A Case for Source Restrictions in Tournament 40K

Hello all,

Rawdogger here to talk about multiple sources in tournament Warhammer 40k. This is a hot button topic with much wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the various internet forums so please realize the statements in this article are written from my personal beliefs on the subject. If you have read this far and are already sweating and have an elevated heart rate maybe you should stop reading now. You should also consult a personal physician because you’ve got real problems, son.

nerd rage

We all know that ever since the release of the 7th edition Warhammer 40k the format of army building has become more complex and convoluted with each new codex. Building an army list was a relatively simple and straightforward affair pre-7th edition. A player had a set formula for building an army list and would be restricted to taking models from their respective codex. We now have the codex, detachments, formations, and data slates from which we can form our army lists and they do not have to be from the same faction a la allied detachments. You can see how what used to be a fairly simple process has turned into a game unto itself. From a marketing stand point it’s brilliant in that GW found a way to get players who used to buy models for one specific faction to now purchase model kits from multiple faction ranges. GW has long stood by the notion that they are a model company first, and unbound play and no limit to the amount of factions players can cram into an army list certainly cement that point. Recent codex releases that lack HQ options go further to force players to play unbound or take specific detachments or formations which require them to purchase specific models and add to the amount of sources their army list draws from.

No Rules

Though the 7th edition may be lucrative to GW’s bottom line it has certainly caused havoc in the organized tournament world. Tournament organizers have been forced to create order in a game system that seemingly has none. In the process of creating structure in a game system that actively discourages structure in order to sell models these tournament TO’s had to make some hard choices. Should they restrict the amount of sources players can bring to try and tone down some of the ridiculous unit combinations or give the players free reign to create massively powerful lists since it is now part of the game? No matter which way they go the TO’s run the risk of angering a portion of the tournament gaming population. The ITC format, which is now used at several major tournaments throughout the country, has made the decision to limit choices to 2 sources. While there have certainly been vocal critics of this decision I believe it is the right choice to make.  Every time I think of the players complaining that limiting the sources is taking away the freedom of list building I think of an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode. Two characters in the show, Dennis and Mac, are tired of the government telling them what they can and can’t do with their bar. They decide to make their bar a place where the customers have the freedom to do whatever they like. No rules. It starts off great but quickly turns into a heroin den and Dennis and Mac start to lament that they gave people too much freedom. That’s how I see unlimited sources playing out in tournament play. It actively encourages players to move around the army limitations in their codex and just cherry pick the best units from any faction in order to create an army list with unlimited power. Imagine if Magic the Gathering allowed players to pick whichever cards they wanted from any deck and then took away the randomness of pulling the cards from the deck. How much fun would that be?

magic nerd

I know there are a lot of people who disagree with this stance. There’s the argument that limiting sources is not playing the game the way it is written. While that is technically correct, which is the best way to be correct, it doesn’t hold much water with me. Games Workshop has repeatedly and publicly stated that they do not write the game for tournament play. Hell, they have publicly said that they are a models company first and a game system creator second. So have they really created a game that can reliably played in an organized environment? The argument that limiting sources is not playing the way that Games Workshop intends therefore does not make sense when you accept the fact that there is no intended way to play Warhammer 40k. Another argument against limiting sources is that it is punishing non-Imperial factions which have a much more limited ally matrix than do their Imperial counterparts. I definitely see more merit in these arguments but with most TO’s allowing codices to self ally the argument again falls flat. I feel a lot of the complaining comes from gamers who see the restrictions as hampering them from creating ludicrously powerful unit combinations. It’s not some brilliant idea that the ability to take Be’lakor or Coteaz in addition to your two sources would make your list infinitely more powerful. List building is beginning to take the place of skill and it’s not something I’m particularly happy about. There is nothing skillful in bringing lists that exploit the plethora of units that were not properly play tested and point costed.

over powered

I personally feel that the power builds we are seeing at major tournaments is detrimental to the long term health of the hobby. Restricting sources, not to mention modifying ridiculous mechanics such as Invisibility and 2+ re-rollable saves, goes a long way in stemming the flood of anarchy that will come about if players are given too much freedom with their list building. Competitive 40k has become a game of rock vs. rock and we all need to take a breath and think about the direction we are taking the game. Do we really want to see a game that devolves into creating table clearing combos made from cherry picking the best units from all codicies? What are your thoughts on the subject? Should we restrict sources even more than we are now? Most importantly, why isn’t Kharn in Codex Daemonkin?


About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

59 Responses to “A Case for Source Restrictions in Tournament 40K”

  1. Avatar
    Pascalnz March 26, 2015 2:14 am #

    how many major tourney’s have allowed unlimited detachments?
    how many of the top 32 at adepticon had 3 or more detachments?
    How many people in the top 32 were new or hadn’t ever been there before?

    All I know is that the winner has won it 3 years in a row and had one cad. pretty sure skill trumps list… pretty much it always has. Shock of the new is always scary, heck what did people say about FW before you started allowing it. The arguments sound really familiar.

    multiple sources might be terrible for tourneys, but, they might also be fine. there were fluff killing lists at the LVO as well with only two, but at least ad lance and three flyrants had some nice modelling:)

    • Avatar
      Chip March 26, 2015 4:59 am #

      A thousand times this.

      In my experience, broad-stroke restrictions and changes simply create a power vacuum, which is quickly filled again with a new champion.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger March 26, 2015 7:49 am #

      Pascal, I love you and your New Zealand hair, but you are definitely the type of player that I reference in the article, lol. The winner of Adepticon indeed had only one CAD, which revolved around a re-rollable 2+ invulnerable save (which Adepticon did not restrict). He was apparently so ahead in points before the last game that he literally could not lose the tournament even before playing the last game. Yes, that has nothing to do with multiple sources but does kind of make a point about no restrictions. I make terrible arguments. An analogy I think explains what I am trying to say is to imagine a game that had 3 colored balls. Red balls which are weak, yellow balls which are stronger than red balls, and blue balls which remove all other balls from play. If all players where given an equal distribution of balls there would be some strategy to removing the opposing player’s balls from the field. Now, what if we tell the players they can choose any quantity of balls in any color combination they wish? BLUE BALLS is the joke.

      • Avatar
        Chip March 26, 2015 8:04 am #

        Nick’s army had the potential for a 2+ rerollable, but it hardly revolved around it. Commonly, his screamer heralds/unit were kept far behind the drones, which did the heavy lifting.

        He also was not so far ahead that he literally could not lose, and actually almost did lose. He ended up tied in BP, but won on win/loss tie breaker.

        There were many armies that had a rerollable invulnerable save. They did not win. Nick won, using the same army he used the last two years to win also.

      • Avatar
        MVBrandt March 26, 2015 9:09 am #

        As Chip points out, Nick’s army is not 2+ re-roll dependent … at all. Knights alone killed the reliability of 2+ re-roll dependent armies winning tournaments, and they weren’t winning them helter skelter before then either.

        Though I agree in limiting detachments, even within 2 detachments, 40k today is anarchy in terms of consistent balance across and within army factions.

        • Jason
          Raw Dogger March 26, 2015 9:54 am #

          Damnit, you know I’m getting so much conflicting information on that. I wish Adepticon would release more information on the Championships.

          • Avatar
            Ghost Valley March 26, 2015 5:16 pm

            Nick has a personal account of his day 1 games up on Torrent of Fire. Great read. He may not have depended on the 2+ reroll, he was using it.

      • Avatar
        Pascal Roggen March 26, 2015 4:38 pm #

        Dear Mr dogger;P

        I don’t think I am the sort of person you are talking about in your article. If that were the case I would have brought a much much scarier list than the one I did, and I most certainly wouldn’t have brought a pure BA list to Last years event.

        The fact I came away with almost the exact same placing and win loss ratio as last year Pretty much says all it needs to about skill trumping list.

        I took the army I took this year because it was unique, beautiful, Striking and memorable. Also because it played fast:).
        I bought a unique, pretty, fast playing army last time as well and intend to do the same next year, will it be as striking and memorable… probably not, it’s hard to beat Giant Yellow God machines:)

        There are never just three choices as in your beautiful Balls analogy:P. I would have hoped the two finalists at the LVO would have shown that apparantly sub par choices can work very well with each other.

        There is no auto win list, or unit. If I run a BA army I have to make do with what I have, would it be nice to ally in a cullexus to deal with invisibility? sure, but at the cost of an archangels detachment. I’m not so sure.

  2. Avatar
    Ghost Valley March 26, 2015 3:56 am #

    7th edition 40k feels a bit like Calvinball to me ( for those not familiar with Calvin and Hobbes, it is making the rules up as you go along). GW is not going to bring more structure back to the ruleset and seemingly have lost any interest in meaningful faqs. As was said, they expect tournaments to tailor and twist the rules.

    Personally, it was the restrictions and rules changes that Frontline made to the game that motivated me to make a 1300 mile trek to Vegas for LVO. I like working within a framework and it feels to me that they at least make an attempt to try and balance some of the really unfair stuff. The top players in the end were still the usual suspects but I feel the format helped the middle of the pack players like me, hang around a bit. I also played 6 different armies at LVO. Didn’t even have a repeat faction. I can’t say if the format encouraged the variation, but that was my experience.

  3. Avatar
    xzandrate March 26, 2015 4:17 am #

    I think from a TO standpoint, who cares what sources are being used. Are they GW/FW official? Does everyone have equal access to the models/rules? Should a TO care too much after that unless fully half the players bring the same broken list?

    This has happened before, we are beginning to look like the multiple Chapter Approved armies of 3rd Edition. I think the biggest contention with those lists, and Forgeworld, was access to the rules. FW was more expensive comparitively, and you couldn’t find a copy of the specific rules online. You would either have to wait for the Compendium, or search for that back issue. Now, we know those rules are coming before they show up and everything has a digital copy you can get a hold of.

    As far as restricting material, it very quickly becomes a slippery slope. Do you ban based on the type of book? What about the newer books where the Supplements let you keep playing your old army. Do you ban based on how broken it is? I think the most ‘broken’ is the army that ignores an entire phase of the game, but how would anyone react to restricting Marines and stuff with ATSKNF?

    The bigger problem with restricting stuff, is you will probably do more harm then good. Remember 5th Edition? The overtuned codexes that simply dominated because they had an answer for everything that another single codex could muster. That was when list building won games, and most of the time it was someone else doing the list building and posting it online. One of the unseen benefits of so many detachments, and so many sources is it increases the number of finite army combinations making it harder for one single super list to dominate.

    There is a certain amount of balance in making everything equally broken. Barring the slight over emphasis on shooting, I’d call this edition one of the most balanced overall, wacky source material and all, maybe even because of all the extra source material.

  4. Avatar
    Black Blow Fly March 26, 2015 5:17 am #

    Basically this article says “I don’t like the rules so I’ll change them to better suit me since I can.”

    All the posturing is BS.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger March 26, 2015 7:31 am #

      I was waiting for you to pop up. You bang this drum loudly but I have never seen a coherent argument from you, just snide comments deriding an authors points. Why do you want unlimited sources? If it’s because you want the game to be played the way GW intends than why have any structure at all? Why even play the game then if the rules are clearly written to sell models? Why don’t we just all buy the models and paint them and look at them on the table while complimenting each other on the paint schemes?

      • Avatar
        Mantic Fan March 26, 2015 7:37 am #

        As you mention, GW has made it clear they don’t try to make a rules set for organized play. So, there’s an argument that playing in a tourney is already playing it in an unintended fashion.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy March 26, 2015 4:00 pm #

        Welcome to BBF, where it’s 100% character attacks and 0% coherent arguments!

        Still kicking baby seals, BBF? Are your opponents still inexplicably disembarking all their troops for you right before your reserve units arrive?

    • Avatar
      DarkLink March 26, 2015 7:36 am #

      Basically, this post is says “I disagree with your opinion, but instead of politely disagreeing I’m going to completely ignore the fairly rational arguments and the part where the article clarifies that this is just the author’s opinion and instead, in classic internet dickbag fashion, talk shit about the author for no good reason, without providing any sort of justification or reasoning behind the insult”.

    • Avatar
      MVBrandt March 26, 2015 9:11 am #

      BBF, I love you man, but you’re going to have to come up with a stronger argument and a more consistent one. There is literally no format out there running the “standard” rules of the game, nor are there any for army construction to begin with – it’s a DIY edition.

      So you’d have to argue for why 2 detachment limits are bad, not ‘it’s bad because it’s not the core rules,” because arguing that it’s bad b/c it isn’t the core rules is in fact an argument stating every single tournament on the planet is bad.

    • Avatar
      Zero-Charisma March 28, 2015 9:01 pm #

      Why can’t they change them? GW says play the way you want to play, they certainly don’t care about their own rules.

  5. Avatar
    crazyredpraetorian March 26, 2015 5:33 am #

    You lost me when you mentioned Magic the Gathering.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger March 26, 2015 7:33 am #

      I felt dirty writing that sentence but it was the only reference I could think of at the moment that showed how cherry picking options is detrimental to a game.

      • Avatar
        Logan March 26, 2015 7:43 am #

        I just didn’t understand your comparison between MTG and 40K detachments.

        The bases of MTG is to build your decks based on combo’s and strategies that can consist of different colors and up to 6-7 different sets in “Standard”. This also includes the Sideboard which allows you in the middle of 3 games to adjust your strategy against your opponents deck. I think this a great example for Army Building in 40k, using X amount of Detachments to allow a combo and strategy to counter the Meta.

        Also, how is removing the randomness of card drawing the same as actively building an Army list compare? I would say Removing the randomness of card drawing is more equivilant to the un-restricted 2++ Reroll.

      • Avatar
        Andrew March 26, 2015 7:45 am #

        You almost lost me when you said Magic The Gathering but then in true nerd fashion I saw the meme picture of the nerd-cute girl and decided I could stick around to stare at her if nothing else.

  6. Avatar
    DCannon4Life March 26, 2015 6:24 am #

    I want the list-building rules to make it such that the models I currently own win tournaments (this is very much me!).


    I want the list-building rules that give me the best odds of winning (where ‘winning’ = essentially removing dice from the game by making the chance of any dice roll being ‘successful’ a near certainty [probability approaching 1.0, right?] and making the chance of any dice roll being ‘unsuccessful’ a near impossibility [2++ rerollable is, what 1/36 chance of failing for each individual die? If so, then 0.028 probability? And never mind the Feel No Pain rolls, right?].


    I want the list-building rules that give me reasonable odds of winning (where ‘reasonable’ = the dice rolls, and Lady Luck, matter). Or at least give me the impression that I have reasonable odds of winning (if I FEEL like I have chances, that’s sufficient, despite whether or not I actually do).


    I want the list-building rules that draw the largest number of players to my tournaments. This is likely to be similar to the, ‘I want…’ just above, isn’t it?

    I’m sure there are other, ‘I want…’, these are what I came up with.

  7. Avatar
    Logan March 26, 2015 6:35 am #

    I’m all for allowing more than 2 detachments. I agree to just not open the floodgates and let everything happen at once, lets go from 3 to 4 to 5 and so forth. GW is making sure this game is evolving with every new release, I feel as a community we need to evolve as well with the way TOs present rules and changes. Currently though it seems that the community isn’t evolving and instead it’s regressing. The rise in popularity in Highlander with it’s extreme restrictions in the rules is some proof of this regression.

    40k is getting to a point that there is too many threats a list needs to counter. It’s getting harder and harder to make a TAC for Tournaments. With things like FMCs, LoWs, Psychic Deathstars, Melee Deathstars, Knights, Flyers, MSU, Horde, Fortifications, and plenty more that I don’t want to list. Your list needs to take advantage of all the rules. Some factions just don’t have great answers for 1 or none of the things listed before. Allying with yourself isn’t enough. Maybe having your list consisting of Race A + Race B + Race C in at least 3 different detachments, helps you become more TAC then why not do it?

    Now the one thing I keep hearing from the Voices of Frontline is this will increase the abuse. My response, you can’t stop the abuse. Trying to stop the abuse of list building is like the War on Drugs or Terrorism. Like stated before, I think we should slowly continue shifting to more and more detachments. I would actually like to propose to Frontline to maybe look into doing quarterly surveys of the current state of the game. This allows the community to decide how they want to game to play with the ongoing onslaught of releases from GW.

    TL:DR Suggesting Quarterly Surveys for Rule Changes, Spoon feed the community unlimited detachment from 2 to 3 to 4 to unlimited, and Abusing list creation can’t be stopped.

  8. Avatar
    N.I.B. March 26, 2015 7:11 am #

    The biggest WTF! with the ITC format isn’t the 2 source restriction (which I agree with), it is the 45 degree LOS house ruling for the Tyrannocyte/Sporocyst.

    • Avatar
      Logan March 26, 2015 7:14 am #

      Yeah, there was a huge debate on that in the Forums around the time the rules came out from GW. I was on the side to not read what GW wrote on the WD, but treat it like a normal MC. Since the side notes from the WD was never published on the actual rules for the pods.

    • Avatar
      Wintertalon March 26, 2015 7:30 am #

      I agree it should be 120-180 degree on each gun to give the MC rule some merit. It’s a giant bug sack with tentacle that go all over the place. Makes no since that they gun have such a limited flexibility.
      Personally I could see 3 source allowed but I am good as it is at this point.

  9. Avatar
    Fidel March 26, 2015 7:40 am #

    “I personally feel that the power builds we are seeing at major tournaments is detrimental to the long term health of the hobby. Restricting sources, not to mention modifying ridiculous mechanics such as Invisibility and 2+ re-rollable saves, goes a long way in stemming the flood of anarchy that will come about if players are given too much freedom with their list building.”

    Sir… I think Thomas Jefferson would like to have a word with you outside…

    But in all seriousness I agree completely. When given absolute freedom some of the real powerhouse combos come into affect, and usually those with bigger wallets than others – and lets be honest, it hampers the fun of the hobby.

  10. Avatar
    Andrew March 26, 2015 7:53 am #

    I’m of the opinion that TO’s shouldn’t care so much about getting a bajillion player turnout at their event and should go with the ruleset that feels right to them, and refuse to apologize or debate their decisions. Then the player base either boycotts the event (unlikely) or goes and STFU about not being allowed to take an unbound list. Tournaments are essentially a bunch of friends invited over to someone’s house; if this were my house and we played monopoly I am putting $500 on the Free Parking space and if you don’t like it then when we play at your house you can do the opposite.

    • Avatar
      artfcllyflvrd March 26, 2015 8:21 am #

      A bijilllion players pays the bills. A 20% decrease in attendance could be the difference between paying the bills or coughing up thousands of your own dollars.

      Any TO that’s willing to put their money where their mouth is by running an event can do whatever they want. If others don’t like it they can do likewise with their money and mouth and run their own event.

      The trouble is I think most TOs would like to know what will bring in the most people, but its not really clear. The community, at least on the interent, seems strongly divided when it comes to being more/less restrictive.

  11. Avatar
    fluger March 26, 2015 8:24 am #

    I think the ITC rule changes have been pretty fair and balanced. 2++ rerollable and Invisibility both were over powered for what they do and the nerfs work fine.

    Honestly, if they really wanted to put the nerf bat to work there are plenty of units that a wide variety of players can agree are underpriced (wave serpent!), and, conversely, a ton of units that a wide variety of players can agree are overpriced (nephilim!). If we went about adjusting points or changing unit/army rules to bring things into a better balance (as perceived by a few), the game would probably benefit, but no one has the time or energy, or the will to fight against whiners.

    More to the point of this article specifically, any time comp or a facsimile of comp is added to the game (and, make no mistake, limiting detachments and changing rules IS comp) it just moves the goal posts on what is most point effective. The goal of what RawDogger is talking about here is to move the goalposts enough that there is more of a variety of units that can be point effective in order to get more variety in the game.

    Also, I want to call shenanigans on this idea that 7th edition lists are somehow LESS varied than the glorious days of 5th or some such BS. Am I the only one that remembers razorspam? EVERYTHING was mech. It was incredibly boring. Top tables are ALWAYS going to be boring because the best players will figure out the best units and take them. That’s basically unavoidable.

    Now, that being said, MOST tournament attendees don’t have a shot at Best General or the like. There’s no shame in bringing a “normal” 40k list and going 1-3. Who cares!? You get out of the game what you put into it. If you aren’t interested in going all in on a competitive list, then you shouldn’t care about your tournament results, right? I mean, I know no one wants to show up and just have a boring game where they just were outclassed before models even hit the table, but that’s going to happen a lot anyway. Embrace your mediocrity or else work hard to be better.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger March 26, 2015 8:50 am #

      I embraced by mediocrity long ago. It’s really improved my outlook on life!

      • Avatar
        fluger March 26, 2015 9:20 am #

        Me too! I mean, I don’t *want* to play with the kind of lists that are going to be top-tier, and I’m OK with that. I accept that I don’t have enough time to master my army or even the minutia of the game. Therefore, I know that I’m going to get rolled by better players. Big deal. If you *truly* are in it just to have fun, then you shouldn’t whine about other lists and just roll with it.

  12. Avatar
    John Parsons March 26, 2015 8:57 am #

    I like 2 source formats alot, while list building is still very very important, it is impossible to build a list that will walk through a 256 event with out having a bad matchup somewhere. IMO the game is much more skill based then it has ever been. You cant just build a point and click gk list and expect to win an event like you could in 5th.

  13. Avatar
    tag March 26, 2015 9:19 am #

    You get no argument from me that detachments need some limits applied to them. But the vision of a 2 detachment limit being the only way to accomplish that is silly. There are so many ways to effectively limit detachments without a hard 2 detachment limit.

    I wrote up one method on TOF: http://www.torrentoffire.com/6756/army-composition-fixes-part-1

    Another approach is to only allow named characters in your primary detachment, and require that it be your largest (Say 1,000 points +)

    I guess my biggest concern is the attitude: “We Limit to 2 Detachments, and that fixes everything, so we should move on.” It doesn’t fix everything, did you see all of the Flyrants at LVO? What about smaller formations that are effectively banned by a 2 Detachment limit? Why no Double CAD, but CAD + CAD like codex specific is in. The 2 Detachment limit as applied by ITC is silly, and while it is better than no limit at all, there is abundant room for improvement, and the discussion of “2 Detachment limit vs no detachment limit” seems like a red herring to escape a more meaningful and productive conversation.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy March 26, 2015 4:05 pm #

      I don’t think anyone has said that two detachments “fixes everything,” even back in the day. I think the argument was that a two-detachment limit was _sufficient_ to make the game work without completely eliminating the changes that 6E/7E had brought to the game.

  14. Avatar
    Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 9:29 am #

    I would like to bring up something that I think a lot of long term players or very skilled player do not consider. Mainly because they are so far removed from this point of view that it is probably difficult for many. It relates to the health of the hobby overall & event attendance in the long term.

    In my opinion the gap of tactical skill, list building, & model cost of entry, between an average player or a new player & a seasoned veteran tournament play has widened dramatically starting in 6th & now exponentially in 7th. It is now a far more daunting experience for a new or average player to consider dipping their toe in the “competitive” water for several reasons. The cost of entry for 40k has always been very high & continues to increase with the “freedom” (read chaos) of 7th ed. Consider the difference in gameplay between 5th & now for a newer player or someone who doesn’t live & breathe the game & know every rule. How many games now end in completes table-ings? How many army lists are based around mechanics that make games not fun for average players? I played in the LVO & I play in tournaments regularly. 1/2 my games at LVO were not fun. It shouldn’t matter what kind of list you bring to an event, the only thing that should make a game not fun is playing against “that guy”. About half the people I know who play 40k (or played, many have stopped) will not even consider going to an event because they know it will not be fun due to army list composition. Recently a couple of my friends wanted to get into tabletop gaming & we tried out 40k, but they went with other games when I explained to them some of the realities of the game as it now stands.

    I would say to experienced, veteran, “hardcore”, or “competitive” player to have some empathy & put yourself in the shoes of a newb. Think about it from that POV & then consider the implications for event attendance & the hobby long term.

    If you don’t care then more power to you. But that’s the difference between us.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy March 26, 2015 4:08 pm #

      Although I agree with you on many of your points, I will point out that the classic 5E army was IMMENSELY expensive to assemble. 1750 or 1850pts with every unit in a transport easily clocked in at $500+ even before the price hikes started, and while a modern 40K army is by no means cheap, it’s certainly cheaper than investing in 8+ transports just as a starting point.

      But yes, entry barriers are absolutely a thing worth considering; the problem is that GW has decided to set the minimum barriers rather high, and TOs can’t really do anything to lower them below that point.

      • Avatar
        Wischfulthinking March 27, 2015 5:32 am #

        It becomes higher when you need to buy a bunch of extra rules & the latest & greatest models just to compete in the middle of the pack. Did anyone do a count of how many triple flyrant lists were in the room? In my opinion formations & detachments are unnecessary in the game & are not good for the health of the competitive scene long term. We don’t need them, we do need the eldar & daemon codexes redone, maybe Tau tho a lot of that was fixed w the new ic/mc rules.

    • Avatar
      winterman March 27, 2015 7:34 am #

      So I am trying to understand the point as it pertains to the two detachment format. You played in an event that had a two detachment limit and half the games were unfun for you. So are you recommending single detachment limits (alienating anyone who paid and built towards various formations) or what? Was it really the lists people brought that made it unfun or are you already in a subconscious negative mindset when it comes to 40k? I think the later based on how you talked your friends out of starting 40k.

      As far as new players. When I was a new player in 3ed you know what was most daunting? Knowing what cool set of rules was actually legal at events. That Ravenguard IA list from White Dwarf my friend told me about. Half the events didn’t allow it. That cool FW flyer you saw on the internet, yeah not legal at events. Oh your army doesn’t have 40% troops, yeah not legal at events.

      Losing games was not daunting. If you are a new player the only game you should win for awhile is the first game you play. Its actually a good lesson maybe some folks don’t get, learn to have fun despite a tough loss.

  15. Avatar
    ghastli March 26, 2015 11:07 am #

    If there is a system, and if people have anything to do with it, someone will find a way to optimize it to maximize what they want from it. That’s just what people do. Is it easy with unlimited detachments? Yep. Is it impossible with restrictions? Definitely not. I am sure that there is at least one person in the hobby for every set of tournament restrictions that you make that *will* be able to optimize it. The more complicated the restrictions, the more effort it is going to take to find that sweet spot. And that means there will be less people that get it and as a result you’ll see the first few rounds of total blow outs.

    • Avatar
      Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 3:46 pm #

      So since systems will be “gamed” to we just shouldn’t even bother trying?

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    Who8themoon March 26, 2015 12:12 pm #

    This is a horrible opinion piece. Who are you trying to sway? Because you blatantly insult anyone who doesn’t think your way.

    Now tell me this oh master of competitiveness.. name one tournament other than a very successful Feast of Blades that has run open 7E? The ITC has been comping hard since 6E so your argument that it’s 7E’s fault falls pretty flat.

    Comping things like invisibility don’t improve play. They change the allowable meta. All ITC did with that little change was nerf Flying Circus and a few bad Cent-star lists. But you can’t nerf a Nid 5 Flyrant list that easy so where’s the middle ground? How about evolved Super Friends? Where’s your “fair play” nerf for that?

    You say you want to play competitively and GW doesn’t offer you that in their base rules set. I call shenanigans… go play warmahordes if you want better balance. 40K is competitive inside unlimited battle forged list building. And before you say what about this and what about that point me to a top 10 finish with any of your what abouts. Or even anything that’s close. Because even at Feast of Blades you didn’t see any 9 Ravager (much worse with their new book though eh) lists. But you still saw plenty of power spam and death stars.

    So offer up a valid argument if you actually want to debate limiting sources. Otherwise continue to play in your favored ITC events because there the game is what you think it should be not what is in the rule book. Not even close to how the rules are written when you think about it.

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    Kartr March 26, 2015 12:56 pm #

    I’d like to know what these super powered combos are. Two source, one faction, LictorShame? Two source, two faction scout spam? Single source, single CAD demons?

    People who talk about restricting detachments “for the children!” always warn about “the lists!” What are these mythical lists of unlimited source doom? Why don’t we see these lists coming to the top in the tournaments that allow them?

    Once you actually have proof of these doom lists with a million sources then I’ll be willing to debate the merit. Until then I’m just going to keep practicing my single CAD Sentinels of Terra and ignore all the Chicken Littles warning about the doom lists falling from an unrestricted detachment sky.

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      Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 2:15 pm #

      The “doom lists” are the ones already on the table & they are not doom lists. They are lists that make the game not fun. Such as when everyone & their brother has 3 flyrants or 3 flyrants & an adlance. Or when you play against an army that you just can’t damage at all because it is hyper durable. Adding more detachments will just make it worse. We are not talking about the top lists, that is not the point. We are talking about the rank & file. When they play games that are not fun, they have a tendency not to attend other events, as event attendance has dropped over the last year. LVO is somewhat of an anomaly as it was IN VEGAS. Which is why so many people dropped out & went to enjoy the town for whatever reason(games not being fun in my case). More than likely I would not go next year if CtA are allowed because I would rather just go enjoy a weekend in Vegas. Not only that but list building is becoming so complicated with all the different interactions of formations & detachments that the likely good of illegal lists or of formation/detachment special rules being misinterpreted or misused in games becomes more frequent even for very experienced players. In my last 2 events I have played against 2 lists(1 each event) that were illegal or used incorrectly by veteran players inadvertently & it wasn’t even realized until after the event.

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        Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 2:17 pm #

        Should be *likelyhood, not “likely good”.

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        Kartr March 27, 2015 11:26 am #

        Your “doom lists” are two source that don’t actually win tournaments. They also don’t do well in Maelstrom type games, which is what 7th ed codics are designed and balanced around.

        That’s what people don’t get, if you play 7th the way it was “intended” with maelstrom missions being the mission/scoring system. Then the point cost and the need to build a flexible scoring army will make crazy “doom” lists non-viable.

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    Archon-Kalafex March 26, 2015 1:33 pm #

    I guess I could go on some giant self justified rant about how you were right or wrong Rawdogger, but I’ll just say you made some very good points and I really appreciate the constructive attitude of you guys at Frontline instead of “it’s yes or no”.

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    Bellerah March 26, 2015 3:14 pm #

    I think these kind of limitations are great. An effort is needed to keep new blood coming to these games. I have a circle of friends that we all started playing. Some would go to the LGS for a small tourny. But now they would not step foot at a tourny. The shop has closed its pick up games on the weekends, and the non hardcore players are gone.

    That is the reality of the game.

    These tournies and rule restrictions need to allow both a competitive environment for the top players and still a good game for an average player. not something that they are tabled in 3 turns in.

    the ITC can seem heavy handed but at least they are making an effort. There are definitely other approaches, but all have some kind of cost.

    I would love to see more of the 20 game events come back, this would be a great place to see the results of rule tweeks, and a great place to get data.

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      Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 3:43 pm #

      I have had the same experience.

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    Wischfulthinking March 26, 2015 3:15 pm #

    IMO 7th is what it is because GW saw their volume dropping & realized their player base is shrinking. 7th is their attempt to squeeze more out of their existing customers because their barrier to entry into the hobby is too high. Eventually they will squeeze too hard & star systems will start slipping through their fingers again. Sorry if it’s too off topic.

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    benn grimm March 26, 2015 9:51 pm #

    I enjoyed the article and I think you make some good points. I like the way you guys generally come across as more interested in a wider player consensus than pushing your own personal view, at least that’s the way it’s always come across to me.

    Our local club had just released a rule pack for a tourney coming up in a month or so and it’s so restrictive; 1500pts,1 CAD, no Allies, no detachments, no formations, no Knights(?!), 1 LOW, with a max 350pt limit, nerfs to the wave serpent gun which isn t a gun, no Daemonology etc etc, that it kind of just feels like a charter of how the organiser feels 40k should be played, with very little to do with the game as it stands in 2015.

    Which is fine to a degree, as in, their tourney, their rules, their free time, but feels like a bastardized version of 5th and entirely excludes two codexes (Harlies and Knights) purely because they are new additions to the game which don’t fit into this quite narrow view of what the game should be.

    I personally think the 2 sources limit is a good middle ground, though I would definitely ban ‘come the apocolypse’ allies, as it just makes for some (while powerful) straight up dumb combos, like nids with knights etc etc.

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    Hagen March 26, 2015 10:41 pm #

    This is just 2nd Ed. all over again 🙂

    I posed this question last year and have had some good discussions on the topic (on and off the blog).

    I am a big fan of NOT rewriting the rules but rather manipulating other aspects of list building to try and drive more diversity and less cherry picking.

    Nice to see more thoughts on the topic. And hi Pascal!

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    DCannon4Life March 27, 2015 5:53 am #

    Sources used to build lists are a ‘problem’ primarily in three ways: 1) USRs propagate (synergistically) across ‘Battle Brother’ units and independent characters, not necessarily with unintended consequences, but definitely with significant consequences (e.g. ‘Hit and Run’ on one model confers it to an entire unit…). 2) Formations/detachments facilitate the dreaded Cherry Picking of good units (e.g. the 3 Flyrant formation/detachment). 3) Allowing for Come the Apocalypse allies in the same army also facilitates Cherry Picking.

    Granting that any form of alteration to the core rules for list-building is Comp (or at least nominally equivalent to Comp), and accepting that ITC already has list-building Comp in place, questioning whether or not restricting sources mitigates 1 through 3 (above) seems like the thing to focus on. Does imposing list-building (source) restrictions actually mitigate the issues, and if so, how well does it do so?

    Another question is who is it that needs to be satisfied by the mitigation? As pointed out elsewhere, from a business standpoint, maximizing participation (and therefore profits, or the potential for profits) is perhaps the only metric that makes sense. Otherwise, we can arrive at the absurd, “Well, we made the most by-the-book tournament and took a loss on it. But hey, at least we’re going out of business because we stuck to our principles.”

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    Cowboy March 27, 2015 6:31 am #

    To Long Did Not Read the comments. Want to support and echo Raw Dogger. I have the exact same view as him and think the game as a whole would be better off if people accepted some restrictions in the name of balance. I am sure some one above has said “comp only creates a new broken,” To this tired sentiment used over and over against by people looking to cherry pick their way out of their armies inherent weaknesses (which should exist, every army should have weaknesses so that players must skillfully play around those weaknesses in order to do win) Comp is not expected or required to be perfect, it is an attempt at creating a better game. There is no logical reason to think that a small group of game designers, writing a non-competitive game, under the direct supervision of the GW accounting department, that is being asked to turn out new material at a record breaking pace is more likely to create a balanced game than a group of experienced players that actually play the game competitively and have no financial stake in pushing the newest models. Between the 2 groups, no logical person would decide to place more trust in the GW design crew than an independent body created to regulate the game into a more balanced version of itself.

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    Cromer March 27, 2015 8:26 am #

    What if there were restrictions but the player had some choice in them. For example, you could bring unlimited sources so long as your army is only 1 faction. Or you can bring as many factions as you like, so long as they are all from 2 sources. I feel like the current abuses in play have more to do with the mixing of factions (including IoM components) than actual sources. I think everything would work better if it was distinguished by faction. 2 faction limits. The would also stop the IoM shenanigans. Just a thought.

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    Clove362 March 27, 2015 8:45 am #

    Like some ITT have said, Restrictions don’t necessary exist to nerf lists that win the tournament. The restrictions exist to allow the vast majority of th players to have good time. Generally speaking. I think a strong majority of players agree that facing an opponent that has a list with a mechanic that makes it virtually impossible for you to damage their army is not fun to play against at all (invisibility and 2++ rerollable). I believe that a majority of players don’t think it is fun to play against cherry picked best units from non-fluffy multiple sources (spammed tyrants with Knights for example). Then add to it that you don’t need those type of things in the game to play it competitively. The less skilled 5 flyrant player will still lose to a player good enough to actually win a 256 person GT. If you want to win a GT what is wrong with saying do it with a list that a strong majority of players don’t have an unfun time playing against? What is added to the game by having 5 flyrant lists or 2++ rerolls that is worth creating an atmosphere where people aren’t having a good time?

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    greggles March 28, 2015 7:06 am #

    Has anyone thought about reducing the point values for the ITC tournaments? Unlimited detachments is less of an issue if you dropped down to 1500 points. It’s not like 1500 points is that little…it’s pretty much what 1850 points used to be. 1850 points is closer to what 2100 used to be these days.

    I’ve always been surprised by the continual adherence to higher point values, when GW is constantly driving points down for new releases.

    Is there any particular reason why we don’t adjust the tournament points to reflect the continual points dropping of GW? It would solve so many of these issues we constantly deal with, as we’d have to think extremely carefully about units and formations we choose to take.

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      AbusePuppy March 28, 2015 7:21 am #

      I don’t know about the ITC in general, but certainly for the west coast here the “standard” value for tournaments was more commonly 2K prior to 6th edition, which then dropped down to 1850/1750 due to the additional time constraints of the new format.

      1500 is actually quite small compared to 1850 and it really changes how the game is played; that’s not necessarily better or worse, but it’s definitely different. I think, generally speaking, people like playing at larger point values because it lets them bring more of they spaceman toys and (just as importantly) makes it possible to bring more solutions to different kinds of armies. It’s easy to have anti-flyer, melee defense, anti-armor, Ignores Cover, etc, in an 1850 list, but squeezing that into smaller points values becomes increasingly difficult and can make the game more RPS-y.

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        Greggles March 29, 2015 6:25 am #

        Excellent points AP! Maybve just a shift down to 1750? I can see where having more points gives you more of a “response” to different types of armies. Maybe it would be interesting to do 1500 with side boards?

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