Pete Brizio writes: Newton’s third law states “for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction“. This means that for every event you’ve been to where the TO is quiet, anonymous, just gets on with it and you see him just at the start and end of the event there must exist an event where the opposite is true, right? Well I can confirm this truth, and that event is “Mancunian Carnage” and that TO is Alex “Ghost Arm” Jones. He’s less a TO and more a force of nature. His event is a big event that feels like a small, intimate event where Alex goes out of his way to make everyone feel welcome. But we do have to come back to that “inherent chaos”! The event’s battle plans are chosen at random by the spin of a wheel, there’s additional Secondary battle tactics named after film quotes or scenes, there’s a post-event Saturday night Quiz with a music round featuring Alex delivering the songs in the “Club Style” singing popularised by Shooting Stars and the TO likes to do shots with his players.
Despite all this chaos (or in spite of it) Carnage remains one of the most popular tournaments on the UK scene, with around 80 players competing to win one of Alex’s “Fist” trophies or Best in Faction “Fingers”, and the painting competition is fiercely competitive too, with judges on hand to deliver verdicts as well as a player-voted section. This event is the antithesis of the faceless, sterile events run in function rooms: fun, friendly and welcoming but it also attracts some seriously big names in the UK scene to fight it out for that 1st place “Fisting”. So with that in mind we decided to cast our eyes over some of the lists and pick out the lists we think could do quite well, or just look damn cool.
By Peter Atkinson
Power Pick: Ben Johnson, Ogor Mawtribes
Ben’s namesake Samuel Johnson famously proclaimed that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. Well I put it to you that when a man is tired of smashing motherfuckers off the table with six Stonehorns, he is tired of Warhammer. Playing this army will be an absolute blast but don’t be fooled – it’s tuned to be extremely competitive.
Boulderhead armies are the essence of Destruction. I had a bit of success with the classic Second Edition Eurlbad list myself, and Monster Truck lists are having quite the renaissaince currently, with Hazel Moon picking up a couple of big wins with the big boys over in the UK. Whereas Hazel has worked a couple of Thundertusks into her army (check out her full list on Woehammer), Ben has gone another direction with All Stonehorns, All The Time.
Now one big reason why Eurlbad trumped pure Monster Trucks in the old book was due to the lower drops, but Ben’s list flips that on its head and turns 6 Stonehorns into a one-drop army. In case you weren’t aware, Battleline Beastriders lose their Behemoth status, meaning the 1 + 5 just slots so damn neatly into that Battle Regiment.
The Frostlord’s CT makes him into a Priest, giving him access to the Pulverising Hailstorm AOE mortal wound prayer: coupled with 5x Blood Vultures, you’ve got a decent chance of popping one foot hero per turn, and across two turns it’s a near certainty. It’s important to emphasise the value this brings to a charging army when things like Death Frenzy can otherwise screw pretty hard with your win condition. I’ll never complain about having the chance to piss off an Incantation too, especially while Fyreslayers have that bloody Grand Strat available.
Mr Frosty is packing neg 1 to wound from the factory-standard Rockmane Elder (why wouldn’t ya) along with the connoisseur’s choice Seat of Alvagr that allows a second Monstrous Rampage once per game. When your Blood Vultures and Hailstorm have left some dickhead straggling on a wound or two, Unstoppable Charge into Stomp is yet another way to finish them off with a couple of cheeky mortals exactly where you need them. But you’re still not done:
- Zip straight across the screens into a glass hammer unit, and Roar to switch off All Out Defence in a game-defining combat
- Trample all over a bunch of Grots then kick that fucking Loonshrine over with Smash to Rubble. Oh you were counting on summoning? Maw sez no.
There’s loads of combos but really it’s Unstoppable Charge into Something Else that makes this artefact so bloody addictive.
The army has the speed and power to go straight on the warpath, or the capacity to score passively until the board opens up and you strike the killing blow. It will often need to trade down early to trade up later – throwing a Beastrider or two into the fire in order to open up crucial charging lanes. You can only use Unstoppable Charge once per turn after all; but that’s OK, there’s plenty more where they came from.
There are a couple of ways I might tweak the list to run it myself: maybe take Heal as your prayer? Arcane Tome as your artefact? But really that’s more a matter of pride at not wanting to straight-up steal an army list; they’re all valid alternatives but it’s a stretch to say that any of them would outright improve the list, which has a really refined feel.
Don’t make the mistake of looking at this army and seeing a meme list, because pretty soon you’ll be staring at the smoking ruins of your army in bewilderment. It comes dressed as a jester while hiding a hammer up its sleeve, and I’m backing Ben to crash onto the podium here.
Coolest List: Jack K, Gloomspite Gitz
BAM! BAM! Double Max Rockguts coming at you. 9 Rockguts is already a “how do I deal with that” kind of unit, so slamming down the twin 9 blocks is the stuff of nightmares for a lot of armies.
Rockguts really don’t like getting Roared at, because they need that extra attack from the Dankboss to overcome their inherent diciness, but chucking 18 of the fuckers on the table is certainly one way to get back that volume of dice.
Jack won’t be lacking in rend, with the Gobbapalooza, Fellwater vomit and Moonface Mommet all laying down defence dice fuckery on top of his rend -2 foundation, and the Scuttletide is an awesome control piece quite apart from any damage it might do. Skraggy’s spell and the Scuttletide give Jack at least a puncher’s chance at hero sniping, but when I ran Scuttletide myself I found the true value was parking it half an inch in front of a unit to prevent it getting charged.
I ran a unit of 9 Rockguts recently myself, which at the time I thought was a bit of a flex, but after looking at this list I feel like a coward. I did really enjoy running the Sporesplattas in my own version – I’d have liked to have seen them in here too – but when you splash the thick end of 1000 points on that double anvil, you can’t have everything.
I’ll confess that I’m a bit confused about the points here, with the Gobbapalooza at their new level of 160 points but Skraggy not yet bumped up to 210. But I know that Alex is a super experienced TO, so there’s probably a good reason why – and even if not, Alex will have seen something like this previously and have a solution ready to go.
Awesome army, and I bet it will look fucking baller on the table too.
by Patrick Neven
Power Pick: Mark Roberts, Slaves to Darkness
Apparently I’m the Chaos Guy here at the Craichouse so I got a chance to scroll through the lists for Carnage and I was duly impressed. Like any UK tournament there was enough filth to give me a neck strain from turning my head in disgust but there were a fair few interesting lists as well. In the end I ended up basing my Power Pick on raw Power.
Mark Robert’s Slaves to Darkness list isn’t terribly complicated and doesn’t need to be. A one drop will give you the choice against most armies and there are enough chaff and tarpit units to form a screen against other one drops or take the second turn if it suits you. The two Sorc Lords spit out a few buffs and I’m assuming they are Nurgle marked to give you the option of creating the only useful Demon Prince with Chaotic Conduit
A block of six Khorne marked Varanguard charging 3d6 inches with plus 1 to hit and wound and a double pile in hit hard enough to ruin a lot of armies and he can send them in one at a time or run the whole lot in for maximum glory. The ten Nurgle Marked Chaos Knights have an ok charge and make an excellent tarpit with their neg 1 to wound and rend.
This sort of list is at its best against enemies who play proper Warhammer and line up to fight you like an old timey White Dwarf battle report, rather than off-board deploying BOC or Dwarf Clown Cars, but with clever handling and a good draw I think it can go all the way. At the very least a few people are going to be left shell-shocked when those big blocks of Varanguard tear them to shreds.
Coolest List: Jake Staves, Skaven
If the essence of a cool list is doing what you want without regard for the meta Jake Stave’s Skaven list more or less jumped out of the document and said “Yeah, that’s what time it is!”. What a list.
In a world of constant chatter, listening to podcasts, YouTubes, WhatsApps, group chats and stats shows we are constantly tweaking our lists for any conceivable advantage. Not Jake, he likes Plague Monks and old school Skaven and that’s that. Did reinforcement points render Plague Monks useless? Are Plague Censer Bearers infinitely superior? Maybe but don’t be bothering Jake with your petty quibbles. Every gamer knows in his bones that this is the proper Skaven army. Bell, Furnace and a whole bunch of rats to push the mess into battle.
Which is not to say that this is a joke army, it just doesn’t have the customary build. The Priests crap out mortals, and if you switch the Grey Seer over to Priest mode you are practically guaranteed to hit your Great Plagues early. I didn’t know what a Blade of Corruption did on a Verminlord when I picked the list but damn. (6’s to wound are at rend -3 and 6 damage). Plague Monks throw a lot of dice and get a lot of buffs from this list and Clanrats are some of the best chaff in the game. This one will surprise a few people.
by Calvin Rarie
Power Pick: Steve Curtis, Soulblight Gravelords
Look, I’m going to be honest here. I think Legion of Blood in Soulblight Gravelords is absolutely bananas when you’ve got Nefarata and 2x Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragons running around. The wombo-combo is one Vampire Lord with a 3+ Ethereal Save (ignoring both positive and negative modifiers to its save) thanks to the Cloak of Mists and Shadows as well as Nefarata’s warscroll spell giving SUPER Ethereal to the other Vampire Lord where it ignores all NEGATIVE modifiers only–slap a mystic shield on there as well and you’ve got a 2+ unrendable Dragon flying around.
But it gets better than that! In Legion of Blood, Vampire HEROES get +1 to cast/unbind/dispel while out of combat, and when in combat they get +1 attacks. Speaking of attacks, whenever a Vampire unit attacks, they heal a number of wounds equal to the wounds they allocated in melee-up to a maximum of 6 wounds. On top of that, the Doomed Minions command traits lets you pick D3 non-hero, non-monster units that–while your general is within 3″ of them–makes ALL melee attacks hit on an unmodified 2+ vs those units. By the way, did you know an Ironclad is neither a monster nor a hero?
We’re not done yet! The real spice is that Neferata’s got an ability that lets you pick three friendly units at the end of deployment and lets you re-set them back up on the table wholly within your deployment zone ignoring any kind of deployment restrictions, like being 9″ away from enemy territory. On certain missions where player territory touches, this is basically a 9″ pre-game move.
I’ve seen fully loaded Ironclads with Thunderers dump entire salvos into these fuckers and fail to drop them. The Blood Knights help this kind of list get down to the 3 drop range, which helps them dictate priority in the matchups where the Vampire Lords can immediately jump into enemy lines T1 and immediately cause all kinds of havoc. I LOVE this list, and would not be surprised to see it take the whole thing.
Coolest List: James Harrison, Ossiarch Bonereapers
What’s better than one general? How about FOUR of them!
While light on the bodies, Immortis Guard and Necropolis Stalkers are tough as bricks while escorting Katakros around. With the Artisan’s Key artefact on the Mortisan Boneshaper, that gives James four different chances to return either slain models back to the Necropolis Stalkers or the Immortis Guard. Having been on the receiving end of this, you have no idea how depressing it is to drop a unit of Stalkers down to one model left and four of them come back on your opponent’s hero phase.
Zandtos, thankfully, pulls massive weight here being one of the best units in the list to charge with, given that he slaps HARD on turns he charges. This is great paired up with the Mortis Praetorians sub-faction ability, which lets you counter-charge in your opponent’s charge phase for a command point. Oh, and by the way, on top of the ludicrous amount of command points Bonereapers generate, both Zandtos and Katakros issue commands for free.
Combine all of this with the Aura of Sterility command trait, which hands out -1 to hit AND wound debuffs for shooting attacks targeting friendly Bonereaper units wholly within 12″, and you have a tough nut to crack. Something like this might struggle on missions like Prize or Jaws with the limited bodies, but on low objective missions? Watch out!
By Theo Kik-Jansen
Power pick: Baz Norman Jnr, Lumineth Realmlords
Weirdly enough, when you write articles to disagree with your fellow writers, you tend to draw the short straw in the articles following. Which means I got Order. I immediately noticed the lack of variety in lists on the Order side of things, moreso than it’s been in a long while. It’s only LRL, KO and Sylvaneth that’s represented in force.
Let’s be honest, KO is fucking cooked at the moment. There’s a ton of armies that simply can’t stand up to the sheer output they can produce in a short time frame. A lot of forces will be returned to their respective gods, even before they’ve gotten into engagement range. As a result I won’t be picking any cowards hiding in boats today!
Right before the Dino’s come roaring back into the scene (New Seraphon not in play), Lumineth Realmlords are still the dominant spell slingers of the mortal realms. They are balancing on a knife’s edge in terms of efficiency, with all the fat trimmed off as a result of compounding point hikes. It still has some great tools, power projection, protection against spells and overall reliability to boot.
Baz Norman Jnr’s list caught my eye in particular. It deviates from the cookie cutter builds in some interesting ways. The main building blocks still follow the standard recipe: 1 standard unit of God Aelf on horse-cat-bird and 40 arrow tossers. He does do a couple of interesting things here. First off, he deviates from the 1 drop format, in favour of sharp shooters. That plays into the notion that there might not be too much 1 drop alpha left in the meta. A lot of the stronger opponents rely on GC’s to make them tick: things such as KO, Fyreslayers and the Gitz don’t like their GC’s being shot off, allowing this army to pick apart opponents at the seams.
The flavour choices in the list are the Kangaroo hoppers and the allied Khinera, allowing for some flexibility, forcing the opponent to constantly watch their flank objectives and terrain pieces. I’m picking Baz for the win!
Coolest list: Nathan Hugill, Sylvaneth
Ok, so you are telling me this guy brings 8 Treelords to a tournament, takes a Gladewyrm, has his shrub knowledge on point AND makes Resevoir Dogs puns? Would you leaf (ha!) some ladies for the rest of us sir?!
And you know what? This army ain’t no push over either. Sure, it might lack some tools but can compensate with its own strengths. Even though it’s a polarizing list, it might be a bit more than just a meme.
So what does it do? His general, Mr Rainbow is a spell caster and the Season lets him reroll his one spell (hear the silent tree-sap tears for yet another Sylvaneth book with a 1 cast Ancient). When successfully casting a spell, He’ll heal D3 on himself or one of his buddies. He can shit out a wood for free as well, so doesn’t need to cast one. That means he can use Regrowth whenever he needs to heal up. The Gladewyrm is actually quite nifty, as it heals units in a bubble. So a shit ton of healing in summary.
This army is also deceptively mobile, as all the treemen can teleport though the woods, which the Ancient gets to put out for free. And with just 3 drops it’s got a serious strategy in alpha bunkering and turning the game into a grind. It has some real shooting cards up its sleeves, too, with a healthy 16 damage against a 4+ save on average from the 8 treemen and the Ancient.
This army consists of a 112 wounds on a 3+ save, fighting on it’s top bracket pretty much always. It can dish out strikes last with Groundshaker which adds to it’s defensive capabilities. Only shame is there’s not 8 monstrous rampages to pick from.
All in all it’s going to take some big power to get these guys off the table. I imagine Nathan Hugill standing there, with a cold one in his hand, like “Are You Gonna Bark All Day, Little Doggy, Or Are You Gonna Bite?”. Knowing it doesn’t matter, because he has already won everyone’s heart anyway!
Peter Atkinson: So there you have it! Those are the lists we loved and the people we expect to see kicking ass: no pressure now. The whole event is being run on my mate NC Dave’s beautiful Stats and Ladders tournament software, so head over there to check out the pairings and follow our picks on their relentless march to top tables. And if they bomb out, we’ll just blame pilot error.
Hope everyone there has a ripper of a weekend, and I think I speak for the whole of the Plastic Craic team outside the UK when I say I’d love to hit up one of Alex’s events one day. Catch ya.
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