Tournament Recap: The Empire Strikes Back 2

posted in: Dernicus, Tournament Results | 0

Let me tell you a tale, of woe, and triumph, and of beep boop. I mean to say, this is a completely impartial record of my games played during The Empire Strikes Back 2, a 40k tournament hosted by Borderlands very own Mike Twitchell and Horton Doughtry, held at Atomic Empire Games in Durham, NC on Aug 19th. The core of my list was the Kastelan Robot which we’ve reviewed before here and you can check out some of their crazy math here. Now lets get to my Tournament Recap: The Empire Strikes Back 2!


First off, let’s take a look at the format for this tournament as 8th edition has already seen its fair share of variances from event to event as everyone is looking to find that sweet spot as it were. This was a 3 round event; battle forged only, 2000pt list; with all current source books up to and including the Codex: Space Marines, Codex: Chaos Space Marines, Codex: Grey Knights and all of the Forgeworld Indexes (as well as the GW Indexes of course). The kicker was that every army was limited to 3 detachments, pretty standard, but furthermore was restricted to no more than 3 of any Unit (or 2 if it was in the Flyer slot). These were primarily implemented in the wake of ATC and BAO and the spamming lists that dominated those events. It did present a unique difficulty for some players, as armies such as Dark Eldar and Imperial Guard rely on proliferation of their units to created a cohesive force. For me, it was a matter of breaking one unit and spreading the models into others. Speaking of which, here’s my list:


AdMech- Spearhead Detachment, +1CP, (1454pts)

HQ: Belisarius Cawl

Elite: Cybernetica Datasmith

Elite: Cybernetica Datasmith

Heavy Support: Kastelan Robots(4), Heavy Phosphor Blasters(x3)

Heavy Support: Kastelan Robots(3), Heavy Phosphor Blasters(x3)

Heavy Support: Kastelan Robots(3), Heavy Phosphor Blasters(x3)


AdMech – Vanguard Detachment, +1CP, (526pts)

HQ: Primaris Psyker*

Elite: Astropath*

Elite: Fulgurite Electro-Priests(15)

Elite: Culexus Assassin*

Elite: Eversor Assassin*

Elite: Vindicare Assassin*



So real quick, this is a silly list, but damn it if wasn’t nasty to play with. I made a variant of the AdMech list one of our teammates for ATC and I built for that event using Cawl + Robots + Priests. As I didn’t want to just take the exact list, and I wanted to juice things up a bit for this event, I added the Assassins. Let me tell you what, I wish I had brought more Culexus and Eversors! The numbers support the amazing firepower of the Cawl/Robots combo, but to add in the disruption I was able to cause with those sneaky Assassins in all of my games cannot be understated. Why the Primaris Psyker and Astropath you may be wondering, it was simple: I had some points and needed a cheap Imperial HQ. They actually worked out very well in my last game, but I’ll get to that. Speaking of which, let’s begin.


Games Afoot!

Act 1, The Sorrow

Each mission had fixed and random elements right down to the deployment type and 2 of the 3 mission objectives. In the first round of the day, I had the “luck” of drawing one of the Tzneetch Daemon lists in attendance. His list was made of Magnus, Belakor, four other Daemon Princes (3 Daemons of, 1 was a Chaos Space Marine Prince), The Changeling, 3 Maelific Lords, 3 squads of Brimstone Horrors, and a Helldrake. Even with the restrictions of the event, I faced the infamous “Brimstone” spam. Even better yet, the Fixed mission was Relic, and the deployment we rolled was Spearhead (so just 9” to the Relic!). Concerned as I knew full well what this sort of list was capable of, I knew this would be an uphill battle.

I managed to secure first turn, despite my opponent’s +1 to his 1st turn roll, and a failed Seize the Initiative. We’d both deployed into the center points of the deployment zones so as to have maximum time on the Relic. Our other objectives were “Vital Equipment” (we mark 2 units and try to get them into the opponent’s deployment zone) and a Progressive Objective that counts units in your enemy’s Deployment Zone. With my first turn, I did not move the robots, instead setting the 4 man unit’s Protocols to Protector, knowing the hordes would be upon me soon.

At the end of my movement, my Assassin’s appeared, the Culexus hidden out of line of sight but within range of his main lines, the Eversor appearing on a far flank to try and wreak what havoc he could. My early volley of Phosphor failed to do more than a smattering of damage to one of the Brimstone units and the Helldrake thanks to the Changeling’s aura. Crazy as he tends to be, the Eversor launched himself into the flank tearing into Horrors, but for naught.

In response, my opponent struck out with Magnus and Belakor, sweeping away the Vindicare and Eversor with ease, however he was unable to strike the Culexus. The end of his turn saw Magnus within striking distance of my right flank, the Princes still safely hidden in remaining Brimstones and my forces staring down the inevitable. As one can surmise, the game quickly spiraled out of my reach, with the Princes striking out and swiftly striking down the Priests and Robots alike. My Culexus did create an annoyance, but was inundated by now free to move Brimstones to keep the Null Man locked up. By the end of the 7th turn, my forces were dispatched soundly.

Final Score: 0-35, Loss


Act 2, A Return

Next up, with 0 points, I was paired up against a fellow tabled player, in this case, a force of Deathwatch (including a Landraider and Corvus flyer) and Primaris Marines(with Hellblasters and Reavers). We rolled Dawn of War (yay for me), with a Fixed Kill Points mission, and rolling Vital Equipment again, as well as Table Quarter Control. My opponent was able to go first, but I was confident in my army in this matchup, as I set up the phalanx of Robots centerboard, with their Electro-Priest screen I was within reach of the entire board.

His opening strike saw much of my Electro-priest unit decimated, but at the cost of nearly all of his shots. While losing the Priests was a detriment, they served their purpose so that in my first turn I was able to capitalize, nearly destroying both Hellblaster units and the Reavers. Once again, the Eversor appeared in his back lines to scream into the remaining Hellblasters AND his Warlord (a Deathwatch Watchmaster). Valiantly my opponent tried to level what he could against me, but the Reflective Shields of the Robots and the Lightning Reflexes of the Assassins appear to be too much. The end of Turn 3 saw my final furious volley removed what remained of his army one by one. It was almost poetic in how each unit targeted was killed by exact amounts, in cold calculated bursts of Phosphor.

Final Score: 32-2, Win


Act 3, The Ascension

For the final round, I paired up against a Craftworlds Eldar list consisting of an Autaurch windrider, a pair of Windrider squadrons, a unit of Vipers, a unit of Rangers, Guardians, and Striking Scorpions, a Hemlock Fighter, and a Night Spinner. Once again, we rolled Spearhead, with the Fixed mission being 4 Objectives; our rolled missions Kill Points and Progressive In-Your-Opponent’s-Deployment-Zone. Yet again, my deployment was centrally located with maximum lines of sight for the guns of Mars to light up the world. My opponent managed to secure 1st turn, despite my best attempts to Seize (we literally rolled 3 or 4 times because of ties).

His initial attacks proved why Hemlock Fighters are a terror in 8th as 3 Robots were lit up off the bat. Unfortunately for him, my first turn ended up being staggeringly more effective. The Assassins appeared before each of the two Windrider units, and the Robots made short work of the Rangers and nearly destroyed the Waveserpent. The Eversor and Culexus made their charges and ripped apart the jetbike riding space elves before them with impunity. Subsequent turns saw more carnage as his Hemlock could only damage the Robots, where as my 2nd turn of shooting reduced the psychic plane into glowing slag. For a solid 3 turns my Culexus was unstoppable as it chased Vipers and the Night Spinner in kind, refusing to take any damage.

On turn 3 his Striking Scorpions chose to arrive directly before my still immobile wall of Beep-Boop, only to be decimated first by a partial fusillade of Phosphor (say that 3 times fast) and a charge of screaming holy men with lightning sticks. Once empowered by their victory, the Electro-priests did what they do best and walked through his battle-lines, shrugging off damage with their 3++ and 5+ Fanatical Devotion (aka FNP). Going on to turn 7, I struck down his Warlord who’d cowered behind cover, securing a complete victory (though not max points).

Final Score: 31-2, Win


Conclusions/Final Thoughts

Robots are silly. No really, if I were to draw anything from this event it is that Kastelan Robots, as we already talked about here[link to article], are very strong in this edition, especially en masse. I only took 10 this time around as opposed to the full 12 I have, but even so, when they were working, they were stellar. Mobility is an area this army is lacking, but I lucked out with 3 Dawn of War style deployments so I was always able to deploy in range of my opponent. Similarly, I confirmed that aggressive close combat armies are difficult for this list to handle. The inclusion of the Assassins really was a great thing to have and I feel like I will see 2 or more of them (Culexus and or Eversor… sorry Vindicare, but you literally did nothing all tournament) in future lists of mine just for the package deal they bring and options they open up.

Now that we have more of an idea of what kinds of things work as far as tournaments go, as well as how the still fluid Meta of 8th edition is, I can see a lot of armies shifting to find their place in the heap. I finished 7th out of 30, and won Best Kill Points thanks to my maxing that objective the 2 times it showed up in my games. Also, at that same event, there is plenty of evidence that Magnus level threats aren’t unkillable. In fact the Daemon player had a mediocre (read: 14 out of 35 point) win and was tabled after he defeated me. Large threats are still real (as they were in 7th edition) so players will have to account for them, but there are more and more tools to deal with them it seems as players figure out deadlier list compositions and as the Codices start to appear from GW. I am beside myself with anticipation over the Codex: AdMech announcement and you can bet I’ll be bringing the boys of Mars a plenty.

Until next time, may your shots always hit, and your damages always roll high. Dernicus, signing off… BEEP BOOP!