TSHFT, the Meta and Tournament Structure


I be back with more incredible grammar and 40K pontifications!

Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about our recent trip up to Seattle to attend TSFHT. TSHFT, a 70 player, 2000pt 40K tournament is put on by Zen and his crew and is a really fun, well organized event that I highly recommend attending in the future.

First off we’d like to say it was a pleasure meeting all the folks that previously we had only ever talked to online. That is one of the coolest parts of traveling to tournaments: making new friends and catching up with old friends you only get to see at events.

tournament champion

Second, a big shout out to the tournament champ: Jeremy Veysseire went 5-0 against some tough comp with his Ravewing! Dark Angels off to a strong start, it seems. Jeremy was using the following list:

  • HQ – Sammael – Raven Sword, Adamantite Mantle, Corvex, Night Halo.
  • HQ – Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Auspex, Space Marine Bike, Force Staff, Psychic Hood.
  • HQ* – Ravenwing Command Squad – 3x – 2 Corvus Hammer, 2 Plasma Talons, Champion w/ Blade of Caliban, Apothecary w/ Narthecium, Standard Bearer w/ Banner of Devastation & Grenade Launcher.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Plasmaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Flamers, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Troops – Ravenwing Attack Squad – 6x + 1x Atk Bike – 2 Meltaguns, Multimelta.
  • Fast Att – Ravenwing Black Knights – 5x – 4 Plasma Talons, Power Sword, 1 Grenade Launcher.

That Banner of Devastation combined with the bikes is just brutal. A mobile, scoring unit heavy army that puts out 4, twin-linked shots a piece is absolutely devastating against infantry (Banner of Devastation, devastating to infantry….I make a funny!). The combination of firepower, decent assault in Sammael, the command squad and the Black Knights; debuffing in the Grenades and general speed and slipperiness of the army proved to be too much for the rest of the field to handle. Hit and Run and Skilled Rider are just amazingly useful. Kudos to you, sir! Jeremy has written up a battle report and list break-down for Frontline Gaming which will be up on our site Thursday and Saturday of this week for anyone interested in reading more about it.

winner winner chicken dinner

The event overall winner was Alan Bajramovic with his Nids. Alan also won the ETC singles and WargamesCon last year, so he’s been on a hot streak! His Nids were really aggressive, with 2 Flyrants, the Doom and a unit of Zoeys in sPods, Ymgarls, 2 Tervies and a host of Gargoyles. His army relied on reserves, overwhelming amounts of high threat targets and speed. Alan did very well with it, and only lost to Jeremy in the finals. Alan won best overall due to his paint and sports scores giving him the edge. Alan also won a beautiful, fully painted Caestus Assault Ram which was painted by Stiff Neck Studios, lucky git!

I love seeing Nids do so well as I play them competitively myself and I have found very few armies that really give me trouble outside of Mech Dark Eldar and now (for very similar reasons: speed and overwhelming flak) Ravewing. Despite what many on the internet might say, Nids are very good right now, and while a lot of the units in the book are pretty crummy, the good ones are REALLY good. My list plays more of a “move to the middle of the board and react to the enemy” style than Alan’s “smash their face” list, but his experience reinforces my belief in their ability to hang with the big dogs.

Frankie, my business partner at Frontline Gaming and fellow Team Zero Comp member, brought the notorious Harliestar (Dark Eldar/Eldar Deathstar list) to the event. He lost to Alan in a very close match round 4 when he made a tactical error mid game which Alan capitalized on. He tied against Ben Cromwell’s Deathwing/Grey Knights in game 5. Despite the fact that Ben only had a single model left on the board, he managed to tie in what is a really bad match-up, so well played to Ben (who also won his bracket!).

Deathwing was well represented at the event and they seemed to be performing quite well from my observations although they still suffer from the same problems they always have: low model count. Their increased flexibility though is really fantastic. Rules question for you all: Do the rules for Deathwing Assault supersede normal reserve rules? And further, how does Deathwing Assault interact with ICs joining a unit?

tournament bracket

Further, in regards to the standardization of tournament formatting and scoring that we have been working on, we made some further steps. The ELO ranking is great in that it doesn’t matter how many players are at an event, how many rounds it has, etc. all that matters is who plays who, and what the result was. The other nice thing is that your ranking is not limited by country, etc. as the math behind it applies equally to everyone, everywhere. We therefore have a global ranking system as opposed to regional (although you can still see how you rank up within your country).

Last time I discussed this topic some folks brought up RankingsHQ as a ranking system already in place, which is very true and I am totally aware of it, but there are some issues I take with HOW they generate their scores that undermine the basic idea of a ranking system which is why we are doing this in the first place. I really enjoy RankingsHQ and appreciate their efforts a great deal though (and contribute a lot of scoring data and results to them), so this is not intended in any way as an insult to them.


We also discussed the importance of a flexible system that allowed individual TO’s to still run their events the way they want to as much as possible. There would need to be a degree of conformity in order for the whole thing to work, but TO’s tend to be fairly individualistic with A type personalities by nature, so allowing each TO to give their player base what they want and still participate in the larger circuit is a win and likely will result in a higher degree of participation.

The idea of a uniform structure is starting to take shape from a vague outline to a more real, definite thing that I believe will really help to facilitate the ease of traveling from one event to another as well as generating accurate, meaningful rankings. I have also been in conversation with many other TOs around the country and the sentiments are mirrored. I believe it is only a matter of time before we are all on the same page. The great thing is when this happens, you can make one army and it will be viable at EVERY event! You won’t have to alter your army much, if at all, and you can go to any event on the circuit and know largely what to expect. This helps to ease the cost and complexity of getting out into the wider world of 40K and enjoy attending more events with fellow hobby enthusiasts!

Lastly I want to give a big shout out to Tastey Taste for organizing a trip to the bar, Cowgirls, in downtown Seattle. That place is out of hand and a big group of us went out and had a blast making new friends and drinking far too much the night before a 40K tournament!


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

33 Responses to “TSHFT, the Meta and Tournament Structure”

  1. The voice January 23, 2013 2:19 am #

    Im lovin the rage on bolls 🙂

    Its a god list and somthing ive tried myself. Though personaly im taking 6 black knights myself as you realy need that second grenade launcher – you need to get a hit with it to use the buffs and leaving it to chance with just one roll is a bit too less of a saftey need for me.

    Irregardless – kudos to him and finally a 6th ed book with some variety and punch 🙂

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 12:00 pm #

      Haha, the BoLS trolls are more irate than normal, today! Oh well, let them gnash their teeth, and wail, most of them don’t actually play 40K, their hobby is being rude online.

      And yeah, Jeremy did great, good for him! I was glad to see Dark Angels doing so well as Chaos had me worried about what was to come.

      • fulcrum January 23, 2013 3:18 pm #

        I would try to find space for a darkshroud or 2. Preferably 2.

        • Reecius January 23, 2013 3:58 pm #

          That is the first thing Jeremy said after the tournament!

  2. Pascal Roggen January 23, 2013 3:11 am #

    wow the voice you lookin to start some of that bols rage over here?:P with that “irregardless” It’s just regardless or irrespective.

    Deathwing assault I’m pretty sure works like drop pods or flyers, by the time you get to deployment and choose what has to go in reserves they are already forced into being in reserve, there’s no longer a choice therefore they come under the “must start the game in reserves”

    I’d really like to hear the arguments against it actually

    • MikhailLenin January 23, 2013 9:50 am #

      Unfortunately Deathwing Assault is missing some integral wording to essentially function correctly within the Parameter of the Rules.

      For example, Deathwing Assault happens after Warlord Trait which is described in the Rulebook to be determined during Deployment but before any sides deploy but the key being it is still during Deployment. Deathwing Assault does not clarify if they go into reserve or not. All it says is that they Arrive by Deep Strike during the turn you have secretly written down which currently means that by RAW, you could deploy the unit since they were never placed in Reserve and then Deep Strike (like they just get sucked back into reserve and Deep Strike back onto the table) with them on their assigned secret turn. Of course no one is arguing that’s the mechanic but that is literally how the rule is currently framed within the context of the Rulebook.

      Now, when you arrive via Deep Strike it is explicitly said that you arriving from Reserve. Doesn’t matter if its Ongoing Reserve or Deployed Reserves, its Reserve. Hence the logical step in inferring that since Deathwing Assault is not explicitly a type of Deployment and that these models are arriving via Deep Strike (Reserve) with no explicitly spelled verbiage explaining that they do not count towards your 50% than the DA player must still adhere to those restriction.

      In regards to the comments about how they must Deep Strike, Deathwing Assault is a voluntary action unlike Drop Pod Assault.

      My conclusion is that it is just a badly written rule much like the mechanic with Varguard Obyron teleporting into combat when Zahndrek gets charged.

  3. Greg Swanson January 23, 2013 7:29 am #

    Anyway of getting a battle report and the chaos list. I am a long time ravenwing and white scar player myself and just would like to see how he handled the drakes and whatever else the chaos player had.

    • MikhailLenin January 23, 2013 9:35 am #

      Essentially I capitalized on his bad deployment (He deployed his Aegis near the center of his long table half for fear of Outflankers before I deployed my army). Allowing me to table his army before the Flyers came in and manning his own Quad Gun. To add insult to injury, the Helldrakes came at me piecemeal which meant the game was essentially over at that point. People forget that once the Helldrakes come in, I dont need my Banner anymore, I already did my damage. He can focus kill a non-scoring unit if he wants and then get killed by the rest of the army’s large volume of Special Weapons.

      Also Rear Armor of a Helldrake is 10. Bikes are fast and are equipped with TL Bolters. I can glance it to death in addition to all the Plasma and Meltaguns.

  4. Greg Swanson January 23, 2013 7:31 am #

    Sorry didn’t see you ad it coming. Thanks Reeve

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 11:35 am #

      Yeah, it is scheduled in the pipeline of articles, Jeremy wrote up an ace series of articles!

  5. Sur January 23, 2013 7:52 am #

    Nice article.
    Looking forwards to battle reports.
    Do you have any information about what was in that GK/DW army of Cromwell ?

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 11:33 am #

      I don’t know off hand, but he might pop in and say hi. Frankie knows too, as he played him. Frankie’s off today, but I will see if he can write up a bat rep.

  6. fluger January 23, 2013 8:07 am #

    Great meeting you Reecius! Love seeing TSHFT getting some internet love.

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 11:34 am #

      You guys, too! It was a great event, it deserves to get some more recognition! Next year we’ll bring more people up to have fun.

      • fluger January 23, 2013 2:37 pm #

        YAY! Sounds like a plan! Also, ignore the fools on BOLS! 🙂

        • Reecius January 23, 2013 2:41 pm #

          Haha, I always do! Sometimes I just like to kick the hornet’s nest!

          • Brian January 25, 2013 4:59 pm

            The dissapointing part is now that you guys got me interested in reading the BOLS comments they started removing them

          • Reecius January 25, 2013 5:57 pm

            They started removing comments? Hahaha, I didn’t know that. I shouldn’t have aggravated the BoLS Trolls that last time (lapse in judgement for sure) but I’d had a few drinks after work and was just fed up with their non-stop whining and rudeness.

          • Brian January 25, 2013 8:05 pm

            Well I gotta say the ones that were still there made me chuckle

  7. Murphus January 23, 2013 8:16 am #

    TSHFT is definitely on my post Uni list of tourneys to attend (one more year!).

    Im gonna second what greg asked regarding the drakes. The ravenwing list is brutal but if that 3 model command squad dies the list loses a lot of punch. Drakes “should” ruin that list.

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 12:03 pm #

      I agree that in a vacuum Drakes are a hard counter, however, there are two things I would like to throw into the argument:

      1.) Ravenwing will be on the other guy’s army turn 1, in their deployment zone turn 2 if they choose due to scout moves.

      2.) That means that the Chaos units on the board are on their own until the Drakes arrive (and reserve rolls may be poor) giving the Bikers time to either shoot them off the board, or get into assault where the Drake can’t hurt them.

  8. D-ManA January 23, 2013 8:29 am #

    What was the ruling used for the rad and stasis grenades? Do they affect the modles hit or the whole unit?

    • jadedknight January 23, 2013 10:10 am #

      I’m curious about this as well. Sounds like unit.

    • MikhailLenin January 23, 2013 10:29 am #

      Currently in the Codex I own, it states: “Every model in a unit hit by one or more rad shells suffers -1 penalty to their Toughness until the end of the turn (this can affect the victims’ Instant Death threshold).”

      The focus is on the Unit being hit not the models.

  9. KLG January 23, 2013 9:47 am #

    Any info/battle reports on Cromwells’ Deathwing/Grey Knights list?
    I’d really like to see that. Been thinking about trying out a Deathwing/Ghostwing list.

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 11:33 am #

      Yeah, I will ask Frankie if he can post up some reports of the action.

  10. Captn Dees January 23, 2013 11:25 am #

    Congrats to Jeremy! I’m looking forward to testing out Ravenwing though I’m not looking forward to potentially painting even more bikes!

  11. Defeatmyarmy January 23, 2013 2:15 pm #

    Almost finished getting 3 colors on my doa blood angels. With the new rules had to make a lot of changes, we gotta get some games in end of the month! Any more upcoming tournaments? Didn’t hear about this one

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 2:43 pm #

      Dundracon is coming up and that is local.

      • Defeatmyarmy January 23, 2013 4:24 pm #

        Nice! Reserve spot requested let me know if you have room to car pool buying tw ticket soon as grot master responds.

        • Reecius January 23, 2013 4:41 pm #

          Coolio, we will carpool for sure!

  12. fulcrum January 23, 2013 3:20 pm #

    Whats the confusion on ICs & DW assault? Assuming they are in terminator armor I don’t see what it would be…

    • Reecius January 23, 2013 3:58 pm #

      The confusion is mostly concerning allies and models that can deepstrike, but don’t have Deathwing Assault. How do they interact with the rules. My instinct would be to say they don’t benefit form it, but as far as I can remember, it isn’t addressed directly.

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