Category Archives: Aaron Newbom

Winning Socal open with Dhom-hain


The Story:
Socal open is the Culmination of a year long Journey for me. Competing for me is not so much about rank and wins as it is the Path to growth and constantly chasing a higher level of skill. For all of 2022, I played the arguably worst army in the game, Kruleboyz, and resolved to master them. I chose them in no small part because it would be a huge challenge. I knew that if I played the strongest armies it wouldn’t force me to learn and grow nearly as much; And grow I did but after a year on the struggle bus even I needed a bit of a break from the frustration of randomness in a competitive game.

I picked up Idoneth because while they’re not a power army, they’re close to 50%, and in my thinking, that means the better player should win. The fish elves would be a great metric to judge my progress and see how I measured up to the best in a fair fight, but I also still hold growth as my main goal, so I set a new mission for myself. I wanted to win an RTT, or 4-1+ a GT, with every subfaction in IDK.

My first result was with Nautilar in Arizona, playing to a strong 4-1 finish with Frostheart phoenix and turtle to create a tanky death ball. Next, at Old Town Throwdown summer smash, I played to another 4-1 with Fuethan just before the buffs. That was a hard, fought grind, but I squeezed it out. After that, I. picked up Dhom-Hain and got a top 8 with 3-1-1 in Arizona smite club open, but I couldn’t quite get it, so I had to try again. Which brings us to the Socal open with my new and improved list

The List:

Army Faction: Idoneth Deepkin
Subfaction: Dhom-Hain
– Grand Strategy: Dominion of the Deep Ones
– Triumph: Bloodthirsty

Isharann Tidecaster (130)*
– Command Traits: Teachings of the Túrscoll
– Spells: Hoarfrost
Battlemage (100)*
Magic of the Realms: Wildform (Ghur)
Akhelian Thrallmaster (100)**
Eidolon of Mathlann Aspect of the Storm (300)**
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
Akhelian Thrallmaster (100)**

Namarti Thralls (220)**
Icon Bearer
Namarti Thralls (220)**
Icon Bearer
Namarti Thralls (110)**
Icon Bearer

Akhelian Leviadon (400)**
– Mount Traits: Reverberating Carapace

Akhelian Allopexes (150)**
Retarius Net Launcher, Barbed Hooks and Blades
Akhelian Allopexes (150)**
Retarius Net Launcher, Barbed Hooks and Blades

1 x Gloomtide Shipwreck (0)

*Andtorian Acolytes
**Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: 1980/2000

When building the Dhom Hain list, I knew I’d have to lean into its strategy as hard as I possibly could if I wanted it to work. Dhom-hain is not an army of reasonable choices. It is an army of explosive, risky power. With this in mind I looked to maximize the namarti savages rule, which allows me to charge if I kill everything within 3’ (and I’m going first in the round) and then fight again (not immediately).

Step 1: Killing everything within 3”.
Thralls can hit pretty hard, but on their own they’re just not getting there most of the time. They need a ton of support to do their job. 2 Thrallmasters granting exploding 6’s and reroll 1’s to hit up their consistency a ton, as well as the Leviadon giving them +1 to hit targets Wholly within 15”. These abilities combine to make the Thralls hit more times than they even have attacks. On average, dive 41 attacks from 20 thralls will hit 47-48 times. On top of that, the storm grants +1 to the wound, and Hoarfrost can increase their rend by 1-2 if you get a little lucky.

All of these auras combine to make an absolute blender of a unit, but it is 1030 points of buff pieces to set up a 220 point thrall unit.

Step 2: Charging out of phase.
If I manage to kill everything around me, I can immediately attempt a charge. This is super powerful, but anyone who has played it knows it’s not as amazing as it sounds. The thing about charging out of phase is that you can not use the command to reroll that charge, so you’re extremely reliant on the dice. I found a solution to that problem, by running 1980, I often had a triumph to reroll, which immediately adds some consistency. Additionally, the Isharann ritual for +1 to run and charge on flood tide helps things line up in your favor. But the real bit to seal the deal is the ghurish battlemage, who’s spell grants +2 to run and charge. Having run and charge, +3 to run and charge, with both a command and a triumph to reroll, and being able to charge a second time can give the thralls a max threat range of 53” in a single turn if everything lined up perfectly, and allows you to pop off much more consistently.

With this game plan laid out, and everything tuned to my goals, it was time to really put it to the test at the Socal open


Round 1 vs Frank Deloachs Big Waaagh on Geomantic Pulse

Army Faction: Orruk Warclans
Army Type: Big Waaagh!
– Grand Strategy: Waaagh!
– Triumphs: Indomitable

1 x Orruk Weirdnob Shaman (90)*
– General
– Command Traits: Shaman of the Chilled Lands
– Spells: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork, Foot of Gork
1 x Wardokk (80)*
Spells: Merciless Blizzard, Gorkamorka’s War Cry
1 x Wurrgog Prophet (170)*
Artefacts: Glowin’ Tattooz
– Spells: Hoarfrost, Levitate
1 x Gobsprakk (240)***
1 x Orruk Warchanter (120)***
– Warbeats: Fixin’ Beat
1 x Orruk Warchanter (120)***
– Warbeats: Get ’Em Beat

5 x Orruk Brutes (140)**
Brute Boss
– Gore-choppa
– Boss Choppa
– Jagged Gore-hacka
5 x Orruk Brutes (140)**
Brute Boss
– Gore-choppa
– Jagged Gore-hacka
– Boss Choppa
10 x Orruk Ardboys (220)***
Gorkamorka Glyph Bearer
– Ardboy Boss
– Ardboy Choppas

6 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (340)**
Gore-grunta Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
6 x Weirdbrute Wrekkaz (250)**
3 x Morgok’s Krushas (80)**

*Andtorian Acolytes
**Ironjawz Fist

TOTAL POINTS: (1990/2000)

The game began with me taking away the top of turn and flipping the tides so that when push came to shove in this beatdown matchup, I’d have control of turn 2. I had deployed as a dense castle in the center with flanking sharks and one wizard in a corner. 

Frank came in with pigs but was surprised by how hard my crack back was as my pile ins removed 5/6 pigs.

On my turn, I moved up and scored magical dominance from standing in the corner. Frank couldn’t afford to expose his Gobbsprakk just to shut off my tactic. for the rest of the game, I neglected to attempt any spell casts so as to deny him Gobbsprakk mortals.

Turn 2 came and I had always strikes first vs his entirely melee army. He had top of turn but couldnt accomplish much without taking huge damage first. On my turn I  proceeded to take out multiple other units and then doubled him to secure the win. Franks list was very nasty but Dhom hain was a solid counter to it.

Round 2 vs the Noog’s BOC on Fountains of Frost

Army Faction: Beasts of Chaos
Army Subfaction: Darkwalkers
– Grand Strategy: Desecrating Brayherd
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

1 x Doombull (180)*
– Command Traits: Bestial Cunning
– Artefacts: Brayblast Trumpet
1 x Great Bray-Shaman (100)**
Spells: Merciless Blizzard

10 x Ungors (80)**
Brayhorn Blower
– Banner Bearer
– Halfhorn
– Pitted Blade
9 x Bullgors (630)**
– Warheard Drummer
– Warheard Banner Bearer
– Paired Cleaving Axes
10 x Ungor Raiders (130)**

10 x Ungor Raiders (130)*
6 x Beasts of Chaos Tzaangor Enlightened (180)*
6 x Beasts of Chaos Tzaangor Enlightened (180)*
3 x Beasts of Chaos Slaangor Fiendbloods (130)*
10 x Ungor Raiders (130)**
1 x Cockatrice (120)**

*Battle Regiment
**Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: (1990/2000)

Flipping the tides for Always Strikes first turn 2 meant that when he had to come in off the board edges, he couldn’t afford to be aggressive. He played far back instead, but I used chain charging to wipe ~1300 points of models in a single turn and lock him into a corner. The extra mobility i got from multi charges meant his backline castle ended up getting shredded despite his careful placement.

He tried to sneak back into the game, but idoneth mobility and me winning all 4 priority rolls helped me counter his clever mobility tactics. Despite the heavy kill ratio, the overall points scored were fairly close as it was a 6 objective map, and BOC is incredible on maps like that

Round 3 vs Brian’s Khorne on Nexus Collapse

Army Faction: Blades of Khorne
Army Subfaction: Reapers of Vengeance
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs

1 x Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (310)
1 x Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (310)*
1 x Bloodsecrator (120)*
– Nullstone Adornments: Pouch of Nulldust
1 x Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster (300)**
– Command Traits: Firebrand
– Artefacts: Halo of Blood
– Prayers: Bronzed Flesh
1 x Slaughterpriest (110)**
Bloodbathed Axe
– Prayers: Blood Sacrifice
1 x Realmgore Ritualist (110)**
Prayers: Killer Instinct
– Aspects of the Champion (Archived): Tunnel Master (Archived)

10 x Blood Warriors (190)*
Blood Champion
– Icon Bearer
– Goreaxe and Gorefist
– Goreglaive
5 x Flesh Hounds (100)*
10 x Blood Warriors (190)*
Icon Bearer
– Blood Champion
– Goreaxe and Gorefist
5 x Flesh Hounds (100)*

1 x Hexgorger Skulls (50)

1 x Skull Altar (0)

1 x Khorgorath (90)*

*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage – Magnificent

TOTAL POINTS: (1980/2000)

This matchup was decided more than anything by it being the first time he had ever played the mission. It’s a weird one that you have to get a few reps to understand. The score was extremely lopsided, but the game itself was really techy and fun. It was a much closer game than it looked on paper overall. 

His double boom-thirsters (mortal wound AOE demons) were terrifying, and I spent the whole game very carefully measuring to make sure they couldn’t blow my army up. Turn 4, I messed that up, and he threatened to bomb me but failed to roll any 6s even with an extra attack. After that, all in play, I was able to clean up his forces bottom of 4.

Round 4 vs Kyle Calips OBR on spring the trap

Army Faction: Ossiarch Bonereapers
Army Subfaction: Mortis Praetorians
– Grand Strategy: Barren Icescape
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

1 x Katakros (500)*
1 x Arkhan the Black (380)**
1 x Liege-Kavalos (180)**
– Command Traits: Mighty Archaeossian
– Artefacts: Lode of Saturation
1 x Mortisan Boneshaper (140)**
Artefacts: Artisan’s Key
– Spells: Hoarfrost

5 x Kavalos Deathriders (190)*
Mortek Hekatos
– Necrophoros
– Nadirite Blade
30 x Mortek Guard (130)*
Mortek Hekatos
– 3 x Necrophoros
– Nadirite Blade
– 3 x Soulcleaver Greatblade
2 x Morghast Archai (220)*
Spirit Halberd

*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage – Magnificent

TOTAL POINTS: (2000/2000)

This game was by far the hardest one of the whole event. Kyle played an extremely tight game, including denying me a tactic by countercharging the opposite direction I expected and barely tagging a unit that wasn’t even the charge target. On the same note, I repeatedly forced him into difficult positions with movement tricks and pile ins. I ended up grabbing it basically off of a critical 6″ redeploy to take the game by just a point. 

The game was neck and neck from start to finish and until the very last moment I had no idea who would take it. Great game and a great opponent 

Round 5 vs Tads Gitz on power flux

Allegiance: Gloomspite Gitz
– Gittish Horde: Jaws of Mork
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: Overshadow
– Triumphs: Indomitable

Skragrott, The Loonking (230)**
Squigboss with Gnasha-squig (110)***
– Command Trait: The Clammy Hand
Madcap Shaman (70)*
Artefact: Moonface Mommet
– Lore of Primal Frost: Hoarfrost
Webspinner Shaman (65)*
Lore of Primal Frost: Merciless Blizzard

24 x Squig Herd (280)***
Reinforced x 1
24 x Squig Herd (280)***
Reinforced x 1
10 x Boingrot Bounderz (300)**
Reinforced x 1
5 x Boingrot Bounderz (150)**
5 x Boingrot Bounderz (150)**

5 x Gobbapalooza (170)**
Lore of the Moonclans: Itchy Nuisance
1 x Marshcrawla Sloggoth (170)**

*Andtorian Acolytes
**Battle Regiment
***Battle Regiment

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 170 / 400
Wounds: 171
Drops: 4

I deployed my army as a melee castle with a wizard off to each side being terrain but up forward, making it nearly impossible for him to score magical dominance turn 1. My castle was just far enough back that he could realistically come into me, but it’d have to be full send. 

Tad decided to go for it but didn’t manage to connect the way he’d hoped, and my entire army piled in and mopped up his squigs. On my turn, I rushed up the board, tagged corners of units, and liked in to kill them after taking very little damage. 

Then I doubled him and tabled his entire army top of turn 2

It was honestly brutal, but we had a good laugh about it. He was left with a risky play, and it didn’t pan out. BY THE POWER OF MATHLANN, I HAVE THE POWER!!! (And a Golden ticket to the World Championship in the lost city of Atlanta)


All in All Dhom hain is a super fun faction to play, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for exciting games, but I will also caution that it’s MUCH harder to play than it looks like. Most of the army is single wound infantry with 5+ saves, and all of your games are balanced on a knifes edge. If you want a heart-pounding, technically demanding, explosive army, then it is amazingly fun to play. Unfortunately, the Battlemage of Ghur is rotating out essentially immediately, so changes to the list will have to be made. Creativity and list tweaking is a huge part of the game, and i’m excited to find what new direction to take with it.

Ironjaws Tech: Mighty Retreat


Ironjaws is an army defined, more than anything else by the ability “Mighty Destroyers”. Mighty Destroyers is a command ability used in the hero phase to Move, Pile in, or charge. Jaws are Infamous for crossing the board in a single turn and blowing up half your army in one explosive charge, but true followers of Gork know that Cunnin’ is the second half of brutal.

Masters of the Waaagh like Scooter Walters, Noah Singh, and Greg Brewer have long been utilizing a very Cunnin’ maneuver called the Mighty Retreat. To understand the Mighty retreat we have to dive into the mechanics of Mighty Destroyers.

When you issue the command, if the unit is outside of 12″ of any enemies it can make a normal move action. But if it’s within 12″ and outside of 3″ that unit must immediately make a charge move instead. What’s interesting here is that this occurs before the movement phase, meaning you can charge in, then retreat move in the same turn. You can give em the ol’ Goregrunta Reach around and get into some REALLY nasty positions with this surprise movement as most people don’t realize you can do this.

The charge

But merely getting into position won’t win you the games, u’z gotta Smash N Bash em. You have to be able to capitalize on that position, and here’s where the really interesting part comes in. As long as you’ve completed a charge move this turn, you can pile in, even if you’re not in combat. This means that you can retreat and end just outside an enemy unit, and then pile in during the combat phase to attack them.

The mighty retreat

Not only does this let you engage in unexpected places, it also allows you to mess with combat sequencing as your unit is technically outside of combat until you do your pile in, so your guaranteed to hit the enemy before they hit you. Adding this trick to your arsenal can help you sneak into juicy bits and prove once again that Green iz Best.

The Nova Open and the Future of Large AoS Events


By Aaron Newbom

The Nova Open is a longstanding and large scale Warhammer convention with some of the biggest tournaments in the world. Held in Washington DC, it attracts players of all types for painting, competition, reveals, invitationals, and more.

I decided to fly out to the East coast and give it my all. In the end I dropped at 4-2 due to a back injury but had an absolute blast, playing against many of the best players in the world and meeting a ton of great people.

The event featured an experimental 8 round structure, consisting of the classic 5 rounds followed by all players who chose to continue being split into 8 man pods for a final 3 rounds. Any new structure will of course have its growing pains and be met with mixed reviews, but I personally felt it was a definite improvement over the classic structure of 5 rounds and cut to top 8 as it allowed anyone who chose to, to continue playing a full 8 games, but let those who wished to drop do so with minimal disruption.

Another key note is that the nova invitational, a 4 round Rtt on Thursday, gave all of its players a 19-1 bye round 1 to help compensate for the exhaustion of having to play for 4 straight days.

I took it up on myself to reach out to the head judge, T.O., and some top Players to get their viewpoints and opinions on how the whole event went, and am also going to voice my own thoughts at the end.

I reached out to Gareth Thomas, a high profile T.O. and head judge at Nova, James O’Brien (Head TO) and Gavin Grigar one of the best players in the world.

Nova was an experimental structure that could be used in the future for other large scale AOS events. As one of the TO’s/judges you experienced it all at a high level. What would you say really worked about the event?

Gareth Thomas (Head Judge): By experimental structure, I’ll assume we’re talking about pods. The 8 round pod system is a format new to AoS, but has been used in some 40k events for a while. I can see some obvious advantages.

The first is that, after 8 rounds, you are left with a single undefeated player. There is no need for seconaries to determine who was the “best” player at the event. One undisputed champion.

Secondly, everyone who wants to can play 8 games of warhammer. Traditionally, large AoS events have use a top-cut system where only the top players play after the 5th round. Which means that the vast majority of players are left with a day without a game. Now for some players, that might be a good thing – they may only want to play 5 games and spend the extra day seeing the rest of the convention or the surrounding city. The pod system allows players to decide, after 5 games, if they wish to continue to play or not.

James O’Brien (Head TO): Overall structure worked very well. I wanted to achieve two things; firstly, feedback I have been given on a ‘top 8’ cut is that it is not inclusive or particularly enticing to new players as they see ‘the best’ players getting 8 games for their entry fee, whereas everyone else only gets 5. I also wanted to give players flexibility to play as many or as few games as they wanted, so that they felt they could have the event be tailored to what they wanted. Nova is a great convention with a lot of other events players want to be part of, and DC has a lot for people to go visit too- I wanted something that gave them the opportunity to do that. The format worked for both of these things – the top and bottom brackets had all players complete all 8 rounds, suggesting that the new folks did get what they were looking for, as well as the elite folks doing their thing. I was also happy that some people chose to do other things on Sunday; for example we had three players drop after 5 rounds to play in the Underworlds GT.

Gavin Grigar (Player): I really liked the pods as an idea for Sunday, as it allows people to opt in or out at their leisure. Player choice always feels nice.”

What were some of the areas that you felt fell short of what they could be, and how might you change them?

Gareth Thomas: I think the pod system is great for large events, but is often beholden to the restrictions of the larger convention/event. I think a “better” structure for 8 games would be a 3-2-3 format. Play a traditional 3 games on day one, a traditional 2 games on day 2, and then come back on day 3 for what essentially becomes a traditional 3 round RTT, but only against players of the same skill (or who had a similar win record to you). If you don’t want to play that additional RTT, then you still get the traditional 5 round GT system.

An issue with the 3-3-2 format that was used at Nova is that there are two obvious places for players to drop – after the 5th round when pods start, and then again at the end of that second day. So you have two rounds of players dropping, which can upset the pod system.

The massive, obvious, downside to this is that players are forced into 3 games on day 3, which is often the day that players will be travelling home and so wish to leave early, and the day that the TOs need to pack up etc… So perhaps sticking to only 2 games on the final day is better. All depends on the event calendar.

James O’Brien: Setting defined pods of 8 was a bit too structured and led to byes when people chose to drop in rounds 6-8. BCP developers suggested that in future we do ‘soft pods’ outside the top 8, with all the players in a given record being put in one group (eg all the 3-2 go into one pod). This then means that you would only ever get a max of one bye per group (and 4 total). Players can still be incentivized to win their pod by giving a prize to everyone in each pod who goes 3-0 in the last 3 rounds.

Gavin Grigar: Not having player placed terrain was a let down, I think it adds quite a bit of skill expression to GTs and it also cleans up the placement of terrain in between rounds. I would’ve also have liked to see at least one more 6 objective mission in the first 5 games, the mission choices early felt inundated with condensed boards.

The Invitational players getting a round 1 bye was met with a lot of mixed opinions. What are your thoughts on it?

Gareth Thomas: I can see why the invitational players were given a first round bye. They had played, potentially, 4 rounds of warhammer the day before an 8 round GT. Of course they need a bit of a lie in. I do think the scoring for that bye was a bit unfortunate. Any player who took the bye received a 19 point victory. Of the 16 players in the invitational, only Tom Guan decided to not take the bye. He played the first round of the GT instead, and won with a 13 point victory. Therefore the players who did not play recieved a 6 point leg up on him.

Tom failed to make the final 8 cut at the end of 5 rounds by 2 points.

So, I think, in short, a lower points tally for the byes would be better. If you really want a big first round score, you have to play for it.

James O’Brien: I am fan of doing it, but will re-evaluate exactly how it works in future. We gave them a ‘max win’ for round 1, which was 19-1 in this case. That was probably too many points, evidenced by the invitational players (3 of them IIRC) who chose to play R1 being disadvantaged by doing so. I’d probably do 15-5 next time, and maybe only offer a bye to the 8 x players who won R1 in the invite

Gavin Grigar: I think giving a bye and a 19-1 differential to all 16 players of the invitational was a little much, if they had scaled the differential to their placing in the invitational I believed it would’ve worked better as it would’ve incentivized the players that got knocked out early to play in the first round of the GT.

Across a long event, differential scoring can cause dramatic scoring differences between players in the same win bracket. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on perspective. How do you feel about this as opposed to something like the West Coast pack or battle points?

Gareth Thomas: That’s a can of worms, and probably worthy of much deeper discussion than we can have here. But in short…

There are three main tournament scoring systems that are used in Sigmar, at least in the US. Battle points (i.e. just add up all the points you score in the games). Differential (a sliding scale point system based on how many points you win (or lose) by). And then there’s OTTD (or West Coast) scoring, which is a scoring system that doesn’t care what the points in the game were, you just receive points for winning, for scoring battle tactics, for scoring grand strategies, and then denying your opponent from scoring BTs and GS.

The issue with Battle Points is well known. Not every mission scores the same as others – so winning one round is not the same value as winning another (although this is less of a factor with the current GHB – the missions are much more consistently scored). Also since all that matters is your own score and not that of your opponent, there is no difference between winning 32-0 or winning 32-31. You often see players say “well we both agree I win, let’s just say that I get max points, and you get max points minus 1”.

Differential alleviates that issue somewhat by scoring based on how much you beat your opponent by – there is incentive to prevent your opponent from scoring. An issue with this is that if you are drawn against an opponent who, for whatever reason, totally counters you and blows you out, you are effectively out of the running (even for the 4-1 bracket).

I’m obviously quite biased, but I think OTTD scoring is a nice compromise. Since the in-game score doesn’t matter at all, there is no punishment for getting smashed, but equally because you receive points for denying your opponent’s tactics, there is incentive to not give them free tactics/strategy.

James O’Brien: From my perspective it does not create dramatic differences. The BP differential is applied after your W/L record so is only a tie breaker within the same record. It serves the same function as any other form of tie break; GW events use W/L, GS, BT, VPs for example. Players expecting to do well should come into an event having read the pack properly, understanding how the specifics of that event work, tailored their list to the event and practiced with the missions and terrain details provided.

I think this system has several advantages over the West Coast scoring system. The West Coast systems places too much weight on certain aspects of scoring whilst undervaluing others. With no specific reward for scoring more primary points than your opponent, it overlooks the standing on circles part of the game. It therefore leans too heavily on battle tactics and grand strategy, both scoring yours and denying your opponent’s. This is problematic; dedicated points for denying specific things (BT, GS) leads to poor player behaviour/NPE/feel bads around these things by creating a point of conflict. Secondly it further reinforces the meta into armies with easy BT and GS (looking at you, SBGL and OBR…).

Both scoring mechanisms (BP diff and West Coast) are designed as anti-collusion measures to stop people giving out points to their opponent ‘I’ll concede if you give me…’, which steps them up from the basic VP or BT/GS scoring systems. BP diff just better captures all aspects of game scoring, rather than zeroing in on only some of it.

I’d also add that my system is designed to make it really hard to get 20-0. One player basically has to walk away in battle round 1 for it to happen; that’s deliberate. It doesn’t feel great to score zero for something you have put time and effort into. In this system, 20-0 are sufficiently scarce that we can audit each one – very often ending up having coaching conversations with one or both players.

Gavin Grigar: The differential scoring was an effective way to create separation in win brackets, which is one of the really challenging things of a huge tournament like NOVA. I think it did a fine job, but it does marginalize some of the armies designed to win small and it did push a lot of the invitational participants directly into the first 2 pods which feels like an oversight.

Overall it was a great event and I plan on attending again next year. Big thanks to everyone who made it possible!

In conclusion I think the biggest takeaway from the whole event is that our community, events, and competitive circuits just keep getting better and better. With people like James and Gareth, plus many others across the world, forging forward and trying out bold new ideas, we all end up better for it. Nova was one of the best events I’ve yet to attend and I’m excited to return next year and see what they have in store for us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences at/about nova, as well as any other events you found to be interesting or exciting!

Stormcast Tech: Tele-Guarding


Stormcast are known for two things. Dragons and Paladins. Today’s article is about both and a super nasty way to get the most out of the combination of the two.

Everyone loves Karazai and Krondys. Beautiful sculpts with compelling lore and super dope abilities, but they have a critical flaw that’s kept them from seeing much competitive play. 18 wounds, even on a 3+ save, is surprisingly easy to kill.

All too often your badass centerpiece model would get blown off the table in a single shooting/hero phase leaving you missing your key hammer. Several top players found an elegant solution to this: Praetors.

Praetors are a bodyguarding unit that sucks wounds away from your heroes, and Krondys/Karazai are indeed stormcast heroes. But even then, Praetors are slow, and your dragons are trying to fly about the battle wreaking havoc. So what are we to do to keep your dragons from being vulnerable once they’ve gone aggressive?

Well here is the really clever bit. By bringing along a lord relictor with translocation, you can teleport up those Praetors to remain in bodyguard range of your dragons.

“But once my dragon charges in those Praetors will be left 9″ out and won’t be up front with my hero!”

There is truth here, but also a really cool interaction.

Krondys and Karazai are on MASSIVE bases. Approximately 6.5 inches across. What this means is that even if your dragon charges into the fight, the back of their base will still be just 2.5″ away from the Praetors, allowing the bodyguards to stay out of the fight (where they might be targeted by opposing attacks leaving your dragon vulnerable) but still keep your dragons alive so they can rip the heart out of the enemy army.

If you’ve been wanting to field those 520 point terrors but haven’t been able to keep them alive, try this strategy out in your next game!

Kruleboyz Tech: House Hopping


Following on from Aaron’s article last week on Big Waaagh stacks, this week, his gaze shifts to the Man-skewers of the Kruleboyz.

Kruleboyz, and more specifically Man-Skewer Bolt-Boyz, have had a critical weakness since launch.

Man-Skewers feature two shooting profiles on their warscroll, Aimed shot and Hasty shot. Aimed shot has a range of 24″, but unfortunately cannot be used if the unit has moved. What’s a Bolt-Boy to do if the opponent simply hangs out 24.1″ away? Cry? No, a true Swampboss is never bothered by nonsense like “playing fair” and “good and honest fighting”. Instead we are going to abuse poorly worded terrain rules in a proper Mork-y way.

Hopping in

Defensible terrain, also known as Garrisons, allows you to enter instead of a move action if you’re wholly within 6″ of the terrain. What’s important about this is that it does not count as moving. That means you still get to shoot a full 24″. Additionally, your range can be drawn from any point of the terrain piece, so all 9 of those big yellers bolt Boyz can draw from a 1mm point on the corner of a building. If the building is 6″ long, counting the hop in, you have extended your range by 10-12″ farther than your opponent expected.

Hopping out

Even better, hopping out doesn’t count as a move action either. When you leave a garrison, you only have to be within 6″, not wholly, meaning your range is further extended by 7″. Opponents hoping to hang outside your range can find themselves under heavy fire they didn’t expect and too far away to punish it.

This technique is excellent for sniping away supporting characters. The aimed shot is not exactly high damage, but it’s accurate and consistent, making it the perfect tool to pop 5-6 wound wizards and buff pieces. It’s also a great way to have your Bolt Boyz manoeuvre to contest objectives without giving up entire turns of shooting.

Finally, there is another big advantage to holding up in a den of destro sneakyness. Unleash hell can be drawn from any point setting up disgustingly powerful anti charge fire, and your Boyz are -1 to hit and +1 save while in that garrison. On top of that, you can exit a garrison even if tagged in combat and still shoot as it was neither a retreat nor a move. This really makes aggression into your juicy bits a lot less rewarding and much more heavily punished than it otherwise would be.

So get out there and pretend it’s 2006, flip some houses and rain green death on your enemies.

Big Waaagh Tech: Waaagh stacks


Big Waaagh is an army that relies on building stacks of Waaagh Points, which slowly applies stacking buffs until every unit in your army becomes Big Green Murder Machines. There are many ways to generate Waaagh Points, from landing charges to heroic actions, and especially by having units stuck in at the end of combat.

That last method is what has created the technique known as Waaagh Stacks.

A Waaagh Stack is when several units (typically a screen and several heroes) are tightly confined near each other so that when you engage with one, you engage with them all. In most situations, this would do more harm than good—a single unit tying up multiple units (restricting their movement)—so what’s the benefit in doing this?

Two characters, less than 3″ from an Arboyz screen

The answer lies in Waaagh points and how critical they are to your army! For each of those units stuck at the end of the combat, you get an additional WP. Even if they can’t do damage (shamans, wurrgogs, etc.), they’re still stacking buffs for the rest of your army. The difference of 2-3 WP early game is huge, often reaching your powerful buffs a whole turn earlier, allowing you to take control of the game much sooner than your opponent might have expected.

Even outside of the early game, an early WAAAGH can be detrimental to your opponent. This technique has allowed me to hit full stacks, twice, in multiple combat-heavy games. Getting +1 to charge, cast, and hit at the top of round 2 instead of round 3 has cascading results as your army chops your opponent down instead of dawdling and trying to accumulate resources.

Many of the risks from the Waaagh Stack technique are mitigated by natural functions of the army. For example, Orruk characters tend to be pretty tough and fighty, so a few stray hits reaching over your screen are very unlikely to actually kill your units.

Additionally, mechanics like the Wurrgog stare and teleports from the Big Green Hand of Mork can get you unstuck and ready to fight on your own terms. This prevents your opponent from gaining a strategic advantage off of their plays while you reap the rewards.

Every small edge matters in a game of Age of Sigmar, so remember, Stay Stacked or Get Clapped.