for a one-drop signals to me he’s expecting to see plenty of smooth brain Order one-drop lists, and he’s nailed it.
With the game being on smaller boards meaning basically no need for a movement phase early doors, and given that SBGL have no way to pre-game move, I think this is a very sensible approach. If you can’t out drop them, join them.
Including Belladamma opens up plenty of jank possibilities, with my favourite being casting Lycancurse through the Portal into some genius’s perfectly set up ranged unit, that was ready to Unleash Hell.
I am worried about Dean’s choice of “Hold the Line” for his Grand Strategy though, with a squishy core of Zombies and Skeletons, and Dean may have to play more cagily than the tempo of AoS 3 demands if he’s to achieve it consistently.
Quality melee threats from the VLoZD, Grave Guard and Bloodknights will grind away on units that are hemmed in by clever placement of Dean’s support units via Gravesites, and all are able to benefit from the Vampire Lord (on foot)’s additional attack command ability – though it’s just as sexy on his unit of Zombies.
With all the correct picks for artefacts and spells, Dean’s not looking to be a pervert and is my pick for top Death.
Coolest List: Nighthaunt, Nicole Koorneef
With recent changes to the Big Hat’s scroll and how he fits within multiple death factions, Nighthaunt get plenty of value out of him.
Having access to their entire spell lore means he’ll pump in melee, thanks to Reaping Scythe allowing him to reroll hits and wounds with either of his two preferred attacks, depending on the situation (the 3″ reach on Alakanash can come in clutch). Coupled with the Emerald Host ability to worsen the save of one enemy hero, this puts Nagash in a great spot to focus down a big target:
Defensively, -1 to wound or making your opponent’s big bad strike last is a decent neg bomb; all great tools from the Nighthaunt lore. Given he’s more vulnerable now, with no Death save, I feel Lifeswarm is a must to run such a big resource dump, but I guess Nicole’s just got bigger balls than I.
With three units of Spirit Hosts, Nagash will be able to resurrect up to 6 of them back if each unit is left with 1 model:
Opponents may need to overcommit into these buggers, or risk some poor rolls or spiked ethereal/ward saves keeping one in the fight.
The Krulghast is one of the cutest picks here, combining with Nagash’s “Death Magic Incarnate” ability for a 4+ ward for one unit melee to tank a fool. Glorious.
I’ll sign off with a shout out to the Ukranian AOS team, who’ve had to withdraw from Worlds due to an actual war, something I can barely get my head around – wishing them well, love Dazza.
Destruction: Pete B, England
Pete B (or AOS Pete as most people from Twitter know him) is one of the founding members of the Essex Mawtribes (one of the hottest gaming clubs formed over lockdown) and the current Number 1 Ogor player in the world, as ranked by the T-Sports stats.
Power Pick: Adam Bray, Ironjawz
Adam’s list stands out as a strong list for a couple of reasons. At first glance it just seems like a standard Double ‘Krusha list but actually he’s decided to focus on damage output and board control. He’s avoiding the trap of going for the fake survivability of Amulet of Destiny on his first Krusha and instead gone with Destroyer, Mega Bossy and Fast ‘Un. This means he can get 36” of movement, pop Destroyer for +3 damage (plus an additional +1 from the Warchanter) and then smash face! The Mega Bossy Command Trait allows him to issue Mighty Destroyers after the other Megaboss has already given it to 3 units, meaning a total of 6 Units can be hero phase moving or charging (great for avoiding Unleash Hell).
Going pretty much all Pigs and Krushas means he’ll have really good board presence and high damage output. Coherency may be an issue on that unit of six so he’ll probably be looking to get one of them killed as soon as possible**. The two Warbeats give +1 to hit against a unit and a 3D6 charge as well, again helping with that output and board control. The 5 Ardboys are a cheeky little backfield unit to help keep an objective, and can rally on a 4+ if they’re within distance of a Warchanter.
But it doesn’t stop there: thanks to Bloodtoofs, the pigs get to move or pile in at the end of the combat phase as well. 2 drops also means he’s in with a chance of going first to unleash that turn one alpha strike (high drops are one of the issues with some of the other Destro lists). His list is pure power and movement (they’re clearly wearing some Air Jordans, rather than some other inferior brand***) – it’s my perfect Destro list, and if he can avoid shooting armies Adam should be in with a chance of doing well!
Coolest List: Stephen Binek, Ogor Mawtribes
Surprise surprise I went for an Ogor list for coolest list – but how could I not?? Its a bonkers, trampling, damage dealing, shooting bigboy list. Where to start, how about the Slaughtermaster first – The Gnoblar Blast Keg is a great little hand grenade if someone gets too close. Spike that roll and you can do 27 mortal wounds: enough to kill pretty much anything (unfortunately it’ll likely just do 2 or 3 wounds).
Meanwhlie the Lore of Gutmagic lets the Ironblasters act as Monsters for Trampling charge – doing mortal wounds on 4+, rather than 6+, which will smash through some screens very easily. And Mass of Scars will help the Tyrant survive a little longer with neg 1 to wound rolls when targeted by shooting attacks (which let’s face it, is gonna be a lot).
Being Underguts means that the Leadbelchers have an extra 6” range on their shooting and can gain +1 attack as well. The whole army has synergies all over the place PLUS 40 Gnoblars. I think this list could catch a few people out and if all the buffs are activated its got some serious punch. 5-0 – I’m calling it now!
Thanks to Pete for asking me to write this piece – he’s a fellow trainer aficionado and a top #Destrobro. I also need to shout out the rest of the Essex Mawtribes boys – Ed, Nick, Russ, Ben, Jody and “Random Guy”. You can follow me on twitter @aos_pete where I just tweet incessantly about AOS and Sneakers, and the Mawtribes can be found at @EssexMawtribes. At some point I will make it over to Australia to play some Warhams too!
Order: Daniel Street, New Zealand
The power behind the essential AOS Shorts site, Dan is a Warhammer Hero in every sense of the word. His work for the community is tireless, and his relentless positive energy lights up our hobby every day.
Power Pick: Dave Kerr, Stormcast Eternals
For the second year running, Dave Kerr, former Australian Master and current AoS Worlds player, is a Vic GT Power Pick.
Dave is taking the pure refined Stormcast power with the Translocating Lord-Relictor, Knight-Draconis, 4 Stormdrake Guard, and 6 Longstrikes with Thunderbolt Volley and the skill to eek out every bit of power from the list. Now let’s see what Dave has changed since he won GoldCon in January.
Dave has switched to a Battle Regiment and a single drop, rather than the four-drop Command Entourage (Magnificent) and Redemption Brotherhood that he was running. That means the Lord-Relictor no longer has the protection of a Mirrorshield, but instead has been promoted to General with the High Priest command trait (to re-roll Translocation). Losing the Knight-Draconis as the General has also meant that Dave has had to drop the Knight-Incantor (in for the auto-unbind) for another 5 Vindictors as battleline.
The Knight Draconis is still rocking the Celestial Instincts, but has lost the Skilled Leader command trait, and is now a wizard with Arcane Tome and Celestial Blades (+1 to wound) to be a powerful mobile buffing hero. The final change is that Dave has also gone for the Warblades, rather than Lances, on the Stormdrake Guard for the increased output across the grind.
I definitely expect Dave to be fighting it out with Josh Nightingall’s Thunder Lizards for the title.
Coolest List: Grand Alliance Boring?
It was hard picking out a Coolest List when you are dealing with a Grand Alliance that dominates with its breadth and strength (like watching Manchester United win for years – power but no soul). There are 25 Order lists coming to Vic GT and so there is a lot of ground to cover:
- Pat Neven being a rebel with Astral Templars, a Lord-Arcanum on Tauralon, Palladors and 20 Ironbreakers, but still taking 6 Longstrikes and Thunderbolt Volley. A result with 4+ wins for Pat would be the first for Astral Templars in the new book;
- Michael Clarke running Cities filth *shock* but still has a Knight-Vexillor, Cogsmith, Gyrocopter, and some Scourgerunners as well as the Fulminators and Stormdrakes;
- Khron back with KO (much rejoicing) and running double Ironclad for full “I’m going down shooting” vibes;
- Jacob Hughes running a DoK army without Morathi (is that possible?);
- Sebastian Ulrichs running Tempest Eye Dwarfs (double Runelord, Irondrakes and Longbeards) but with a Mega-Gargant, Stormdrake Guard and Fulminators…
- Phillip Smith running Living City, but resisting temptation with Karazai as the only Stormcast unit;
- Adam Mitchell trying to be Jack Armstrong; and
- Four players taking Deepkin for one last whirl with the old book.
Now Pete has put a gun to my head and I’ve got to pick something so I’m going to pick the arrow-storm of 50 Namarti Reavers from Nathan Thompson. Because:
(1) I’ve got a soft spot for IDK – sue me
(2) Reavers are my favourite infantry kit in AoS
(3) Heartrenders will give the list easy mobility
(4) The Leviadon is sky-rocketing up to 500 points.
I could easily see Nathan’s list amended for the new IDK book by switching the Aspect of the Storm for a Sea and dropping the Leviadon for a block of Namarti Thralls to anchor the lines.
Well there ya go! 8 great lists from 8 legends, but my pick for Coolest List at the event goes to the one and only Stephen Binek with his Ironblaster spam.
It’s not often that a shooting list gets pats on the back in AOS, but Binny’s done it twice now – following up on his legendary 7 Thundertusks list – and I’m excited to see what this kind of list can do in the hands of a good player. Get in touch with Corey and he’ll sort you out mate.
Thanks to all the people who contributed to the article, and good luck to everyone attending the event – I wish I could be there, and I hope it’s a rippa.
*Catch up on the beef if you haven’t already:
- RuneAxe Episode 11
- Bush Radio Season 3, Episode 2
- RuneAxe Episode 12
- Bush Radio Season 3, Episode 3
**Or maybe not, if you set ’em up like this:
***What a cheek! Team Adidas let’s gooooooo