LVO: A Review of the 40K Friendly

In the next few days, there is going to be a lot of posts about the results of the Las Vegas Open 40K Championship, and for good reason. It is an amazing event, with some phenomenal players, and warrants looking at to see where the game is right now when played at the highest level.

Frankly, I’ll be doing some of that writing myself, if all goes according to plan.

But there was another event going on at the same time, the 40K Friendly, which I participated in. Needless to say, this event will garner somewhat less attention, but for the interested player…what is it, and how was it?

The TL;DR Version: I had a blast, comment the guys at Frontline Gaming for putting on a great event, and would gladly go next year, schedule permitting.

The Somewhat Longer Take:

First, it’s always a good sign when people pass by the tables where you’re setting up, say “Is this the Friendly?” and when told yes, immediately reply with “Man, I should have done this instead…” And frankly, I agree with them. Taking a walk through the tournament hall toward the tables where the Friendly was taking place, I got an eye-full of the best and hardest armies out there. And they are hard. And scary. And would toss my modest force around like a rag-doll, probably resulting in a boring game for both myself and my opponent.

Which brings me to my first observation about the 40K Friendly: It wasn’t that “friendly” in terms of the armies on the table. The way I eventually ended up describing it was “The toughest armies at your local store” (assuming your local store isn’t home to a tournament team). I had expected to be, to put it bluntly, “That jerk who brought three Wave Serpents and three Hornets to the Friendly”, and to give my opponents the benefit of the doubt with things like “I forgot to do my psychic phase” because of it. Turns out, I had a pretty standard toughness list, all things considered. Everything was painted, and themed, and it was awesome, but come prepared for hard fights. Fights with Lords of Skulls, and Knights, and Wrathknights. And the jerk with three Wave Serpents and three Hornets. These are after all people still serious enough about the game to be able to field 2000 points of painted, themed miniatures, and be of the opinion that spending several hundred dollars in Vegas to play games is a good idea.

Those four hard fights were awesome however. The Friendly opponent matching algorithm was “Find someone you’ve never played, shake their hand, and find a table.” This is an excellent algorithm. I played great opponents – friendly players there for a good time, enjoying the more relaxed two-games-a-day schedule, who were in good spirits whether they were winning, losing, or we had hammered out a truly improbable tie. Long lunch breaks, chatting 40K around beautiful table layouts and admiring each other’s armies. Seriously some of the best games of 40K I’ve ever played, against armies I had never seen before. My opponents (whose names I regrettably have written down somewhere not here) had:

  • A wonderfully themed Khorne daemon army with a Lord of Skulls, a Blood Thirster, a Daemon Prince, a Soulgrinder and lots of Bloodletters.
  • An Iyanden Eldar list with all manner of Wrath troops, a Wrathknight, and one of the Forge World Wrathseers.
  • A Salamanders Space Marine army themed around retrieving Vulkan’s relics.
  • A Chaos Space Marines/Dark Mechanicum army featuring lots of Maulerfiends, Helbrutes, a Knight and some Mechanicum guys in the back cackling with glee.

Basically, some of the best games of 40K I’ve played, with some great moments that will live on in memory – Crimson Hunters making strafing runs down a long corridor, a nasty, bloody grudge match between a unit of Guardians and a unit of Tactical Marines that, despite being a small part of the game, felt really important, and running over a Bloodletter with a jetbike.

My only other word of advice is to go with someone. Your club. A friend. In my case, my brother. Your spouse. It was very helpful to have someone able to watch “home base” while someone else went to go get food, and Vegas can be a somewhat isolating experience if you’re not also looking forward to the cheap alcohol/gambling/women and/or men without much clothing on aspect to the city.

Overall rating: 9/10


  1. what army did you run.

    I played in this event as well. I used a Tzeentch chaos daemons list. it was a hard list, and for the reason that lords of war/superheavies were allowed and present. I didn’t take any of those, but was prepared for them.

    unfortunately, this led to some mismatches in the ‘take all comers’ lists and the ‘hard’ lists that were present.

    I expected a little more of a story/scenario driven event. The preparation rules showed something like a imperial/chaos/xenos team type event. So, many of us prepared for something of the like.

    I still had a great time, and most of all enjoyed playing/seeing other fantastic armies. it beats the grey plastic at the local stores.

    hopefully they refine a little bit of this event and it doesn’t get overlooked, even if it is overshadowed by the gt.


    1. They said they had more people than they expected, which is good news.

      I ran a Codex: Eldar list with 3x Wave Serpents, 3x Hornets, Guardians, Dire Avengers, two small units of jetbikes, 2x Crimson Hunters and a Fire Prism. The super-heavies weren’t that big of a problem, but there were definitely a few lists where large bits of my army didn’t have anything to do.


      1. I played in the event too and had a fantastic time! I brought a Blood Angels, 11 drop pod army, and while not highly competitive, still managed to win 2 games. Great opponents and awesome looking armies. I agree that there was an expectation for a more story/scenario driven event but there was a lot of fun to be had. I also played in the Highlander but would skip that next time to try and get some pick up games with more of the guys/cool armies from the friendly event.


        1. I saw that army! It looked amazing – I’ll admit I’m a huge fan of drop pod lists, so I ‘m glad to hear you had fun. I considered the highlander event, but there’s just too much duplication in my army.


          1. Thanks! It was really fun to play and a few tweaks like more melta and trading out the dev squads for another furioso and assault squad would have helped out in the win column. I had the same issue with my Highlander list so I just used units I had except gave them jump packs instead of drop pods. They got shot to pieces.

        2. Hey Darrin!
          I know I’d eventually find you somewhere! Loved your drop pod army! (greg the rusty ork player). Def agree that in the future, possibly looking for pickup games “off tournament” time might be a fun way of spending the last day instead of starting into another tournament.

          I was under the same impression. I figured there would be good guys vs bad guys, etc. I didn’t mind the format change too much, but it did seem a little hap hazard. I still enjoyed myself greatly.

          I also noticed that the tables kinda of separated themselves a bit. It might have been the competitiveness of one group vs the other (i had the rusty brown ork walkers), or just people gravitating to play one army over another. (I for example, loved the nid all flyer theme army, but didn’t want to play the guy because i felt it wouldn’t be any fun since I had zero skyfire)

          Thanks for the article! I had a great time too, and only wished I had some more time. I did your advice, and had another person with me, so I was trying to make it into a dual vacation/tournament, which seemed to make me run around even more. I made sure to point out in the exit poll that they should really have some sort of food option for tournament goers. Nova has food trucks which is a GOD send when you are trying to grab food between games.

          I looked through my photos and don’t seem to have any of yours. Got a bunch of Darrin’s though! It’s funny i got the least photos of friendly, and that’s the one I was playing in!


          1. I am pleased with this post becoming a mini-reunion. The rusty ork army was awesome, would have loved a chance to play it. I tried to snap some photos when I could, but similarly, I’ve been regretting not taking more pictures of the Friendly armies- I got my opponents, usually, but less the random other people with great themes going.

          2. I took about 700 photos, but they are all pretty random, determined by when my games finished, and if I was hungry or not.

            This is kinda of a self plug if you haven’t seen them!




            I was happy so many people liked the ork army. I have been trying to find the videos people took of the tea lights…in the greater brass scorpion game I ran out of tea lights (also vs jeff’s thunderhammers), but yet forgot to take video of all the flickering lights!

            Next time I think they should consider extending the friendly to the 3rd day, and just do 6 games over 3 days. They seemed to have enough tables for it!

      2. Does anyone know approximately how many people were participating in the friendly event? This appeals to me more than the GT event. Thank you in advance.


        1. More than they were expecting I know. From memory, there were at least 10 tables worth of games going on, and more importantly (as far as I was concerned) more people I wanted to play than there were games to play them.


          1. I believe there was 33/34 players. There was a bit waist list for it. I think as time goes on, more and more people are interested In a more relaxed type of play, where you can actually chat about armies and the hobby and just enjoy yourself.

        2. Thank guys, the friendly event sound like more my style. I have considering going to GT events but with point values and restrictions being the way they are have deterred me from these types of events. Now I know the friendly is something that I attend.


  2. Hey Eric, it’s Ivan the Dark Mech player, love the fact that your blog has become an unofficial reunion. Guys I had an absolute blast and we’ll definitely come back next year. Eric our game was epic!! Darren, loved your drop pod army bro, are game was amazing.


    1. Ivan, good to hear from you! Our game was indeed epic, and one of the most genuinely hard fought games I’ve played in awhile. I read your blog, and I’m glad to see my usual patterns in wargames is holding: I won’t win, but I can often determine who does 😉


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