Interview with Chris Blackham

blackham

The Adversary first encountered Chris Blackham in passing at Warzone: SCARAB 2018 where he was playing a great Tyranid list that saw him nearly take the Best General there. The Best Coast Pairings App showed his name scale the ranks at Adepticon and the Adversary had the pleasure of meeting Chris again at Warzone: Atomic Empire. Chris is an excellent player and a great person. For the first interview by the Worthiest Adversary, Chris set the standard going forward. Chris’ list was included up front so that readers can see what was brought to Atomic Empire and how it played into the descriptions of Chris’ games.


++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [37 PL, 724pts] ++
Detachment Attribute: Kabal of the Obsidian Rose

+ HQ +
Archon [4 PL, 93pts]: Blaster, Huskblade
Archon [4 PL, 96pts]: Blaster, Huskblade, Phantasm Grenade Launcher

+ Troops +
Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 47pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior . Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Blaster . Sybarite: Splinter Rifle
Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 47pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior . Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Blaster . Sybarite: Splinter Rifle
Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 47pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior . Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Blaster . Sybarite: Splinter Rifle
Kabalite Warriors [2 PL, 47pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior . Kabalite Warrior with special weapon: Blaster . Sybarite: Splinter Rifle + Elites +
Kabalite Trueborn (Index) [5 PL, 87pts] . Dracon: Splinter Rifle . Kabalite Trueborn with Special Weapon: Shredder . Kabalite Trueborn with Special Weapon: Shredder . Kabalite Trueborn with Special Weapon: Shredder . Kabalite Trueborn with Special Weapon: Shredder

+ Dedicated Transport +
Venom [4 PL, 65pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 65pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 65pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle
Venom [4 PL, 65pts]: Splinter Cannon, Twin splinter rifle

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [51 PL, 894pts] ++
Detachment Attribute: Kabal of the Black Heart

+ HQ +
Archon [4 PL, 89pts]: Blaster, Venom Blade – Warlord – Lab Cunning and Writ of the living muse

+ Heavy Support +
Ravager [7 PL, 125pts]: Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon Ravager [7 PL, 125pts]: Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon Ravager [7 PL, 125pts]: Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon, Disintegrator cannon

+ Flyer +
Razorwing Jetfighter [8 PL, 135pts]: Twin splinter rifle . 2 Disintegrator Cannons: 2x Disintegrator cannon
Razorwing Jetfighter [8 PL, 135pts]: Twin splinter rifle . 2 Disintegrator Cannons: 2x Disintegrator cannon

+ Dedicated Transport +
Raider [5 PL, 80pts]: Disintegrator cannon Raider [5 PL, 80pts]: Disintegrator cannon

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [21 PL, 382pts] ++
Detachment Attribute: Cult of the Red Grief

+ HQ + Succubus [4 PL, 60pts]: Archite Glaive, Blast Pistol +1 Attack Succubus [4 PL, 60pts]: Archite Glaive, Blast Pistol +2 movement

+ Troops +
Wyches [2 PL, 45pts] +1 Toughness . Hekatrix: Hekatarii blade, Splinter pistol . 3x Wych . Wych with Wych Weapon: Shardnet and impaler
Wyches [2 PL, 44pts] +1 Weapon Skill . Hekatrix: Hekatarii blade, Splinter pistol . 3x Wych . Wych with Wych Weapon: Hydra gauntlets
Wyches [4 PL, 93pts] +1 Strength . Hekatrix: Hekatarii blade, Splinter pistol . 6x Wych . Wych with Wych Weapon: Hydra gauntlets . Wych with Wych Weapon: Shardnet and impaler . Wych with Wych Weapon: Hydra gauntlets

+ Dedicated Transport +
Raider [5 PL, 80pts]: Disintegrator cannon


WA: Quick introduction (name, stomping grounds, started playing 40k, other hobbies or points of interest)

CB: So I have been in and out of this hobby since I was about 12 years old. That’s over 25 years of raging about GW prices. 40k is my main game. I love this 40k edition more than any previous, but my fondest memories are of playing Necromunda in the 1990s. I am from England and moved over to North Carolina about 4 years ago. There is not that much different between America and England regarding the hobby but I would say Americans put in more effort with the painting.

WA: Best placings at a GT and/or Majors event? Playing what army and in what edition?

CB: Generally I am very much a bridesmaid and have several 2 GT 2nd places in US and UK. I did win best general at ATC in 2016 with Chaos Dog Star in 7th edition.

WA: Most recent GT or Majors event attended and placing? Playing what army?

CB: Warzone:Atomic Empire 3rd (out of 54) with Drukhair (Kabal and Wych cult) Adepticon 6th (250+ players) with Flyrants and Shadowsword.

WA: What did you think of that event overall?

CB: Atomic Empire is a great venue as I can buy and drink beer all weekend. The event was run by Horton and Twitch. These are two good friends of mine so I might be a bit biased but it might be one of the best events in the world! It promotes all parts of the hobby (painting, sports and playing!).

WA: Break down your list, how does it work and function in general? (Short summary, in-depth not required unless you want to)

CB: When designing a list I often think about defense before offense. I generally want my army to be all chaff or really tough. I don’t like mixed armies. I like to remove half of my opponents weapons from being efficient. With Drukhari you can go all mech, and also out range your opponent. As I didn’t own any Coven going into this tournament (I own nearly everything else), I thought I would play all mech and the range game. I used two kabals, black heart for ‘Agents of Vect’ and 6+++ on vehicles, and the Obsidian Rose for +6 inch to weapons range (guys inside vehicles). 24 inch blasters and 18 inch shredders = money. Then I had a small wych cult for the counter assault. The plan was to sit back and shoot them to death.

WA: What were you preparing for going into the event? Expectations regarding missions and opposing lists?

CB: I thought I would see a lot of guard (with BA or Custodes shield captains) and 1k sons (smite spam). I didn’t want to play mass chaff with character spam behind as my shooting (while amazing) doesn’t like to be wasted on 4pt models. I knew any progressive missions might be trouble for me, as I like to do the 5th edition Eldar trick (sit back and shoot until last turn jump onto objectives). Also in this list I had a lot of kill points so I knew I had to play cagey in those missions.

WA: Once you got there, what was new or different that you saw but had not anticipated?

CB: As this event really promotes the painting and theme, I knew I would see all types of armies and not just the competitive ones. I was surprised there were only a couple Drukhari players given how strong they are. There were a lot of imperial guard super heavies that I was hoping to avoid these if possible (unless I rolled 1st turn).

WA: First match up? Against who and what army? Who won and by what margin? Who went first? How did the game play out in general? Anything specific stand out?

CB: Vs Ricky Addington. Ricky is amazing to play against, he is a bubble of joy! He was playing Primaris Dark Angels. Note to everyone, Primaris HATE Drukhari! HATE! Since every Drukhari player in the world takes 3 ravagers with [disintegrators], they just pick up squads of expensive primaris. I feel any competitive Primaris player needs to figure out a way to cope vs Drukhari, sadly I don’t know how. Max points. Ricky went first in this game but the return fire was too much.

WA: Second match up?

CB: I played against a local friend/great player James McCoy who was playing Eldar. It was Ynarri, bikes, reapers and flyers. James went first, and killed 3/4 transports but another army that hates 3 ravagers with [disintegrators] is Ynarri. Being able to shut down key stratagems (intercept, clutch psychic power rerolls, fall back and act normal etc) is very powerful and stops Eldar performing. It was a progressive mission and took a while for my army to take control but given how strong my beta strike was it wasn’t too long. Unless Eldar take wave serpent spam mixed with flyers, they struggle versus the Drukhari. Strong victory.

WA: Third match up?

CB: Played against David Fields, I think he is from South Carolina. He is a great player, it was a super close game until his dice went super cold and my went hot. He was playing Tau and went first. He got off a decent alpha strike, with the giant flamer suit and big stealth suits. Boy, those drones are annoyingly good. I eventually got through all the drones and started to roll some serious damage (Blasters FTW!). Close win.

WA: How did you feel at the end of day one, given your positioning? Anything specific you had planned out for your next opponent that morning?

CB: I think I was sitting about 5/6th and the fact I went 2nd in every game I was feeling very good. I was hoping to roll 1st turn in my next 2 games and win the event. If my Drukhari list gets first turn, it can often be absolutely crippling.

WA: Fourth match up?

CB: So I was paired up with Warzone Atlanta Bridesman Collin Watts (he has been 2nd a lot there). He was playing 1k sons mass infantry (two tzaangor bombs) and character support. I have played vs this list before with my friend and know how it can go. If 1k sons gets first turn and buffs the Tzaangors and they make the charge (using the relic and all the rerolls) it is very tough as the Tzaangors with -1 and 4++ can be awfully hard to kill, then they can overwhelm you with the 2nd bomb and characters.. However if I can first and due to my speed and range can delete the first Tzaangor bomb it is tricky for them to recover. 1k sons won the roll and dominated field position, I couldn’t get out and as it was progressives he won a tight game. It was very tactical game and he played a very smart game (plus he made all his Tzaangor charges). Watch out WZ Atlanta 2018, this is a very good list and he looks on form… Close Loss

WA: Fifth match up?

CB: Davis Frye and his last-minute put together army. It sounds like it should be an easy game right? No, as Austin Wingfield had come up with this army from the bits they had… and if you know Austin you know its going to be a great list. 3 Custodes Shield Captains (they might as well put these games in the AM codex) and AM tanks (mixture of plasma Leman Russes and a Shadowsword) Davis had done very well and was a great player/guy. HOWEVER!!! I FINALLY WENT FIRST!! The +1 to first turn seemingly meant nothing, so when he got the +1 I had good change… I got lucky and got first. I crippled his Shadowsword and moved up field. He shot back and killed a vehicle but i was able to neutralize his main weapon (Shadowsword with all the sponsons and with a Trojan). I then just slowly killed his army and tagged his tanks. If he goes first, it’s a whole different game. Major Win

WA: Final roll up and placing? Having rehashed everything, what are your thoughts now?

CB: Final Result – 3rd place Overall, I am happy. I was expecting this type of performance, given how stupidly under costed Drukhari are (NERF BAT COMING!, BUT it better be at the same time Custodes Shield Captains!). I think with a bit of luck I could have won it all.

WA: What did you think of the mission sets?

CB: Missions overall were good, I liked the mixture. Some missions could do with some small tweaks but I liked it. Twitch is the man when it comes to mission design (assuming it was him!)

WA: What are you planning on changing in your list?

CB: For the first time in forever, I took an army that I already owned prior to the codex drop. I didn’t have to buy anything and the painting I had to do was very minor. This felt good. However, it wasn’t my optimized list. I might disagree with a lot of Drukhari players but I think Venoms are average, and raiders are superior. I plan to remove all the venoms… I had 4 and will go to 0 and buy more raiders!. I am probably going to get some mandrakes ordered and painted. Mandrakes in Raiders = $$$$$$$. I am probably still going to mix Rose and Heart Kabals as this combination is seriously strong. I have been tempted to have Coven but I like playing the range game with this army. However, in ITC formats there is a super strong case for Coven.

WA: What’s next on your schedule?

CB: I have some local events but I am travelling home to England and home to attend a GT there (100 player). Also later in the year I will go to NoVa and Warzone Atlanta (if I can get a ticket). in 2019 I aim to go to Vegas!

WA: Any parting thoughts for the audience?

CB: Drukhari is the strongest codex I have ever played with. I am a Xenos only player (Crons, DE, Nids and Genestealer Cult) and I have never had it so good. I would like to briefly talk about the one thing I don’t like about 8th. First turn alpha strikes… I know…What a douche, he runs an army that is the ultimate alpha strike! I feel GW made a big mistake going from the previous editions deployment methods (counter deployment if going 2nd). In this current style of deployment it is hard to counter deploy safely. PLEASE GW go back to counter deployment style!!! This edition would be even better if people could safely hide from my shooty spam list! (and vice versa ;-)). Why reward the player who goes first with such a big advantage!!!?? WHY GW WHY!!??! (esp with new BETA rules!)


And on that great parting shot, my interview with Chris was over. The Adversary salutes Chris Blackham and wishes him luck in his future endeavors to champion a major event. The vantage that Chris has brought to light is one of many competitive players and one  that all of the readers can hopefully appreciate. Not everyone plays Drukhari themselves, but anyone can expect to play against Drukhari. This interview is chock full of lessons learned, tried, and tested by Chris and his opponents.

This is the goal of the Worthiest Adversary, right here, conveying the current Warhammer 40k gaming environment from the players and events themselves. Find out what is winning, what is working, and what is not working, and why, as the dust settles at each event along the Adversary’s war path. Take this information to the table top, and play. Your Adversary is waiting.

Tune in next time as the Adversary delves into the event itself, Warzone: Atomic Empire.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

Author: The Worthiest Adversary

Expressed views, opinions, and material are my own and not associated with any organization or other entity.

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