Interview with Devin Swann

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Battles occur across the expanse and some of us only glimpse at the very edge of the War’s vastness.  The Toronto Gaming Expo 40k GT occurred over a week ago now and from it rose their champion. Devin Swann took first place, the only undefeated contender. The Worthiest Adversary congratulates Devin for his success and appreciates the time he took with us to respond.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ PLAYER: Devin Swann
+ ARMY FACTION: Ynnari, Craftworlds, Drukhari
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 13
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1998 pts
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Battalion Detachment == Ynnari [1024 points] +5 CP
HQ1: Yvraine (132) WARLORD
HQ2: Spiritseer (65), Spirit Stone of Anath’lan (0) – [65pts] <Biel-Tan>

Troop1: 10 Guardian Defenders (10×8) – [80pts] <Alaitoc>
Troop2: 10 Guardian Defenders (10×8) – [80pts] <Alaitoc>
Troop3: 10 Guardian Defenders (10×8) – [80pts] <Alaitoc>

FA1: 8 Shining Spears (8×18), 8 Twin Shiriken Catapults (8×5), 8 Laser Lances (8×8) Exarch (18), Twin Shiriken Catapult (5), Star Lance (10) – [281pts] <Biel-Tan>
HS1: 8 Dark Reapers (8×12), 8 Reaper Launchers (8×22), Exarch (12), Reaper Launcher (22) – [306pts] <Alaitoc>

== Battalion Detachment == Alaitoc [872 points] +5 CP
HQ1: Farseer (110)
HQ2: Warlock (55)
HQ3: Spiritseer (65)

Troop1: 5 Rangers (5×12) – [60pts]
Troop2: 5 Rangers (5×12) – [60pts]
Troop3: 5 Rangers (5×12) – [60pts]

DT1: Wave Serpent (107), Shiriken Cannon (10), Twin Shiriken Cannon (17), Spirit Stones (10), Vectored Engines (10) – [154pts]
DT2: Wave Serpent (107), Shiriken Cannon (10), Twin Shiriken Cannon (17), Spirit Stones (10), Vectored Engines (10) – [154pts]
DT3: Wave Serpent (107), Shiriken Cannon (10), Twin Shiriken Cannon (17), Spirit Stones (10), Vectored Engines (10) – [154pts]

== Patrol Detachment == Kabal of the Black Heart [102 points] +0 CP
HQ1: Archon (70), Venom Blade (2) – [72 pts]
Troop1: 5 Kabalite Warriors (5×6) – [30pts]


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

DS: My name is Devin Swann and I’ve been playing 40k since 2004, my first army was Blood Angels. I live and mainly play in Toronto, Ontario. I also play 30k on occasion as well.

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

DS: My first big tournament win was at Warmaster’s Challenge (which sadly no longer exists) back in 2013. I was a bracket champion at NOVA 2016, best general at the Barrie Bash 2016 and 2018, best general at the Basement Collective GT in June and my team came in 2nd at the CanHammer Team Tournament this year.

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

DS: Aside from the Barrie Bash, Basement Collective GT and CanHammer Team Tournament I got 4th at the Beef & Wing Brawl in Buffalo back in June.

WA: What did you think of that event overall?

DS: The event is in its 2nd year and has nearly doubled in size and it ran very smoothly. The T.O. Ridvan (from SkaredCast) also runs the Barrie Bash and does an excellent job at both. I’d highly recommend checking both of them and other events in Ontario as well, they’re all very well run.

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

DS: My list is basically the classic Ynnari Dark Reaper/Shining Spear list that’s been around since LVO this year. The idea is that I can use the Ynnari rules and Eldar stratagems and Wave Serpents to keep my heavy hitters (the Reapers and Spears) alive while they kill the opponent’s army. The Spears are Biel-Tan for the Court of the Young King stratagem, which gives them a 7 inch charge out of deep strike to help offset not being able to quicken them anymore. My favorite trick with the Spears is to soulburst for movement after killing a unit in combat. As the souburst movement and post combat pile in happen simultaneously I can choose to resolve the movement first, go anywhere up to 22 inches then pile in to surround another unit in combat, preventing my spears from being shot. Out of reserve you can do the same thing (not as reliably though) with the soulburst charge. The reapers often start in a Serpent or behind a wall and move-shoot-move with fire and fade. The Dark Eldar patrol is there for Vect and everything else just sits on objectives mostly.

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

DS: I was expecting a lot of Imperial Knights and Eldar/Dark Eldar armies mostly, with a number of other meta lists thrown in (Vaults, Shadowswords and whatnot). The missions were standard ITC Champions missions which is pretty much what everyone in my local area plays anyway.

I think good movement and clever use of stratagems are the hallmarks of a good player these days.

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

DS: There were a few Knight and Custodes armies that had shadowswords in them and a few Guilliman lists as well. Magnus and Morty were also popular, either with Knights or Daemon Princes.

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?

DS: Round 1 was against Mike Bucci who was playing AdMech with a robot shooting unit, Cawl and a Knight Crusader. I was able to jump the Spears from unit to unit with soulbursts to keep them in combat and the Reapers did the rest. Final score was 41-4 for me.

WA: Second match up?

DS: Round 2 was against Kevin Armitage (who runs the Basement Collective YouTube channel and GT) who was playing Magnus and Morty with 3 Knight Gallants. I got really lucky on 2 counts, first by getting Hammer and Anvil deployment and second by seizing. I hid in a corner, killed Magnus with the Reapers turn 1 and forced the rest of Kevin’s army to run at me through Reaper fire. Final score was 39-15 for me.

WA: Third match up?

DS: Round 3 was against my friend Diogo Pita who was playing basically the same list as me. The mirror match (especially a Ynnari one) is always interesting because it often comes down to who makes the first mistake or gets a lucky break. I got first turn, was able to quicken my Spears into his Spears and kill them, which removed the biggest check against my Reapers. After that I was able to eliminate his Reapers with shooting and a charge from the Spears which sealed the win for me. Final score was 39-23.

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?

DS: I felt confident for day 2. The hardest matchup for me is the mirror match which I got out of the way round 3 and many of the other good players I was worried about had gotten paired up against each other and been knocked out. My round 4 opponent was a Guilliman gunline so assuming I got a table with good terrain it’s a favorable matchup for me.

WA: Fourth match up? 

DS: Round 4 was against another friend of mine, Thomas Collier. He had Guilliman with Devastators parked around the relic banner and 2 Leviathan dreads. Luckily the table had a huge ruin in the middle which I could hide behind, and we got table quarters deployment which meant I was starting close to him. Spears made a charge turn 1 which killed most his Devs, Hellblasters and Tigerius and were able to soulburst behind the ruin to avoid return fire from the Leviathans. Guilliman tried a long charge on the Spears (and failed) and died in my turn (I Vect’d the reroll on the get back up). After that it was cleanup with the Reapers and Spears. Final score was 40-11 for me.

WA: Fifth match up? 

DS: Round 5 was against Joey Deng. He was playing a Plaguebearer horde with Plagueburst Crawlers and Bloat Drone support. We had Dawn of War deployment which was disadvantageous to me. I did get first turn thankfully, which gave me more shooting before he hit my lines. Plaguebearers are tough and I knew I couldn’t rely on the Spears killing a whole unit with shooting and combat, so I picked off his PBCs and Bloat Drones with the Reapers and Spear hit and runs while charging the Plaguebearers with Serpents to lock them in combat. Eventually I was able to remove his key threats while not taking losses on my important units which sealed the win for me. Final score was 28-19.

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

DS: I was the only undefeated player at the end. I played some good players and all of my games were fun and enjoyable. I do feel I got a bit lucky on pairings as many of the players I was worried about got paired up early and knocked each other out.

WA: What were some of the best tactics and combos that you saw at the event?

DS: I think good movement and clever use of stratagems are the hallmarks of a good player these days. In round 3 against Diogo we both deployed valuable units far forward as bait with the intention of using the Phastasm stratagem on them if we didn’t get first turn. There’s also the Ynnari soulburst movement then pile in after combat trick which I think is underused.

WA: What did you think of the mission sets?

DS: They were ITC champions missions. I like them.

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

DS: I can’t think of anything to change in the list as it is now. I might look at expanding the Dark Eldar part of it but that’s about it.

WA: What’s next on your schedule?

DS: Next up is Capital City Bloodbath in Ottawa, Ontario in August then nothing big until Da Boyz in November.

WA: Any parting thoughts for the audience?

DS: Check out the SkaredCast page on Facebook for some pictures of the armies and the event. Its run by the T.O. of this event and the Barrie Bash.


Devin’s Eldar seized the weekend and he took them to a flawless but hard fought victory. The Worthiest Adversary salutes Devin and all of his opponents and the other attendants of the TGX 40k GT for their efforts that by all accounts led to a great second year for the GT.

The storm continues to rage, with the Bay Area Open and the Barnyard Brawl’s having just occurred and ETC and GENCON on the horizon. The Worthiest Adversary continues to report so standby for more from the very front of our favorite major conflicts.

Butcher your enemy’s warriors without mercy. Crush his armies and leave none alive. But do not stop there. Burn his cities. Bomb his worlds from orbit. Slaughter everything and everyone until he kneels in the ashes of those he sought to protect. Only then will he understand the true fury of the Dark Gods.
– Haakor of the Black Legion

eldar 2

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