San Diego 40k Masters League


Hello everyone Pablo here and I just wanted to draw your attention to something that has a lot of 40k players in San Diego excited. The second annual 40k Master’s League.

This league is ran by our very own Douglas Johnson, and features an exciting round robin-esque format, at 2000 points, with a full, 12 man, playoff, single-elimination round and ITC rules and FAQs. You’re very own Frankie, and Reece are competing in it, along with your’s truly. The reason why I think so many people down here enjoy it so much is because of its format and diversity in opponents. In this league alone out of 30 people I think most people haven’t had the chance of playing each other in a structured environment (see regulated 7th ed.) and there is a good diversity in both player styles, and army compositions.

The Master’s League is comprised of 6, 5-man divisions with each player playing every single person in their division once, and 4 randomly drawn wildcard out of division opponents for a total of 8 games. After everyone completes all of their games (we have a limited amount of time) the division winners, and the top 6 best players after that get seeded into a 12 man playoff with the top 4 players getting first round byes. The playoff games are all best out of 3 matches, so no single person can lose their chance at winning on one bad game. In addition, players are allowed to change their lists in between games (including in between playoff match ups) but must not change them once they’ve seen their opponents list (duh). We all got together and drew both division opponents, and wild card opponents Friday night at the Tilted Kilt (beautiful ladies in kilts, and booze, huzzah!). In addition to drawing opponents we also had some votes to decide certain rulings that would differ from the ITC’s generic rules template. The votes and results were,

  • Borrowing Restriction: At first we flirted with the idea of not allowing people to borrow models at all but thought better. Doug didn’t want people with larger armies to have an advantage over people with smaller model counts, and I see ultimately how that might rob a few people of their matchups because they didn’t have the flexibility to be able to deal with every faction they were matched up against. So, we voted on restricting borrowed models and we came up with this. An opponent may not borrow models from someone who is also competing in the Master’s League. (10/16 votes for)
  • Detachment Amendment: Doug felt like the 3 detachment ITC limit was a bit stifling in a 2000 point environment (and he’s an imperium player) so we originally had a choice between a 5 detachment restriction or no detachment restriction at all. Naturally we all vetoed Doug’s original decision on the grounds that 5 isn’t really a restriction at all. So, we voted on 4 or infinite. 4 detachment limit (10/16 votes for)
  • Primary Detachment Requirement: Doug, and ultimately the group, feared that by not placing a minimum points cost on the primary detachment in an army, players would Cheesely (yes I made that word up) mask their actual list and be able to run any ally, and thus nearly any army depending on who they were playing. This was a big problem in particular when you considered a player who took inquisition primary could just take a 25 point inquisitor and then be able to run basically any army he wanted without telling his opponent beforehand. I don’t think anyone in our playgroup would do this, but hey we voted on it anyways. Your chosen Primary Detachment must contain the most amount of points, out of all detachments in your army lists. (11/16 votes for)
  • Gargantuan Creatures Nerf: The final amendment to the rules format was the only unanimous vote of the night. We all felt that GCs should not gain a cover save from being only “toe-in” ruins. A gargantuan creature must be at least 25% obscured by a piece of terrain, and within it, to be granted it’s cover save. (Unanimous for)

After we got the voting and pairings done there was a lot of speculation and bracket-hammer talk about who would win each division, as well as which armies would do well. We are using the ITC missions, and rules, so that probably factored into what everyone picked, and who might be favored. I’m sure you guys are curious, so I will post the army counts here, as well as Reece, and Frankie’s schedule, along with my own, and some brief analysis about all of our match ups.


The Army Count

  • Space Marines 8
  • Khorne Daemonkin 5
  • Astra Militarum 4
  • Necrons 2
  • Tau 2
  • Sisters of Battle 2
  • Dark Eldar 1
  • Chaos Space Marines 1
  • Chaos Daemons 1
  • Renegades 1
  • Militarum Tempestus 1
  • Grey Knights 1
  • Eldar 1

Space marines are the most popular army unsurprisingly, however there is still a lot of diversity with 7 players all solely representing their primary factions, and even 2 sisters players to boot! The ITC format does favor Space Marine battle companies and KDK has been rising in popularity however, I do think our playoffs is going to be just as diverse because everyone has a lot of experience playing against Marine players. Which army are you guys rooting for? I personally hope Sisters take home the gold, that army needs some love.

Frankie "White925" Giampapa

Frankie’s Opponents:

  • Necrons (division opponent)
  • KDK (division opponent)
  • Space Marines (division opponent)
  • Chaos Daemons (division opponent)
  • Sisters of Battle
  • Sisters of Battle (!)
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • KDK

Oh Boy, at first glance Frankie’s grav-cav army might have some trouble against those Chaos players however I think Frankie has a good chance at performing well. He is the best 40k player in the world after all. I love how he was the only person to draw both sisters players on his schedule. If he beats them both I will forever refer to him as “The Sister Slayer.”


Reece’s Opponents: Quick side note, Reece and I are in the same division so looks like I am already one loss in, seeing as how I have never beaten his IG army.

  • KDK (division opponent)
  • Necrons (division opponent)
  • Space Marines (That’s me!)
  • IG (division opponent)
  • Space Marines
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Sisters
  • IG

Reece, has a couple of mirror matches here as well as two marine players. I feel like Reece is really gonna have to think hard about how he maneuvers his schedule because he does have a nice variety of opponents. Reece is probably a favorite to win the division but the Necron player has a good shot because of the lack of assault oriented, mobile armies in our division.


My Opponents:

  • KDK (division opponent)
  • Necrons (division opponent)
  • IG (division opponent)
  • IG (division opponent)
  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Necrons
  • Militarum Tempestus

My Ultramarines definitely have their work cut out for them. I have a very diverse pool full of armies that give space marines a lot of trouble. I think it’s safe to say that the only game I give myself a shot at winning is the Grey Knight player. But only if he doesn’t bring a Draigo Star (which he might do) Necrons, and KDK give me nightmares and Tau, and IG have the power to shoot a battle company off the board if played properly. The Tempestus player is a wildcard, I have no idea what he is going to bring, so I’m not sure how I would build my list against him. All of these opponents know how to play against marines, and I imagine I’m in for a rough time. But hey, it should still be a fun league, and there is even talk of someone doing a fantasy league for the event.

We will all keep you posted, and if you have any questions, or would like to know more about the format or anything else go ahead and post down below.


About Reecius

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

15 Responses to “San Diego 40k Masters League”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius September 30, 2015 10:45 am

    I am excited for this! I think it will be good fun.

  2. iNcontroL September 30, 2015 10:48 am

    Looks really cool! GL boys and rep T0C well!

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 30, 2015 10:55 am

      TY, sir! Will do!

  3. WestRider September 30, 2015 11:12 am

    Am I reading that GC nerf right? It looks like it also takes away their ability to get Cover from Intervening Terrain/Units. Do they still get Cover if they’re 25% Obscured by something, but not within it?

    My personal suggestion for house-ruling that is to change it so that a Model gains a Cover Save as long as its Base is entirely within a Ruin, Crater, or Wood, but it’s obviously too late to make a change for the League at this point.

    More generally, I’d love to take part in something like this at some point. Not sure we’ve got the dedicated player pool around here for it, tho. There is a league starting up at a local store soon, but it looks to be a much more haphazard affair.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 1, 2015 7:41 am

      I think people just get upset with something like a Wraithknight getting a 4+ cover Dave because the edge of his base is touching a ruin.

      • WestRider October 1, 2015 8:25 am

        Right, but as it’s written there, that WraithKnight can’t gain a Cover Save from being 90% Obscured by standing behind, say, a Bastion, because the the way it’s phrased, it has to be both Obscured AND in the Terrain. It completely disallows Cover from Intervening Units or Terrain that you can’t actually be in.

  4. Requizen
    Requizen September 30, 2015 11:58 am

    Have you guys considered adding the “GCs must be 25% obscured” rule to ITC events? I’ve always found it pretty silly how a Wraithknight with half of his foot covered suddenly has a 50% chance to not be hit.

    Still, this seems fun! Hope we get some good written BatReps!

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 30, 2015 1:20 pm

      Yeah, it gets brought up quite a bit, same with FMCs in flyer mode getting a toe in cover save: it just doesn’t make sense. They have jink for a reason!

      It’s something we could look at in the ITC if enough folks wanted it.

  5. iNcontroL September 30, 2015 1:24 pm

    nerf GC’s and nobody takes Nids ^__________^ only 1 eldar too I guess

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 30, 2015 2:09 pm

      GCs? Nids don’t always take a GC, typically a lot of MCs though, of course.

  6. Defeatmyarmy September 30, 2015 1:54 pm

    I’m surprised there’s no Tyranids or Orks, but if time is short ehhh… Best of luck guys!

  7. Panzer1944 September 30, 2015 10:48 pm

    I am totally cheering for the Militarum Tempestus person. If he is going full on Stormtroopers that is a road that has a lot of tears in it but those victories are the sweetest. Be of of luck to him.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 1, 2015 7:42 am

      I am too, actually, lol!

    • Petey Pab
      Pablo October 1, 2015 11:16 am

      I am too! He wanted to take codex:inquisition primary, but that primary detachment vote hurt him. So he went MT instead.

  8. rollawaythestone October 1, 2015 3:41 pm

    Is that Oakland Zoo I spy in Frankie’s picture?