Opinion: Why 40k Needs to Go 1500

Hey guys, it’s Adam from TheDiceAbide.com. It’s not often I spend time writing opinion articles, typically I just keep them to myself, but the debate over points really has got me thinking.

The 2016 ITC Poll is upon us, and there is no more controversial question than the issue of point values. Over the years, 40k has steadily crept up in the points of the typical game, while simultaneously decreasing point cost of units (anyone else remember 30 point marines with 1000 point standard games?). Today I’m going to talk about why I strongly believe that lowering the games to 1500 points for tournaments is key to keeping 40k as enjoyable as possible.

Here is a link to the poll: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vtp6zikYXgaMJr3M7-ESFs5yH_zMDPJQ19BhsiYImS4/viewform

Time Constraints


Probably, the biggest reason we need 15oo is because during tournaments, we’re playing on a schedule. As it is, games are usually set to 2-2.5 hours, with breaks, you’re already talking about 8+ hours a day on your feet playing a game. Late in the afternoon, this becomes more of an endurance contest than a game of skill. Increasing the length of a game, even by 15 minutes, is going to add about an hour if not more to the day. This may not sound like much, but it is personally my biggest issue when playing in these tournaments, and if your game goes to time, by the time you’re done cleaning up, you need to rush to your next table for your following game, let alone take a break for food and water, or just to relax the brain a bit. Making the day longer isn’t the solution, and certainly isn’t a solution I want to participate in.

There has been some talks of implementing chess timers, or even alerting players when their turn should be over to keep on track, and I really do not believe they will work. Chess timers in particular are an awful idea, they essentially blame the player for enjoying armies such as Tyranids, Orks and Imperial Guard, and they also penalize their opponents due to the amount of time it would take for things like fleeing units and overwatch. The game takes longer when there are more models on the board and that itself can be more elegantly mitigated by lowering the point level of the game, instead of placing the blame on people who are simply playing an army they enjoy.

The Oft-forgotten Turn 7


There seems to be an opinion on the internet that if a game goes to at least 5 turns, then it doesn’t matter if it ends because of time. Frankly, that’s a load of bullshit. The game is designed to have an uncertain ending, evenly divided with a 1/3 chance to end on turns 5, 6 or 7. Because of this uncertainty, some armies, like Eldar, must risk putting their vulnerable units in harms way at the end of turn 5 to try to win, if the game goes on, they’re often left in undesirable positions and begin to fall apart. Late-game armies are put at a huge advantage when there is little risk of going to turn 6, and almost no chance at all of going to 7. With major event games ending at turn 4, these armies become even more powerful, not having to put up with the constant grind of armies to play to the length of game that they are the weakest in. Ending on 5 is not a natural end if the dice says the game should go to 7. The games must be able to be completed in the time given for events, without making the event last 10+ hours a day.

Cost of Entryfry-money

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Infinity, it’s no secret. This happened, at least in part, because a few of my friends wanted to get into miniature wargaming, but after figuring out that their armies, even when made with an attempt to be economical, would often end up being in the $600-$800 range, they were about to give up on the hobby. Due to the point values of units continuing to slowly creep down, or through being given free upgrades, players are expected to spend more money to get into the hobby. I know it’s entirely possible to play at 1000 points and build up, but nobody wants to get into a hobby to only play at the kids table. Doing a bit of math around the armies they wanted to make and I noticed that that last 350 points is eating up a massive chunk of change, usually about $200-$300 of the total cost of the army. Lowering the point value of what is expected to be the normal sized game, means that more people can afford to get started, or existing players can justify starting more armies (I know I would, haha).

Hobby Time


Something often overlooked, on top of the cost to start an army is also the amount of time it takes to build/paint it all. Decreasing the point values for the game make hobby-intensive armies less of an issue. I’ve noticed over the years that as armies have grown to contain more models, people have spent less time converting or coming up with creative and inspiring to look at armies. It used to be common back in the day, everyone’s army was unique, Ork armies were actually painted to look like different clans, with accompanying converted vehicles and characters. It’s not that they don’t exist anymore, but now they seem to be the rare exception, instead of the prevailing norm. It seems now, that with the chore of having to paint so many models, people are spending less time on making sure what they come up with looks good, and are more focused on getting all their models to a 3-color minimum in time for the next event.


Obviously, this is all just my opinion. I know people out there are strongly defending 1850, presumably because they like to play with all their toys, don’t care if their (or other people’s) game actually ends on time and have the endurance of a horse. Personally, I would like to see games come to their natural conclusion, even ending on turn 7 about 1/3 of the time, have an easier time convincing potential new players to get started, and not have to spend 5 years painting a single army.


About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

91 Responses to “Opinion: Why 40k Needs to Go 1500”

  1. Hotsauceman1 February 25, 2016 12:41 pm #

    I voted for 1850 because I just built a battle company.
    But all your points are good IMO, except cost of entry, i think thats still pretty steep.
    My bikes would make a comeback if this where to happen. BUT BUT there are drawback
    1: Deathstars would make a comeback even worse, if you have less to kill, but they still have the same killing power….welllll
    2: the smaller points you go, the more powerful already powerful units become AKA Wraithknight. I would loose alot of tools to kill it, but that damn thing is still gonna rampage through my backfield

    • Sam February 25, 2016 1:21 pm #

      Not exactly 100% on topic, but I’d like to note that this entire discussion around points values has renewed my faith in humanity. I’m fairly certain that this thread has set some sort of Internet record of not devolving to calling someone [angry Germanic Dictator] over its course.

    • Andrew February 25, 2016 1:28 pm #

      The problem with your logic about death stars is that it ignores (1) missions and (2) points ratios. Yes the opponent can still take a deathstar and delete a unit a turn, but now he suddenly has fewer support units that can move around to secure objectives because too many points are tied up in a single unit. And if he wants those supprt units then suddenly he has to sacrifice a specific character in the deathstar that is required to make it do what it does best. Along a similar line of thinking, the fewer the points we play at the less points your opponent has to pay taxes for a detachment to get the character he wants for his death star, even if those taxes double as support units.

      • Elwrath February 25, 2016 3:08 pm #

        Have you seen Aaron Aelong’s list that he won both nova tournaments with and was in the top 8 the LVO with? Its beatable but its basically one deathstar unit that still manages to do just fine with few to no support units.

        • abusepuppy February 25, 2016 6:32 pm #

          NOVA uses very different missions and rulings (specifically about Invisibility and I think 2+ rerolls also) as well as prohibiting superheavies. All of those makes HUGE differences in the viability of deathstars.

          • elphilo February 26, 2016 8:50 am

            NOVA isn’t prohibiting superheavies this year, so we’ll see what happens with the stars.

        • Black Blow Fly February 28, 2016 6:00 am #

          That army has several support units.

    • BobC February 25, 2016 3:07 pm #

      1 agree. Killing a WK isnt that bad in 1850, but as the points go lower it gets harder and harder.

      • Happy_inquisitor February 25, 2016 10:53 pm #

        I can deal with a WK at 1500 points. At really low points like 750 it becomes unkillable but it is almost a different game at those levels.

        Wraith knights will continue to be common whatever the points level. At 1500 I think most players will be able to adjust just fine.

        • Arrias February 26, 2016 5:47 am #

          I fully believe if someone brings a WK at 1k or below, outside of pre-planned on both sides “I wanna try this” scenarios, no judge or jury will convict you for what you do afterward.

  2. jy2 February 25, 2016 12:48 pm #

    1650 all the way!

  3. fluger February 25, 2016 1:00 pm #

    What I would like to see develop is different point standards for different events. Like grass/clay/hard courts for tennis.

    For example, if LVO became 1500 pts, BAO was 2000, and Adepticon was 1850 lets say. Instead of making one point value be the standard, INTENTIONALLY mix up the points values at different events.

    I think the net result would be having distinct metas based on points levels and would allow people who play multiple events get more variety in and people who only attend one or two to specialize.

    Perhaps we’ll find out Sean Nayden isn’t as good at 2k? Maybe CaptainA’s sweet spot is 1500?

    I just think having points be so standardized is kinda stunting.

    • Luke February 25, 2016 1:25 pm #

      Don’t be silly – Nayden is 40k Jesus with less beard (sometimes).

      • fluger February 25, 2016 1:57 pm #

        Yeah, I mean odds are low, but making someone who attends lots of events and gets lots of reps have to change it up for different points values MIGHT help everyone else?

    • Arrias February 26, 2016 5:48 am #

      I actually REALLY like this idea, Fluger. Variety is the spice of life, and what not.

  4. Fagerlund February 25, 2016 1:13 pm #

    I really like 1500p personally, but the main concern is that some things get ridiculously difficult to deal with simply because you’re lacking the tools to deal with it. You’re getting a lot more of stone-paper-scissors kind of balance, since you’re cutting down a lot. In other words, I wouldn’t recommend allowing Forge World/Super Heavies and various formations if going to 1500p.

  5. Dakkath February 25, 2016 1:15 pm #

    My only complaint about lowering the points is that for some of the less powerful armies it’s hard enough to fit all the units you want to bring in 1850, let alone 1500.

    • Sam February 25, 2016 1:22 pm #

      All armies have this problem. Even Eldar suffer from this. It doesn’t sound all that intuitive, but dropping down 350 points from Eldar forces at least “some” holes in the build.

    • Luke February 25, 2016 1:28 pm #

      It’s true – armies with hyper-efficient units have those units form a larger percentage of their army.

      The armies that really suffer are the ones who don’t have a Swiss Army knife unit that can do multiple things well.

      If we do go to 1500, Nids make a comeback in a big way. You heard it here first on channel 7 news

  6. Arabvikiking February 25, 2016 1:22 pm #

    1650 points is such a weird point value. If we are going to go less 1850, then let’s go 1500.

    • Sam February 25, 2016 6:57 pm #

      You do realize 1850 didn’t start until ITC made it popular it was either 1500 or 2000. 1650 is fine.

      My main gripe with 1500 is many decorians such as orks, Astra Militarum, even battle company and cult mechanus. All of which have a hard time or simply can’t fit into 1500. 1650 makes it possible.

      • abusepuppy February 25, 2016 9:00 pm #

        “Man I really wish I could see more War Convocation and Battle Company at tournaments” said no one.

        • bigpig February 25, 2016 9:13 pm #

          but screwing over certain builds should not be the motivation for a points switch. You may not be a fan of battle company, but many players are and have invested a fair sum of money into kitting one out. What is true is that both BC and WC will be develop significant blind spots with any notable points drop.

          I’m in favor of a drop for many of the reasons you cited, but I disagree with 1500 and would rather see a more gradual drop to 1650. Personal taste.

          • abusepuppy February 26, 2016 12:00 am

            It’s not the motivation, it’s a side effect. ANY change in points level will develop a different meta- Convocation and Gladius will be less common at 1500 (maybe- we really don’t know, as the “bonus” points mean more at that level even as they become less flexible) but other things will be more common.

            Changes in points levels aren’t being made to “punish” certain armies, the comments of a small handful of people aside. They are being considered for other, wholly legitimate reasons. How this will or won’t affect different armies is a moot point because no matter what point value you choose, someone will declare that it is “screwing over” some particular subset of players.

            You can still play a Battle Company at 1500 and get a goodly amount of stuff in it. You can still use a War Convocation as well. It’s just that in both cases you will have to drop some of your toys- just like every other army out there will, because it turns out 1500 is smaller than 1850.

      • Arabvikiking February 26, 2016 11:52 am #


        I can only talk about the meta in my own country (Norway), so it might be slightly different to how the Americans see it.

        1500 is possible for war convocation, it just isn’t enough space for unfluffy stuff like pods, irrc.

      • Black Blow Fly February 28, 2016 6:03 am #

        GW ran GTs that were 1850 points way before FLG.

  7. Luke February 25, 2016 1:24 pm #

    The idea of mixing it up for different ITC events I think is a great compromise. But really – what happened to 1750?? I know they want 1650 or less if there is a change to make it more noticeable, but I think that a smaller change is better to start with. But then again, most of my 1850 lists can function just fine at 1750 or 1650. 1500 would feel like a huge change and would probably be the only solution that I’m not a fan of.

    FYI I do have the endurance of a horse lol so if it was just me, I’d keep it at 1850. But not everyone is an Italian stallion and I do empathize with them

  8. Ryan February 25, 2016 1:38 pm #

    I’m all for the change in points — I think the change would mix up the meta in new and very interesting ways! I do not, however, agree with the argument that so many are choosing to make, “Lower points will help fix the time issues” I was slow played against at LVO, HARD. We literally played two game turns before time. My opponent was warned by two different judges, but they did not DQ him for slow playing. A player who doesn’t want to finish a game wont. 2000 points or 200 points, if the judges do not take action against slow play the points change will fix nothing.

    • westrider February 25, 2016 2:28 pm #

      It will fix things for those of us who do want to finish the damn game, but have trouble keeping up with the fact that more and more stuff has been getting crammed into the same time limits over the years.

      • Adam (TheDiceAbide.com) February 25, 2016 3:07 pm #

        Exactly, slow playing should be treated like cheating, because frankly it is. I don’t think the majority of players hitting the time limit are necessarily doing so because they are playing slow, more that the game takes longer to play than previous editions, not even accounting for the free stuff.

    • Smallvictory February 25, 2016 9:02 pm #

      I feel your pain, played against a psychic heavy eldar list that ended on turn 2, wonder if it was the same guy. The first psychic phase took a solid hour, If there was a chess clock it would have showed me using no more than 20min, so so very rough.

    • Dan February 26, 2016 5:36 am #

      From personal experience, its usually pretty easy to tell when you are being slow played. I agree that some people are just douchebags and will play slow no matter the points limit or how many models are actually in the army.

      But just cause someone is running a horde/psychic heavy army, it doesn’t necessarily being deliberate slow players.

      Down here in AU, we’ve got a fair few A and even some B grade tournament players who can run horde armies with 120+ models and still finish a turn in under 15 minutes.

      That’s movement, psychic shooting and assault phases done and dusted, If anything slows this down its usually the opponent doing their own save/assault phase rolls.
      Most of them are also able to deploy their entire army in under 10 minutes.

      And with proper preperation, even armies like Daemons with lots of pregame rolls can be done very quickly.

      Some players down here just roll the dice, write down simple notes next to the appropriate units on their army list E.g. Bio 1, 3, 4 +. greater 2, 5 next to the army list entry for the ML3 daemon prince who rolled all 3 powers on the biomancy table and 2 rolls on the greater rewards table).

      Then they’ll have two printed sheets on the table – one with all the psychic tables they might use in the game, and one for all the lesser/greater/exalted rewards. Whenever they to look up the rules for a power/upgrade, it can be found in seconds. No fuss.

      I’ve seen people with 15+ rewards and 20+ powers to roll manage to get it all done in well under 5 minutes this way. And their psychic phases likewise done quickly.

      If we could get everyone to do that, you’d see most games going to at least turn 5. And it would make it even clearer if someone was attempting to slow play, at which point they can take the bad sports hit.

  9. punchymango February 25, 2016 1:51 pm #

    I voted in favor of dropping to a lower point value, but to play devil’s advocate here:

    Looking at the demoncurion from the new campaign book, it struck me. “Why is GW putting out this stuff that forces demon players to field so much junk?”

    “Because GW wants us to play bigger games. Previous edition rulebooks used to caution you that the game wasn’t balanced above 2k or so. That’s no longer the case. White Dwarf battle reports are often 3k points or more, and a lot of the formations and alternate force orgs they’ve put out in 7e really don’t fit into 2k armies very well, much less anything smaller.

    Sure, nobody used that stuff before, and nobody will if the ITC points value drops. This is a largely hypothetical problem, but imagine if, say, GW redoes Blood Angels and the army’s default formation-of-formations is battle company sized, and just doesn’t work at 1500. Or Grey Knights, or whatever army you care about but don’t play because they can’t compete with the top dogs atm.

    Like I said, it’s not necessarily a problem, but it could be, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see future army lists deliberately lock players out of their formation benefits and such at low point levels.

    • Adam (TheDiceAbide.com) February 25, 2016 3:05 pm #

      As it currently is there are formations you cannot run in 1850, so saying that the points will lock you out of playing certain formations is no less valid than it currently is. For that matter you can still play Battle Companies and War Convocations in 1500, albeit with far less toys.

      • punchymango February 25, 2016 4:00 pm #

        Fair enough, and like I said, this isn’t an issue yet.

        I just think you might get some grumbling if a codex comes out and their main formation-of-formations isn’t workable at smaller point values. Not being able to run some ancillary formation in a “normal” game isn’t quite the same thing as not being able to run one of the core features of your ‘dex.

      • Sam February 25, 2016 7:01 pm #

        Outside of apoc formations which competitive formations are not usable in 1850? Even the 5 imperial knights formations are usable in 1850. You can theoretically fit a 5 knight detachment into 1650 as well but with to many gallants for my liking.

        • westrider February 25, 2016 9:36 pm #

          The IG Decurion has a lot of potential above 2K, but the minimum buy-in is so big it just gets awkward below that. AdMech have another combi-Formation like the War Convocation, but with potentially even better benefits, but needs like 2250 or so. There’s also a “real” Battle Company Formation that’s pretty scary, but needs to be over 2K because it requires 10 full Squads.

          • abusepuppy February 26, 2016 12:02 am

            Additionally, the ONLY two Grey Knight formations that exist both come in well above 1850, but no one seems to be complaining about how we aren’t allowed to use those.

  10. Drachnyen February 25, 2016 1:57 pm #

    Here’s a crazy idea:

    How about we keep the points to 1850 but start counting all the “free” formation items towards the total?

    Most players with battle companies are bringing over 2200 points on the table with the free goodies. Free stuff Seems to be the general direction of GW so its not going to change soon.

    A “real” 1850 point army would probably field 1500 points of stuff + free stuff.

    Problem solved!

    • Drachnyen February 25, 2016 1:59 pm #

      Oh… and this solution would also help all the other, older codexes that do not have any “Free” stuff… Like Chaos Space Marines to name just this one.

      • Mike February 25, 2016 2:20 pm #

        So what’s the point value you want to assign to the army-wide +1 RP, and mostly army-wide relentless and move thru cover in necrons? Or Daemon summons? Or fire stream free drones, missiles, and maybe even whole piranhas?

        Some formations give you store credit to spend how you will, some give you buy-now-get-a-specific-bonus. Either way, you’re getting more than what you paid for. Targeting JUST the ones that are told not to pay for some item and not targeting the ones that get something they didn’t pay for, but without that specific phrase used, is somewhat short-sighted.

        • Drachnyen February 25, 2016 3:10 pm #

          Good points.

          Then let’s analyze it from another point of view.

          Do we have stats / hard numbers / evidence on :
          1. % of unfinished game due to lack of time (is this a real problem?)
          2. Of those, which armies had a higher prevalence ? (What do we need to address?)

          In the end, humans are humans. Reducing to lower points will not automatically resolve this problem.

          • Adam February 25, 2016 4:07 pm

            Unfortunately, we do not have results, just anecdotal evidence. I know that from observing this year (didn’t play, just watched), it seemed that easily 1/3 of the games were hitting the time limit. If you watched the finals, you’ll have noticed that even the final round was decided by time, not by a natural conclusion, as were several of the winning players games, and he had no extra points on the board.

            Reducing the point values of the games wont automatically fix the problem on every single table, as there is still the human element to the game, but it will hopefully (and logically) reduce the frequency of games hitting the time limit.

            I’m actually against banning the free stuff formations, or making them pay for the free stuff, otherwise why take the detachment? But something we can do without changing the rules of the game is simply play less points.

    • bigpig February 25, 2016 9:16 pm #

      Because it isn’t really free in the sense that you have to take certain combinations of models that are not the most efficient. If someone had to pay for transports in a battle company, they wouldn’t run a battle company because there are far more efficient ways to run marines if the transports aren’t free. The new SW formations are a similar animal. Would you really take all those models in the Blackmane formation if you had to pay for all the drop pods?

  11. Sheit27 February 25, 2016 2:00 pm #

    my problem with 1850 at a tournament setting is the same that the article puts out.

    turn 6 and turn 7 are almost never seen, and I feel like most of the 1850 armies in the current meta really rely on a turn 5 or sooner finish.

    • Mike February 25, 2016 2:57 pm #

      Yep. Showing up with an army that plans for a 5 turn game in the up-to-now ITC format is a strong move, and the going popular idea that games ending on t5 due to time is okay fostered that strategy. If the game has the real possibility of 7 turns, you’ll see somewhat less battle companies, as many of them enjoy shocking you off objectives at the bottom of 5, knowing that the game is about to end.

  12. Colinsherlow February 25, 2016 2:05 pm #

    One of the reasons I don’t like chess timers for 40k is that both players interact throughout each player turn.
    Some players take forever rolling armour saves, or spider flicker jumps, assault etc. If it was one players doing everything during their turn I wouldn’t mind it so much. But with both players interacting a lot during each player turns it doesn’t seem like such a great idea to me.

    Just my opinion

  13. Don February 25, 2016 2:41 pm #

    The worst bit is, that the armies that do tend to take forever (daemon farm style armies) will be almost completely unaffected by this and will still take forever to play. These are the only players that I occasionally do not finish through turn 7 against. Other than that I think people who intentionally slow play will still do so at 1500 or even 1000 point games. The cost of entry makes sense, but an extra 150 points is a tactical squad or an extra 350 points is a Knight Gallant. Any army that is allowed to create new units will always take longer than an army that does not.

  14. Codi February 25, 2016 2:42 pm #

    In summary, let’s play 1500 points so we can spend less time doing something that we enjoy.

    • Jason February 25, 2016 2:59 pm #

      Nice one!

    • Adam (TheDiceAbide.com) February 25, 2016 3:02 pm #

      This is true if you only enjoy turns 1-4. I enjoy finishing games, so to me this is spending more time doing what I enjoy. Plus, if you spend as much time painting 1500 as you do painting 1850, your army will look a lot nicer. 🙂

  15. artfcllyflvrd February 25, 2016 3:41 pm #

    1500 with two lists like Warmachine is what I want to play. It has LOTS of advantages:

    1) Games are smaller/finish faster.
    2) People still get to take all their toys across both lists.
    3) People can build in such a way that it gives them an out in the increasingly rock/paper/scissor style of the game.

    • VonCrown February 25, 2016 4:21 pm #

      Yeah, I remember when the rumors said 7e would introduce sideboards or something to that effect, and I think revisiting the concepts discussed back then could help a lot to ease the potential for bad matchups that some armies would have at lower points values.

    • Arrias February 26, 2016 5:58 am #

      I really like the idea of two lists. It doesn’t entirely remove the RPS meta, but it can help alleviate some of the more egregious situations.

      • abusepuppy February 26, 2016 7:52 am #

        It does carry a whole set of burdens of its own, though. Some codices (such as Tyranids) simply don’t HAVE any other realistic options- for these armies, being “able” to to bring two lists doesn’t do anything meaningful for them because they have such a limited selection of viable units in the first place. (This is true, to varying degrees, for a lot of other books as well.) In fact, the armies that benefit most from a sideboard system are the ones that have a large number of powerful and flexible units they can combined to fight different enemies- which is to say, codices like Eldar or Space Marines, the very ones that people are complaining about.

        Moreover, it places a HUGE additional burden on players in terms of the models needed for a tournament if they want to take any real advantage of it. Even with just 1500pts and two lists, a typical player is likely to have 2000-2500pts worth of models they need to bring for the tournament- and that’s more models to paint, more models to buy, and more models to build, each of which can be a big deterrent to certain players. For those traveling by airplane or bus, carrying twice as many models is both risky and expensive; for those players new the tournament scene, buying twice as much stuff before they are “allowed” to play is a major barrier to entry; etc.

        Sideboards work in Magic the Gathering and such games because they are a relatively small investment compared to the total cost of a deck and because the best-two-of-three nature of matches gives them time to come into play; I can’t speak to their functionality in Warmahordes, not having any experience with that game, but in 40K I find the usefulness of their inclusion to be very, very doubtful.

        • punchymango February 26, 2016 9:56 am #

          They work well in WarmaHordes for a bunch of reasons.

          The investment needed is smaller and there’s frequently at least some overlap (most factions have workhorse units that show up in most of their lists). Not that WHM minis are cheap, but you usually don’t need nearly as many of them.

          All factions in WMH have multiple viable builds and multiple competitive casters. PP balances around competitive play in a way that GW just doesn’t.

          PP acknowledges that it’s not feasible to build a single “all-comers” list, and that certain builds hard-counter certain other builds. So you can bring two lists built to handle different things.

          I agree, I don’t think it’d much of a solution for 40k. The games are too different.

          • artfcllyflvrd February 26, 2016 11:24 am

            @ Punchymango

            I think the point about workhorse units is completely backwards. There is so much synergy in WM/H that changing the caster often requires an almost completely different list. But in 40k there is relatively little unit to unit synergy and common stand out units are going to appear in every list.

            Every Eldar army will have Scat Bikes, Warp Spiders, and a WK.
            Every Tau army will have a Stormsurge(s), broadsides, riptides.

            The repeat nature of units and lack of synergy in 40K makes the two list system less of a burden than WM/H.

        • artfcllyflvrd February 26, 2016 11:20 am #

          I disagree that any codex is truly mono build.

          The problem is that many of the secondary builds no one takes have horrible matchup issues. They may be very good against X and Y but you can’t afford to simply give up every game to Z. And so they have only one build to can compete reliably vs X Y and Z together. But more specialized builds can easily beat just X, just Y, etc. So you take your generalist build and whatever specialized build you think you need the most.

          And the extra model burden really depends on how you implement the system. Lists can be as similar or as different as the TO allows. I’ll note though that it has not really slowed down Warmachine where players routinely bring almost totally different 50-60 model armies.

  16. Alex February 25, 2016 3:45 pm #

    Well, I’m in the UK so ITC has literally no affect on me but the debate is interesting nonetheless. I’m a TO and my next event will be a doubles with 750 each a.k.a 1500 pts. My previous events were 1,850 and people were saying the weren’t getting their games finished. That said, my events are intentionally friendly ones where social interaction is encouraged rather than just rush through to get the turns in.

    There’s been a few points here about a drop affects army X or banning this affects army Y. One thing I’ve learned over the last 5 years of running events is that you can’t do anything that doesn’t completely screw someone. Sometimes the answer is to try it and get feedback for next time.

    Personally, I really dislike formations in general. They’re getting silly now with their one-upmanship. People seem to be of the mindset that you can’t play without them any more and that they somehow level the playing field. I’m really tempted to ban them completely and see if that’s true (it really isn’t) but I think you have to accept they’re part of the game now.

    • jeff February 26, 2016 6:42 am #

      “Personally, I really dislike formations in general. They’re getting silly now with their one-upmanship. People seem to be of the mindset that you can’t play without them any more and that they somehow level the playing field. I’m really tempted to ban them completely and see if that’s true (it really isn’t) but I think you have to accept they’re part of the game now.”
      but gw needs to sell more x…

  17. iNcontroL February 25, 2016 4:36 pm #

    I’m fine with both. Not finishing games is a problem and if you listen to this article people with large armies not finishing games is innocent on their side and they just want to play with their lil toys.. ok. I think actually if you go to a tourney where everyone paid to enter and some traveled if not most you can play whatever army you like but pretending you can play any army HOW you like is irresponsible. If you have 150 models you probably HAVE to try and play faster than the guy with 20.. it’s just common sense. Everyone is cool with pretending the horde army guy is being bullied or some shit but they are in fact doing that to their opponent when they take 45 minute turns.. nobody says that though for reasons I guess?

    Play as fast as you can in good spirit.. 1850 needs that. Lower points makes it easier to play faster but it isn’t a fix by any means. Same problem same request. TO’s can’t buy 100’s of expensive clocks and they probably shouldn’t be heavily handed in punishing those that don’t finish but just make an effort to be a decent human being and try to finish your game OR take an army you CAN play fast enough if you cannot.

    It’s odd to me how that is controversial.. I had people arguing with me on dakka about the notion of “trying to finish your game with your horde army” it is laughable.

    • westrider February 25, 2016 6:34 pm #

      Wait, wait. You’re saying that choosing to play a legal Army is “bullying” your Opponent? If there are legal lists that are causing problems within the play format, there’s a problem either with the play setup or with the list restrictions. Don’t blame it on Players who are choosing to bring an allowed list.

      I find it even stranger that someone would take that tack since (Battle Company aside) most of the horde Armies out there are late-game Armies that really struggle if the Game gets called on time instead of getting to play out until they can get attrition working for them.

      • iNcontroL February 25, 2016 7:32 pm #

        are you willfully misunderstanding my post? Are you having a tough time reading? I don’t understand how you can read what I just said and take it as “taking an army is bullying” WHAT? No.. I said taking ANY army you want and playing it ANY way you want IS bad. If you take a horde army you have to play it faster.. because you know.. the fucking tourney is timed and that is common courtesy. How is that a mystery? To argue against that you’d have to be like “NO! I can take as long as I want with however many models I want! I am freedom embodied! And don’t you dare tell me that is bad for my opponent!”

        • westrider February 25, 2016 9:39 pm #

          “Everyone is cool with pretending the horde army guy is being bullied or some shit but they are in fact doing that to their opponent when they take 45 minute turns.”

          I’m saying no one’s bullying anyone. Some Armies take longer to play, and if they’re allowed, than the system needs to give them time to be played, one way or another. It’s the fault of a tournament system that hasn’t adapted to two progressively more complex Editions, not individual Players.

          • Phelot February 25, 2016 9:53 pm

            He’s not saying that choosing to play a horde army is being a bully; he’s saying that choosing to take 45 minute turns is being a bully, and adding that taking 45 minute turns while claiming that you do so because you have a horde army is ridiculous.
            Some armies do take longer than others, but no army should regularly take 45 minute single turns, and if you are doing that, whether you’re playing 5 Knights or Battle Company, you’re the one making the mistake and monopolizing the time.
            Whether you’re intentionally choosing to play slowly or your inept, the result is the same: Monopolizing the time is bullying your opponent.
            He’s saying there should be a higher priority placed on making sure people don’t monopolize time by either choosing smaller armies, getting better with their chosen army, or just simply making quicker decisions than the priority placed on warping the entire format to suit the needs of a time monopolizer.
            Warping the format and changing everyone else’s lists to suit the needs of a time monopolizer hiding behind the “I play a horde army” excuse is the bullying.
            Just be courteous.

          • abusepuppy February 26, 2016 7:46 am

            >Some Armies take longer to play, and if they’re allowed, than the system needs to give them time to be played,

            Why do they deserve more time? Generally speaking, the bar for “the amount of time given to players” is not decided by the speed of the slowest possible army.

            Let’s keep in mind, we are already giving players nearly THREE HOURS per game. It’s not like this is a blink and a heartbeat; while I (and other hardcore tournament-goes) can certainly do that sort of thing- heck, I’ve played four and even five games in a day- the vast majority of people are not interested in sinking fifteen hours of their day into a tournament, even before lunch/dinner/etc.

          • Black Blow Fly February 28, 2016 6:18 am

            There’s no reason why a horde army should be entitled to more time. A common slow play tactic is get on objectives and slow play so the game ends by turn 3.

        • jeff February 26, 2016 6:44 am #

          “If you take a horde army you have to play it faster.. because you know.. the fucking tourney is timed and that is common courtesy. ”

          this explains a lot.

      • Kwodd February 25, 2016 7:50 pm #

        I agree with Geoff, if a person wants to bring a horde army they can’t be making life decisions before each action. A person needs to consider the fact that they’re playing 2:30 rounds when putting their list together. If they have to play a horde they also have to be on point with their actions. Otherwise they’re slow playing; maliciously or not.

        • iNcontroL February 25, 2016 8:23 pm #

          Another thing that always gets brought up is the “WELL does a smaller army get to take forever and slow play?” NO. Common courtesy is playing as timely as you can on either side horde or not.. it just so happens when you have a larger army this is TOUGHER to do and thus you have to put more effort into it.

          “Well, what if it isn’t the horde army players fault? Like, the other guy is asking a bunch of questions or something..” This is non-unique and can happen whether your army is big or small. The very very basic point here is if you have a larger army you are expected to give a best effort to play as fast as you can.. that doesn’t mean you make 100 mistakes and hate yourself it just means you try as hard as you can. If you find you aren’t finishing games or people are asking you to play faster maybe save the horde army for fun games and not money tourneys where such a thing can be a problem?

          “BUT I WANT TO PLAY ANYTHING I DECIDE TO WANT!” Fine.. but see above.. it’s a two way street and it’s named “courtesy”

        • Happy_inquisitor February 26, 2016 5:18 am #

          It cuts both ways. My quickest game at my last tournament was against another high model count army. We were both trying to play fast.

          My games that ran into time trouble were against non-battle company marines whose players expected and used huge amounts of thinking time. When my opponent spends 10 minutes dithering over where to move their bike squad I cannot suddenly take 10 minutes less in my movement phase unless I just skip moving models that need to move.

          Played the same almost the same list again this week in a relaxed casual game that came to a natural end right on 2:30. That is what happened in practice games ahead of the tournament so I do not accept that it was my 100 models making it impossible to finish games; it was opponents unaccustomed to any need to play fast.

  18. Pascalnz February 25, 2016 7:34 pm #

    I’ve almost never had problems with finishing my games.
    hilariously a drop in points messes with both of my main armies, BA and knights.
    the one formation you could get for maybe turn one assaults is unusable at 1500 and the lovely 5 knight formation that allows you to play a high king can’t be run at that either…. which is funny because it takes almost no time to play:)

    The thing thing should have actual stats to see how much a drop in points ,in fact, effects games. anecdotal is really not a great means to work out the issue. Look at the bolls trolls and see how awful 40k is in their anecdotal evidence;P.

    at 1850 it’s not too hard to take a cullexus assassin to help mitigate psychic death stars. at 1500 it’s becoming a serious burden to a lists functionality.

    Last thing though. why on earth would the final match be ended on a time constraint. surely that is a game that deserves a natural conclusion no?

  19. Nephilm14 February 25, 2016 11:02 pm #

    I love that this article ended by pointing out that people who like it at 1850 have the audacity of wanting to play with everything they have bought and spent time modeling, and “presumably don’t care if their (or their opponent’s) game finishes on time. I didn’t realize I was an asshole for liking the game at 1850. And it doesn’t mean I have some unnatural stamina because I don’t think the day was too long. Most people spend months (if not a year or more) getting ready for LVO. So after all that prep, you can attend the largest singles tournament to date and complain that the day was too long? Seems silly to me. I played against 2 battle companies at LVO, and went to “a natural conclusion” against each, even going 7 turns against the first one I played. And at other events I’ve played with 1500 points and barely made it to turn 3. It all depends on how you (and your opponent) play your army.
    At 1500 you can still bring a battle company with just as many marines and vehicles as its 1850 counterpart. The change in points is almost entirely downgrading equipment for that list. So now there are just as many marines as before, but they lack the grav cannons and lascannons to kill that Wraithknight that everyone loves to bitch about. Eldar are already super hated, you can expect lots more of them as well as deathstars at 1500 with less tools to fight them (unless you just bring your own).

    • Adam (TheDiceAbide.com) February 26, 2016 7:52 am #

      You’re totally not an asshole for liking 1850, I like 1850 too, just at home, not in a tournament where people should be able to get not only 5, but actually 7 turns in during a 2.5 hour game. This isn’t a preference of what you like playing at home, it’s a discussion of being reasonable and voting responsibly so that tournament games can come to their natural conclusion as often as possible.

      Yes you can bring a battle company, but won’t have all the points for tons of heavy weapons… Heaven forbid there is a downside to getting 10+ free vehicles?

      • Adam February 26, 2016 8:30 am #

        Actually, I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the battle company, the cheapest way you can run it comes in at a mere 880 points, that still leaves you 620 points to buy your mandatory support detachment and heavy weapons. Sorry if I’m not crying a river for battle companies which can still be run with plenty of guns, and with the 10 free transports that’s actually an 1850 army in a 1500 point shell. 🙂

        If anything it’ll allow more marine builds to be viable, since Battle Company wont be so far ahead of the other builds.

  20. MarkDawg February 26, 2016 3:58 am #

    The issue is slow play. People do it to win games bottom line I have see it time and time again. One other point people don’t take armies that they can finish games with 2 and a half hours.

    As a tourney player you have to take an appropriate army that can finish games in the time given.

    Often I see people in the deployment phase that take forever to get going and I think each player should get 7.5 minutes to deploy.

    7th has been out long enough for people to finish games at 1850

  21. MarkDawg February 26, 2016 4:15 am #

    In 5th ed I played deamons if you remember the old book you never deployed. I also only had 2 models that had shooting attacks in my list.

    So that mean my army does not deploy shoot or it only moves and assaults.

    When I played with my buddies we could get to turn 7 playing 2500 pts Ard boyz practice in 1:40. When I would play in tourneys at 2k many times games would get to turn 4 but not beyond.

    The reason for this is simple my opponent knows deamons are a late game army and the best way to win was to make sure that the game does not make it to turn 5 or more.

  22. Lord Krungharrr February 26, 2016 4:59 am #

    I voted for 1500. I think limiting the number of detachments to two at that level might be a good thing also, at least for some events. Seems like even at 2k I’ve always at least finished turn 4 but with increasing masses of small units from all these Formations of Formations that’s getting tough to finish games. People with horde armies need to practice their dexterity however for moving 50 man conscript squads on the table. Or get a small shovel. To offset that I’m leaning towards smaller model count armies like all Dreadnoughts or just a Lord of Skulls and Cultists, etc.

  23. jeff February 26, 2016 6:52 am #

    outlaw free model sales-manship from gw in tourneys.

    use a single clock for the room.
    everyone in the round moves forward with this central clock.

    allow multiple lists, at different points values,
    and assign these for the entire room before each round
    likely as a narrative driven theme for the event.

    force attendees to judge army comp over multiple lists
    with event theme in mind.

    • jeff February 26, 2016 6:54 am #

      and, of course, if one cannot finish his/her turn before the clock chimes,
      stunted nuts.
      play moves to the next player immediately, no further effects resolved not a single die rerolled.

    • abusepuppy February 26, 2016 7:42 am #

      We could also implement a four-cornered time cube to divide each hour of play time into four simultaneous zones. It’s pretty clear from a lot of the tournament results so far that competitiveness = comp = four letters = word = four letter word = evil, as we’ve seen from the polls. A truly smart player will understand this in the context of all metamorphical changes to the system.

      A true narrative focus can only be created by force from above with the participation of the attendees. There is no reason we can’t do this right here, right now. But only if we aren’t stopped by Them (you know who.)

      I heartily agree with this.

      • Axis of Entropy February 26, 2016 9:27 am #

        this is a good post

  24. Xasz February 26, 2016 8:00 am #

    Why not 1500p with 250p-500 sideboard.

  25. Venkarel February 26, 2016 9:24 am #

    Whops posted this on the wrong article, One idea that just occurred to me that is definitely adding to the pace of play is premeasuring. We can measure anything and everything and the rules encourage us to do so by making it a game of a fraction of an inch (think about the time it takes to make sure your look out sirs alone hit the models you want at the time you want). I know when I watch long-time players they move much faster as they instinctually know spacing and distances without measuring.

  26. Jural February 26, 2016 10:50 am #

    I personally prefer 1850. I just have more fun putting together and playing the lists. Based on only about 20 tournament games over the past 2 years, I would say the major reason for games I have played not completing are:

    – starting late, taking breaks, excessive rules/terrain/ list discussions in pre
    – large psychic armies (including rolling for powers!)
    – high model count armies
    – interceptor, scout, infiltrate, tanking wounds…

    Honestly, I don’t think 1500 (or 1650) really addresses most of the above. Sure, it can reduce the high model count and possibly siphon off some psychic dice, but a horde is going to be a horde and a psychic heavy army will have a ton of die…

    I’m not trying to say no tournaments should be at 1650 or 1500, not at all. I’m just saying that I bet 1500 and 1650 lists will still have quite a few people with unfinished turn 7s.

    • Adam (TheDiceAbide.com) February 26, 2016 10:53 am #

      3 of the 4 points you mentioned would most likely be inherently decreased by having less points… Less points means less models, less points for psykers, less points for interceptors.

      The point isn’t exactly to fix it so 100% of the games finish on time, the point is to make it so that MORE games come to a natural conclusion. Let’s bring back turn 7!

      • Jural February 26, 2016 4:13 pm #

        Yes, but only a slight help. I think in general people use the first 1000-1250 points of their army to maximize their theme (psychic heavy, horde, interceptor, etc) and then there are complimentary units and upgrades making up the balance.

        I don’t want to say smaller points won’t help, I just want to say I think it will have a pretty small impact.

        My solution? Yeah, I don’t really have a good solution… longer games are kinda an inevitable part of the 40k rules shifts from 5E until now. I enjoy most of the shifts, but this is a bad part.

  27. xTHExCLINCHERx February 26, 2016 12:23 pm #

    Seems to me that your first point is the most concrete… (budget and hobby speed/time are all relative I guess some would say). There are so many armies right now that show up for an alpha strike, and don’t care that they can’t take a single objective beyond turn 3 because most games in tournaments seem to only last until turn 3 (or 4 on a good day!). The “meta” itself would be completely different at lower point levels not just because of the models you could bring, but your lists will have to actually be able to stand the test of time and 2/3 of the time function beyond turn 4.. I think the fact that the game never makes it to turn 5, 6 and 7 is a real shame.. that’s like never playing the back 9 holes in a golf match, and just declaring the winner based on who tees off the farthest 🙂 It’s pretty silly if you stop and think about it…

  28. Jural February 26, 2016 4:21 pm #

    Honestly, it would be really interesting to know the data here. How many games end early, and how often does it matter? Also, does it matter to decide who wins or loses, or does it only matter to see how major the win/loss was?

    If I had to estimate for my games, I would say 50% of the games the time was irrelevant. Maybe half of these were curb stomps, and half we just were able to play extremely fast.

    Another 15-20% I’ll say probably wouldn’t have been able to get to turn 7, but the game ended early.

    Then about 15-20% the game ends but we really have had to work together to get there! (splitting time, fudging a couple rules like run+move,)

    It’s only about 10-20% of the time where game length is an issue and we don’t finish, and I would say these happen more in private settings than at tournaments, lol! And I believe these were all against large model count Tau interceptor type lists or heavy summoning demons?

    But if it’s more of an issue for most players, that would be interesting.

  29. Razerous February 26, 2016 5:58 pm #

    Fantastic post, I agree with 100% of what you said.

    Another point to add, just a small one – instead of games ending due to time, how about games that end early naturally, allowing some players to wander the tables watching the other players navigate their own final turns.

  30. Matter February 29, 2016 9:28 am #

    Just to provide another suggestion on the sidebar idea.

    Each match is played with 1500 points.

    Each player has 1850 points of units out of which they choose 1500pts after they know what they will be facing.

    In other words a 1500pt army with up to 350 pts of additional units that can be swapped in based on the match.

    Everyone gets to keep all of their units that they like for 1850 points but the matches are played at 1500 points.

    In addition there is an extra layer of strategy and mind games as players all get the opportunity to take the ‘counters’ to specific threats that they could at 1850 points,
    while at the same time are able to cut out what they see as their least efficient units for the matchup, which could further help with the time needed to complete a game.
    Also not everyone necessarily needs to have the full 350 points of optionally extra units which lowers the barrier for entry a bit.

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