Best Armies of ATC 2018!

posted in: ATC, Tournament Results | 3

Well here we are after another thrilling year of the American Team Championship! The results are out and we’ve crunched the numbers for you. Even with some drama and technical issues we had a great time as always at ATC. We want to thank Shane and the other TO’s for battling through and running the event year after year. Be on the look out for our after action reports and some opinion articles in the coming weeks. Also congratulations to Cory Peterson for winning best painted! His Space Wolf Dreadnought list will be pictured throughout this article. You can also find our breakdown of what armies were the most played here for a little context. Now are you ready to see the best armies of ATC 2018!


FactionAvg ScorePlayers
Imperial Knights153.326
Genestealer Cult1532
Adeptus Custodes14610
Thousand Sons143.423
Adeptus Mechanicus143.312
Grey Knights1421
Astra Militarum141.438
Avg Score137.8-
Adepta Sororitas136.34
Talons of the Emperor1311
Chaos Daemons129.916
Blood Angels129.29
Death Guard128.710
Chaos Space Marines127.917
Adeptus Astartes120.215
Dark Angels113.76
Space Wolves1084

ATC used the first 3 ITC Championship missions. Teams of 5 players, that may not have duplicate factions in their lists, match up against each other in a pairings process. These scores are derived from the overall individual performance of each player. You can find more information about ATC here.

Top Factions

Dark Eldar

No surprises at the top this year! Let’s take a look at the top performing armies from Dark Eldar down to AdMech. First off, we should note there was a very tight clustering of the top 5 armies although I’m proud to say the Dark Kin, who are near and dear to my heart, pulled it out this year. There were lots of Covens lists with Grotesque-stars and many Talos/Chronos pain engines on the table top. Our own team’s Dark Eldar player came in 38th overall with a mostly Wyche Cult list (he’s calling himself the Wyche King of Tennessee now). Between an overall powerful codex and Agents of Vect, Dark Eldar look like the armies to beat right now. You can check out how we feel about getting Vected here.

Imperial Knights

Right on their heels came Imperial Knights. With a codex release relatively close to the event and everyone knowing that one knight player, they were one of the most played armies. There were a total of 119 Knights stomping around at ATC this year, that’s a lot to deal with. Stratagems like the ability to stand back up on a 4+ with D3 wounds remaining and the classic Rotate Ion Shields really helped out Knight players. Oh and don’t forget that Gallants are cheap and can basically outflank now. Yeah, that’s fun to deal with. Our triple Baneblade list was even tabled by a Castellan list getting first turn. Knights have a lot of utility for being big goofy robots. Competitive players definitely need to account for the possibility of playing a knight list moving forward, much like 7th edition.

The Rest of the Best

Now things are going to start speeding up. Genestealer Cult did quite well although they were more often fielded as an addition to Tyranid lists. Harlequins outperformed what we had been expecting from our ATC Prep Tournament Results but hey, we always love seeing space clowns dance and murder across the tabletop. Ynnari lists at ATC mostly consisted of Shining Spears, Dark Reapers, and a mix of Dark Eldar or Harlequins to back them up. Being able to pick their pairings probably strongly advantaged Ynnari lists like these. The Emperor’s chosen bodyguards also did quite well although we expect they benefited from being a strong denial or anti-horde list with high toughness and armor saves. Custodes Jetbikes were out in force although it looks like Blood Angel’s Slamguinius is starting to be preferred over Shield-Captains. Thousand Sons also put up a strong performance with lots of Gors and smite spams. Our Thousand Sons player did second best on our team and effectively dealt with a multitude of threats. That’s what mortal wounds are for.

Finally, we have AdMech. The addition of the Termite Drill and the strength of Imperial Knights helped them out tremendously. They’ve been slowing creeping back up the standings for the last couple events. If you haven’t fought a termite drill yet be on the look out. It effectively gives the Omnishiah’s chosen a delivery method for some of their more fragile units. Fulgurites and Corpuscarri as well as the new titan guard peltasts are all legitimate threats when they infiltrate on your line. The drill itself is a beast in close combat and is much tougher than many other transports. We’ll see how they start getting used at upcoming events like NOVA. It’s also worth noting several Mechanicum lists had a Knight Castellan with a 3+ invulnerable dishing out a lot of damage. I’m curious to see if some of the top players find a way to cheese out what the Mechanicum has to offer.

Middle Tier

Above the Average

Here we’ll take a look at the armies from the Craftworld Eldar down through the Chaos Daemons. Several of the armies from this section had significant numbers of players which brought the averages closer together. The Craftworld based Aeldari did not perform as well as their cousins who got to hangout in the earlier part of this article. We’re a long way from 7th Edition now. The nerfs to some of their key units like Dark Reapers hurt although we still think Shining Spears are pretty scary if played well. The Tau also performed alright even with only one triple Yvhara list. Riptides just aren’t are as scary when there’s so much poison on the field, not to mention Imperial Knights. The Imperial Guard was the most played faction at ATC often supported by Custodes jetbikes or Blood Angels Captains. There were several triple Shadowsword lists which did well. While the good old guard may be a take all comers list, they just didn’t perform as well in the mostly rock/paper/scissor matchups of ATC.

Below the Average

The first army under the overall average was Tyranids. They’ve fallen from being one of the top tier factions of last year. Many Nids lists had a Genestealer complement to prevent overwatch or take control of a model. We’ll see if there’s a resurgence with the upcoming Genestealer Codex, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Sisters of Battle and Talons of the Emperor both made it to the table top and we’ll add an Inquisition codex as well as plastic sisters to our growing wish list. Finally we have Chaos Daemons. Bloodletter bombs and Daemon Princes feel like they should go a long way but it looks like Thousand Sons and their new birdmen allies just do it better. There were also some interesting rulings on how the rule of 3 applied to Daemon Princes which might have hurt.

Factions That Struggled

The Marines

Now we get to take a look at those factions that just couldn’t find their stride. You’ll notice all of the Space Marines are down here. We were surprised at how many players were bringing Agressors or Hellblasters with some type of buffing character but it looks like that didn’t quite work out for them. Even Blood Angels, the new ally of choice for Guard, couldn’t quite break out of the bottom tier. We’ve got some strong opinions about what Space Marines need but could it be GW is keeping their golden boys easy to play to bring in new players? Why not just give them a 5+ ignore a wound on anything S4 or less? They just seem too expensive for how fragile they are and in an edition where many things match the fluff the Emperor’s Finest stand out as strangely poorly represented on the tabletop. Even the Heretic marines suffer from a similar problem although at least their cultist bombs show up in other armies. Hey maybe that Termite drill will help Marines too?

Necrons and Orks

We also see Necrons and Orks near the bottom. There were lots of Tesseract Vaults getting moved up the board by the Deceiver. One of our team members played Necrons 4 out of his 6 games. Unfortunately even with this little trick Necrons don’t have the firepower to bring down big threats or the shots in many builds to handle hordes. I will say Destroyers are definitely a challenge, especially if they deepstrike in with a stratagem not taking penalties for moving. However even this awesome unit only has a 24″ range which can suffer against longer range threats. Orks meanwhile just need a codex. They’re so close to being good that with a few relics, more psychic powers, or even some clutch stratagems they are going to be difficult to deal with. Orks have all of the basics of a good, cheap, horde army are there, they just need some utility to get the job done. Be on the look out for the rising Green Tide. When that codex hits, you’ll hear a lot more players yelling “WAAAAAGH” at your local events.

Final Thoughts

In terms of actual performance of the factions, this was the year of the Dark Eldar and Knights. They consistently performed well even with large numbers of players. We’ll see if this is indicative of 8th Edition’s power creep with new Codexes getting more powerful or if there is going to be a new FAQ to address their dominance. It’s also possible players just weren’t prepared for the new toys they had to fight. We’ll be watching the results from NOVA closely to see if these armies remain dominant. We already mentioned it but boy do marines need something to help out. AdMech looks like they are getting bouyed by Knights and the Termite Drill and Tyranids will be getting some help from the Genestealer Cults release. Maybe Talons of the Emperor will give the Imperium access to some form of Vect? Who knows but we’ll be on the lookout!

Otherwise, this was a dramatic year. There were all sorts of accusations, technical difficulties, and threats of leaving never to return. We specifically waited a week to publish this article to let some of that die down. Overall looking back we got to meet a lot of new people, play new armies, and hangout with our friends which is really what we want from a tournament. ATC for us is about being on a team and playing in a unique environment so we got everything we wanted. Don’t worry though we’ll be posting another article reviewing the actual event and maybe some takeaways. Oh and we’ll post our favorite memes for sure.

Thanks again to Cory and Dark Bunny Creatives for all the awesome pictures!


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