This past weekend was the London GT, the largest 40k event in all of Europe. Over 450 players from across the world traveled to London to participate. This was set to be one of the premier events in the 40k tournament series. I’m sure as many of you are aware, the terrain left a bit (a lot) to be desired, and logistically it was very poorly run (from what I’ve heard: I was not in attendance). But, I don’t want to derail this article with any of that. There are plenty of places all over the internet for you guys to discuss the shortcomings of the LGT. This article will be focused solely on the competitive aspect of the LGT.
-What placed well
-What are the takeaways from the GT from a meta perspective
-And what it all means
Before I get into all that, I want to first congratulate my good friend and teammate, Mike Brandt, for winning Best Overall! Fantastic job Mike! Very well played and much deserved. I’d also like to congratulate fellow American, Geoff Robinson, on winning the invitational. Really beautiful job guys, and the most amazing representation of America imaginable. Way to make lady liberty proud!
So now for the good parts!
LGT was a 450 person, 5 round- battle point tournament. This will skew results a ton. Naturally, it will favor lop sided armies designed to just completely smash their opponents for maximum points (like Custodes) over armies that will consistently put up small point wins (Nurgle Daemons). There was even a person who placed 46th on the competitive track but won all of his games. In other tournament formats such as ITC or NOVA, where tournament record comes first and smashing opponents comes second, armies like Nurgle daemons might be favorable, but here it was definitely the more top heavy lists. This goes back to my 7 Steps to Win a Tournament article, and how you should pick your army for the tournament.
Here’s a mathematical breakdown of the top 10% of the field:
|Primary Faction||Number||% of Top|
This is by far the most diverse top 10% I’ve seen in my life. 14 different factions! What’s even more impressive, is that when you get into the lists with the same faction they are very different as well. 8th edition is looking healthier than ever!
Guard– 2 lists were catachan combat hordes with shield captains for extra counter punch. 2 lists were shooty lists with multiple tank commanders, other fire support, and the classic shield captain supreme command. Finally, the 3rd list was 3 shadowswords.
Dark Eldar- 2 lists were coven based taking lots of grotesques and talos. 1 was a kabal and wych cult hyrbid, and finally the last was pure kabal, hyper MSU shooty. Every list featured 3 ravagers.
Eldar- 2 Eldar lists were very vehicle-centric, featuring multiple fliers and wave serpents; one brought in a spearhead from DE with 3 ravagers and 2 razorwings whilst the other opted for 3 fire prisms. The other two eldar lists were more like my LVO list in that they were balanced, both lists featured spears and reapers in varying numbers and one also ran a ravager spearhead.
Daemons- The Daemon lists were all nurgle based, however all 3 were dramatically different. One list featured 81 (yes 81) Nurglings, another was a mix of plague drones and plaguebearers (one of my own personal lists!) and the last featured 7 Daemon Princes.
Custodes- Both Custodes armies featured the same basic template: an outrider full of bikes, a minimal Guard Battalion and a sprinkling of assassins.
Space Marines- Even Space Marines made an appearance with 2 different builds, 1 being a classic Guilliman gunline with lots of razorbacks and a leviathin dread, whilst the other was ravenguard with 18 infiltrating aggressors and 3 shield captains for counter charge.
Tau- 1 Tau list was relatively balanced, consisting of 55 Fire warriors, 4 hammerheads, 2 riptides and some character support. The other was very lopsided though, as it was centered around 3 storm surges.
Ad Mech- Ad Mech, made not 1, but 2 appearances in the top 10%! Both lists were stygies. One was very top heavy centered around a billion electropriests going first and charging turn 1 to become nigh unkillable. The other was based around 3 units of chicken walkers (2 combat 1 shooty) with some sisters and custodes support.
Tyranids- The first Tyranid list was one based around a bunch of stealers running around and charging things, with GSC stealers coming in as well. The other Tyranid list was vastly different, running 9 carnifexes and 3 (walking!) tyrants. This army also featured some GSC stealers for combat support, but fundamentally played vastly different.
Orks- Even the Ork armies weren’t what you’d expect. The first was the classic horde of 90 boyz and 90 storm boyz, while the other featured 30 mek cannons!
CSM- Both CSM lists were fairly balanced alpha legion lists which both took different elements from lists I’ve personally run before. Both featured some psychic support from TS and 1 alpha legion cultist blob. Where things differ is that one featured khorne berzerker rhinos and the other featured an outrider of bloat drones.
Thousand Sons- These two armies start out fairly similarly with the classic TS characters, a tzangor blob and some enlightened. One flushed it out with more enlightened and psychers and then finally added a bloodletter bomb, while the other opted for Magnus and a moderately heavy tzeentch detachment with 3 burning chariots.
Necrons- Only 1 Necron made it in, my good friend Daniel. And he was running the boogey man: 3 Tesseract Vaults.
Harlequins- I can’t believe it, but index Harlequins cracked the top too! Not even a splash of harlequins in an eldar or DE army. This was a real harlequin army. What a time to be alive!
Well, with a scatter plot of data that big it’s actually really difficult to form some takeaways from that. In essence, to adequately prepare for a GT you’re going to have to prepare for… literally everything.
There are some things that you can learn from though!
Nearly all the Imperial armies took 3 Shield Captains on bikes- This supreme command detachment seemed very popular, so make sure you have tools to adequately deal with that. Similarly, nearly every DE and Eldar army inserted 3 ravagers to it, so if you were planning on running a horde of 2 wound decent save infantry *cough death watch cough*, now might not be the best time.
For me personally, Magnus, Tau, and Tyranids weren’t as prevalent as I expected, and Chaos armies weren’t the typical Abaddon Cultist horde I expected them to be. So, as I personally start making lists in the upcoming weeks, I’ll try and limit the amount of influence those armies have on how I build lists, and put more emphasis on Guard and DE.
Ultimately, I think now more than ever, the game hinges on play skill, and understanding of the game more so than list building. It’s clear from these results that nearly anything can be competitively viable in 8th, and it’s about how you use it more than what you use.
***Caveat*** It’s easy for more casual players to also look at the smattering of results and discern that play skill, nor list matters, and the game is based on luck. This is still empirically incorrect. I recognize nearly 80% of the names associated with the armies in the top 10% as GT winners, consistently high placers, ETC team members etc… Consistent winners coupled with a strong diversity in army representation directly correlates with play skill being the determining factor in 40k.
While the results of any one event are only so meaningful due to small sample size, this is an event that is especially important from a data standpoint given its timing in the competitive 40k circuit. Now, go run some numbers, think on the meta, and try to come up with your own takeaways from the LGT! That’s all for now folks!