Interview with Brenden Chrustie


The Worthiest Adversary here, interviewing the recently crowned Best General of the Plains of War GT, Brenden Chrustie! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and social media, the Worthiest Adversary first took note of the Plains of War GT over a week ago and lurked in the shadows until the timing was right and began to report! The Plains of War GT was 38 players strong and presented by Hidden City Comics and occurred in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Some matches were even streamed and worthwhile as it appeared great games were occurring. As the dust settled at the Plains of War GT, one player was still standing, Brenden Chrustie. The Worthiest Adversary acknowledges that METAs might vary widely from region to region or even across continents, but standing at the top of a GT or Major event is no small feat, and is a valuable perspective to interrogate!

” It is a typical shooting list where I pretty much forego any close combat to bring more guns to the table.”

+ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [26 PL, 422pts] +
+ Regimental Doctrine: Cadian

+ HQ +
Company Commander [2 PL, 31pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
Company Commander [2 PL, 30pts]: Chainsword, Grand Strategist, Kurov’s Aquila, Laspistol, Warlord
Primaris Psyker [2 PL, 46pts]: Force Stave, Psychic Barrier, Psychic Maelstrom

+ Troops +
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

+ Elites +
Astropath [1 PL, 30pts]: Gaze of the Emperor, Laspistol
Astropath [1 PL, 30pts]: Laspistol, Psychic Maelstrom

+ Heavy Support +
Heavy Weapons Squad [3 PL, 33pts] . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar
Heavy Weapons Squad [3 PL, 33pts] . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar
Heavy Weapons Squad [3 PL, 33pts] . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar . Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [54 PL, 950pts] ++ Regimental Doctrine: Cadian

+ HQ +
Knight Commander Pask [13 PL, 247pts]: Lascannon, Plasma Cannons . Command Executioner: Turret-mounted Executioner Plasma Cannon
Tank Commander [12 PL, 211pts]: Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters . Command Punisher: Turret-mounted Punisher Gatling Cannon

+ Troops +
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad [3 PL, 52pts] . 7x Guardsman . Heavy Weapon Team: Autocannon . Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

+ Heavy Support +
Leman Russ Battle Tanks [20 PL, 336pts] . Leman Russ Battle Tank: Battle Cannon, Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters . Leman Russ Battle Tank: Battle Cannon, Heavy Bolter, Heavy Bolters

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [20 PL, 378pts] ++ Regimental Doctrine: Catachan
+ HQ +
PrimarisPsyker [2 PL, 46pts]: Force Stave, Gaze of the Emperor, Nightshroud

+ Fast Attack +
Hellhounds [6 PL, 110pts] . Hellhound: Heavy Flamer, Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon
Hellhounds [6 PL, 110pts] . Hellhound: Heavy Flamer, Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon
Hellhounds [6 PL, 112pts] . Hellhound: Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter, Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon

++ Total: [100 PL, 1750pts] ++

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

BC: Well I have been playing this hobby since I was ten years old when I first noticed a Games-workshop in a local mall. I was hooked by the models and really wanted to get into it. The army that caught my attention the most was Imperial Guard and my first model was a Heavy Weapons Team. Since then they have been my go-to army through each edition of the game. My stomping grounds are Winnipeg, Manitoba and 40k is my nerd hobby of choice (next to AOS)! I started getting more involved with tournaments around 2016. I still participated in events earlier but it usually was only one or two a year. Since then I have been able to get a decent amount of local tournament wins here in Manitoba.

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

BC: The first GT I ever went to was the Dark Star GT in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I won best Imperial Guard back in 5th edition. Was pretty pumped to have taken home a plaque at my first GT. I also won Best Overall at last year’s Plains of War towards the very end of 7th edition.

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

BC: Winning Best Overall at last year’s Plains of War with Imperial Guard and an allied Raptor Wing and placing 8th at Slaugherhouse GT with Imperial Guard when 8th edition was only a month old.

WA: What did you think of that event overall?

BC: The guys at Plains of War run a fantastic event! Very well organized with fantastic tables that have a variety of interesting terrain that is also great line of sight blocking. They were able to keep pretty much on the schedule they set, had good prize support from different organizations, and provided an excellent stream where viewers could tune in and watch some games! Next year they are planning to move up to a Major standard which would be awesome for the province of Manitoba as there are no Majors nearby unless you are willing to travel.

WA: Break down your list, how does it work and function in general? 

BC: My list is meant to provide my opponent with a variety of threats for them to deal with. It is a typical shooting list where I pretty much forego any close combat to bring more guns to the table. I want to keep my opponent at arm’s reach, but if they close the distance I still have tools that I can utilize to eliminate those threats quickly so I can start targeting the units that are trailing behind.

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

BC: I knew they were using ITC missions which are pretty straightforward once you understand them. I expected to see a lot of Alaitoc Eldar as I knew that it is a strong army in the right general’s hands. But I did expect to see quite a diversity in the armies and lists as the big Spring FAQ has really changed up how people are running competitive lists.

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

BC: The one thing that really caught me off guard was the lack of Craftworld Eldar. I believe there were only three players running that specific faction out of the 40 players that showed. Otherwise, the diversity in armies was certainly present, as I expected.

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?

BC: My first matchup was against a local player, Noah Joseph. It was my first time playing against Noah and his Tau but it was a fantastic game and he was a stand up guy to play against! His Tau list was quite balanced with marker light support, MSU of Fire Warriors, and some long-range support. He was able to go first and do some damage to my Guard but my counterattack was fierce and he just could not recover from it. I won 37-16 but Noah and I both had a blast throughout our whole game.

WA: Second Match up? 

BC: My second game was against a Grand Forks local, Chase Garber who was rocking Dark Eldar (sorry Drukhari). He had a very melee focused list with Grotesques, Wracks, some Wyches and a decent amount of boats. Again, first turn went to Chase. Suffice to say he certainly closed the distance quickly as I was expecting. A few clutch psychic powers to kill characters engaged with my tanks, allowed me to have the firepower I needed to eliminate key threats in his army. My mortars were great this game by being able to shred through the nine man squads of warriors that he had disembarked from destroyed Raiders. My favourite moment had to have been when I used my Punisher Russ on an Archon with one wound that still had his shield. Even a 2+ invulnerable cannot survive 40 shots! The game ended 30-26. It was a really tight game going both ways but by turn three it was starting to swing in my direction.

WA: Third Match up? 

BC: My last game of the day was against another gentleman from Grand Forks, Cyle Thompson. I knew going into this game it was going to be a rough one. Cyle had a battalion of Guard with 5 hellhounds, a battalion of Blood Angels with close combat Captains and Mephiston, and a supreme command of those lovely Custodes Shield Captains on bikes. He was rocking lots of CP recycling options to keep his stratagems going. This game I was able to go first which really helped me eliminate his forward scout elements and either kill or hurt some hellhounds. It also gave me an additional turn of shooting which was key. The Shield Captains made my lines fairly quickly and (obviously) were the hardest thing for me to kill but the ability to get mortal wounds on them really allowed my Leman Russ’s to finish them off. The game was very bloody and had both of us thinking hard on what we needed to do. I had a really close moment in this game where I got Pask to shoot a single side sponson plasma cannon at a two wound Mephiston and then fire everything else at a Shield Captain with around five wounds remaining. The Emperor smiled on me that day as I was able to get both of those characters with that round of Pasks shooting. The game ended 31-24 in my favour again and concluded day one of the tournament and what a tough day it was!

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?

BC: After day one I was feeling really good about my games and felt fairly confident going into day two. I had three really good opponents on day one. The gentleman from Grand Forks are big ITC players themselves and I knew they went to a lot of events. I expected them to be some of the toughest guys I would have to play at any point of the tournament. Going into day two and knowing that I was going to be up against a fast-moving Harlequin force, I prepared my deployment strategy to keep those fast moving clowns away from my heavy hitting tanks.

WA: Fourth Match up? 

BC: Game four on day two was against Brandon, Manitoba’s own Jason Wells and his Harlequin force. I will give full props to Jason because the event was not using the new Codex. Harlequins had been within the cut off date for use of the new Codex. He was running an all index force! His list implemented speed with two, four man bike squads, a couple troupes in transports and a detachment of Craftworld with a squad of Dark Reapers. Jason got first turn and proceeded to be in my face turn one and in combat with my guard squads. Fortunately, I had created a good defensive ring of guard bodies to protect my tanks from getting tied up. In my turn I knew I would have to hit back hard or else I would really struggle. With a combination of good psychic powers, useful stratagems, Hellhounds auto hitting, and the Leman Russ’s putting out good firepower, I was able to destroy almost 75% of Jason’s army. From that point on it was a cleanup job for the Guard. I was able to get the win, 34-11.

WA: Fifth Match up?

BC: The last game of the day was up against Michael Knudsen and his Dark Eldar (Drukhari, I am used to the old, non-copyright names). His list was the more typical DE list I expected which utilized lots of boats with shooting, three Ravagers with Disintegrator cannons, and some Wyches to quickly move up the board. I knew this was going to be another tough match up because of all the models the DE had and how quickly it could get across the board. True to most of the tournament my opponent went first and was in my face turn one. Utilizing the age-old tactic of meat shield I was able to protect my tanks from getting tied up. The guard squads took a beating but I have to say they were awesome in this game. Taking charges from Wyches and then proceeding to hit back with bayonets was pretty sweet. Pask was killed turn one but the two Battle Cannon Leman Russ’s were up to the task on taking on the Ravagers. The Hellhounds were amazing as well. They were able to hit the venoms and destroy them to get the squishy Eldar inside. I even had one Hellhound survive through a torrent of Disintegrator fire for three whole turns and ended the game with a single wound left! The game ended with the Guard being able to grind out the DE and push through to the end. Final score, 33-12 for the Guard!

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

BC: As the awards ceremony started I was able to bring home Best General and Best Imperium with my 1st place finish. Looking back on my games it was crazy how so many of the lists I went up against were in my face very quickly. They were able to apply a lot of pressure that I needed to react quickly to. I was very happy to see that my list was able to withstand such pressure and push back to get the wins.

WA: What do you think of the mission sets?

BC: I like the 8th edition ITC missions. When I went to Slaughterhouse GT last year they were still using the 7th edition set. Games were close but scores did not represent the games well at all. I really like that even though you can lose games in ITC, you can still get a decent amount of points to push you in the next couple of rounds.

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

BC: This is a list that I have been working at since the start of 8th and the drop of the Guard codex. I wanted to have a list with tough vehicles that can put out good firepower, but still have enough bodies that can hold objectives and provide cover for my tanks. The second Astropath with the psychic beam was probably the least useful model added to the army. The only reason he was included was because I had to get rid of my fourth mortar team because of the rule of three. In future lists at 2000 points he will probably be dropped for something more useful or just be upgraded to a Primaris Psyker because I like the mortal wounds/buffing the psykers can provide.

WA: What’s next on your schedule?

BC: My next planned tournament is Slaughterhouse GT in July which is 2000 points. I will probably re-modify this current list to accommodate another 250 points and make some decisions on some current units that can make room for something a little more useful. I will certainly be staying pure Guard as I believe that it is still competitive all on its own. I was also asked to attend a tournament in Brandon, Manitoba in June as Jason wants a rematch with his Codex Harlequin army.

WA: Any parting thoughts for the audience?

BC: I feel like I said so much that if you made it this far you just want me to shut up (Haha!). But seriously, if you are looking to go to tournaments bring an army that you feel comfortable with and enjoy! Playing to the meta is great and all but it feels more rewarding to get wins with an army that you enjoy/been working with for a while. Whether it’s a few months or years I find it’s better to find an army that you enjoy aesthetically and/or lore wise. I know that is what I did when I first started 40k and I have not looked back! Thanks for reading and good luck to all those that play 40k!

Brenden Chrustie rocked the Guard back in 5th edition and now here in 8th edition, keeping in-your-face armies at bay while he blasted them off the table with reliable Imperial Vehicles. For everyone reading out there, this interview offers some solid insight into how Guard operates and what they need to ensure victory, range. It is very clear that Brenden faced down some strong players that ranged from bleeding edge codexes to even a hard core index Army, which was in first place as of day one! A big thank you to Brenden for his time and well-versed responses that are so crucial to the purpose of the Worthiest Adversary! The Plains of War GT readily appears as a class act event and one that will likely garner more attention next year!

An exciting element of a GT is the amount of rounds. A two day event can allow for a lot of fluctuating scores and just looking at who is where at the end of day one does not offer the best odds at the horse races. The Adversary offers the insight of competitive players at competitive events that are forging the META locally and abroad, and maybe offers just enough knowledge that the readers can improve themselves upon their own warpaths as well!

Though our tanks and artillery are mighty, it is the vast ranks of Imperial Guardsmen that shall trample the enemy to dust – let them come.”
– Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed

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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