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NZ Masters Tournament 2018 Road to the Top Overview With the New Zealand Masters Tournament 3 weeks away, and list submissions due in 6 days, I figure it’s close enough to talk about my preparation for this tournament. Unsurprisingly, I’ll be running the Pestilens allegiance and going for the top, with the goal yet again of being the first Clan Pestilens player to win or place a major event. Over the last 2 months my list has gone through a heavy amount of changes, and I ran a version of the list at the recent Notorious Hammer tournament to test the waters as well as countless practice games with close friends to streamline the list and reach a standard of consistent performance I’m happy with. The NZ Masters tournament is an invitational tournament, where the top 20 players n the NZ rankings are offered places at the event and then the invites work there way up from 20 if people decline. The New Zealand tournament meta is relatively consistent and features roughly 20 consistent contenders at most tournaments with a few more players that make the odd tournament here and there, and most people are known clearly for the lists they take and change them rarely. The most popular armies currently are Stormcast Eternals, Nurgle and Legions of Nagash, with the rest of the players displaying a wide variety of forces from all Grand Alliances. This being the case, for anyone to be a contender for the top spots they have to pack tools that let their force deal with decent armor saves, long-range magic and large numbers. All the recent winners of local tournaments will be attending the Masters, and with every player being in the tier of rankings where they on average win 3 or more games in a 5-game event the competition is guaranteed to be fierce. The Event The tournament follows the same pattern as most tournaments, 5 games with 3 on day 1 and 2 more on the second day. Realm Artefacts are available for list building, but the Realm Spells and Realmscape effects will not be. While most NZ tournaments have relaxed painting standards, 3 color minimum at most with the incentive to paint your army being bonus hobby points for the soft scores, at the Masters a model that is not painted to a degree that demonstrates completion (based, highlighted, washed etc) will simply not be allowed to be used. The tournament is in the Kapiti Coast region of NZ, a 45 minute drive from the capital city hosted by the local wargaming club there, who hosted the event last year as well to great success. My List So without further ado, here is the list I’ll be taking in the tournament. Allegiance: Pestilens Mortal Realm: Aqshy Leaders Verminlord Corruptor (220) - General - Trait: Master of Rot and Ruin - Artefact: Magmaforged Blade Plague Furnace (180) - Artefact: Liber Bubonicus Plague Furnace (180) - Artefact: Thermalrider Cloak Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Battleline 40 x Plague Monks (240) - Foetid Blades 10 x Plague Monks (70) - Foetid Blades 10 x Plague Monks (70) - Foetid Blades 10 x Plague Monks (70) - Foetid Blades 10 x Plague Monks (70) - Foetid Blades Units 5 x Gutter Runners (60) - Allies 5 x Gutter Runners (60) - Allies 40 x Clanrats (200) - Rusty Spear - Allies Battalions Congregation of Filth (170) Congregation of Filth (170) Total: 2000 / 2000 Extra Command Points: 2 Allies: 320 / 400 Wounds: 181 So to start from the top. The general of the list is the Verminlord Corruptor. I chose the Verminlord because him being the general means I can give him Master of Rot and Ruin, which means he can pray in the same manner as a Plague Priest (and as of AoS2, also generate Great Plagues on a 6 to pray), as well as him being incredibly mobile so his 12” range auto-pass battleshock range can get where it needs to go. While I would rather give him Sword of Judgement over the Magmaforged Blade, I needed to pick Aqshy for another artefact in the list so I reached a compromise. The twin Plague Furnaces each fulfil a different role. One has been given Liber Bubonicus, shoring up it’s prayer capabilities so it can follow the large unit of Plague Monks around and keep them buffed up. The second has been given the Thermalrider Cloak, a devastatingly useful artefact for a Plague Furnace by giving it an extra 4” move as well as granting it the ability to FLY. By snaking 10 rats around the furnace you can fire the thing out of the deployment zone and halfway up the table, potentially into a devastating charge onto an objective. The 3 Plague Priests are here to spam their breath prayer on turn 1 to get the Neverplague Great Plague nice and early, then spend the rest of the game harassing unit clumps with their breath and stacking debuffs on vital targets. Keeping one of these lads near the two 40-man units ensures battleshock tests won’t ruin them utterly. The Plague Monks are the life of the party. One unit of 40 that can have buffs stacked on it easily and refuse to get off objectives and four units of 10 to run around and suicide into targets and harass flanks. Plague Monks really aren’t something opponents can afford to ignore, but spending time killing them is time spent not targeting the enormous 12 wound threats in the leader slots. If the 40-rat unit isn’t bled down in the early game, the opponent has to deal with an enormous footprint that will tear a hole in anything that can’t commit to destroying it in a single turn, and even then, the Rabid Fever prayer means they’ll still get to take a swing before they die. Gutter Runners are, for lack of any better description, a pain in the ass. They pop up behind the enemy ranks and throw a bunch of throwing knives into them before running in and shanking them. The shooting attack isn’t exactly Skyfire tier but their melee attacks are nasty with decent hit and wound chances and innate -1 rend. Their main strength is that the enemy needs to spend troops on zoning these bad boys out, while dealing with the massed Plague Monks hurtling towards them from the front. Caught between a rock and a very stabby place, such as it were. Clanrats, god bless them, rarely need any kind of explanation why they’re in a list. They’ll run, they’ll charge, they’ll run away and they’ll do it all again. Retreat and Charge is a crazy feature of a very cheap unit, meaning they won’t get tied up fighting other chaff and their big unit size means getting rid of them means a hefty commitment. The only weakness of Clanrats is their propensity to cut and run the moment they start taking casualties. Well, it would be, if we weren’t living in glorious AoS2 and a battleshock test is one Command Point to get out of jail free. The battalions in this list are 2 Congregations of Filth, each comprised of 1 Plague Furnace and 2 or more units of Plague Monks. The only reason I’m taking this is to shave the list drops down to less than 10 to out-drop other armies that don’t take battalions and for the big unit of 40 getting to reroll its charges. Also I needed a bunch of artefacts and command points. Cheers congregation. List Building Process The list above is actually no less than the 17th Pestilens list I’ve ran, with the goal of creating the ideal list for my meta. After every tournament and serious practice game I have gone over what works, what doesn’t, and made the necessary adjustments. The list has gone from no less than 240 wounds at the start of the year, to running multiple endless spells and allied wizards with the Malign Sorcery drop, and for about 2 weeks dropping it completely and angrily painting my Gautfyre Scorch. The end result is unlikely to be a perfect list but is the most streamlined for my current situation and hopefully will prove as much at the masters. Conclusion I’m hoping this will be the even where I at last bring in the big win for my Clan and the group of very scary people breathing down my neck expecting results. If I win or at least podium, I will have completed the goal I set for myself 2 years ago when I finished the second tournament I’d attended with 0 victories and risen to the top of the highly talented NZ Warhammer scene. If I lose I’ll probably nuke my army from orbit and start an Eshin army for the memes. Anyhoo, see you all after Masters in my new blog Clan Eshin Best Clan!