Comp is for Commies and Unicorns!

Yeah, that’s right you Commiecorns!!!

Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to set everyone straight on this whole comp thing!

First of all, let me just say that I don’t actually think comp is for Commies and/or Unicorns, I just Google image searched “commie unicorn” and it was an actual thing! Haha, I had to use the images!

So, that aside, I am writing this article in response to Goatboy’s article from Monday about the possibility of bringing comp back into tournaments. I keep my ear to the ground on these things and it is a topic that has come back up on multiple fronts largely in response to the very unfun combos that have popped up in 40K such as Riptidestar and Spam, Screamerstars, Jetseerstars, etc. Comp always will come up in this game, it’s one of those topics that will always be a part of the conversation with organized 40K because the rules of the game are not the best, and we all know this.

Let’s address this systematically, shall we?

What is comp?

Comp is a relatively noble idea. It is the belief that by imposing negative consequences on players for bringing units that are perceived to be too powerful, players won’t bring them or will not be able to win as easily, if at all, and therefore make the game more fair for everyone else.

Comp comes from the days of yesteryear when GW ran tournaments and they needed a way to stratify the field when they only played 3-5 rounds and wouldn’t have a clear winner with W/L/D. So, they added in points to determine a winner. These included battle points, comp points, sportsmanship points and paint points, typically.

This way even with the physical limitation of 3-5 games, you would have a field of players that all had different scores and therefore you could determine who ranked where.

How does it work in application?

While comp seems like a good idea on the surface as with any complex issue, it is infinitely more sticky in the real world than in the world of theory.

Comp quite simply does not do what it’s stated purpose is: level the playing field. The game is inherently unfair and imbalanced. The different armies are made to be as different from one another as they can with a plethora of units within each codex each of which has a lot of options. The amount of variables in this game approaches an effectively infinite number. With that much room for customization, one so inclined to finding powerful combinations can and will do so. Many gamers, by their nature, are oriented towards finding what is most optimized in any given system and we should all accept that this is never, ever going to go away. List writing is a game in and of itself, and a fun one at that. Introducing comp into a system that is this complex and chaotic is absolutely going to fail at creating perfect balance or even coming remotely close to it.

Why do I say that? Think about this logically. In a system where everything is meant to be different from everything else, if you introduce a new rule to “balance” something that is very powerful, it impacts every other unit differently, often negatively. A good example of this is saying you can only take 2 of any unit besides troops. You might immediately think, oh good, less Wave Serpents and Riptides (the current Bugaboos of the game) but then you are also saying less of EVERYTHING else, too. A lot of armies require taking key units in abundance to compete. You throw out the baby with the bathwater by trying to bring balance and while yes, you may reduce some of the perceived problem units, you also unfairly punish armies that aren’t problematic. Beware of unintended consequences.

I have also never seen a tournament with comp have significantly different results than those without it. If comp worked, every army would have a roughly equal chance of winning (not taking into account player skill here, of course). You should therefore see an even distribution of armies performing well based on their representation at the event. At the least, you should see armies that perform poorly in no-comp events performing well in comp events. I don’t see that, either. That isn’t to say it doesn’t happen of course, just that I have not observed it in any significant numbers. I have played in a LOT of tournaments, far more than most people, and many of those were comp events and I can say from personal experience that the same armies were winning in comp as in no comp events with no real statistical difference.

Good armies have depth, like a good sports team. They can fall back on other good units in their book to fill the gap that results from not taking banned or restricted units. Tau or Eldar, for example, can just take 2 of their best units (of which they have many) and then fill the gap with more, awesome units as these books largely have few to no poor choices. The weaker books though, with only a few good choices, suffer which is the inverse effect of what comp wants to do.

Judging comp on an individual player basis by judges or the worst of all, opponent judged comp (blech) is just a really, really poor idea. For one, it is absolutely subjective. You can’t use a rubric for the reasons stated above that is even remotely fair, and your opinion of a lists’s power is utterly biased. Judges may not have the depth of knowledge to fairly look at every army in the field and determine it’s power. Maybe they don’t see the combos, or even know about the problem combos and their score of your comp or opinion of your lists power may be totally skewed. One judge may look at a Screamerstar on paper and think, that is uber powerful, another may see a fluffy Tzeentch unit and give it top marks. You laugh, but I see this happen often. Secondly, the logistics of collecting every players list is a pain in the ass (players forget, change their list, etc. etc. etc.) and then actually reading each list, checking it, and scoring it takes a LOT of time. For a 100+ player event, that is days of work. If you have multiple judges you now have not only bias but an unfair application of bias as not every list was judged by the same standards.

Player judged comp is just asking for abuse. In the heat of the moment, particularly after experiencing a new and deadly combo, or playing an army you don’t like, or losing a game, people give in to the temptation to ding their opponent’s score. If even a single player abuses this in order to gain an advantage or to be spiteful, the entire system falls apart. It is simply unfair, flawed and a terrible, terrible, terrible format. Players should NEVER be given the option to influence each others’ scores. It is asking for trouble if only because it opens the door to the suspicion that impropriety is possible.

Comp also often becomes a thinly veiled Witch Hunt. Under the guise of fairness, it often becomes the instrument for changing the game into the image of he who writes the comp rules or even worse, into a way to persecute individual gamers or armies in smaller gaming group.

There will always be the OP army. Every edition has it’s crazy lists that just hit too hard. We had Speed Freaks and Blood Angels in third, Tri-Falcon Eldar and Nidzilla in 4th, Leaf Blower, Missile Wolves, Grey Knights in 5th, and now we have Screamerstar, Eldar, and Riptide heavy Tau. A solution to these always eventually comes through player innovation or new rules (Sisters of Battle are going to be shutting down a lot of these problem units we have now, IMO) and then the community calms down until they flip out about the next OP thing. And there always will be these rising and falling inequities in the game, it is just a part of 40K.

Lastly, if your comp system seriously impacts someone’s list that they bought, built and painted, making it unable to win in your format, what incentive do they have to come? It inconveniences people who have invested all of the time and energy into building a legal army that now have to rebuild their army to fit your version of 40K.

What are my personal feelings about comp?

I don’t hate comp, I just feel that it is a flawed system that makes an event less fun to play in. On a philosophical level I do not like telling other people what to do. I value freedom and choice and so have no desire to attempt to impose my idea of what 40K should be player on others.

Comp pisses people off in a big way because a lot of people don’t like being told what to do. If their army is legal per the game, then so be it. If anyone deserves to feel bad about imbalance in the game, it’s the game designers.

Building an army is a creative process that involves a lot of time, energy, TLC and money. Telling someone they can or cannot do something because you don’t like it when they have gone to that effort is–of course–not going to make them happy. It creates conflict.

On the flip side though, I totally understand how un-fun it can be to play a super powerful army that just smashes your face. That is not enjoyable for either player and some of the combos in the game right now, really are incredibly OP.

I personally make the choice to play armies that are balanced and challenging. I do not play the crazy lists we see in the game because I feel that it detracts from skill and prefer to win (if I do win) by being creative and overcoming the power lists. I do not oppose comp for personal reasons as my lists usually will max out on a comp score. But, that is my choice to play that way, and I do not wish to take that choice away form others.

No list is unbeatable and to take that stance is to be intellectually lazy and to look to take the easy way out of trying to change your environment as opposed to adapting yourself to function optimally within it. The creative gamers that look for ways to beat what is “unbeatable” will also gain a lot of satisfaction from that. I prefer that method but understand that not everyone thinks that way, which is why we see so many gamers follow the trends of what is perceived to be best. One of the things I dislike most about a tournament is when every Tom, Dick and Harry brought the same got-dang list.

Solutions.

Complaining about a problem can be useful in that it brings it to light, but you need to take action to resolve it or else you are just being a pain in the community’s collective backside.

I prefer systems that motivate people with positive consequences as opposed to negative. I feel that instead of creating conflict, that engenders cooperation and positive feelings. As Goatboy mentioned, in our events we award people for doing the best with every army. So, you come to an event and play Orks, you may not win Best General (only one person does, afterall) but you can be the best Ork player. Cool! That means not everyone feels the pressure to take what is “best” but instead can strive to be the best with their army and if you know a lot of folks are bringing Tau or Eldar, your odds of winning a Best of Award go up if you take a less popular army.

Also, I believe that opening up the game to more diversity such as introducing Forgeworld really helps to incentivize people to bring different armies. It means that more armies have more units and combos available to them to bring the power levels up.

Lastly, while I think telling others what they can or cannot bring through comp is both asking for conflict in your event, un-fun for those coming, reduces the number of players that will want to come to your event; I do 100% believe in creating as fair and fun of an event as possible. This game is about having fun, after all, and that should be the primary concern for any TO when designing their event.

In order to do that in our events we very carefully and after a great deal of play testing, design missions and terrain that levels the playing field as much as possible. While this is a form of comp (any change to the core book rules is a form of comp) it allows the TOs to subtly influence the balance of the game while still giving players the freedom to bring what they want.

We have found that by providing positive incentives to players to bring the army they want to play, not just what they think is best, and creating a format that strives to level the playing field you end up with a much more enjoyable format that also encourages diversity. The last BAO illustrates that well as we had, by far, the most diverse field of any of the major tournaments this year. This was a different meta then than now of course, but all of our events this year (3 GTs so far) have had similar results. Far more diversity in the field than we have been seeing in some of the other events where the results have been depressingly uniform armies on the tables. And please don’t take that as a swing at any other event or format, I bring it up only for comparison’s sake.

Overall army representation at the BAO
Top 10% of the finishers.

In summation, let people do what they want to do and play what they want to play. As TOs it is incumbent upon us to use the same creativity and problem solving skills we want to see in our players to create systems in which players WANT to bring different armies and therefore, create a more enjoyable gaming event for everyone where no one feels that they are being told what to do.

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About Reecius

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

38 Responses to “Comp is for Commies and Unicorns!”

  1. Avatar
    Nor October 23, 2013 2:25 am #

    With 6. Ed and allies, all new codexes, 40k seems to become more rock, siccors etc.
    This reminds me of warmahordes ( Even though warmahordes has better rules and balance).

    Noe how about the crazy idea to allow two armylists in 40k too…. Where players can choose list after they have seen the table, mission, and enemy armylists.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 7:33 am #

      We’ve talked about that for ages, having a sidebar list. I just wonder how crazy it would be from a logistical standpoint.

  2. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 October 23, 2013 5:24 am #

    Came for a well written article, stayed for th unicorns.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 7:32 am #

      Who doesn’t love Unicorns!?

      • Avatar
        ak_sasquatch October 23, 2013 9:30 am #

        King Haggard. Just throwin that out there. Great article, was a good read.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 23, 2013 9:47 am #

          Glad you liked it!

        • Avatar
          D-ManA October 23, 2013 10:41 am #

          King Haggard, first user of the red bull 😉 lol.

          To Reecius nice article and I believe with what your group has done for tournaments is one of better options. BAO scenarios and line of sight blocking terrain does a good job of trying to even the playing field.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 23, 2013 11:24 am
            #

            Thanks! And we try our utmost to keep things fair while still allowing players freedom of choice. Those are both important qualities to us.

  3. Avatar
    DCannon4Life October 23, 2013 8:34 am #

    While I appreciate a good graph, I would appreciate these more if they included the various ally combinations seen at the tournament (and in the winning lists). Other than maybe Flying Circus (Daemons) and Screamerstar (Daemons again?), I think the rest of the ‘OP’ lists use allies. I’ve seen Flying Circus with 10 Cultists, a plain Chaos Lord and…a Heldrake…. 🙁

    I bring this up because…allies seem to be key to the bulk of the OP lists. If this is the case, then no allies (or greater restrictions on ‘Battle Brother’ qualifications) may = Supremacy for Eldar (muwahahaha, because we don’t need allies to own face!).

    Just kidding–the point is that allies or not, there will be armies that outperform the rest (as you point out). For my part, it is enough to not field OP lists (Serpent Spam) myself, to do my best to find ways to win against OP lists (is a 2 Riptide and 1 Wraith Knight list OP?), and to give a bit of the Stink Eye to players that bring them. Otherwise, /shrug, it’s a game and I can choose who I play with (and which tournaments I attend).

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 9:44 am #

      We have data with and without allies. I just popped these up because i didn’t want to blast a million graphs up there.

  4. Avatar
    CaptainA October 23, 2013 9:02 am #

    I love the comments on the Bols. You such a bad man Reece!

    As for comp, if a TO wants to use it, go ahead, the proof will be in the pudding (attendance). There is a tourny in the NW that is team based and uses comp elements and gets like 20ish teams of 4 each year and sells out rather quickly. There are also more “hardcore” tournaments that do not use comp at all and also do pretty good.

    The great thing about 40k and table top games is that there are all kind of players and all kinds of ways to enjoy the hobby. Some will like painting and go for a Golden Daemon, others like to hear the lamentations of the women and go for best general, some like to drink beer and have fun and go for sports.

    I like that there are many ways to play this game and events to try different avenues of my hobby. Narrative, comp, no comp, team events, etc.

    I tend to avoid heavy comp events as there is going to be someone who will break the system and make a crazy OP list within that comp system. I don’t see all those combos so I like that I can “drink the kool aid” of the internet to find good and useful combos and tactics to use in regular non comped games.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 9:47 am #

      I agree 100%. Good players game the system, regardless of the system.

      And yes, hahaha, I like kicking the BoLS Trolls little nest from time to time! haha

      But I agree, I have fun playing in comp events and no comp events. They all have their place and if someone is enjoying themselves then at the end of the day, good for them!

  5. Avatar
    Douglas of Wolfbrothers October 23, 2013 9:30 am #

    Yeah. I was the guy you played a great fun game against and lost, and I nuked your sportsmanship. Blame the Idiot TO for allowing me to score me opponents.

    Comp is worse than communism. Leets stop playing modified missions (hello FOB) and see how the game really works before throwing a tantrum.

    Goatboy trolled the internetz again. It must be winter.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 9:49 am #

      Comp is not fun for me, although I can still go to a comp event and have fun. I just prefer not having comp.

      I am not a fan of book missions though, personally in this edition. I was in 5th, 100%. This edition they are just so imbalanced in my opinion, but everyone is free to disagree of course.

      Sportsmanship though, I don’t think anyone seriously wants to bring that back. We are adults, and should act as such. That means accepting that not everyone is going to be your best buddy and being ok with that.

  6. Avatar
    SCP Yeeman October 23, 2013 10:21 am #

    I think there is a funny perception of Comp. As you know Reece, I play in a very heavily comped area, where you eat Comp for breakfast, lunch, snack time, and dinner! People see Comp as something that hinders armies to not make them OP and would therefore not win tournaments. People don’t realize though that it isn’t lists that win tournaments, it’s the Generals. Whether there is Comp or not, the same group of players will always be in the running for winning the Overall Tournament. In Sac, it is the same 5-6 players every tournament, and has been that way for the last 3 years. Guess what, this is the first year without Comp, and the same players who were winning WITH Comp and are STILL winning!

    I will play in a tournament Comp or not. The players that are for a Comp system need to realize, that nothing will really change. The best players, not armies or lists, but the players will still win the tournament. If you are a good player, you will strive no matter the restrictions or the system you are playing in. Good players adapt and change based on where they are playing and who they might play. Poor players assume that a list will get them to the top and that because they brought the best units, they will win all of their games.

    Comp I think can never be perfect because 40k is an imperfect system. Balancing out some armies does not balance out the rest. Plus who are we to say that X.Y, and Z is too powerful and you can’t take them? It’s subjective and not fair to disallow something I feel is too OP and not disallow something somebody else thinks is too OP. It would become a vicious circle and no one would win, hence why no major tournaments run a Comp ssytem. And I will not get into players grading my army or anything of the sort, otherwise this would be a long winding blast session.

    I do enjoy playing in Comp tournaments. I think they can be challenging to build lists to a point. Knowing how Comp can interact with the armies allows you to know what to expect or not to expect. Ex: If a Comp system only allows 2 fliers and no more, do I need Anti Air? Not really…. 2 fliers doesn’t break the game nor will only 2 fliers wreck an army. So I can leave my fliers at home or my Quad-Gun on the desk. I do think Comp tournaments draw a crowd of people who think the tournament will be less hardcore and wouldn’t otherwise come to a non-Comped tournament. The perceived notion of “Because there is Comp, i won’t see all the crazy lists out there” is ludicrous because when that person runs into a list with the craziness, they will wonder how/why/WTF just happened and might be turned off even more.

    So much for not a long-winded response, lol. Pretty all over the place, but I think I got a point across.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 11:49 am #

      You said it very well. I should have touched on that topic, actually. The same players win in any system because they are better players. It’s that simple.

      Folks get this irrational belief that the comp system will defend them against lists they think are too powerful when in reality it makes no difference.

      It’s a running joke in our team (Team Zero Comp) that we actually win more comped events than no comp events! haha, the irony always amuses me.

      But like you said, comp events can be fun and a nice change of pace, I just don’t like what it becomes for some people: a way to control others. I just don’t agree with that on a really fundamental level.

      • Avatar
        winterman October 23, 2013 12:16 pm #

        Comp will never really make the game balanced, that is true. It will however usually adjust the meta of the event such that different lists filter to the top and become more or less viable. To some that is a good thing. The Swedes and Canadians and Aussies et al seem to enjoy and appreciate what comp does to their meta, or their events would wither and die.

        In some ways comp is the same sort of thing as allowing Forge World or creating custom missions. One may argue the difference is one is restricting while the others are opening up options but that’s only from one point of view. On an army by army basis its going to be give and take as to what is viable for any change to the meta, whether its comp, FW allowance or custom missions.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 23, 2013 5:57 pm #

          I agree that any change is comp in one form or another. Aussies do like their comp but no comp events are on the rise over there.

          As you pointed out, the game is just flat out not balanced. In that regard we prefer to open things up and incentivize folks to play diverse lists. I just think it is a more positive way to do things. That of course, is debatable.

  7. Avatar
    Smallvictory October 23, 2013 10:59 am #

    After reading your personal feelings section the quote in my head was, “Reecius is John Galt!”.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 11:18 am #

      Hahaha, you have no idea how much that made me smile! I am a huge Ayn Rand fan.

      • Avatar
        Smallvictory October 23, 2013 2:36 pm #

        Right on, I thought you might get the reference. I kept replacing the word comp with (whatever regulation you don’t agree with) and all the talk of unintended consequences to a perceived noble goal achieved to by reducing freedom and it worked perfectly. Not to be “that guy”, but this might be a fundamental reason comp is more accepted in other countries, freedom for fairness is a trade off some people are down with.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 23, 2013 5:51 pm #

          Yeah, not me, though. I feel that trying to control people will only lead folks down a slippery slope that causes more problems than it solves.

  8. Avatar
    frigobben October 23, 2013 12:11 pm #

    Hello Reece,

    I really appreciate your blog and the open mind you are showing which is what caused me to write this in the first place. My goal is to shed even further light on the comp, which seems to have been an infected topic over many years.

    I am fairly new to the game and am currently playing in various tournaments in the communist, from an American standpoint, country of Sweden, where comp has always been a big part of tournaments. I hope that it is correct to state that the vast majority of tournament players in Sweden actually enjoy comp.

    The practical use of comp and the design of comp systems has been an iterative process done by the best players, and over the years I would believe that a lot of valuable knowledge and experience have been gained, making it in the end more enjoyable for most people, which I believe is the main goal, rather than focusing on having the game perfectly balanced.

    One thing to note is that comp is not necessarily implemented the way you suggest it, where good/hard/cheesy units are punished in the game, for instance by giving out a handicap in each match, making them harder to compete with. It is also not the case that each army (list) has an equal chance of winning, which is not even the ideal goal. Army design is just as important, and I would say even more important.

    I will first explain one of many versions of comp being currently in use in Sweden, which happened to be used in the last tournament I played. Basically the idea is that certain units, or amount of units, or amount of models, or combination of units, etc, can be associated with a comp penalty or comp point. Your army list may then only consist of a certain number comp points, i e restricting the over-abusive use of certain powerful units. The comp score doesn’t later affect results, but it only serves as a threshold for entry. (The current version of the comp document can be found here for those really interested, and the tournament was a 1500p, with a 1 point maximum: http://www.svenska40k.se/forum/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=9885. The Swedish Championship will also use this structure, but 1850p and maximum 2 points). The comp document is created by a group of skilled and dedicated players, with support from the community, and is also used in many tournaments, and the TO can tweak certain things to their liking. The “parameters” for a certain tournament are known well in advance to most players, so everyone has a fair chance of adapting.

    This results in:
    * More varied lists, not only varied in terms of codices, but also in terms of units actually used. Having to deal with a larger base of units, playing skill is further promoted, since you need to be able to deal with and understand more units. Variation also equals fun in my book.

    * The edge of the best/cheesiest lists is taken away. This has the following positive effects:

    ** Non-competitive players gain from this, because they can play their sub-optimal list (remember army list are still not equal), but not be completely obliterated by someones cheese units, rather you might get obliterated by someones superior playing skill, which to most people feels a lot better.

    ** Competitive and skilled players also gain from this, since the game becomes less of rock-paper-scissors, since building lists based on thread overload is harder, which makes the typical list more of a balanced toolbox list.

    * List building is indeed fun, and if you have a slightly different setup on each tournament, you will have to rethink your list every time, rather that just sticking with your “best” no-comp list. I even tend to think about lists for tournaments I’m not even playing.
    * The best players still come out on top, since playing skills and list building skills is even more promoted. This can be easily verified by looking at the result lists.

    * Contrary to what you are stating comp doesn’t piss people off for not being able to play their legal army. Most people do not want to play with 3 turkeys/riptides in the army, and just as importantly, people are quite happy not to face them.

    My goal in writing this was again not to preach about comp, rather just explaining what it can do to actually enhance the experience, both for competitive, and non-competitive players if implemented properly. I have seen a lot of complaints, from you as well, that many people find things like re-rollable 2+ saves and the spamming of broken units quite off-putting. I think so as well, and I believe that comp can be a way around that. But it is also highly dependent on a well though out comp system.

    • Avatar
      SCP Yeeman October 23, 2013 12:50 pm #

      Please delete the above comment, it sent and I wasnt done typing.

      @frig

      So if I understand the Comp correctly, say I enter a tounrament and have -3 Comp (what i would have with my 1850 tournament list) and my opponent has -1 Comp. If at the end of the game I receive a perfect victory, say 20pts for example is a perfect victory, I would really receive 18 pts because my COmp is 2 points higher than my opponent? And my opponent who would normally only get 2 pts, would then receive an extra 2 points for a total of 4 because he is playing a Comp army 2 points worse than his? So the final score would be 18-4?

      In a tournament like this, what is the average Comp score for people?

      The main reason hwy I don’t likethe Comp the way it is presented is that people could make theme lists, like Draigowing and get hit for Comp by just taking Draigo. The basic transport of Eldar is Comped after the first. I just don’t like dinging people for immediately taking a special character. It just doesnt sit right with me.

      • Avatar
        SCP Yeeman October 23, 2013 1:24 pm #

        I will say in defense of that Comp, it is very precise. Most comps I see here are percentage based and still allow the units everyone whines about to be played without penalty. That Comp you presented hits all of the codices and takes penalties from all of the “OP” units that people use and all of theu ntis people don’t want to see multiples of. Some of them are quite funny (15th Jetbike model for Dark Eldar), but I think a lot of them hit home and might get the job done.

        To be honest that might be the best set of Comp I have seen. Instead of blanket percentages and restrictions, this breaks it down very well. I think if a Comp set were to be put in place this migth e the way to go.

        Questions: Do most tournaments allow the -5 for them or do they go lower? What I mean is, does anyone run 1850pt tournaments and only allow -2 or -3 for Comp or is -5 the set Comp for tournaments?

        How does this scale for things like double Force Org?

        Why Comp Fortifications? Are you allowed to bring the Fortress and Skyshield? I know some tournaments around here do not for logistics reasons.

      • Avatar
        frigobben October 23, 2013 1:26 pm #

        What you are describing is one way of organizing a tournament, referred to as “active comp” in the document, where you’re match score will be adjusted with the comp difference, or a multiplier of it, depending on how the TO wants it. This is one application of it, that is also usually combined with a seeding algorithm taking comp scores into account, so that you in every round of the tournament preferably meet someone close to your overall standing, but also close to your comp score.

        This iteration of the document has a wider range, or better resolution, of points, so I’m not sure where the typical list ends up. It can also depend on the multiplier, which end of the spectrum gets promoted, so this must be set wisely.

        The other application that I described in the post, is the “threshold” version, where no adjustments of match results are made, rather only a set threshold for tournament entry. For the Swedish championships for instance a maximum of two poinst are allowed, making a -3 list impossible. This may perhaps sound harsh, but since it is well known a long time it advance, it is usually not a problem.

        Using the terms “dinging” or “punishing” people is perhaps a bit negative, depending on the way you look at it. Treat it instead of resource points, in addition to army points, that you can only use a certain amount. Instead of start by using your zero comp list and try to “gimp” it as much as is necessary.

        However I understand the concern of sometimes giving for instance a special character a comp point straight away. I would say that this can sometimes be a by-product of not wanting to have an overly complicated document. The comp designers are usually assuming that you want to “break” the system, and assume that the best choices are made, and instead of then specifying more detailed something like Draigo + X Paladins, Draigo is simply comped right away. I’m not sure if this is the best example of it, depending on how good Draigo is considered by his own, but there will likely be a trade off of keeping the document relatively short and readable, but as a downside certain units might be a bit too restricted, unless any synergies is used to the max.

        • Avatar
          frigobben October 23, 2013 1:39 pm #

          @Yeeman: My reply was to your first post.

          This particular “mall”, meaning “template” in Swedish, was quite recently introduced in Sweden, so only a few tournaments have been used with it so far, and a few more are planned. After those it might get reevaluated, to cover any eventual “holes”.

          Since many people in Sweden are quite keen on softer lists, I haven’t seen any tournaments having a -5 threshold for instance, since that is close to zero comp in a Swedish mind :). . But if “active comp” is used, a wider range of allowed values might be used.

          Since I’m not part of the group designing these myself, and not yet experienced enough, unfortunately i cannot explain the reasoning behind every decision, such as with the fortifications. Sometimes they are banned, for practical reasons, or have special rules on deployment, or only ADL are allowed. That varies a bit.

          I’m also not sure on how it scales with double force org. It is a quite uncommon way of playing, so I would say it would mainly have been tested with a single one.

          Noteworthy is also that missions in Sweden usually have slight variations from the rule book mission, to make them more balanced. It could be placing objectives before choosing sides, or placing objectives on your opponents side and in his deployment zone, as examples.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 23, 2013 6:54 pm #

          I would actually be interested in seeing some tournament results from this, honestly. Do you have any results sheets and pairing records?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 6:44 pm #

      Hey Frigobben,

      Thanks for speaking up and the detailed response.

      You are right, we are very open minded here and while I, nor the team, like comp as a preferred format, we aren’t against it either and go to comped events all the time.

      If your community has found a way to have a middle ground that encourages diversity and fun, then good on you. I think that is great.

      And I agree that the only way comp can work at all in that context is if you have it specified to each book by a group of experts. We have talked about that at length here in the states too, but getting all the TO’s on the same page is seriously one of the most difficult things to do. Everyone is so independent. It is cool that the Swedes move as a collective group as that makes things so much easier.

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    WarlordEXE October 23, 2013 1:14 pm #

    I think if tournament organizers could get together and form some kind of scoring system for toughness of an army (like the swedish comp system from fantasy), and then ran the first two rounds so that basicly soft armies played soft armies, and strong armies played strong armies, and then let itself balance out from there based on win/loss a comp system could work. That said, i don’t think it could be possible, especially with how fast armies are coming out. There’s about 3 new armies out before you can really flesh out your own book, and thats assuming you’re only considering the possibilites invovling unupdated versions of the latest armies as apponents.

    • Avatar
      frigobben October 23, 2013 1:47 pm #

      I think one benefit Sweden has, compared to the US for instance, is that it is a quite small country, and we have somewhat of a “national forum”, where peoples opinions are gathered in one place. So the work being made on comp is made on a national level, and is then an appreciated tool for TOs, that they can choose to use it if the want to, or just make their own approach.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 23, 2013 6:49 pm #

      I have played in events like that and actually, so long as the judges know their stuff, it works out pretty well. Still pisses people off as they feel they are being punished for taking a legal army, but it is better than a score (although the loser of the game may as well have gotten dinged).

      • Avatar
        frigobben October 23, 2013 9:43 pm #

        I totally understand this feeling, and have been a bit let down myself because building a decent nids list, with current set of models has become quite hard. Although in general it becomes less of an issue, when the default of a tournament is to use comp, rather than the other way around. And potentially you need to buy a few new models, which is what we all want in the end, right? 😉

        Obviously the thoughts on comp in Sweden are also diverse, and my personal opinion is that the worst thing to have is a bad comp system, giving some kind of false security. But I’m usually more of a pragmatic: if something works and is good, then I like it, rather than bringing too many philosophic ideas into the equation.

        Regarding result lists, the one I played just now was a “practice tournament”, acting as a preliminary tournament for a larger team tournament, even though it was a single tournament.. Because of this, the variation of codices might have been larger than otherwise, since every member of a team need a different codex, and people were mainly practicing with their team lists. I can post the army lists if this is fun to watch, otherwise the lists of the Swedish championships might be a better indicator on typical lists and results, but this happens sometimes in December.

  10. Avatar
    Egge October 27, 2013 7:13 am #

    My god! How could I miss this! Comp discussions are really funny. But the basic conclusion will always be the same:

    In the end it is just a matter of taste.

    Comp has a tendency not to really balance the game up but instead change the type of units that are most effective. It is a good system if an TO wish to force people to think out of the box when making their army lists. Many comp system has a basic principle to limit the amount of repetetive units that are in the current meta considered overpowered. These units are fairly easy to see, actually. It doesn’t mean that the game is more balanced but will increase the amount of units that can be considered in a competetive tournament.

    Comp really doesn’t change who will win by player skill. If a tournament has no comp most possible winner will have an army that can win and they must perform against other potential winners with the same mindset to win. Thus the best player will always perform well no matter the comp system.

    Since I have played a lot in a comped tournament scene I would like to claim to “know” that comp does make spamming of certain units unvalid as a basis in a list. The same armies will most likely win but it will contain different units. Also, I have noticed that there are several skilled and competetive players that chooses away from their new Tau army to play with their preferred army which is not top notch any more if there is a comp system.

    And in the end the game will still be stupidely unbalanced. Comp removes a few builds but add way many more possible winning army lists.

    Non comped tournaments are in my opinion extremely restricted in what units the player are allowed to use for a win in tournaments. The discussion should be like this: If a player want to win a tournament, can they really use any units they like or are they limited in what type of units they actually can take? If a Tau player wants to win, can we really say that he is not restricted in the army list building when we all know that the basic principle for Tau is to use Broadsides, riptides and crisis?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 27, 2013 11:36 am #

      Well said, Egge. I think you stated it very succinctly and I agree with your points. Comp shifts power, it doesn’t level the playing field. And the same players win in any format.

      • Avatar
        Egge October 28, 2013 3:41 am #

        I must confess, I wouldn’t have played in a tournament with 7 Shrikes and with an Tyranid prime as only HQ unless that tournament would have had comp…

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 28, 2013 8:22 am #

          And that would be awesome to see, no doubt. If comp encourages more diversity then that is more fun for everyone. I just can’t get past the aspect of it where people are told they can’t bring a list they play because someone else doesn’t like it.

          • Avatar
            Egge October 29, 2013 12:52 am
            #

            I can understand this sentiment. In contrast (and the reason I’m more for Comp) is that in a non comped tournament, I’m basically not allowed to bring a lot of shrikes if I want to win. If course I can and is allowed but by the action of deciding a non comped tournament the TO basically says; don’t use these units if you want to win.

            The only difference (in my highly subjective opinion) is that in a comped tournament the organizer (then I’m thinking swedish comp) actually says what units you are not allowed to use to win and in a non-comped tournament the organizers just let people who wish to win suffer if they don’t use the best units (and armies – if you play an old army that isn’t strong non comped tournament actually basically states “don’t bring your army anymore if you want to win”).

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