Category Archives: Knights Excelsior

Top Three AoS Lists for the Gateway Open 2022

This is the Top Three AoS Lists for the Gateway Open that took place in USA on 20th and 21st August. It involved 43 players vying to be crowned champion in a 5 game tournament.

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The Top Three AoS Lists

Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
Stormhost: Knights Excelsior (Scions of the Storm)
– Mortal Realm: Ghyran
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Lord-Imperatant (175)*
Lord-Relictor (145)*
General
– Command Trait: Master of Magic
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Spell: Thundershock
– Prayer: Translocation
Knight-Incantor (125)*
Spell: Lightning Blast

Battleline
3 x Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers (240)***
3 x Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers (240)**
5 x Vanquishers (125)**

Units
2 x Stormdrake Guard (340)**
Drakerider’s Warblade
3 x Vanguard-Raptors with Longstrike Crossbows (240)***
3 x Vanguard-Raptors with Longstrike Crossbows (240)***
3 x Aetherwings (65)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
Horrorghast (40)

Core Battalions
*Warlord
**Bounty Hunters
***Redemption Brotherhood

Additional Enhancements
Holy Command: Thunderbolt Volley
Holy Command: Call for Aid

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 82
Drops: 8

Brett: A rare venture into top spot by Stormcast with an army composition that is showing a lot of promise in the current meta. A few subtleties in the construction of the list though. Firstly the Grand Strategy – that will force you to hunt down the opponents battleline. It’s a fair chance that you’d be doing that to win anyway, and an equally fair chance that the drakes (Bounty Hunters) will be doing that if any try to hide. The Magnificent Bonus from Warlord is important, Warlord is rarely used by Stormcast, but they probably benefit the most from it with their Holy Commands. The chosen 2 are amoung the best, in one turn one of the raptors are shooting in both the Hero and Shooting phase.

That gives you an effective 9 Raptors worth of shooting (one turn, 18 shots for 36 potential damage). Call for aid returns the Vanquishers the first time they are killed (recycling if you will). The heroes are the standard combination – Lord Imperatant for 7″ charges, Lord Relictor for Translocate (here with the Tome to increase utility) and the Knight Incantor for casting an a clutch dispel (one guaranteed/battle). The 7″ charge applies to any Thunderstrike unit (includes the Lord, Storm Drake and Vanquishers as well as the Annihilators) put only one unit per turn. This list is sometimes called a gambler’s list – you are banking on the 7″ charge (82% chance with reroll) otherwise you have 10 wounds with a 4+ save waiting to die.

This list is a bit low in durability with 85 wounds, mostly on a 4+ vs the normal SCE 3+. And 3 Galletian Veteran units make 28 of those wounds. The Aetherwings and Vanquishers are valuable as screens to begin with to keep the raptors safe. Later turns their mobility (Aetherwings) and damage is useful for board control and grabbing objectives. The drakes provide mobile, swingy damage – their breath weapons can hit hard or whiff horribly. Even the number of drops plays into the strategy – does your opponent make you go first? Or do they try to blunt your shooting (unlikely)? His matches were basically melee armies and the DoK armed (10 Blood Sisters) are overmatched by the Raptors.

Quite a few good players are using variants of this list, with Prime Hunters gone it should see man improvement in SCE win rates. It’s not instant win by any measure but gives you the tools to get the job done. The high drops is a nice touch, as is Horrorghast to maximise the impact on low bravery units of that long range shooting.

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Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar
City: Living City
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: Bastions of Hope
– Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Anointed on Frostheart Phoenix (315)*
General
– Command Trait: Ironoak Artisan
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Lore of Leaves: Lifesurge
Battlemage (100)*
Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Lore of Leaves: Ironoak Skin
Sorceress (90)*
Lore of Leaves: Lifesurge
Gotrek Gurnisson (485)**
Allies

Battleline
10 x Dreadspears (85)*
City Role: Honoured Retinue (Must be 5-20 models)
10 x Dreadspears (85)*
10 x Dreadspears (85)*

Units
4 x Stormdrake Guard (680)**
Drakerider’s Warblade
– Reinforced x 1

Endless Spells & Invocations
Purple Sun of Shyish (70)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Bounty Hunters

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 485 / 400
Wounds: 96
Drops: 3

Brett: Living cities with SCE based hammers was popular before Prime Hunters so no surprise they are back with the new season. Gotrek is arguably a Cities character since he hangs there between adventures. The book Grand Strategy is interesting, you need to control more terrain features than your opponent at the end of the battle. Interesting since that implies keeping the Dreadspears alive, 1 W and a 4+ save makes that “fun”. Doubly so since the Sorceress is likely taking wounds from them to empower her spells (kills a model for +2 to cast). Overall with the Tome there are 3 casters and 3 casts. Lifesurge can heal D6 wounds and Ironoak Skin makes incoming attacks -1 to wound.

The Battlemage has Wildform which you could put on Gotrek (+2 to run and charge) to make him more mobile. Otherwise the Stormdrakes or Anointed could benefit. The Stormdrakes and Gotrek are in bounty hunters (so Gotrek is rocking a 4 damage axe). Using the Anointed early might be risky but he is quite tanking particularly with Ironoak Artisan that also grants +1 to wound rolls with melee weapons, it shouldn’t apply to the mount unfortunately. A big block of Dragons to threaten any open flanks or open objectives, they can also be covered by the Anointed (and cover the Anointed). Lifesurge is very useful healing the 9 wound dragons for D6 every turn. A very mobile hard hitting block. And of course the Purple Sun for both it’s debuff and it’s board control abilities. Your opponent will normally try to avoid it as much as possible.

A dependable list, Gotrek is an interesting addition even though he suffers from a lack of mobility. It’s possible to play around him but with the Dragons and Purple Sun there isn’t that much board to play with. In this case Ryan’s opponents for the most part needed to come to him to play making it much easier to get Gotrek into combat.

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

LEADERS
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (295)
General
– Command Traits: Mage Eater
– Artefacts of Power: The Crimson Crown
Skarr Bloodwrath (105)**
Slaughterpriest (100)**
Hackblade and Wrath-hammer
– Prayers: Blood Sacrifice
Skarbrand (380)**
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (280)***
Artefacts of Power: Skullshard Mantle
Bloodsecrator (125)***

BATTLELINE
Bloodletters (220)*
Bloodletters (220)*
Bloodreavers (80)***
Reaver Blades

OTHER
Untamed Beasts (70)***
Untamed Beasts (70)***

ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
1 x Hexgorger Skulls (50)

CORE BATTALIONS
*Bounty Hunters
**Command Entourage – Magnificent
***Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: 1995/2000

Brett: Ahead of a possible new book (40k is getting new Daemons codex and Tzeentch is due soon, does that mean a new Khorne tome?). Khorne is another faction that really benefited with the end of Prime Hunters, it gives them more freedom with their Greater Daemons. Reapers of Vengence subfaction granting a Horrorghast effect (D3 extra fail battleshock) and a 3″ pile in and fight again command. Mage-Eater and Skullshatter are the mandatory trait/artefact but grant a spell deny and a 2+ spell ignore. The Crimson Crown effectively grants a free CP every round (5) that can only be used on the bearer’s warscroll ability (if they have one). In this case a 6″ pile in within 16″.

The key to Khorne in AoS are the big Daemons,, the Bloodthirsters and Skarbrand. Unusually there is no (Slaves to Darkness) Daemon Prince to affect movement/charges. Each of the Greater Daemons can do appalling levels of damage but each has an element of chance so they can also whiff horribly. The Unfettered Rage is probably the least damaging with a 12″ ranged attack and 6 melee attacks all doing D3 damage. The Insensate Range. His number of ranged attacks and to wound chance in melee degrade with wounds. Insensate Rage does D6 damage with his axe, and the number of attacks plus the Mortal Wounds (MW) caused on 6s degrade. The MW are to all units within 8″. Your best tactic against these is to get some damage in early to degrade them. Skarbrand needs to be treated differently though.

Skarbrand’s attacks increase as he degrades, and if he isn’t engaged in combat he fights next round as if he was in his lowest bracket. His main weapon is a flat 3 damage, his 8″ ranged attack is a 50% chance to inflict 1 MW for each successful attack and his Carnage 8MW. At lowest bracket it does that on a 1. Skarbrand either needs to be engaged all the time or removed early. Haven’t even mentioned the smaller heroes – Skarr can return to the field after death on a 8 (2D6) and is an anti horde fighter (either 5 attacks or the number of models within 3″), the Bloodsectator forces wizards to reroll successful casts within 16″. He also grants an additional attack to Khorne units within 16″. The Slaughter Priest is here to farm Blood Tithe points for summoning.

Finally we finish with the troops and summoning. Reinforced Bloodletters get +1 to hit (for 20 models in the unit), 6s do MWs, they can force rerolls on successful bravery rolls for the enemy and on a battleshock roll of 1 return D6 models to this unit. They only have 1 wound and a 5+ save so die easily. Bloodreavers are even more fragile but double up on the bonus attacks from the presence of a Bloodsectrator. Unnamed Beasts are very fragile but bring a lot of mobility and potentially grab outlying points or Battle Tactics. The Hexgorger is a nice touch, it is a prayer that is an endless spell. It inflicts a -2 to casting within 12″ and if a wizard within 8″ casts an 8, the spell fails, they forget the spell and take D6 MW. Nice.

That’s a lot to take in for a simple army that wants to get close,bash, stab, slash and generally maim you. You are best to shoot them from afar and hope for the best. When you look at his opponents though almost all of them had decent shooting (not the Skaven, those poor rats) but only one was able to use it effectively. That’s the difference between 24″ and 30″ range I suspect.

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Allegiance: Legion of the First Prince
Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Be’Lakor, the Dark Master (360)*
Lore of Ruinous Sorcery: The Master’s Command
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (280)
General
– Command Trait: Ruinous Aura
Kairos Fateweaver (435)
Lore of Ruinous Sorcery: The Master’s Command
The Blue Scribes (160)*
Lore of Ruinous Sorcery: The Master’s Command
The Contorted Epitome (245)*
Artefact: Fourfold Blade
– Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist

Battleline
5 x Flesh Hounds (105)*
5 x Flesh Hounds (105)*
5 x Flesh Hounds (105)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
Emerald Lifeswarm (60)
Purple Sun of Shyish (70)
Umbral Spellportal (70)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 84
Drops: 3

Brett: Another hero based list with 3 combat and 2 caster heroes, all with 10″+ movement. 3 Greater Demons is fairly common, we’ve already covered The Unfettered Rage above. Otherwise, and even with the Khorne elements, this is a casting army with 7 casts. The “Masters Command” on most of the leaders lets model, if slain, fight on Death. Otherwise Be’Lakor’s warscroll spell is enfeeblement giving an opposing unit -1 to wound. That’s on top of his once a game ability to stop pretty much all actions from a unit on a 3+ in each phase. Kairos is the epitome of a caster, his key ability is everytime he casts, dispels or unbinds he can set the lowest D6 (of the 2D6 roll) to match the highest D6. To summon the Purple Sun or his warscroll spell he only needs one 4 on 2 dice.

His Oracle of Eternity is also clutch, allowing him to set the number on a dice once per battle. It doesn’t have to be his roll, there is no range and no limit on what type of roll it’s used on. That’s on top of his 3 spells. You may be wondering why there is no Cogs in this list, the Blue Scribes are why. They have a warscroll spell with a casting value (CV) of 4 that allows other wizards to reroll. They can also copy spells and ensure successful casting once per hero phase on a 2+. Kairos then summons whatever Endless Spells are needed that turn. Umbral Spellportal to extend spells range, Purple Sun for threat and Lifeswarm for healing. The Contorted Epitome is mostly a combat unit but Ghost mist is a good choice to hide it’s approach.

The Flesh Hounds are here because outside of Gargants you need battle line. They are somewhat durable (2 wounds on a 5+), fast (8″) and annoying in combat. They are expendable and of course more units can be summoned. For LoFP it’s a battleline unit based on the Chaos god they represent (Bloodletters, Horrors, Demonettes etc). Belakor can summon any of these or 6 Furies. Chose which hero based on what you need and where it on the board (the reinforcements are arriving within 12″). A very broad range of abilities that it would be hard to track and apply but that means the list plays well into almost anything. The only loss was to 2nd place, Gotrek is great into daemons and the Stormdrake block is capable of clearing anything in this list in a turn. Once the Greater Daemons start dying this list is pretty fragile.

Final Tournament Placings