40k, Can’t We all Just Get Along?

Hello all, Rawdogger here to talk about staying calm and keeping on in the face of 40k rules interpretations that you do not necessarily agree with and staying grounded in the fact that we are grown ass adults playing with army men.

man child

I normally don’t get involved too much with the ITC or tournament side of things for Frontline Gaming as I am not really part of that world and to be honest I’m just not that good at the game nor do I want to put the time and effort into being knowledgeable enough to help out with that side of the business.  However, in the past couple days there has been a rules debate going on that just absolutely seems to be bringing out the worst in some anonymous individuals and I felt the need to write a little bit on my feeling regarding the whole situation.  I’m not even going to re-hash the current outrage that some 40k players feel has been thrust upon them, as we seem to go through this every single time there is a new release for the game.  Instead I want to talk about the attitude of some of the player base that I feel is toxic to the health of the competitive tournament system.

To understand my viewpoint on the whole situation it is necessary to understand a few key truths.  The game of Warhammer 40k that we all love so much that we are willing to spend not only our hard earned money on but also our evenings and even a couple weekends every year is a game that is not designed for competitive play.  It’s not and it will never be.  The rules are not written in a way that supports balanced play and it’s been pretty apparent for a while that Games Workshop is not interested in providing a ruleset that facilitates this type of play.  Now, does that mean it can’t be played in a competitive environment? Of course not!  What it means is that if we as a player base desire a ruleset that allows us to play in a balanced and (importantly) friendly environment, for BOTH players, there must be concessions made on the part of the players to allow tournament organizers to modify the existing ruleset in a way that makes this possible.  Tell me, in a game that places two players against each other what kind of irresponsibility do we see in a company that allows rules such as a 1+ Feel No Pain save to even be a possibility?  What’s worse is that I’ve actually (in real life) heard several different players try to make the argument that they SHOULD be able to actual have a model with a 1+ Feel No Pain save.  The argument being that it is in the rules so obviously Games Workshop meant for them to be able to take a model that can literally never be taken off the table.  Let that sink in for a moment.  If not for the intervention of the TO in both cases where I’ve seen this argument take place how many of those player’s opponents would have felt compelled to return to a tournament where that type on non-interactive play was allowed?


Every month or so we find ourselves in this same position. Games Workshop releases the latest wacky power option and we break off into two camps.  One camp will want to keep the powerful rule or wargear item as is and the other camp wants to modify it.  The reason given for wanting to keep an over powered item or rule as is because it allows codex (x) to compete with the previous codex which included over powered item or rule (y).  This argument always reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Bart inadvertently unleashes bird eating lizards into the town of Springfield.  The lizards eat all of the pigeons and the townspeople are overjoyed, until the lizards started overpopulating the town.  When Lisa asks Principal Skinner how they will get rid of the lizards, he says that they will be importing snakes that will eat the lizards, then they will import gorillas that will eat the snakes, and finally the gorillas would die once winter set in and they would freeze to death.  The constant power struggle and the whole ‘well THEY got this so why can’t I have THIS?!’ argument never seems to end and Games Workshop is laughing all the way to the bank.

tree lizard

When did it become necessary to try and exploit every loophole in the rules or read every rules interpretation in your own favor.  Too many times when players are told that they cannot have a re-rolleable 2+ save or that their entire army cannot have twin-linked cover ignoring firepower they immediately feel that it is THEY who are being punished by the tournament organizers.  That is simply not the case.  By limiting the overwhelming power of these items or rules the organizers are actually contributing to the long term health of the hobby.  I constantly read on the forums that formats like the ITC are killing the hobby, but I have to wonder if that is the case when ITC events continue to sell out nationwide, including the Las Vegas Open which sold all of its 272 seats (largest competitive 40k event in the country) within a week and has 100+ people on the waiting list.  That tells ME that the vast majority of players WANT some kind of structure that keeps an inherently unbalanced game relatively balanced.

I suppose what this whole article is meant to convey is my frustration with the current state of the hobby.  I feel that Games Workshop is completely to blame for the fracturing of the competitive community, which is a sizeable portion of their customer base.  If they would just write sensible and balanced rules for the game we would not have these us vs them hissy fits every time there is a new release.  Ultimately it is up to the players themselves to self-regulate and NOT read every rules interpretation as only benefiting them.  Remember that in every game you play you are the ambassador for the hobby.  We are all directly responsible for the health and continuation of the competitive 40k community.  So the next time you are writing your lists ask yourself, even though I can take an entire army with a 3+ re-rolleable cover save or an invincible deathstar made up of elements from various codices, will this cause my opponents to give up the game entirely after a bad experience playing you?  If the answer is yes, and you are STILL ok with that then perhaps it’s time to look inward and really question what it is you get out of this hobby and why you continue to play if your one and only goal is to completely take away your opponent’s ability to interact.


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.

75 Responses to “40k, Can’t We all Just Get Along?”

  1. Ej October 29, 2015 12:27 am #

    Well put sir, Hats off to you. I wish more players reasoned like this.

  2. W October 29, 2015 3:18 am #

    Well-written article! 40k without a player-made FAQ is impossible to play at a tournament level, and there will always be people arguing over rulings in the various FAQs. While I may occasionally disagree with some (or a lot) of the stuff in the FAQ, be it ITC, NOVA, ETC or whatever the relevant tournament uses, I appreciate the effort put into making them. Some players seem to think that they, and they alone, should be able to exploit loopholes and create invisible armies and easy “I-win”-buttons, and if they’re prevented from this they start to whine.

    If anything is damaging to the hobby it is to see fully adult people unable to accept a compromise and a ruling against their favor, not the various T.Os trying their best to control the madness which is GW rules, but also organizing great events across the world. Let the haters sit at their computers and complain while we play the game we love.

  3. Cavalier October 29, 2015 3:30 am #

    I agree. Customer support is the biggest factor in 40k angst. We get no help in the rules department from GW and it sucks.

    However another problem is consensus building. There are so many people screaming from the rooftops, lobbying each other constantly on the “right” way to play. You can’t go to any place on the net and not be completely propagandized.

    People should just play the way they want, and stop trying to achieve universal consensus. Everyone has their house-rules whether its the ITC, a random group of friends playing in the garage, or people play pickup at a FLGS. People should just feel secure in the way their group plays and let everyone else carry on in their own way.

    • Cavalier October 29, 2015 3:58 am #

      To be clear, I’m not against people trying to house-rule things (tourney scene or otherwise) to shape the game towards what makes sense to them. What I think is futile is trying to convince BoLS Troll Community, the Fluffy Consortium of Fluff, the ITC Crowd and the ETC Crowd all to agree on “Whats Best for the Game”. I say let all those groups remain independent and tailor the game to their own liking.

  4. Amberclad87 October 29, 2015 3:34 am #

    Very well said. I wonder if the community would be interested in a new rule set for 40k? One that would be made by organizers with community feedback to create an ever evolving game that strives for balance? Every army should be fun to play and play against. Every army should be powerful and unique in its own way. No army should have “auto includes” or worthless units. A rule set should not be easily taken advantage of but instead rewards smart generalship. I think what we have now is getting exausting which drains the fun out of the game. I think organizers are getting tired of trying to keep up with the constant barrage of terrible rules that get tossed at us and trying to make some semblance of balance. One thing that I think we can all agree on is that the rules for our game are bad. I don’t think I ever hear people complain more about a rule set than those that play games made by gamesworkshop. We are already making modifications to 40k to try and “balance” what we can. In my opinion which I believe a lot will agree with is that the current rules cannot be balanced. So my question is would it be possible to make a new game from the ground up? is that a task that organizers could handle? And more importantly, is that something the community could get behind?

    • Mike October 29, 2015 10:30 am #

      I’ve said multiple times that I eagerly await the day when Reece and company say “screw it” and rewrite the rules to save the game from its current drunk abusive parent.

      I believe it IS possible to get a relatively balanced game out of the 40k core rules while still keeping the game recognizable. One of the easiest way to do that is point costs. And if we had a group of experienced TO’s and competitive players weighing in on it, the costs could start getting very accurate and balanced, especially if the controlling entities proceed to keep examining and adjusting.

      I just find it silly that everyone agrees that GW is a terrible rules writer, and yet so many people are against changing the rules, out of some fear of the unknown. I sincerely doubt that anyone can make the situation worse than GW. Even if they turned out to be bad at “eyeballing” some point costs, just the fact that they would be open and transparent about it unlike GW in their secluded tower would immediately make them the better option.

      Who else is up for an ITC 40k overhaul. I am!

      • Amberclad87 October 29, 2015 11:49 am #

        The next poll that frontline does for their tournaments, we should bring this sentiment up.

      • tag8833 October 29, 2015 7:44 pm #

        I agree for the most part. However, sometimes direct points costs aren’t the ideal mechanism for tweaking balance in this way because there are many combos that make a given unit or wargear substantially more or less effective.

        For the purpose of Tourney balance (aka fun of participants), a more nuanced system that takes into account combo’s is easier to balance.

        An example of this is Australian Comp:

        If ITC developed a similar comp score they could foster a fun tournament system without as many lopsided matchups or unbalanced lists.

    • J.G. October 29, 2015 4:26 pm #

      To make a game requires money and time…

      But FLG could make a kickstater and create a “new generic game system” that fits into the 40k universe.

  5. Bryankia October 29, 2015 3:42 am #

    Great article. Great comments.

    My contribution to the discussion is that I wish the the frontline crew would have said. “There is some variation on how this rule could be read. Regardless of which one GW intended we are going this rout for the sake of game balance.”

    As a person who reads the ruling different from the front line crew I could accept that a lot more easily.

    My struggle at this point is nobody’s problem but my own. My perception is that there are several formations that I think are just as disruptive but the crew let them in and didn’t really even seem to be conserened. Let me say this again this is my perception I am not insisting it is reality.

    With all that said. Folks let’s assume positive intent.

  6. Karaghul October 29, 2015 5:04 am #

    I think you make a good point, with which I mostly agreed, until I got to this part at the end: “So the next time you are writing your lists ask yourself, even though I can take an entire army with a 3+ re-rolleable cover save or an invincible deathstar made up of elements from various codices…”.

    Now, you were making a good point in regards to people often attempting to bend rules to their convenience, even at the cost of breaking some aspects of the game.

    However, somebody making a competitive list to participate in a competitive event, now, that’s an entirely different story, and there is, imho, nothing wrong with that.

    • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 6:16 am #

      Agreed Karghul, I was nodding along right until the end. The whole point of ITC is to bound the most ridiculous things so whatever you can come up with inside that bound is A okay. If someone goes to a tournament and gets beat and then straight quits the hobby I’m not too sad they’re gone.

      • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 6:18 am #

        Chances are they would have been trounced just as badly by a completely reasonable army played extremely well or bad dice or simply a rock-paper-scissor match up. Losing horribly is part of the game, it shouldn’t be all you do but come on.

      • Rawdogger October 29, 2015 6:54 am #

        I would say there is a difference in being beaten by poor deployment or tactics but at least from my experience losing to any army that I have literally no chance of hurting or even interacting with has left more of a sour taste in my mouth.

        • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 9:26 am #

          I agree with you Rawdogger, no doubt. My point is that you shouldn’t ask people going to tournaments to restrain themselves. I think it should happen a level up with changing rules before tournament. Like you suggested for the entirety of the article up until the last few lines.

          Even when doing fun fluffy lists it can happen where a game is horribly lopsided. Like, I’m going to do a fun drop pod army list! I’m going to do a totally reasonable tau army! EWO army kills everything and no one has fun. Clearly you didn’t quit the game when you had bad games like that and i’m just suggesting that people who do probably weren’t going to stick around either.

          Overall, I really liked the article though, sorry to only harp on the last part.

    • Rawdogger October 29, 2015 6:47 am #

      I suppose my wording on the conclusion could have been better, what I was trying to say is that why are you even playing the game if your goal when writing a list is to take your opponent out of the game. It’s like playing a pickup game against a 5th grader. Yeah you’ll demolish the kid but will it take that much skill to do so? I understand that in a competitive environment you should be challenged but when every other list relies on gimmicks that literally removes your opponent’s ability to either interact or defend themselves something is horribly wrong with that environment.

      • Kwodd October 29, 2015 7:16 am #

        They are trying to compensate for their lil smokey sized manhood.

      • Karaghul October 29, 2015 9:08 am #

        I get that you were partly leading the argument towards “I don’t like GW’s poor design, which leads to those lists existing at all”, and I get that.

        In regards to list-building, well, that’s where community-made restrictions come in.
        I personally enjoy friendly games, narrative campaigns with “soft, fluffy lists”, and competitive tournaments of all types, and with all sorts of different sets of restrictions.
        I just make sure that, whenever I go to a tournament, I go with the mind-set that “hey, within these restrictions, people can bring whatever they want to, and that is ok”.

        I do get what you are saying though.
        As a tip, going to events with different restrictions than what you are used to can be real fun, and allow you to play with and against different list types. Variety is the spice of life after all. 🙂

        All in all, I’d say I agree on most of what you said in the article – and where I don’t, I can at least see your point.

  7. Kevin Lantz October 29, 2015 5:57 am #

    When you create a tournament setting with prize supports, you create a setting where people want to win.

    Whatever the rules are, those are the limits they can go to win. When you suddenly declare one limit unacceptable but others ok, that’s when people get upset. You’ve created the expectation that their codex is a “perfect rule” and when the rules get changed, that changes and fails to meet expectations. So you have upset people.

    your whole 3+ re-rollable cover saves… and invincible deathstars, you’ve allowed with necrons.

    • Reecius October 29, 2015 8:55 am #

      What is or is not OP is a relative statement, Kevin. You see Necrons as OP, I do not. They are damn good, annoyingly resilient, but not something that requires action on the part of the community. However, you may not see it that way, though. The same goes for every other thing in the game.

      As a community though, we have decided that some things are just too much, like the 2+ reroll save, Invis, ranged D weapons, etc. And, we have agreed to tone them down. This will be a similar circumstance, IMO.

      • Kevin Lantz October 29, 2015 9:31 am #

        I never mentioned anything as op. I mentioned what was currently allowed.

    • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 9:30 am #

      Kevin, they are doing exactly what you want. They are declaring the limits within which you are allowed to play in order to win. Good! we know the limit now lets play! I don’t like the grey limits of “Yes, you’re allowed to play this but we won’t like you if you do”. That’s why I’m glad of these hard limits. I can’t be the only one as ITC is becoming more and more popular.

  8. Trevor October 29, 2015 6:43 am #

    My two cents and I have mentioned this before, that snap judgement’s tend to be the culprit. We have a “leaked rule” that hasn’t even been tested in an event setting being ruled upon. Make a ruling in an event and then base your decisions on it, not vice versa. This will always lead one to believe there is some agenda. Take the last ITC poll. Two of the three questioned were regarding a new codex army that hasn’t even seen event play…I could think of two other items that could have been polled ahead of these. As I understood things the polls were to be used to resolve lingering issues from the past quarter not make a ruling? Secondly you have a Circuit being run by two participants…how can Franky and/or Reese gain ITC points in their own circuit, regardless of how good/bad they think their list/armies actually are? Again, this gives a perception of agenda. Personally give me a rule and I’ll play to it. Its your sandbox and you want a rule “cleaned up” that’s fine too, I’ll play whatever you give me. I am here because I enjoy that sandbox.

    • Rawdogger October 29, 2015 6:52 am #

      Those are both good, valid points that I don’t necessarily disagree with. This article, however, was more of lament of the environment that we currently live in where telling someone they can’t have a 2++ re-rolleable save or 5 Wraithknights is met with outrage. When working with a company that writes rules to sell model kits, I would hope that the larger player base would interpret poorly written and abuse-able rules in a more malleable light.

      • Sadclown October 29, 2015 7:14 am #

        Taking asay five wraithkniguts from Eldar who have a codex full of units that range from “yood” to “amazeballs” is one thing. Decreasing 2+ rerollable saves to a 4+ rerollable save and toning down invsibility do not take those things comletey away from an army. There is no talk about modifying Necrons 3+/4+.

        With Tau there is no “you can still do a versison of RAW but its toned down becuase after testing it out, we’ve found it to be too powerful.”It frels like a response rooted iin memories of Taudar and O’Vesa-Star with taking into consideration all of the changes formations, new psychic powers, etc etc.

        • Reecius October 29, 2015 8:52 am #

          The thing is Sadclown, some people fought us tooth and nail on the issues that we have changed which you brought up. We all accept them as the right play now but not at first.

          RAW is not clear here. My firs treading of it was simply that they pool the wounds together, not that they all gain every special rule of every model that “joins” together. That may be clear to you, which is fine, but is certainly is not clear to everyone.

          And yes, the more powerful reading of the rule is on par with the 2+ reroll, invis, etc. It is spectacularly OP. I honestly do not need to play-test it personally to see that, but for everyone else’s sake, we can.

          • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 9:32 am

            Please play a game and table Frankies Battle Company in 3 turns.

          • Sadclown October 29, 2015 6:39 pm

            I would suggest that they were the right play at the time. But given all of the OP things in game like rerlolling to hit and wound with eight grav cannons sprad across eight units, Necrons, etc etc etc are the previous calls still game balancng, or do they force constant readjustments?

      • Happy_inquisitor October 29, 2015 11:21 pm #

        I think if Reece had made a game balance argument and put up a vote only a few die hards would have been upset. Trying to make a RAW argument based on a misremembered unit coherence rule got the debate off to a bad start. Then a few people started crying “WAAC” at anyone who disagreed with them and it spiralled out of control.

        I do not really know if this rule is crazier than Decurion or all the piles of free stuff or superfriends. If there was a vote now without play tests against those lists I would vote to keep it full power because like the scatterbike vote I don’t like banning things until we know for sure we need to.

  9. Sadclown October 29, 2015 7:05 am #

    I can only assume the “curretnt rules debate” refers to the Hunter Cadre and the “fires as a single unit rule. On the one hand we have the statement that Taiu have gotten nothing to deal with Dearhstars. Would Tau foring as a single unit and al benefiting from tbuffmander solve this issue? I don’t know brcuase no analysis of this question. The rule reads that the fire as a single unit oncluding the use of markerlights. This is incredibly powerful, but how powerful is ot on a world of invisible deathstars, 2+/4+ saves, armywide 3+ saves with 4+ reanimation protocols, free wargear, free transports (keep in mind the tank shock madness), army wide rerolls to-hit and to-wound, and assaulting from reservers?When the revenant titan was banned, the C’Tan etc. Frontline posted games showing exactly how powerful the units were. Reece’s statement on the podcast seemed very dismissive while simultaneously observing the Tau did not get much. His created the appeaeance of a kneejerk reaction.

    Have Israel play In Control, the top Battle Company player, the top Necron player, and the top Superfriends player. Also throw in Orks amd test out how Orka playing a series with and without the “everyone loves buffmander” reading of the rule vs. the more limited reading proposed. If Tau does better against its bad match ups without being ridiculously, and does not do demonstrably better against armies ot already lead blowers of the table then perhaps it woulf br a good oldea to reconsoder. If on the other hand Tau is tabling everyone tiurn 1 or turn 2 in 75%+ of it’s games then let ua know. Simply laughing and sounding dissmessive, eve if that was not the intent alienates people.

    I weirw this all as a Raven Guard player with his army paitnt up as Black Guard and only ever played as Raptors or Raven Guard (and offended when they are mistaken for White Scars.).

    • Rawdogger October 29, 2015 8:18 am #

      That was really hard to read but thanks for the feedback!

    • Reecius October 29, 2015 8:47 am #

      My reaction on the podcast wasn’t kneejerk at all, I saw a few people talking about reading the rule that way and it struck me as so absurd as to be dismissed. I didn’t think anyone would actually want to read it that way, but I was obviously wrong.

      It is extraordinarily OP if you read it that they all get every USR and they can use all of their various abilities like split fire, target lock, etc. You really don’t need to play-test it to see that, but can show it, of course. It is something that instantaneously, like Invisibility and the 2+ reroll save, struck me as just too stupidly over powering to be acceptable.

      However, if we have to go through all the rigmarole of showing it off to prove the point, we will.

      • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 9:35 am #

        I guess the thing to learn is that with every release there should be a SHOWN thought put into it as in a play test or two. I know its a pain but I think if you had tabled a battle company and then written your article it may have saved more time in the long run. You’re running a major PR wing of a firm that doesn’t even pay you.

      • Glocknall October 29, 2015 4:50 pm #

        I had the same reaction when people actually began arguing for target locks along with the USR sharing. At that point Markerlights would be redundant if you can boost an entire Tau armies BS, TL, IC , and then abuse target locks to use it against the entire opponents army. I would pack up my models of my opponent tried such nonsense against me.

  10. Bigpig October 29, 2015 8:09 am #

    Great article Jason. This is spot on. I also agree that we as a player base need to demonstrate more emotional intelligence and not be so self focused. Too many times recently I’ve seen, on the quarterly votes, people recruiting others who don’t even play in the tournament scene to create an account, and login and vote for their cause only because it makes their army more powerful. There is no concern for the balance of gameplay or the overall tournament scene. The only motivational factor in voting or recruiting allies is simply to make their position better or stronger. That is the wrong mindset. This current argument is the same way. If we continue down this path we will soon have an unmanageable and unbalanced mess on our hands. We all need to take a breath step back and become smarter about the decisions that we make

    • Reecius October 29, 2015 8:53 am #

      We’re implementing a way to stop any alleged ballot stuffing, no worries, buddy. Only active participants in the ITC will have a vote that counts.

  11. Reecius October 29, 2015 8:57 am #

    Well said, El Perro Crudo. We all need to challenge ourselves to look at how a rule impacts everyone, not just our own army. Be considerate, and try to moderate extremes in the rules. That is the path to a fun, fair, and reasonably balanced game.

    • Karaghul October 29, 2015 9:12 am #

      I don’t know why, but “El Perro Crudo” totally cracked me up.

      • Reecius October 29, 2015 9:29 am #

        Haha, Spanish for Raw Dog =P

        • Karaghul October 29, 2015 9:33 am #

          I know, that’s why it cracked me up, didn’t see it coming! 😛

          • fluger October 29, 2015 1:25 pm

            While crudo IS a translation of raw, it is more in the food sense. As in sushi is “crudo”. I think for what you’re looking for would be better encapsulated by “bruto” as in raw and uncensored.

          • Karaghul October 29, 2015 2:22 pm


            You got that a bit twisted:

            -“Bruto” has a very similar meaning to “brute” in English, although it does have a connotation of “rough” too, but the word is only used when describing a person’s character.
            It can also refer to the original, unmodified form of a material.

            -“Crudo” means “raw”, both in a food sense, and, as you described, in “uncensored” (ish), describing something emotionally painful/impactful and hard to swallow/deal with.

            Source: I am actually Spanish (from Madrid, to be specific, haha). 😛

          • Karaghul October 29, 2015 2:24 pm

            Brute/brutish*, can be used both as substantive and adjective without modifying the word.

            “Un bruto” – “A brute”.

            “Mark es muy bruto!” – “Mark is very brutish!”.

          • Reecius October 29, 2015 5:34 pm

            Ah, yes, I speak Spanish quite badly ,but enjoy doing so frequently, haha.

  12. fluger October 29, 2015 9:14 am #

    I think the core point you made is that GW doesn’t write balanced rules. Making arguments about RAW or RAI is pointless when the basic ruleset can’t even be trusted.

    GW literally doesn’t care about this stuff because they don’t envision this game the way we do (I see it mostly from event and tournament perspective). They look at it like a boardgame between buddies (look at AoS, it’s GW’s game creation mindset perfectly encapsulated) rather than something that strangers would play. Because of that, the ambiguity or flat out imbalance doesn’t matter because social pressure will force people to compromise and adjust.

    Perhaps its because I started in 2nd edition which was the least balanced edition of this game ever, but I’m used to having to add a second layer onto the game in order to make it playable. The same was true for 5th edition Fantasy.

    Anyway, it helps to remember that GW isn’t looking to make a balanced game, they JUST. DON’T. CARE. If you put on that mindset, then rules debates or discussions about banning or altering make more sense.

    • Reecius October 29, 2015 9:31 am #

      You said it perfectly. RAW/RAI are largely irrelevant beyond providing a starting point. EVERYONE modifies the rules when they play 40k. EVERYONE. They don’t always realize they are consciously doing it, but they do. It is simple a matter of to what degree.

      • Sky Haussmann October 29, 2015 10:13 am #

        In my local group we have been debating this rule and agree that read in the most liberal sense it is pretty OP, but one thing we thought of was that if this were going to an ITC-type vote, it might be good to include an option that balances the rule, but isn’t drawn specifically from RAW, like what ITC did to invisibility, change the RAW to make it sensible.
        As a rule that has potential to give tau some much needed anti-Death Star power, the thinking was like this
        Option 1: USRs don’t share at all
        Option 2: USRs share with other units (OP)
        Option 3: USRs share with other MODELS firing at the same target

        Option 3 gets rid of the target locks problem, and let’s tau really hammer one unit per turn (hello invisistar)

        • Bryankia October 29, 2015 5:03 pm #

          Love this idea. Ends the debate about needing help against Death Stars.

        • Reecius October 29, 2015 5:33 pm #

          Yeah, it will likely have to come to something like that.

      • fluger October 29, 2015 10:44 am #

        Yup. I have no problem with that either technically. I mean, in a perfect world I’d like an airtight rule set with perfect balance, but that’s never going to happen.

        As it stands, any body playing this game has to make concessions and alterations if they want to play with a group of people.

        For things like this Tau nonsense or other things, I don’t CARE if the rules are altered as long as the end result is better balance or simplicity or both.

  13. EvilLairChandler October 29, 2015 9:22 am #

    I agree with the commenter on the play testing aspect, but not as it relates to the Tau debate on shared rules from the buffmander. I agree with Reece that I look at that and go, how on earth could people get that out of reading this command benefit? And I’ll say it in a less politically correct manner because I’m calling a spade a spade; this is an example of WAAC players trying to find a supposed loophole in a rule (1+ feel no pain anybody?) that simply does not exist. To me, this isn’t an issue requiring play testing because it’s not a valid rule as written or otherwise. The rule is simple. You can share market lights. If more units join in the bs is improved. I can hardly believe anyone would think that a command benefit would simply give any army an auto win. And before you reference battle company as an assertion of that, let me tell you, battle company is not an auto win simply because they get free units and have objective secured. The army is still tough to play. Yes it’s strong but not “we are all gonna combine firepower and kill everything on the table” strong.

    • Bigpig October 29, 2015 10:10 am #

      Even if it did exist, as a competitive gaming community we need to look at something like that and vote or agree on what benefits the play environment not simply what benefits our army.

    • Mike October 29, 2015 11:04 am #

      Um. I read the written rule as the most absurd version allowing rule sharing and multi-targeting. I own zero tau models, don’t plan on buying any, and think the RAW of this rule is utterly ridiculous and needs to be reigned in.

      Am I a Waac player looking for an advantage? Sweeping generalizations are bad sir.

  14. Mike October 29, 2015 10:42 am #

    On the topic of people being less-than-calm when disagreeing on the Internet, remember that they are just typing text. Many people aren’t able to really get across their exact attitude correctly in writing. And people tend to sound mad by default when they’re disagreeing, even when being very civil. There ARE people that get super-flustered, but I believe they’re a rarity.

    Tl;dr MOST people disagreeing on the net aren’t as upset as their text indicates.

  15. Hotsauceman1 October 29, 2015 10:44 am #

    I think the problem is that several people feel that alot of issues are being decided on with no voting and just a decision by the coordinators. I personally feel as if the 4 votes a year is not enough. So it just turns into “We interpret it like X, not like Y” and thats it. Why are alot of things not being voted on, when only a small amount should be?

    • Putzfrau October 29, 2015 10:56 am #

      Most comp systems don’t even allow voting. All the major comp systems in fantasy (swed, ETC) were simply decided upon by a panel. There was never a public vote. That is fairly common.

      The ITC team is very democratic, especially when democracy isn’t *always* the best option. I don’t think everything should be voted on, especially interpretation issues with rules.

      • Nathan October 29, 2015 12:30 pm #

        The voting is the best thing ITC has going for it. In Australia we are sick of the incestuos panels that make all of our descisions for us like we are a bunch of five year olds, and refuse to adopt a very transparent line of reasoning on why some things get banned and others not.

        The australian community comp ring leader refuses to really even read the ITC format and sites it as a bunch of house rules. So we are pretty jealous of your system down here, with well written articles like this and reasonable discussions afterwards its not hard to see why!

        • Putzfrau October 29, 2015 12:45 pm #

          I think, so far, ITC strikes a really nice balance between community voted decisions and judgement calls.

          I think thats evident in how fast its taken off.

  16. Fagerlund October 29, 2015 2:24 pm #

    I’m with you for the most part, but in the end of the article you put the blame on GW. This I don’t agree with. They’ve clearly showed that they’re not interested in competetive 40K, ergo it’s not their responsibility to fix it. It’s up to TO’s and players respecting TO’s. The respect part I feel is very lacking in the 40K community, especially the internet part of it…

    • Mike October 29, 2015 3:01 pm #

      GW charges money for their rules. A high amount at that. They even make money off of re-doin the same rules over multiple editions.

      If those rules are of shoddy quality, it IS their fault and they deserve to get flak for it. You wouldn’t speak nicely to people about say…a local pizza place that overcharges and makes low quality food with bad delivery times. Why does GW get a free quality pass when that place wouldn’t?

      • gvcolor October 29, 2015 6:09 pm #

        Exactly, and Jason, never mind the competitive community – this goes beyond competitive 40K play! It is equally about regular play between friends at home, or picking up a game at a local hobby or Games Workshop store.

        Talk is cheap and it is great to see the ITC working towards making 40k a fun and playable game regardless of faction. It is sad that GW cannot do so.

        • Fagerlund October 29, 2015 10:24 pm #

          I disagree, their rules work just fine in a non-competetive environment where you can settle any disagreement with a dice roll. The ordering of pizza doesn’t apply, because you order it to eat it. This is more like applying a screwdriver when you need a hammer and then complaining on the quality of the nail.

  17. Sadclown October 29, 2015 6:12 pm #

    Reecius, what benefit would there be to Tau pooling wounds as one big unit instead of firing as individual unis? There is a massive overkill/underkill problem considering all of the units woukd need to declare their shooting and then resolve the shots.

    The difference in reaction to moving a 2+ rerollable to a 2+ with a 4+ on the reroll, or making invisibility BS 1/WS 1 instead of snap firing hitting on 6s iand your reaction on the video was the former offers ways to tone down things that are OP, while the latter is just “lol no” Banning somethingjist because it is OP does not appear well considered. In every other instance you have provided thoughtful alternatives that retain some measure of power, while avoiding breaking the game.

    There is a buikt in condition that solves the issues you are having with the rule. To be lart of the mega unit the inidividla units “must” fire at the same unit to be considered part of the same unit for shooting resolution. Using Split fire or Target Lock to shot a different unit violates this conditon. A unit firing at a different unit cannot be considered part of the mega unit for purposes of coordinaed fire because it violates the “must” condition. Perhaps this woulf justify other members if the unit receiving the buffs, but not the split firing model as the other membes of the unit meet the “must” condition. Strictly applying this condition would seem to solve your concerns while giving Tau options against deathstars and hard to kill units like Necrons.

    I take you at your word that yiur response was not a reaction kneejerk response. As a listener, it sounded very reactionary and dismissive. Especially as there was no analysis of how units resolve shooting.

    I play the third company of the Raven Guard successor chaoter the Black Guard, and dream of the day I can resurrect ny Harlequin army to take to tournmants. The only benefit I am getting from Tau’s coord ated fire rule is keep fishmen socialists happy so they will continue to support cometitive pkay.

  18. Sadclown October 29, 2015 6:15 pm #

    Aso c sider your reaction tto the OPness of Windrider Jetbikes alll getting weapons upgrades. OP shooting is needed in the game to deal with OP defensive abioities. Toning down both is fine. Toning down one while throwing out the other unbalances the game.

    • Kevin Lantz October 29, 2015 11:49 pm #

      naw eldar weren’t op, they weren’t nerfed and all….

      • Sadclown October 30, 2015 11:43 am #

        D weapons were nerfed for everyone,, LOW were limited to 1 per army except Imperial Knights, (and now a single unit). Granted tgis was in response to Eldar, but the changes affect everyone. Nerfing Windrifer jetbikes was an exclusively Eldar nerf that was rejected by the community.

  19. Deuce11 October 29, 2015 6:51 pm #

    Ummm Yes… to all of it.

    Raw Diggity, I want to challenge you to a game of boozing 40k if I ever make it to CA.

  20. Rolling thunder October 30, 2015 5:56 am #

    First off, I want to thank the FLG crew for taking the immense burden of balancing this wacky game that we all love to even make it a possible tournament-ready game. This ITC is good because it is nice to have a reference FAQ (since we no longer get that from GW)

    Reece, for tournaments, have you ever thought about making two different levels of comp? One where its really “no hold barred” (like the old school ‘Ardboys), and a different level where lots of the ridiculous combos just aren’t allowed… Just off the top of my head, something that bans all formations (gasp) or limits them to 1 per army, Limits GMC/superhavies to 1 per army, limit summoning, and makes all allies “Allies of convenience”…. it would be a really interesting change in meta. bye bye almost all the top lists. Also, allow both levels to get ITC points and so everyone is happy.

    • Sadclown October 30, 2015 11:54 am #

      Limiting formations will basocally take us back to the days when Eldar ruled tournmants. It also would do nothing to address formations of formations. We are now in a place were more armies have cool toys in the form of models or formations. I am hoping something gets done for Guard, Sisters, Grey Knights, Dark Eldae, Turanids, Orks and Chaos to boost their competitive level up by creating rules that give life to their fluff on the tabletop.

      They have clearly done that for Marines, Eldar and Necrons. Possibly Tau.

      • Vercingatorix October 30, 2015 12:13 pm #

        It’s frustrating that hardly anybody has more formations than orks but they’re all pretty “meh”

        • Jural October 30, 2015 12:55 pm #

          Blood Angels feel your pain.

  21. Jural October 30, 2015 12:54 pm #

    I think in recent months we have moved from nerfing things we KNOW are a problem (re-rollable 2+, or book invisibility), or that we KNOW people don’t like (CtA Allies) to nerfing things which have never been played with at all (Eldar bikes.)

    There are a lot of things in 40K which people have complained about but which actually seem to work OK (the new psychic rules, Imperial Knights…) So the fear is that some of the units which are being nerfed before they take the field may actually be OK.

    Now… I think the recent Tau thing is completely different. There is no clear way to read it, and the various readings range from “a slight bonus to remove a pesky unit” to “Hey- the Staples Easy Button for 40K!”

    Personally I would always like to see one major tournament with a codex before things were nerfed, with the exception of the aforementioned general rule changes made to the universal ruleset. This may not be practical…

    And for my money… if one thing about 40K needed to be addressed- it would be that Librarian conclave… just wtf???

  22. Sadclown October 30, 2015 6:20 pm #

    Firebase Cadre gets “co-ordinated fire” with an additional sentence at the end granting Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter. “When revolving this shooting attack, all firing models have the Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter special rules.” Since they can all get target lock does this then mean thar Firebase Cadre all get Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter and can shoot at multiple targets without having to shoot the same target? It would seem the initial condition of must fire at the same unit must be meet. Otherwise the same problem exists with Firebase Cadre.

    A) all models in the unit must fire at the same target;
    B) all models in the unit firing in “this shooting attack” eg the coordinated fire attack at a single target, get Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter, while models using target lock and therefore not participating in “this shooting attack” do not get Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter; or
    C) all models get all the rules obviating the need to fire at the same target.

    A similar decision should be applied for co-ordinated fire for Coordinated Firepower.

    Not a Tau player, but Crisis suits sgts. can get three signature systems. It would seem that the only thing a narrow reading of the rule does is force Tau players to pay extra points and not have USRs on MCs and basic infantry.

  23. IronCaptain November 5, 2015 10:43 pm #

    Overall a good article with little to argue about. However, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, there is this: If you are playing a game you know is unbalanced and never designed for tournament play, then why do it? I’d also ask how exactly the T.O.s are contributing to the long term health of the hobby by limiting the overwhelming power of items and/or rules? Tournaments are only one aspect of the hobby, and by no means the end-all or be-all of Warhammer 40k. I think it can survive, just like many other game without tournament, especially considering the 40k Competitive Play is GW’s abandoned stepchild. And, lastly, how are power limits made by groups such as ITC, if the community get to vote on the change? The last poll for ITC appeared to have people voting for RAW and most beneficial rules. How does that offer a more balanced system when folks consistently vote for the rule that benefits them the most? Done playing devils advocate.

    Seriously though, I have been to a few tourneys and have to say I always get bad match ups, and you need a math degree to figure out the scoring. The only time I have ever seen a tournament be close to being balanced is a Highlander Event, but no one ever wants to go to those. Why is that?

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