Guest Editorial by Raw Dogger: A Gentleman’s Case Against Forgeworld (kind of)

Raw Dogger: He’s Snarky, he’s opinionated, and he’s back with another article on Forge World! -Ed

A couple of weeks ago I packed up the car and headed south to San Diego to take part in the annual 40k tournament, the Broadside Bash.  An RTT that focuses not only on competition but appearance and sportsmanship as well, the Bash lived up to its reputation as a premier west coast event that I’ll be sure to make the trip down for next year. First, a couple notes about the Broadside Bash.  It is 2000 point tournament (no double force organization) with 40k approved Forgeworld units allowed.  Appearance and sportsmanship points are a large factor in the tournament, but having a fully painted army is not required to win.  Composition scores might have played a part in the overall score, but from what I could see most lists were extremely powerful and fluff bunny lists were few and far between.  Despite my excitement in traveling to San Diego to take part in the tournament, there were a couple of factors that I was concerned about. The first was the point level of the tournament. In my opinion, 2000 points in too high in a competitive environment. It gives too much power to certain armies who have a greater abundance of powerful units to choose from.  It also takes a lot of the challenge of list building out of the equation, since with 2000 points you are able to take just about everything you want (and a bag of chips).  The second concern I had was with Forgeworld 40k approved units being allowed.
oh snap
I normally do not have a problem with 40k approved Forgeworld models being allowed in tournaments, and I think my main concern was the point level of the tournament. 2000 points gives players a LOT to work with when deciding to take high point cost units.  It is no surprise that certain 40k approved Forgeworld units are more powerful than others, and it certainly shouldn’t be a surprise that some of the most powerful are available to an army that certainly doesn’t need any additional help in the current edition.  I am speaking, of course, of the Imperial Guard. With the amount of cheap, effective firepower the Imperial Guard have at their disposal I am left to wonder at the necessity of allowing them to take cheap anti-aircraft weapon platforms and flying murder vultures that disintegrate your horde of infantry with contemptuous ease.  I understand that Hell Turkeys are a broken unit, I really do.  I am just as frustrated with their 360 degree marine melting death as the next guy.  Throw in the ridiculous looking model as well as the laughable premise and you have a unit that is just asking for a nut punch.

Yes, it is dumb when someone brings 3 Hell Turkeys or 9 Necron flyers in a list but allowing Forgeworld units into the competitive environment in order to counter the cheesy flyer lists has given birth to newer, cheesier Forgeworld 40k approved armies.  It’s like the Simpson episode where Bart finds the exotic lizards that eat all of the pigeons and breed uncontrollably, so the town plans on bringing in snakes to eat all of the lizards.  When the snakes get out of control they plan on bringing in Gorillas to eat the snakes, which will then die when winter comes around.  While playing against 3 Hell Turkeys or 9 Necron flyers is annoying, so is playing against someone with 2 Mortis Contemptor Dreadnoughts, 6 Sabre Platforms, 7 Missile Batteries, and a Vulture (this, by the way, is the list that wiped me off the table in game 4).  Is it fun to play against someone who takes multiple toughness 7, 2 wound platforms that are surrounded by guardsmen (who count as toughness 7 for some reason) behind Aegis Defense Platforms?  No, it’s not.  Who is more of the asshole, the guy who brought 3 Hell Turkeys or the guy who brought 9 Sabre Platforms?  They both are, in my book.

An opponent at the Bash made the comment that Forgeworld brings 40k into the realm of Magic the card game, in that the people with the most money have the advantage of purchasing expensive units that have the ability to dominate the battlefield in ways that mundane units cannot.  It is not surprising, therefore, that an army comprising of majority Forgeworld models won the tournament handily.  Does this mean we should not allow 40k approved Forgeworld units into games of competitive 40k?  I don’t think so, at least not at lower point level tournaments.  I do, however, feel strongly that they should not be allowed at tournaments over 1750 points.  What about cheesy flyer lists that adhere to legal GW codices?  Should we not allow spamming of these units in tournament play?  Again, I would have to say no.  With the Dark Angels codex having Flakk Missiles and the new Tau Codex having several brutal anti-air units and upgrades, it appears that GW got the message about the overpowered nature of flyers and are giving new armies the ability to take them down using codex units.

Ultimately, I believe the problems of Forgeworld approved and spammy flyer lists can both by solved by adhering to a 1500 point limit at all major tournaments.  At 1500 points, you must be much more conservative with your points and spending too many in any one force org slot will result in an imbalance that will lead to a lot of losses.  I also believe that there should be a limit to the amount of Forgeworld that should be allowed at tournaments.  One unit per army should be more than enough to fill any gaps in the GW codex.   I know this is a hot button issue at the moment, with angry people on both sides of the argument gnashing their teeth and yelling at their cats.  This article is not meant to cause anymore division on the subject but to evoke thoughtful dialogue that can hopefully bring some consensus to the community.  So tell me, what do you think?  Are Forgeworld models still filling a necessary gap or are we now allowing power gamers with deep pockets new ways of blowing their opponents of the table, like so many leaves?


About Reecius

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

28 Responses to “Guest Editorial by Raw Dogger: A Gentleman’s Case Against Forgeworld (kind of)”

  1. Spoonfunk May 2, 2013 1:30 am #

    I personally don’t play in enough 40k tourney’s to honestly to have a well informed opinion as to whether or not forgeworld is balanced for tournements.

    As with any tournament the meta will adjust according to what is powerful. The question is whether the FW units have enough strong counters to have the meta balance out. That was the issue up until the tau codex release and the strongest argument for FW. Flyers were powerful and their wasn’t a strong enough counter-meta in the environment to balance the field.

    I think that we have to see more data before we can assess whether or not FW should be allowed in tournaments. Does the list that shut you down have enough of a strong counter?

    Personally I think it ultimatly comes down to the style of a tournament. Meta is always in a constant state of change. It depends on where you are playing, the format you are playing in, what other players are bringing to the field, and what is legal rules wise. The simple fact is that no matter what/when/who you are there will always be optimal builds and suboptimal ones. The question is whether or not the public opinion is willing to let some things in their meta and whether or not there are factors that will dominate the meta.

  2. skari May 2, 2013 3:33 am #

    I really liked your outlook on the issue. So is the article really about the use of a 1500pt army in competitive play? Just using the spammy lists as a supporting point?
    I personally love 1500pts, it makes list building really, really hard. Every unit you have in the army must be well thought out. This does not exclude Spam. you can still fit 6 necron fliers in… you can still have a lot of sabres. TFG will still be TFG at a 1500 or a 2500pt tournament, because thats right we guessed it… he is TFG.
    I agree that FW should be allowed, I agree that the point value for competitive play should be lower (not only for the tactical choices but also for the speed of play).
    I will have to say that the leaf blowing ability of an army is rarely dependant on point value, more on the quality of the player, and lacking quality the desuchebaggery of the player in question.
    The thing is, then you start getting into the idea of comp and what not, and I disagree with arbirtary restriction on the game.

    Thanks for the article! it was a good read for the mornin.

    • Rawdogger May 2, 2013 7:51 pm #

      Hey Skari,

      I think the article started out talking about Forgeworld at tournaments but ended up talking about point levels instead. I get scatterbrained sometimes.

  3. Kraggi May 2, 2013 4:14 am #

    I think that allowing people to use forgeworld is a good option, it opens up more variety means pretty units to look at and interesting army builds.

    However in a tournament i am looking at running which I plan to allow FW units in, my plan is to give each army a FW Slot. The same as a fortification slot.

    You get one unit that is FW Approved to use in your army list. It also takes up the corresponding slot in your Force Organization slot. So if that unit is meant to take up a Heavy Support slot, it takes that up and your FW slot.

    This way you get only 1 unit to add, we are also looking at running the tournament at 1500 / 1750 points as this brings in the challenge of list building (as you mention in the article).

    List building is one of the best bits of the hobby, and people who dont like this are missing a huge part of the hobby. The challenge of building an effective 1500 point list (less so 1750 but its still a challenge) is one of the best bits.

    I will let you know how the FW slot works, but I think it gives people the option to use those expensive models they bought, but only the one of them, and by making sure it still effects your basic force org chart it limits some of the cheese.

    • Rawdogger May 2, 2013 7:53 pm #

      I love that idea! I kind of touched on that, limiting the amount of Forgeworld allowed. One unit of Sabres is enough! If we are going to allow these units there has to be limitations.

  4. Xzandrate May 2, 2013 4:55 am #

    I like the observations of the article, but I agree that it sounds more like an argument for a lower points costed more complete game. With only getting to see some of the FW units, or even new codex units, function for a turn or two it is hard to get a good read on the unit and develop a strategy. That doesn’t even account for the fact that some of the army builds that would counter stuff are considered tournament no-nos, and can be met with some real ire as the points get higher. Try bringing a Orky Green-Tide to a 2000 pt tournament? Some people will be just short of diving across the table as you move, but it provides the type of target saturation that some of those lists can’t deal with. So there is a bit of a problem with certain lists gaming the tournament system.

    As far as the balance of FW units, I’ve slowly become a convert. A chance to add some awesome looking models that may fill in your army and allow a new tactic instead of the bog standard. The cost seems prohibitive at first, but as the yearly “price adjustments” continue it is slowly getting cheaper to go the FW route.

    We are already in a Magic-esque state with the game, it’s not uncommon for some players to change armies with every new army book. I know I can’t drop $1000 bucks for a new army, plus the time or money to have it assembled and painted. But there are some guys out there to have no problems dropping the cash to buy the perfect internet list and have it built and painted to a high degree.

  5. umbo May 2, 2013 5:12 am #

    I have mixed feelings for forgeworld, tho I think it should be included in tournaments I really wish forgeworld and GW both worked together when they released 6th edition and artillery units like sabers, thud guns, earthshakers etc.. As they obviously didnt as FW kept to roughly the same pointing values for these units while GW massively boosted them with 6th edition rules.

    If they fixed artillery points or rules then I think forgeworld would be a no brainer, its a great thing. Just a shame a few units annoy people so much it is reflexed on so badly.

  6. Lyokos May 2, 2013 5:18 am #

    I have to disgree. I play a guy who uses the imperial armoured battalion from FW and I play eldar. I have nowhere near enough options to take out all his tanks. But as most games are objective based I can run him around get on his weak rear armour and get him to play my way rather than his. I do use a nightwing flyer and 3 wasp walkers to do it but its more about adapting to situations. If you assaulted those platforms the threat would be neutralised. I dont think any army is broken. People need to think outside the box.

  7. Rawdogger May 2, 2013 6:53 am #

    Thanks for the feedback on the article, guys. This was actually supposed to be about Rage Quitting but turned into a Forgeworld article, but really should have been a points limit article, lol (thanks for the idea!). Also, please be sure to check out the source of these articles,, as there are some things that Reece CANT post on his site….

  8. Rawdogger May 2, 2013 6:54 am #

    That should be D’oh

  9. D-ManA May 2, 2013 7:14 am #

    In our local area most of the local tournaments are 2k and they allow forgeworld 40k approved, double force org. We have yet to run into an over powered list that couldn’t be dealt with. I guess different areas have a different outlook on things. For us 2k is just fine, some of us want some higher points on occasion, and forgeworld is just fine.

    • Raw Dogger May 2, 2013 9:09 am #

      Thanks for the insight, D-ManA. Do you run the type of lists I’m talking about above by any chance?

      • D-ManA May 2, 2013 12:00 pm #

        the only forgeworld that I have is 2 Nightwings for my elder and a luscious pattern drop pod for my marines (which is not game breaking). I do have necrons with 4 scyths not the 9-10 you can see with cronair. We do have a guy who runs a mortis pattern contemptor and Hyperios(?) whirlwinds. We also had a guy use some sabre platforms. I’m the only one who runs a heldrake also when I play Chaos.

  10. Charles May 2, 2013 8:26 am #


    First off let me say I enjoy these kind of level headed debates out here on the innerwebz. Everyone calmly writing their opinions without attacking each other. Kind of like a breath of fresh air.

    However I have an idea though will sound a tad out of sorts due to things like time constraints at these event. When forge world is allowed, then dual force org, allies should also be allowed at any points level. If your going to make it the nastiest thing you can bring then let’s have at it. Just call it a cage match and let’s the dice fly.

    Just think 1750 points with all that. Time may not be at a premium, since there would be so much mayhem and death on the table.

    Could be fun.


    • Reecius May 2, 2013 10:25 am #

      Hey Chas,

      Yeah we have one rule at Frontline Gaming: talk to people here as you would in real life. I don’t censor anything people say I just expect everyone to talk to each other with respect. So far, it’s kept this a very level headed place to discuss our favorite pastime.

      I agree that lower points means less cheese. 1750 seems to be the sweet spot that we have found for games finishing on time, and limiting the pure power you can pack in. 2K is fun but man you can bring the heat at that points limit.

  11. Reecius May 2, 2013 1:25 pm #

    I really liked this article, nice on Raw Dogger!

    I would just like to point out to those who think FW means you “buy” victory, that at the BAO we had a hugely more diverse final 16 than Adpeticon (which did not allow FW and had 9/16 finals armies include Necrons with loads of Flyers). Also, the winner of our event had no Forgeworld. Lastly, most of the finalists did no have FW, and most of them did have flyers.

    Therefore, at least so far, FW seems to have achieved our goal of balancing things out a bit and to increase variety!

    • Hippesthippo May 2, 2013 6:02 pm #

      That doesn’t account for the fact that it is highly likely it was the first big FW tournament for anybody not from your scene.. As such, I don’t believe many people brought FW. However, those who did seemed to place quite a bit higher. Except, of course, the one Eldar player I’ve mentioned before.

      Admittedly, this is all anecdotal and based solely on personal observation, but I would note that I was one of the first people there and last to leave on both days. In other words, I had a pretty good look.

      I just wish you would give normal 40k a chance now that Tau have come back. Daemons also have some very good anti-flier in hordes, horrors, grinders, and slaanesh princes. In general, anti-flier is getting stronger with each passing codex, and those codices are being released at break neck speed. I believe that in due course the flyer phenomenon will fade from prominence organically, if only you would let it.

      Attempting to force the issue with FW units that are not tested for balance, as GW admits, only serves to create new problems and imbalances. This effect is only heightened by the obvious fact that GW themselves is making a strong push for internal balance with all new codices released since 6th edition hit. GW, it would seem, is finally taking playtesting seriously.. Something FW openly admits they do not.

      • Hippesthippo May 2, 2013 6:05 pm #

        To clarify that last paragraph: GW parent units are playtested. FW units are not.

      • Reecius May 7, 2013 12:16 pm #

        GW books are also not externally play-tested, though! Haha, we have that first hand from a play tester of the rules, and one of the folks that helped with 6th ed design. FW books receive the same, internal play testing that GW books do. If they cross over with one another and compare notes? I couldn’t say.

  12. Adam May 2, 2013 4:42 pm #

    Currently, I don’t have a problem with Forgeworld, but I think that as more and more books come out, it should continue to be reconsidered. Currently, Forgeworld is the only way a lot of armies can deal with flyers. As each book comes out though, the flyers in them (except the drake) really aren’t that powerful, nor are they particularly heavily armoured.

    Once most of the books have been re-released, and there are means of dealing with flyers for most armies, then I don’t think Forgeworld should continue to be permitted. Their flyers are just way better than their counterparts in the regular codecies, and their anti-flyer is also significantly better.

    • Reecius May 7, 2013 12:12 pm #

      I disagree very strongly that FW fliers are better. The Vendetta, Hell Turkey and Night Scythe are easily the best fliers in the game, FW doesn’t even come close to that.

      I think as people get used to FW, it really won’t be that big of a deal, which is proving to be largely true.

  13. Noah May 2, 2013 4:53 pm #

    I dunno I think there is something wrong with going to ground behind an ADL with toughness 7 guardsmen on sabre platforms only to have them ordered to get back into the fight. Other then that I think FW is fine.

    • Reecius May 7, 2013 12:14 pm #

      I think that is currently the best argument against FW. However, there are on the table tactics that every army can use to counter that. First of all, kill the stupid CCS, Lord Commissar, Standard, and PCS first. That eliminates the ability to play the peek-a-boo game with artillery.

      Second, one space marine charges those guns and they’re toast. They have a massive weakness to assault. You can’t engage them in a gun fight on their terms and expect to win.

  14. Tangentical May 2, 2013 10:24 pm #

    All makes a lot of sense.

    I’m liking 1500 points as well, keeps everyone honest and make death stars less attractive.

    It does shift power towards certain things but every decision does that.

    P.s. shameless plug… I’ve started blogging at 40k Globals new site about getting back into 40k last year. Check it out if you have time.



  15. Surtur May 3, 2013 12:46 am #

    I think that this suffers from the basic flaw that it assumes that 40k is balanced in the first place. It doesn’t matter if someone paid up for the saber platforms from FW or if someone hobbled on down the street and grabbed 3 helldrakes from GW. Both sides of the coin are broken and unbalanced. It’s why GW cops out so hard about cinematic gaming because they have for my entire gaming career failed to make a balanced system. Getting rid of forgeworld isn’t making the game less imbalanced, it’s just changing where the imbalance is. Competitive 40k is a fabrication of mad men.

  16. Cameron May 3, 2013 6:55 am #

    Dark Angel Flakk missiles are not an effective or efficient way to take down fliers.

    • Raw Dogger May 3, 2013 7:10 am #

      I’m not so sure Cameron. I tend to run 5 man tactical squads with a missile launcher with Flakk and I think it comes to 95 points. Not scary enough to be targeted by enemy units but just sneaky enough to fire a missile into the back of a flyer. Strength 7 does kind of grind my gears, though.

  17. Defeamyarmy May 3, 2013 9:45 am #

    Forgeworld is an interesting, nice add on. With the white dwarf that came out with flyers, it kinda balanced out the problems for most armies, do forge world doesn’t seem necessary. However, between the variety, added combos, and expensive tastes, I feel if you spent the money it should be allowed for use. Daemons vs ig in the BAO finals proved to me that forge world is more intimidating than seemingly rule breaking. Forge world majority would be broken so a 0-1 slot per 1000 points I believe would help the balance. 2000 point games are slow, and would definitely go even slower when your opponent has to figure out how to defend against these different units.

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