Competitive Play Detachments

Adam jumps in with some ideas for handling detachments in competitive play. What do you all think about these?

Is this good for the company?

One of the great conundrums of 40k these days is Detachments and how to handle them. Some armies can be failures without access to multiple HQ slots (Orks) and others rely heavily on Fast Attack (Sisters). Other armies can feel impressively unfair to play against with just one Combined Arms Detachment (Eldar).

I have an idea which might be helpful in this regard. This has not been playtested at all. I am posing this idea here with community feedback in mind.

How to use Competitive Play Detachments (CPDs)

In this format, Organizers would restrict all Detachments in their tournament to these alone. Also, Organizers would have to maintain a list of Command Benefits they plan to allow at their event (or allow all of them). Also, this format is agnostic as far as Forgeworld, mission type, superheavies, and Stronghold Assault are concerned. The hope is that this format would preclude the need for heavy regulation in that matter.

Note the use of the term “Source” and “Faction Symbol” in this article.  I use these terms because the concept of Factions is highly ambiguous by RAW, so I chose to differentiate in this way instead.  By “Source”, I mean an individual publication such as “Codex: Space Marines” or “Dataslate: Officio Assassinorum”.  By “Faction Symbol”, I mean the symbol accompanying the new publications.  In older books, assume the Units’ Faction Symbol is that of their core Codex Faction.  For example, Iyanden units have the “Eldar” Faction Symbol.

What does this mean and what does it matter?  Well, that should become clear as I describe the detachments below.

Primary Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 HQ
  • 2 Troops
Optional:
  • 1 Elite
  • 1 Fast Attack
  • 1 Heavy Support
Restrictions

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event. Additionally, An army must contain at least 1 Primary CPD, though the Warlord need not be chosen from this Detachment. The Warlord may be chosen from any Detachment except an Allied CPD. Units chosen in this Detachment must all be selected from 1 source.

Command Benefits

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event.

Supplemental Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 Troops
Optional:
  • 1 HQ
  • 1 Troops
  • 1 Elite
  • 1 Fast Attack
  • 1 Heavy Support
Restrictions

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event. Additionally, a player may not take a Supplemental Competitive Play Detachment until their army already has filled all slots in their Primary CPD. Additionally, a player may only select further Supplementa CPDs if all selections in all other Supplemental CPDs are filled. Lastly, units in this Detachment must share the same Faction Symbol with units in the Primary CPD. Units chosen in this Detachment must all be selected from 1 source.

Command Benefits

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event.

Lord of War Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 Lord of War
Restrictions

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event. Additionally, an army is restricted to only one of these Detachments.  Also, the unit in this Detachment must share the same Faction Symbol with the units in the  Primary CPD.

Command Benefits

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event.

Fortification Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 Fortification
Restrictions

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event. Additionally, an army is restricted to only one of these Detachments.

Command Benefits

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event.

Allied Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 HQ
  • 1 Troops
Optional:
  • 1 Troops
  • 1 Elite
  • 1 Fast Attack
  • 1 Heavy Support
Restrictions

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event. Units chosen in this Detachment must all be selected from 1 source and must have a different faction symbols from the Primary CPD. The Warlord may not be chosen from this Detachment.

Command Benefits

As per any Detachment Restrictions/Command Benefits allowed by the event.

Formation Competitive Play Detachment

Required:
  • 1 Formation
Restrictions

As per any Restrictions/Command Benefits of the specific Formation itself which has been allowed by the event. Also, only 1 Formation CPD is allowed for each other Primary CPD and Supplemental CPD in your army. For example, if you have 1 Primary, 1 Allied, and 1 Supplemental, you may select up to 2 Formation CPDs (1 for the Primary, 1 for the Supplemental… the Allied Formation doesn’t count). There is no Source or Faction restriction on the Formation CPD beyond that of the Formation itself.

Command Benefits

As per any Restrictions/Command Benefits of the specific Formation itself which has been allowed by the event.

So…

Thanks for reading. Please do pop a comment below and let me know if there are ways this can be refined or if I should just set fire to it. Some assistance figuring out what might be a good answer to rolling Imperial Knights into this system would be helpful.  I would hate to have to deal with specific codices or units directly since the whole point is to create generalized Detachments to use in our games.  Also, as with anything on the internet, this may have already been thought of before. Be sure to speak up if someone else is trying something similar with success.

Tags:

About adam Fasoldt

Loopy (Adam) has only been playing 40k since 2010, but is an active member of the community. He is a host of the Masters of the Forge podcast and also a moderator of the Independent Characters forums. He also belongs to gaming clubs at Grimfoe Games in East Greenbush, NY and Dirty Goblin Games in Queensbury, NY.

26 Responses to “Competitive Play Detachments”

  1. Avatar
    Eldarain October 27, 2014 10:22 am #

    This is a lot to take in but it looks quite intriguing. It would depend a great deal on the command benefits ascribed to each option I think.

    I’d be interested in seeing lists built using this system as it’s only when people get their hands on a system and start building the most efficient options that you can truly judge how it functions.

  2. Avatar
    Arclight October 27, 2014 11:17 am #

    It’s an interesting idea, but I feel like this would actually cause the weaker books to struggle even more in competitive play. A book like Eldar would be ok, since it’s not much of an issue to fill one of each slot before getting access to the 2nd EL/FA/HS, but books which have essentially ‘dead’ sections full of bad units suddenly have to start filling those slots just to be able to access their actually decent units.

    Not to mention it makes thematic armies more difficult, or even impossible in some cases, to pull off. For example a Deathwing army (as one example among many) is essentially impossible to make under this system.

    I actually think GW have the right idea in creating different detachments for each faction to focus on their strengths, although YMMV on how successful they’ve been in achieving this so far.

    • Avatar
      Dash2021 October 27, 2014 1:41 pm #

      Got to agree here. Serpent spam is very easily doable under this chart, so nothing to tone down what I think most agree is the most aggravating list in the game atm.

      Simultaneously you are forcing bad Codices to bring slots that are just plain dead. I like the effort though. Competitive play is the orphan child of GW, glad the community is looking after it.

    • Avatar
      Prindlehaven October 27, 2014 2:22 pm #

      Agree. While interesting and creative, I don’t see how it would balance the game.

    • Avatar
      Loopy October 27, 2014 5:34 pm #

      They can’t all be zingers.

      Though this is a very raw idea, I can’t shake the idea of smaller, full detachments being a good way of limiting spam while maintaining an air of creative malleability.

      • Avatar
        Kartr October 28, 2014 11:21 am #

        It doesn’t affect Serpent Spam, it stops Orks from taking multiple HQs, it downright eliminates some armies like IKs and hobbles others.

        The problem with overarching Force Org charts, like you’re trying here, is that armies are too different in units and capabilities. The different formations and and unique detachments found in the various codices are there to help their army compensate for their weaknesses.

        The current system isn’t that complicated and I think the easiest thing to keep everyone legal is to have people to include their Formation/Detachment rules in their army print out. That way TOs and opponents can easily double check the legality of the army/rules and have an idea of what to expect.

        • Avatar
          thejughead October 28, 2014 1:16 pm #

          From what I see it’s quite hard to put out 4 serpents with the restrictions. This seems workable.

          • Avatar
            Arclight October 28, 2014 2:16 pm
            #

            Primary:
            Bikeseer
            2 x DAVU Wave Serpents
            1 x Fire Dragon Wave Serpent
            Min Swooping Hawks
            Wraithknight

            Supplemental:
            2 x DAVU Wave Serpents
            Wraithknight

            That would be less than 1850 (or thereabouts, I haven’t properly done the maths) and is a pretty bog standard Serpent Spam list. The only vaguely odd ducks would be the Hawks and Fire Dragons, which a lot of people field anyway and which are hardly detrimental.

          • Avatar
            Loopy October 29, 2014 6:44 am
            #

            I see where you’re coming from now and I am not trying to limit Wave Serpents with this idea. I think the only way to limit Wave Serpents is to nerf the crap out of Serpent Shield, but so far I don’t think I’ve met anyone brave enough to do that, least of all myself.

            This is more of an alternative to multiple CAD.

            I just want an equitable way for armies like Orks and Sisters to be able to bring more units while reducing the impact of multiple CAD. At least, an equitable way of doing it without just saying “THESE armies can take multiple CAD and THESE armies can’t. Because reasons.”

  3. Avatar
    DCannon4Life October 27, 2014 11:37 am #

    Perhaps 2 of 3 optional slots filled (Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support) in the Primary Detachment to unlock the Supplemental Detachment. Then it might be reasonable to require 3 of 5 optional slots filled in the Supplemental Detachment to unlock another.

    What are your thoughts on restricting named characters to specific detachments? Perhaps Primary, Allied, Lord of War and Formation Detachments?

  4. Avatar
    Thomas October 27, 2014 11:38 am #

    What you really need to look at is a conventional military organization chart.
    https://www.vetfriends.com/military_structure/index.cfm

  5. Avatar
    Shaydozer October 27, 2014 11:44 am #

    I am interested in the concept and I think this is a step forward towards a unified competitive rule set for the game that all competitive 40k players use.

  6. Avatar
    Kartr October 27, 2014 1:48 pm #

    No, just no. It’s way too restrictive and forces players to take units that aren’t useful or don’t fill a role in the players strategy.

    Also your factions substitute is more complicated not less. The BRB is pretty explicit about factions, it even lists them with their symbol!

    You also don’t give any compelling reasons why this restrictive and convoluted detachment system is somehow more balanced/usable than what we have now.

    You yourself pointed out that the Orks and other factions need the special formations in their books just to be competitive. While Eldar are rough to fight with just the CAD. Now you want to take away those special formations that let other armies have a fighting chance?

    The problem isn’t Detachments, it’s poorly written Codics, broken units *cough*wave serpent*cough* and certain ally combos.

    • Avatar
      deFl0 October 27, 2014 2:31 pm #

      Totally agreed. I’ve played Eldar for years. Through good times and bad. And while they are great right now, even waveserpent lists have hard counters.

      Really the issue is not too much variety in lists. The problem is not enough variety. The org charts that are too rigid.

      For example, all the codecies in the game have units good taking down waveserpents. The problem is that waveserpents aren’t capped and those units tend to be…

      You think a waveserpent army would beat and army of almost all lootas? I’m not sure either, but you see the immediate concept of balance. That’s about as well as i can illustrate the issue of game balance though.

  7. Avatar
    deFl0 October 27, 2014 2:13 pm #

    I like the idea, but Ill be honest. This just makes the gap between good and bad codecies larger.

    We’ve been bashing out games this edition, and the more and more I play, the more I think the community should just open the game wide open.

    You see tournaments trying to limit unit spam, but it’s a stupid concept, because you still have unit spam in transports and troops.

    Why does 5 knights or an army with 8 drop pods, or 9 venoms or 9 lman russes or 6 waveserpents seem more “Competitively balanced” than an army with all tank busta boyz or 20 lictors?

    The detachments have become so far varied from the old force org chart at this point, trying to balance the game with unified structures is just silly.

    You can tell GW is just not even pointing models and units like that is their codecies anymore. They are figuring out the costs based on how they will be amped up with detachments and other special rules.

    Something like wracks, talos or witches are really obvious examples of that in the newest dark eldar codex.

    You can also tell they are building out armies as allies now. The change in the fields on the transports in the DE book points to the fact that they will probably drop harlequins soon.

    The game just isn’t built to be caged anymore.

  8. Avatar
    Malkov October 27, 2014 2:38 pm #

    TOs need to just stop sitting on their hands and ban things.

    No amount of FoC changing is going to save weaker codexes or nerf stronger ones.

    Here’s a hint… 3 Knights in a 2k list is OOT.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 27, 2014 4:27 pm #

      We do ban some thing, actually.

      And I actually disagree on the 3 Knights point. A lot of folks say that, but honestly, after having player the AL formation at NOVA, I wouldn’t play it again. It’s so one dimensional.

      • Avatar
        Wit October 27, 2014 4:57 pm #

        It may be one dimensional, but it’s still incredibly effective. And don’t judge it by the top tables at NOVA, judge it by the pick-up games in a local meta.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 27, 2014 5:10 pm #

          Well, local metas vary wildly and there is no “standard” local meta, you know? If your local meta has lots of drop pod marines with melta guns, people will think Knights are pretty weak. If your local meta has lots of Nids and no Gargantuan Creatures, it will hurt a lot. For example here, Knights are no big deal. However, the meta in our store specifically, is not at all indicative of the game as a whole as we have lots of tournament gamers here. If your local meta has lots of casual lists that do not have the tools to deal with Knights, they will comparatively feel a lot more powerful.

          • Avatar
            Jp October 28, 2014 1:18 pm
            #

            I agree with Decius here, we actually have quite a few 5 knight and 3 knight/Allie lists here and they haven’t won one of our monthly tourneys yet. Close though. But we tend to have a good amount of white scars, drop pod marines, necrons, and so forth. Our meta is full of armies that counter Knights. Even the lance formation is no longer considered cheezy.

  9. Avatar
    TinBane October 27, 2014 6:48 pm #

    I really like the idea of something like this.
    I would propose one amendment.

    You can have one optional slot for each CPD that you don’t have to fill, before you move on. So you can max out FA/HS but leave elite (a lot of codexes have an elites section filled with deadwood). Or perhaps this only occurs if your warlord is in that CPD.

    Honestly though, just the clear language, and unambiguous structure makes this miles better than the current system, in terms of explaining what and how you can take your army.

  10. Avatar
    AbusePuppy October 27, 2014 8:54 pm #

    Mmm. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think it will work out very well because, as others have noted, it punishes weaker armies pretty heavily while leaving many of the strongest ones untouched. For example, Eldar and Space Marines (both Pod and Bike variants) are essentially untouched by it- an Eldar army can easily still field a ton of Wave Serpents while still taking only “good” stuff. Heck, looking at some of my 2K armies, they are essentially untouched by the changes you’re proposing; likewise, a SM army can pretty easily and cheaply fill its required slots with units.

    And that’s not to even bring up issues like Imperial Knights, which I guess is just straight-unusable under this system? Ditto Inquisitors, Assassins, all Formations, etc.

  11. Avatar
    Zero-Charisma October 28, 2014 4:52 pm #

    As I am always looking for ways to play pure Inquisition If I am understanding it right, this would be impossible with this system? As Inquisition have only hq and elite. Or if you would just ignore the fast attack/heavy support then you end up with a crap ton of HQ’s?

  12. Avatar
    Zero-Charisma October 28, 2014 4:54 pm #

    Could i ask maybe a silly question about this? If you are changing rules this much with this idea anyway, why not just change the rules that really hinder other armies? Maybe say you CAN assault from Deep Strike, or you ALWAYS fire overwatch at bs1 no matter special rules or whatever is really making things goofy. I mean youre already changing the rules anyway.

  13. Avatar
    Loopy October 29, 2014 6:45 am #

    Repeating this as a main comment so folks see it:

    I see where you’re coming from now and I am not trying to limit Wave Serpents with this idea. I think the only way to limit Wave Serpents is to nerf the crap out of Serpent Shield, but so far I don’t think I’ve met anyone brave enough to do that, least of all myself.

    This is more of an alternative to multiple CAD.

    I just want an equitable way for armies like Orks and Sisters to be able to bring more units while reducing the impact of multiple CAD. At least, an equitable way of doing it without just saying “THESE armies can take multiple CAD and THESE armies can’t. Because reasons.”

    • Avatar
      Kartr October 29, 2014 11:40 am #

      Then why not make a pseudo CAD? Combined Arms Formation or something. Formation lets you take the same Army as your CAD. Just need to create an organization list that benefits Sisters, Orks, etc.

Leave a Reply