The Most Competitive 40K Tournament Format?

You better have the Eye of the Tiger if you want to read this article…and live!

Reecius here from the greatest game store in this or any universe, Frontline Gaming, to discuss what may very well be the most competitive tournament format in Warhammer 40K.

This topic came up in a conversation we were having over at Frontline about Forge World in 40K tournaments and the effect it had. Not surprisingly, some players felt it was fine and that they added a lot of fun variety and useful options to the game while others felt it through the balance off. We were dancing the usual dance with counter arguments of the game isn’t balanced anyway, it adds more units to the game (argued both pro and con), is too expensive, is too confusing when you allow scratch builds and conversions, is super fun and opens the game, is this, that, and the other. You all know the drill.

However, Douglas from the Wolf Brothers club in Reno, NV. He made a pretty simple statement that got my wheels turning (that hamster in there is getting tired!!). He stated that the most competitive format for a 40K event was to use two thousand points, double force org, and all FW units allowed, baring only Apocalypse units. Use book missions and rules with perhaps only adding in secondary objectives.

True story.

That seriously is the most competitive format you could play in. You have the points to build whatever list you want, all of the options, and double force org to really build a devastating list. You have so many options and can create devastating combos. So long as everyone is on the same page and coming to the event aware that it is bring your best list, it could be a lot of fun! It made me think a bit of ‘Ard Boyz to a certain degree, but without the idiotic missions. And we all loved ‘Ard Boyz, I mean come on, who didn’t want to be the ‘Ardest Boy around?!?!

Now the issue with that format really is time. If you want to play Swiss and you have a lot of players, then you need lots of time. 3 hour rounds would really be ideal for this. Swiss is the right format in my mind as it produces a true champion and is quite simple: last gamer standing is champ.

Straight book missions I think just don’t provide enough tactical depth and flexibility, and often result in huge mismatches before the game begins: Nids against IG or DE Venoms in Hammer and Anvil is a perfect example. I think layering missions to include a secondary objective adds a ton of depth and rewards the better player.

We come very close to this with our BAO format, but we play at 1750pts which we have found results in the highest ratio of completed games in the allotted time as well as making the largest number of players happy in terms of game size, with only 2 days to complete tournaments. It is our sweet spot.

It’s fun to think about running a pretty much unrestricted format event though, as ‘Ard Boyz (ridiculous name aside) really was a lot of fun every year. The big downside in an event with that format though, is that with 7 or more rounds of play in a Swiss format, you would really need 3 days to complete the event which is getting excessive.

What do you all think? It’s more fun to allow more options than to take them away. Instead of looking at comp, banned units, unit restrictions  yes to FW, no FW, etc. why not just go even deeper down the rabbit hole and say F it, bring it all and let’s see who comes out on top?


About Reecius

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

30 Responses to “The Most Competitive 40K Tournament Format?”

  1. Lungpickle May 8, 2013 7:37 am #

    Ok love the idea. Do everything he mentioned but drop the points to 1750. Make list building just as hard as the game shall be.

    Have a relic in every game as secondary.

    Change nothing else. Except maybe instead of 6 terrain pieces add 2 more. Clutter up the lines, give cover, and kill kill kill.

    To add excitement every time a non cheese list wins a game they get to sock reecius in the man cannon. :). J/k lol.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 9:25 am #

      Punch me in the man cannon? Hahaha, done!

  2. Douglas of Wolfbrothers May 8, 2013 9:42 am #

    HOWL brother Reece!

    Many of us miss Ard Boyz. The crazy missions kind of came with the territory.

    2k is is important because of the list options and limited points. The listbuidling here is not tongue and cheek easy by any means. Suddenly from 1750 to 2k there are thousands of more options but much less points. Yum.

    As for time, were Adepticon and NOVA having game completion issues?

    Is anyone (TO) at a real national large GT event really going to be exclusionary in regards to WYSIWYG? How often ever does it happen that models or lists are DQd or forfeit games, or not allowed to use their model or stand in model or some other easy solution the TO comes prepared with? Ive never even seen it happen.

    For any of those “problems,” Attitude is the answer. Ardboyz attitude was hardcore kill kill killy MURDER. So there, kill or be killed, come to be Murdered hard, and like it when it happens, thats the truth of the grimdark.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 2:00 pm #

      I don’t have any data on game completion ratios for Adepticon or NOVA, but they are at 1850 too, not 2K.

      I agree too though, that you have to set the tone with an event. Ard Boyz you came in knowing what to expect and therefore had the right attitude. A lot of people are actually turned off by it though, but that was fine because they could simply choose not to go!

  3. Douglas of Wolfbrothers May 8, 2013 9:50 am #

    I wish 40k had a HARDCORE MURDER pg5 rule, like another popular game does.

  4. Rob the nob May 8, 2013 11:09 am #

    Everything you said would be great but playing 3 games at 3 plus hours with set up and what not would be a “kick in the man cannon” and I love the idea of 2000 pts to bring out all the toys but that is the problem. You would be able to bring everything you want with out sacrificing anything and not having to weigh options which in a tournament you would want to make people think about what to bring instead of auto bring/copy and paste lists. I would love to bring 11 flyers in a 2k list but I would also hate to play 11 flyers in a 2k list so thank god for forge world. Personally 1750 is a great number you can bring a lot but still have to think about what to bring and forge world in and maybe to bring people that are not into forge world around have a percent limit like 10 or 15 percent of points spent can be spent on forgeworld. Just my opinion

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 1:58 pm #

      The only issue with arbitrary limitations like a percentage cap, limit cap, etc. is that it simply doesn’t effect everyone equally. All the armies are designed to be different, and therefore no universal system will apply to everyone equally or fairly. IMO, it really has to be either all in, or none at all.

      I agree that 1750 is the right points limit and our data supports that in terms of player feedback.

  5. Hippesthippo May 8, 2013 11:12 am #

    I wouldn’t play in it. Ard boyz tournaments tend to bring out the doosh in a lot of ppl.

    I fail to see what makes 2k double force org any more competitive than a “normal,” tournament.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 1:53 pm #

      I’ve always had a blast with Ard Boyz, personally. I thought it was good fun.

      How competitive something is or is not is subjective, but at 2K with double FOC and FW, you can bring the most powerful lists which would therefore be arguably the most competitive format.

  6. Clover362 May 8, 2013 12:31 pm #

    I just don’t see the need for forgeworld. With Tau in the mix, I think the Meta will address the flier issue (if it was ever a real issue to begin with). There are plenty of forgeworld models that are no problem but there are some extremely broken units (Thudd gun squads). There is no need to add more broken units to a game that has plenty already.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 1:50 pm #

      The funny thing is how much of this is perspective. Artillery have huge weaknesses. People are making a bigger deal of them than they actually are, IMO just like some people, as you indicated, feel that fliers really aren’t that big of a deal. However, when almost every single army at the Adepticon finals is flyer heavy….that says something.

      Artillery are ultra weak to assault (literally a single Space Marine in combat with them has good odds to run them unit down), and anything that causes characteristic tests smokes them, such as JotWW, Mawlocs, Transdimensional Beamer, etc. auto-kills them.

      I prefer more options to less and the numbers we have show that most people agree with that.

      • Hippesthippo May 8, 2013 3:09 pm #

        I don’t see a problem with fliers being good.. Either way, the general trend in new releases point to fliers being reigned in organically. With units that actually get playtested.

        • Reecius May 8, 2013 4:57 pm #

          What evidence do you have that GW play tests their units, to what degree, and how that differs substantially from FW? We have talked to actual GW game designers and have gotten mixed stories on what actually goes down and we’ve heard the FW does play-test there stuff. I can’t honestly give a definitive answer on that topic myself though and am curious as to what you are basing that statement off of as you have said it multiple times.

          • Hippesthippo May 8, 2013 8:04 pm

            Uk playtesters.

            What it comes down to is this. The main argument I hear from you and everyone else is that FW gives more armies access to skyfire.

            Why is that necessary? Because fliers are good and you don’t like that, so you basically feel a need to “balance,” the playing field, essentially trying to mimick the effects of a comp system.

            You want to “play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” jouglas? By all means, so long as you recognize FW has no part in a system like that. If GW wanted they could easily make FW units an official part of their codices. They haven’t. For good reasons.

            And no, exact measurements, playing by the rules, and a hardcore attitude don’t scare me. I’ve done pretty well for myself on the GT scene in a very short time frame, and I bring a competitive mindset to all aspects of life, it’s who I am. What scares me is poorly assembled barely painted miniatures piloted by a young man with orange cheeto stained beard/hands and very little understanding of the rules ragequitting when Coteaz and 60 passbacks still cant buy him a win. I dont pay good money to come up against that round 1.

          • Reecius May 8, 2013 9:04 pm

            Giving access to anti air assets is a great argument for it, IMO.

            However, what do you make of the 40K approved stamp? You don’t think that legitimizes it? I see it as a supplement to 40K that we choose to use for our events because yes, it does help mitigate flyers (and I think the final 16 at Adepticon is pretty objective evidence as to their power level) but for me personally, honestly I just love the models and I love more variety.

          • Hippesthippo May 9, 2013 3:34 pm

            So you basically view fw as a form of comp? Ie. Introducing a set of rules to try and balance the game? Interesting, coming from team zero comp.

            I view the 40k approved stamp as a way for FW to sell more models.

            I still don’t understand the problem with fliers being powerful.

          • Reecius May 9, 2013 7:32 pm

            FW is a form of comp, yes, although the balancing effect it has with fliers is only one part of the argument we have for using it. Any change at all to the core rules is a form of comp though so unless you play a tournament straight out of the book with no modifications at all, that argument falls flat. The irony of our name is not lost on me. We seek to alter the game the least amount possible while encouraging balance. That is why we use modified missions for example.

            You may see the 40K approved stamp as a way for FW to sell more models but then by the same logic you can look at every rule GW writes as serving the same purpose. The only difference here is that you see FW negatively and the core rules positively.

            And Fliers not being a big deal? That is a subjective opinion and one which I would argue you are in the minority in holding. Are they unbeatable? No. But giving people options to use more models with more variety and more options. Just as you don’t think fliers are a big deal, I don’t see FW as a big deal.

          • Hippesthippo May 10, 2013 6:37 am

            Fair enough.

  7. Son of Dorn May 8, 2013 4:17 pm #

    90 Lootas! 90 Lootas! 90 Lootas!

    I just want to see someone bring that. Hahahaha. Be a spectacle to behold.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 4:55 pm #

      Right?! haha, that would be awesome!

  8. Douglas of Wolfbrothers May 8, 2013 5:02 pm #

    Why do we Need a Need for Forgeworld. If they stamp it 40k legal, what does need have to do Murder?

    Why do we need Black Templars or Orks? We dont, they are part of the game.

    I played in a lot of Ard Boyz, and the worst I ever saw was Reece lol! What douchebaggery was going on at Ard Boyz to make them so bad? Exact measurements and precise rules enforcement and a hardcore attitude are bad things? Seems like scarecrow to me. Douchebaggery is a TO issue, and Im sure any of the the folks on the staff at any big GT are prepared to deal with such activity in a professional manner.

    Part of my original point was that folks were complaining about flyer lists being over powered, but there was no Relic or Scourging missions or mysterious objectives even being played… and its like they were surprised to find bacteria growing in the bathroom.

    The expert hats were telling us all of this naysayer business last June before the new rulebook was even in our hands. All of these items were broken, over powered, game breaking suckyness: Flyers, Allies, Fortifications, Mysterious Objectives & Terrain, 2xFOC, and the new mission types. Lets just play the game.

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 9:11 pm #

      Yeah, hahaha, the list I won the Semi-Finals with was filthy! That was the most powerful army I have ever put on the table.

  9. jy2 May 8, 2013 5:07 pm #

    How about a Farsight bomb with 6 riptides!?! Screw scoring….I am going to table you! Lol.

    Oh, how I miss those Ard Boyz days. They were so much fun. Unbalanced, but fun. Either win big or go home crying like a little b*atch. Nah, I kid. 😉

    • Reecius May 8, 2013 9:10 pm #

      I loved Ard Boyz, too! They had a bad rap, but they were good fun.

  10. Lungpickle May 9, 2013 8:52 am #

    Know what else would be good. Eliminate the seeing of the tourney scenarios before the event. This could eliminate list tailoring. With all the other factors, like 1750, fw, dfoc, allies, myst. Obj, and no scenario knowledge would be sweet.

    Maybe that would show who the top cat is. Could be fun.

    • Reecius May 9, 2013 10:38 am #

      That has been done and people actually really dislike it. The reason being, you could build a good list, show up, and the missions are all working against you and you have lost before you’ve even begun. People don’t like to buy a ticket, paint up their stuff, travel to an event and then see that it was all for nothing.

  11. David Key May 9, 2013 12:27 pm #

    I would theorize that this is a bad idea. I am just going to throw this out there and say that a Tau army assembled with the above constraints would be unbeatable by an enormous margin. My basic premise is that some armies scale better than others.

    What if you had a contest where people sent in their most abusive lists under this tournament format, sort through the ones which stand out most based on a panel of expert judges, and then do some in-store play-offs of the lists to see which one comes out on top.

    The winner could get something… Probably enough just “being right.”

    That would be different and fun, right?

    • Douglas of Wolfbrothers May 9, 2013 12:52 pm #

      Thats whats been happening since last june. People rarely even post these oh so awesome Over Powered and Obviously Broken lists, let alone field them. talk and no walk.

      • Hippesthippo May 9, 2013 3:28 pm #

        Because who wants to waste their money on 9 of the same unit just so they can play an extremely bland army in one tournament?

        • David Key May 10, 2013 7:35 am #

          Agreed. I was suggesting a pure head-hammer deal.

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