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Things Will Get LOUD Now: A Pure Emperor’s Children (Seriously) Tournament Report

The Emperor Protects, but Slaanesh Provides.

These are dark days in the tournament scene. Drukhari and AdMech are running over everyone, taking no prisoners and maxing out No Prisoners. To even have the faintest hope of scoring a single point, I needed to go straight to the tippity top of the power curve. I needed to bring an absolutely perfect list myself. And if you need perfection, there is only one faction you can turn to.

Iron Hands fans, turn your heads and look away. This is a mono-Emperor’s Children tournament report.

My List

  • Emperor’s Children Battalion (11 CP, 1952 points)
    • Daemon Prince: Wings, Talons, Warp Bolter, Raiment Repulsive, Delightful Agonies
    • Dark Apostle: Illusory Supplication, Remnant of the Maraviglia, Dark Disciples
    • Sorceror in Terminator Armour: Warlord, Warp Lord, Warptime, Prescience
    • 30 Cultists
    • 2 x 10 Noise Marines (8 Sonic Blasters, 2 Blastmasters, Chainsword on Sgt, Icon of Excess)
    • 7 Terminators (All Lightning Claw/Comb-bolter, Icon of Excess)
    • 7 Terminators (All Combi-melta, 6 Lightning Claw and Chainfist on Sgt, Icon of Excess)
    • Dreadclaw Drop Pod
    • 1 x 5 Raptors
    • 2 x Venomcrawlers
    • Rhino
    • Summoning points for a squad of Furies

Gameplan

Just kill everyone while taking over the board. I’m not joking. The damage output of this list is absolutely obscene. This style of Emperor’s Children list has some of the highest volume of firepower in the game, and our units like Noise Marines can be buffed to blow even units like Knights right off the board. You have to be hyper efficient with your CP. For example, when my Cultists get wrapped, I’m often fine pulling models to break coherency and kill most of them instead of spending CP to Tide of Traitors them out. Rerolling random stuff is out of the question. Your d6 damage meltas will do 1 damage sometimes, and you will like it.

For those that aren’t very familiar with Emperor’s Children, they have a few very strong tools. They have the best charge buff in the game with a 1CP strat to change one die to a 6 after you rolled your charge. They have a relic to reroll all Wound rolls for units within 6″ for a turn. They can give +1 Strength and +1 Damage to Noise Marine sonic weapons for a turn, which makes their innate high volume of fire really deadly. Being Slaanesh, they can give a unit a 5+++ Feel-No-Pain and shoot a unit twice. They can also redeploy unlimited units at the start of the first battle round for 1 CP each. There isn’t a lot of depth, but there are some very clear strengths to lean on.

The only profiles this list can struggle to kill are units with both very good armour saves and damage reduction, like Death Guard. In fact, I straight up wrote this list knowing I was completely punting the Death Guard matchup in favor of playing to my strengths.

Secondaries that this list plays very well are Raise Banners, Engage on All Fronts, Stranglehold, Retrieve Data, and No Prisoners/Bring It Down when relevant. The summoning points for Furies are there to ensure I can easily raise 3 Banners turn 1 (Furies, Raptors, Dark Disciples) without having to commit my super valuable Cultists to doing it. This isn’t a joke–the Cultists have consistently been amazing. On corners deployments, I’m always putting the Feel-No-Pain on the Cultists and then Warptiming them forward to gum up their army. You can string them amazingly far forward while still having a lot of bodies within the Dark Apostle’s 5++ invuln bubble.

Deploying with Redeploys

I just wanted to take briefly about a quick concept that a lot of players may not understand. If you have redeploys like Emperor’s Children or Ultramarines, you should still deploy defensively with most of your units.

Also, I apologize in advance for how this site butchers the formatting of this table.

Go FirstGo Second Total Score
Deploy Aggro 6/10, the threat of you redeploying everything causes them to deploy defensively, so you don’t do a ton of damage.0/103/10
Deploy Defensive3.8/10, they deployed defensively to respect your redeploy so you didn’t miss out on much damage anyway10/106.9/10

The scores are completely made up, but you get the idea. Deploying defensively while constantly reminding them you can redeploy and helping them avoid potential Line Of Sight angles is both good sportsmanship and the optimal strategy.

Round 1: Taylor’s AdMech (92-51 Win)

My Secondaries: No Prisoners, Retrieve Data, Engage On All Fronts

Gameplan: I got thrown in the deep end right away. Taylor was running the dreaded Lucius 60 Vanguard + 40 Rangers + 3 Bombers list. I groaned when I saw I was paired against it first, especially because Taylor is also a well regarded player. He was also a lot of fun to play against, and he rolls his dice with unmatched flair.

I admit I got a bit salty before the game, complaining that CSM just didn’t have the tools to deal with something like that AdMech list. I straight up said my only hope of winning was going first and alpha striking him before he does any damage before he gets his buffs off. When he won the first turn roll off, I said that I lost my only only path to victory. Taylor laughed and said I was probably right. I straight up asked if he is open to me conceding turn 2 or 3 if I’m basically tabled by that point, and he graciously agreed that we probably weren’t going to play out this game.

And this was all a bit of gamesmanship on my part, because I believed I could and would beat AdMech if a few things went right and he gave me some opportunities to use my tools. The main thing I noticed was that he loaded up on offensive and defensive buffs (he could make some truly terrifying units), but hadn’t taken the ability to fall back and shoot with a unit. My plan was going to be to touch as many units as I could, making the Skitarii bombs ineffective.

Deployment vs AdMech

Taylor went for the knockout blow turn 1. It didn’t land. My Noise Marines survived in their Rhino despite all the bombs dropped on it, artillery fired at it, and random pot shots it received. He Veil of Darkness’d a blob of Vanguard and an HQ into my lines to blow up the Noise Marines after the Rhino died, but they never got out.

And then my Noise Marines absolutely unloaded on his Skitarii and Infiltrators. I popped Vets on one squad, the Noise Marine strat on the other, and got a massive volume of firepower rerolling wounds downfield. I dropped the pod down and second unit of Marines within the reroll Wounds bubble to get more volume of firepower onto the field. I had over 5 No Prisoners points at the end of my turn.

I charged my Cultists to wrap a unit of Infiltrators on my objective. It was an absolute slaughter, as around 20 of the 30 Cultists died. I still figured it was a great move because they were going to be immediately picked up by a Vanguard unit in range next turn, so this way they still died on his turn but now his Infiltrators couldn’t go on screening duty.

Turn 2 many of his units were out of range, I took some damage but nothing critical. He screened a gap with a surviving unit of several Vanguard models. My Noise Marines had an angle on them, and shot on death to clear them out in his turn. And then my unit of Claw/Bolter Terminators dropped in and absolutely blended a unit of Skitarii. With how the Skitarii were spread out, only around half the models would have been in range to Auspex Scan me. I didn’t want to take a full unit’s Auspex Scan, but figured he wouldn’t spend the CP for a partial unit shooting. I also deepstrike my Raptors into my deployment zone to do my Scramblers.

Turn 3 he blew up the Terminators, remaining Noise Marine unit, and some random stuff. On my turn 3, my combi-melta Terminators drop out of LOS to avoid overwatch and charge into a Ranger blob, wrecking them and wrapping a nearby Character. And then my Dreadclaw kicks into action. It has a very wide profile and is able to charge one Vanguard squad, then pile around and consolidate into another. At this point, he has literally no units that can shoot on turn 4 besides stubbers from his planes. He can’t stop me from killing and touching everything again next turn. With time running low and the game over, we shake hands and finish scoring.

Round 2: Jonathan’s Death Guard (33-70 Loss)

My Secondaries: Bad

This was a quick and frustrating game. This was no fault of Jonathan (who you may know from the Mob Rules podcast which he does with Danny–they’re as funny in person as they are on the show). It’s just never a good time when you build a list which punts a matchup, and then end up running into that matchup.

Deployment vs Death Guard

This Death Guard list was focused on Vehicles with some Terminators and Characters in the mix. All of their good armour saves, combined with universal -1 Damage, meant my Noise Marines and bolters just did nothing. He also had a Revolting Stench Vats Foul Blightspawn and a Warlord with the Contagion to turn off rerolls in an aura, meaning he could easily protect two areas of the board from being chargeable by my Terminators. I couldn’t shoot him, and I couldn’t charge him. Jonathan executed very well and I can’t take anything away from him.

I’m happy my punt matchup is a Chaos list. I’m much happier to have them get a win than something like AdMech or Drukhari.

Round 3: Joe’s Guard (99-34 Win)

My Secondaries: Engage On All Fronts, Direct Assault, Grind Them Down

There really isn’t much to say about this game. Joe was trying out a unique Guard list with a Minotaur, a cool FW artillery piece. His army was self-described as not being optimal. Very friendly guy. I went first, and the game was over immediately. I destroyed or tagged all the damage output in his army and boxed him into his deployment zone. 10 Noise Marines destroyed two Demolisher tanks. He offered to concede before his first turn. We played a little bit more just to pass the time, rolled some dice for fun, then had some friendly conversation and laughs before submitting our score.

Picture of the board at the end of my first turn

So instead of talking about the game, I want to talk about the Minotaur.

I honestly believe whomever wrote the Minotaur’s datasheet does not play 40K. There is just no way a human being of sound mind expects Guard players to pay money to buy the Forgeworld rulebook to access this datasheet. The Minotaur datasheet is so bad that it leaves the banality of 40K rules behind and ascends to performance art. The Minotaur’s datasheet is a brilliant artist asking you the question, “How can we express the futility of the human experience through tabletop wargaming?”

The Minotaur has 7 BS4+ artillery shots at S9, AP3, d3 damage. For 300 points. Let me say it a different way: The Minotaur averages 2 Wounds to a 35 points, 5 Wound Beast of Nurgle. Let me say it a different way: The Minotaur would have to shoot at Beasts of Nurgle for 22 turns to earn it’s points back.

It pays a huge premium to be T8 and 22 Wounds. Who is paying a huge amount of points to get a Toughness and Wound upgrade on their artillery hiding in the back of the board? And it’s even worse than that, actually. Because it’s 22 Wounds, it doesn’t benefit from Obscuring terrain. The whole point of artillery is to hide in the back of the board, and it can’t even hide! I am legitimately upset for Guard players. This datasheet is an insult.

I just want to sit down and talk with whomever wrote the Minotaur datasheet. Actually, I don’t want to speak; I just want to listen. I suspect I’ll hear a sad story about how they always loved 40K novels but never got the chance to play the game before. They’ll tell me how it was a lifelong goal to write a 40K datasheet one day. I’ll tell them how happy I am for them. I’ll hold their hand, nod my head, and tell them I am so proud of them for trying their best. I’ll tell them that I’ll be happy to come over and show them how 40K rules work if they ever want to try playing the tabletop game. I’ve got a lot of beer ready in my fridge. I love teaching new players. It will be a fun experience for us both. And once they have actually played the game, they can use that newfound experience to go home and personally hand write every Guard player an apology for putting this absolute load of horse shit datasheet out into the world.

Final Thoughts

Anyway, back to Emperor’s Children. I think Chaos Soup is slightly stronger, but still has it’s own horrible matchups and is way less fun (and cool) to play. I would have loved to have had something durable to stick on an objective. Venomcrawlers spent the day performing a very poor imitation of Beasts of Nurgle. But having played around 10 games on pure Emperor’s Children at this point and winning almost all of them, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed my time with this faction. Because my pool of tools is so limited but those tools are so strong, I have a very clear idea of how each game will go. I know what I need to do, I know what my opponent needs to do, and then I can work against that plan and find little ways to win in the margins.

Also, fun fact. I was looking through BCP to find other Emperor’s Children lists that did well. I was surprised to find that this was literally the top performance in ITC points by a mono-Emperor’s Children list. Come on my Chaos guys and gals, I know souping is fun but we can do better! Am I saying I’m the best Emperor’s Children player in the world? Am I saying I’m a glorious handsome demi-god whose mastery of Emperor’s Children is completely unmatched? Am I saying I am literally Fulgrim? No, but also yes.

I’m not sure the 2nd unit of Noise Marines is worth it. I did love not deploying any high value units like Noise Marines or Terminators on the board, so artillery was never a worry. I’m really intrigued by something like a Slaanesh Daemons or Night Lords detachment alongside my Emperor’s Children to bring some combat trapping. I’m in a bit of a holding pattern with my own lists and hobbying. Everything I own is going to get a major shake up when the Thousand Sons codex and Belakor book comes out, so now is my time to mess with around with armies like pure Emperor’s Children.

As always, stay safe, have fun, and may the Dark Gods bless your rolls!

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Published: June 22nd, 2021. Last Updated: June 22nd, 2021.

7 replies on “Things Will Get LOUD Now: A Pure Emperor’s Children (Seriously) Tournament Report”

Hey Jeremy, thanks for the comment but that’s a common misunderstanding. Cultists got the Mere Mortals update to not benefit from Legion traits (i.e. +1 Attack as World Eaters), but they still have the Legion keyword and any associated combos.

If you think about it, all Legions post Faith and Fury require pure Legion detachments to access their strats. If Cultists didn’t have the Legion keyword, a single unit of Cultists would break your entire detachment. That would be too cruel even by GW’s standard towards Chaos, haha

Like

Unfortunately not CB. There is currently no way to run Daemonettes in an Emperor’s Children detachment and still gain any detachment benefits or stratagems. You would have to run them in an allied detachment.

However Be’lakor will provide some sort of way to run CSM units and Daemon units together. Super curious to see how that works!

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