Archon Timatron writes an article on detachments in 7th ed 40k.
These days, we as 40k players, are spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of choices that we can utilise to create our army lists, yet the majority of tournaments have a limitation of only two or occasionally three sources that each army list can include. The ostensible reasoning behind this is to encourage game-balance, fairness and limit the uber-powerful builds from being possible. Does it actually do this though, or does it, in fact, increase the disparity between the top and bottom tier codexes?
For many of the less powerful codexes out there, using alternative detachments and formations from supplements and the like can raise the competitiveness of the army by a significant degree. Equally, adding a dataslate, like the assassins, to an army can cover weaknesses in mid-tier lists and elevate them to being able to run with the big dogs. Most of these, also, represent ‘fluffy’ choices for their respective armies. I’ve been experimenting with a 1650 list incorporating nothing but a variety of Covens formations, for instance, and while far from being overpowered, I would feel a lot more confident going to an event with that list than a generic Kabalite detachment. Many players have already shown the potential of formations to help make a less-regarded army a force to be reckoned with; Frontline Gaming’s very own Geoff Robinson, for example has taken Tyranids to a whole new level.
At my local club, Brighton Warlords, we have just held an experimantal tournament utilising a highly experimental ‘comp’ system, very reminiscent of the ‘Swedish comp’ that has become well known in Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournaments. Every unit and upgrade is given a value towards an overall you can’t exceed, certain things give a minus score. This was only a test-run of the system, but by all accounts it went very well.
All it would take is incorporating a version of this kind of system into events to open the door to all sorts of awesome combinations and start playing the edition as it was intended, rather than the incredibly limited formats we’ve become used to so far. It wouldn’t encourage power-builds, it would act as an impetus to inject more power into the weaker codexes whilst preventing players of the powerful ones from adding to the imbalance: Want to spam Wave-Serpents? Fine, but because of your comp-score you can’t have more than one Wraithknight. Obviously there would be more to it than that, but you get the idea.
With a fair bit of careful balancing, detailed discourse between events organisers and a commitment to enjoyment for all players, not just those playing certain armies, by everyone involved, this could become a reality in the not too distant future. We could see events where every race and army is equally represented, where nobody is a clear favourite before the first die is rolled and where players are rewarded for bringing a more themed list. What does everyone think? Just a pipe-dream, or could this be the future of 40k events?
By Timothy Kaye (AKA Archon Timatron)