The Broken List Syndrome

Hello all.  It’s me again.  The player we all love to hate, Joshua Death.  Back with another tense, hot-button tale full of intrigue, drama, fortunes gained, fortunes lost, pain, treachery, and deceit! (Oh wait, I’m telling you about warhammer not my last marriage!)


Where was I?  Oh yes, hot-button topic!  I want to talk a bit today about a problem that has been plaguing the competitive scene these past few months and seems to be a very heated discussion no matter where I turn.  List checking and the illegality of lists in competition.  

The game as it is now in 7th edition 40k is more complicated and complex than it has ever been.  I have been playing this wonderful game for over 25 years and competitively for over 15.  I can honestly say that I have never seen the game more complex than it is now, but I can also say with certainty that the game (specifically the competitive side) has never been more diverse, and enjoyable than it is now.  There are so many rules, factions, formations, supplements that the variety of lists you see in the competitive scene right now is more diverse than it has ever been.  I have played in major events in almost every region of this country in the past year alone and can honestly say that the vast majority of these events have such a wide array of interesting armies that it is almost worth going to some of these events just to walk around and see the visions other people have created for their personal forces.

Being guilty myself of list issues and having been put smack dab in the middle of the drama as a result, I have a rather unique perspective of how this is affecting the community.  With a number of major events over the past few months being plagued by list issues, points overages, interpretations made incorrectly, book interactions overlapping in wrong ways, etc. etc. it is obvious this is a legitimate problem and in need of some serious attention from the community as a whole.  


There are two main sides to this issue that have caused a fairly large schism in the community.  There are the individuals that believe that these mistakes are just that “mistakes” and should be treated in a way that would facilitate as little conflict and disruption as possible and there are those that feel even as a “mistake” given the nature and level at which these events compete punishment for such infractions should be swift and severe akin to that of other forms of professional competition.  Now there are many different ways we can handle these issues as a community after they happen, but I am a fan of letting the TO’s make those decisions.  What I would like to spend some time discussing is how AS A COMMUNITY we can start preventing these problems from happening in the first place.  

Having been dealing with this issue for a bit now and having spent a great deal of time dwelling on this topic.  Conversing with teammates, friends, TO’s, and other competitors on ways to assist in not letting this happen again; a few different ideas have been presented and I have implemented a few in my own tournament play as a way to stop these issues before they start.  

Fix It

First one is utilize the people around you to help.  I would say that a large portion of the competitive community belong to some kind of group/club/team of some sort.  These can be great assets in helping find issues with lists or points errors in your lists.  Use your teammates and friends.  It is very likely that one of them may catch what you may have missed, or may interpret something differently than you did when you built your list.  

Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask.  If there is something in your list that is potentially ambiguous in any way, or if members of your club seem to not agree on how a rule is read/interpreted then don’t hesitate to email the TO of the event you are going to and ask them.  Trust me and use my experience as justification on this one, most TO’s would much rather have the opportunity to address a rules issue before the event even starts rather than try to mediate an argument in the middle of a tournament.  


Thirdly, if you happen to be running a list that is rather intricate, or complex in any way?  Take the time to put a little extra effort into your army list.  I mean the printed version that you hand to your opponents at these events.  I myself am rather known within most of my circles for running very complicated lists and an abundance of shenanigans.  That in and of itself has led to confusion on its own multiple times.  While it is generally accepted that most people should know the game well enough if they wish to compete at higher levels, and in a way I agree.  It is your job as a player to be knowledgeable enough of the game to be able to compete.  You need to know quite a bit about many different armies to be able to successfully win a major event.  BUT, there is a certain responsibility that is on the part of the player to make sure his opponent is not confused by what “appears” to be happening on your side of the table.  I recently had a major event that I was attending where I was approached by the judges on the second day of the event and told that a couple of my opponents were confused as to how I was using a certain piece of wargear in my list and how it interacted with my detachment.  This confusion led them to get a sense of foul play and thus the judges approached me the next day.  While I explained to the judges that I did not believe there was any foul play or deception in my actions, and I even got a little heated at one point during the discussion, after I stopped for a minute and had time to reflect on what all had happened I decided to DQ myself from the event and personally went around to my opponents to apologize to each of them for any confusion my play or list had caused.  In the end the thing I realized in this instance was this: even though I don’t think I had done anything wrong, and that I was under the impression that my opponent must have misunderstood what had happened, that exact confusion was still my fault.  If my opponent was not fully clear as to how my list was operating or how I was running it; or if my opponent was not crystal clear on each thing I did while I was doing it, that confusion rests on my shoulders.  It is my responsibility as a player to make sure that my opponent fully understands what I am doing and what MY army is doing.  If I have not done that, and I end up winning a game as a result of that confusion than I have failed as a player.  An easy way to help prevent this is to take a little extra time when you write your list out for your opponent.  Make sure there is an easy way for them to track which of your models has what psychic powers.  Make sure they know very clearly who your warlord is, make sure they know about any odd special rules or wargear that would obviously affect their play style.  “Well how do I know what I should highlight or point out for them?” That is a great question and I am so glad you asked.  A very easy way to answer that question is this: If your opponent was running this list, would that rule or piece of wargear be something you would want to know about? If the answer is yes, then YES!

Explain It

Lastly, take a little time before the game to go over your list with a little more detail with your opponent.  I know there are a lot of people out there that like to have their “aha” moment when they spring their cool combo on their unsuspecting opponent, but I can speak from experience in that most of the time if your cool combo is as good as you think it is, it will work just fine even if you tell them about it ahead of time, and you won’t have an opponent walking away from the table thinking you’re a grade A douchebag.  Take a little time before the game and go over your list with a little more depth, explain some of your crazy shenanigans and how you are planning on making them destroy his hopes and dreams.  Give your opponent that time to argue why he doesn’t think it is going to work, you can both take a moment to make your cases and if you need to get a judge to assist in the ruling no one is going to feel like they got screwed because they are already half way through there turn and they would have done things differently had they known that ahead of time.

Team Awesome

One of my own team members from Team Zero Comp is putting together a Facebook group soon for the sole purpose of allowing players to post their lists up to the ITC community for validation and checking.  I think this is a brilliant idea as it will allow an element of policing that the community is both needing and seems to be wanting right now.  Obviously the more people that join this group the more effective it will be so tell your friends and game groups to get them on here to help the community out.  

So there you have it.  Just a couple ideas on how to maybe help prevent a little bit of the list confusion and saltiness that has been going around the tournament community for a bit.  What are some of the methods you use to help make sure your list is ready for an event?  Any tips you might have for the community? Suggestions?  We would love to hear from you.


About Reecius

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

86 Responses to “The Broken List Syndrome”

  1. Sanchezsam2 May 11, 2016 10:13 am #

    Personally I’d love to see a list builder like battlescribe that works in a way so that it eliminates bad lists. However the Facebook page with the community list checking could work. The only issue I foresee are people not wanting to tip thier hand on what they are playing.

    I also think the new GW faqs are going to make a lot of the different tournaments ruling more compatible as well and thus eliminate a lot of the different list building designs between them.

    • Axis of Entropy May 12, 2016 7:32 am #

      We’re very proud of our work with Battlescribe’s catalog files. But they’re no substitute for sitting down with the codex and rulebook. We’re prevented from perfection because the codexes have a few situations that are ambiguous and because of GW’s copyright enforcement. Begin your list with Battlescribe but always double-check EVERYTHING before your tournament.

  2. Jason Wolfe May 11, 2016 10:23 am #

    Does anyone else use I love their interface and it seems to catch most stuff. It builds out lists fast and prints pretty nice.

  3. BBF May 11, 2016 10:42 am #

    TOs should check lists.

    • Jason May 11, 2016 10:50 am #

      If you have an idea for an efficient way to check 300+ lists for large events please feel free to offer that advise.

      • Blue May 11, 2016 10:59 am #

        How about a battle report, just short and sweet on the list you ran to win Broadside Bash? Was there something wrong with that list?

        • Joshua Death May 11, 2016 3:48 pm #

          I honestly didn’t think a battle report for my Broadside Bash was really warranted. But I would be more than happy to write one up and post it up as another article.

          There were absolutely NO list issues with my army I am happy to say.

          I ended up wining Best Overall at this event, but I only went 4-1 so I ended up taking 4th for the ITC. It was a truly great event though. It was the second event I ran my Nurgle Daemons at and had a true blast with it.

          • Beau May 12, 2016 7:50 am

            Joshua, I second that I would really like to see a battle report or your list for Broadside Bash. I was busy with work and didn’t get to follow the event at all 🙁

      • Ryan May 11, 2016 3:35 pm #

        Pretty simple. Lists are submitted 3 weeks before the event and each attendee is emailed a dozen lists (no names need be attached) to check. I played a tourney in cambridge ontario two weeks ago that did this. I personally caught an illegal eldar list and it was corrected well before the event.

        • Ibushi May 12, 2016 11:05 am #

          I would quite like this format — checking them day-of is definitely too strenuous to catch most errors for me, unless it is the same codex that I am playing or play regularly at home.

          Plus checking nameless other lists and then hoping to play them would add to the anticipation!

          • White925 May 12, 2016 4:23 pm

            How many people have every codex and forgeworld book though?

          • Ibushi May 12, 2016 6:40 pm

            Same argument applies to checking your opponent’s list day-of, except with less time and more on your mind.

            That’s the way I see it anyway

          • westrider May 12, 2016 7:36 pm

            @White925: The flipside is that every list gets sent to a dozen or so people, so for pretty much everything, there should be at least a couple of people with the right books to check it.

      • AChastain May 11, 2016 8:16 pm #

        Don’t bother- he’s just a neckbeard troll.

      • Sean May 12, 2016 10:01 am #

        You can’t check them all, but list checks every round, similar to deck checks in MTG would be easy enough to implement.

    • donthemagnificent May 11, 2016 10:57 am #

      Most recent issue was a correct list on paper. It was just a post game start (chaos gifts) issue. If a TO checked the list, it would have been 100% OK. It is the responsibility of both the person running the list and the person playing against the list to make sure that the list is accurate, including the post game starting changes (chaos boons/gifts/etc…). Just as an example, the last feast of blades had list checking. They had the lists submitted and approved. One of the lists had three factions instead of the two that were allowed. This was not caught until a couple games in. Ultimately, list checking for a couple hundred people with 100% accuracy is completely ludicrous to think of as feasible. Please, don’t be lazy. Check your list, and check your opponents’ lists to make sure that they are legal for the format that you are currently playing in. Do not rely on anyone else to do that job for you.

      • EvilCheesypoof May 11, 2016 12:27 pm #

        The problem is that most people are only very familiar with their own codex, so sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not your opponent’s list is legal, as long as there are no glaring mistakes.

        I’m a fan of posting lists up a week ahead of time publicly and disallowing any further changes, and letting the community find any errors. As a Space Marine player I’d be interested in what other people are doing, AND at the same time I would notice any illegal parts to the list. If you have a few hundred people looking at these then most problems would be found I think.

      • bigpig May 11, 2016 12:56 pm #

        While it sounds good to check your opponents list, there is no time to do that before or after a game starts at the tournament. This even assumes you know enough about the intricacies of the opponents list to know if a certain combo or equipment loadout is even legal to begin with. Lastly, even checking a list over for content does not verify the cost. It is easy, especially on hand written lists, for a shady player to add in an extra item or two or make minor changes between rounds. There has to be a degree of trust that come into play.

        The problem, though, is that there is no real consequence for breakdown of that trust. Just like in the real world where politicians and celebrities simply say, “I’m sorry” and “I misspoke,” and then move on with everyone saying “Ok, I hold no grudge and there is no censure,” the continuous errors in the 40k community at top level lists are simply glossed over with no consequence. What is the risk for being sloppy or even down right dirty?

      • donthemagnificent May 11, 2016 2:46 pm #

        Once again, the moral of the story is, “Don’t be lazy”. Learn the other books and their rules or if something sounds odd to you, ask your opponent to show you the material. List construction is your duty. If you want to pay the TO about $10 per list to review, on top of your entry fee, then I can see it. Otherwise 1 person looking over 20 lists for every error is a full day’s work. And “there is no time for that” is wrong. You can look at the list while they are deploying, or during any of the 1+ hours of downtime you actually have during the course of the game. looking at a list is not difficult to do. a unit of 3x scat bikes is 81 points. Every book is restricted to 1 “relic” per dude. Being lazy is not the correct answer. Learn what you are playing, if you are doing it on a competitive level. I will admit, I do not know every bit of the game, but anything that I am unfamiliar with, I ask for the source material on. It is insanely easy to do. Even posting it on a forum, there are people that will point at an elder army that bring Coteaz by himself and state that it is unbound because he doesn’t have a troop. Should everyone get their lists looked at? Yes, they should. is posting it on an eternally long forum going to do anything before an event? No, it will not. It will only get the first 20ish lists looked at and any of the big names like Frankie or Geoff. It will not fix the problem. Everyone that has “honest” errors can get it fixed by having their friends look it over, especially for any type of new rules.

        Once again, the most recent “illegal” list was perfectly legal on paper. It was just when he rolled for his gifts that he made a mistake and picked 2 hell forged artifacts. Only thing a forum would do is allow people to look at the lists from the event AFTER the event had concluded to scrutinize and troll said lists for anything perceived as a discrepancy regardless of any validity behind it.

        • Ryan May 11, 2016 3:55 pm #

          Im verymuch pro kicking guys out of tournies with illegal lists but warhammer isnt a job. To memorize with suppliments basically 40 codexes and hundreds of formations is ridiculous and not going to happen ever. its just naive to think even the hardest hardcore tourney player to know all those rules.

        • Threllen May 11, 2016 4:33 pm #

          First of all, even stuff in your post (like everyone is limited to one relic) is not true. The FAQ even stated you can take more than one if the book says you can. Also relics are hardly the only source of confusion. I do not have the time to read all 40+ codices, supplements, dataslates, rulebooks, etc let alone memorize them all. Am I supposed to know the exact amount of special wargear every unit in the entire 40k universe (including forgeworld) is allowed to take? And on top of that I’m supposed to know, off the top of my head, the amount it costs? You don’t get a half hour before the start of a tournament game to fact check every part of an opponent’s list (including the costs).

          • donthemagnificent May 11, 2016 5:35 pm

            I do not expect anyone to know all the rules to every codex, simply ask to view it.

          • bigpig May 11, 2016 11:14 pm

            ^don what you are saying is correct for special rules issues (which I do), but the issue is with legality of lists. There is not enough time, even if familiar with the codex, to go over the list and make sure all points are correct, etc

          • Threllen May 12, 2016 6:30 am

            That’s easy enough if there’s a piece of wargear or a relic that I do not know the rules to and it sounds strange. I can ask my opponent to see that in game very easily. But the issue we’re talking about is not the use of a relic in-game. This article is about the legality of lists which often includes “accidentally” not adding up the list correctly or taking a piece of wargear you shouldn’t. That would require reading pretty much their entire codex, pulling out a calculator, and adding it all up before the game starts. That’s not feasible in any tournament setting.

      • Joshua Death May 11, 2016 3:55 pm #

        So I played against James at the Broadside Bash and I also run Daemons and neither of us caught it, nor did Frankie even catch it when he played James the final round. So I can honestly say that it was very easy to overlook.

        Also, I find it ironic that you mention the Feast as I was the one with the 3 detachments in that event. There were emails between the TO’s and myself weeks before the event on how they wanted to handle the issue of a FW character but no FW Chapter Tactics and I ran it the way they told me. During the event it was brought to my attention that they wanted me to change my list to make it legal as I had a FW character with different Chapter Tactics. The way they did this was to remove models and gear from my army until I was able to fit a scout squad in the FW chapter so it was a legal Allied Detachment. During this conversation I presented the option to the TO’s that if they felt it was best for me to DQ out rather than have me finish I would be more than happy to. With the reply of “we changed your list so you can play, you should play.” So I played, and then took second under Kenny. It wasn’t until I got back home on Monday that I saw the rampage on the internet and decided to bow out of 1st and sent all the prize support to Vincent in third place. This is the first time I have actually told my side of the the events that took place as I am not a fan of internet drama or flame wars. But I figured I’d give you my perspective of what happened at the Feast.

        Taking the extra effort as players is obviously going to be the key to solving this issue though.

        • donthemagnificent May 11, 2016 5:45 pm #

          I agree with what you are saying. In my honest opinion, even if a list is looked over by a TO, they too can miss something. TO’s are humans too. This is especially true for 200+ person events. Ultimately it falls on you as the person playing AGAINST the army to recognize any faults and bring it to the controlling player’s attention. If they refuse to explain/alter it to be correct, then you can bring it to a judge. At Broadside Bash, I came across an opponent that had an illegal list, simply because he was running an Ork CAD and an Ork allied detachment. Rather than throw a massive fit, demanding a DQ of my opponent, I worked with him to make the list legal by making it the ork specific detachment that allows 3 HQ and 3 troops minimum. It is competitive, but ultimately people are there to have fun. Don’t flame people for simple mistakes. Active cheating is something else entirely. That is a topic for another day, another forum, another wall of text. Anything that gives you a red flag, like the aspect warriors detachment from FW, please just ask to see the literature. There is plenty of time.

    • White925 May 12, 2016 4:22 pm #

      Plus even if a T.O. Checks a list, unless they open each codex and literally re build every list they will still miss things like 1pt bolt pistol for a Sanguinary priest.

  4. Nurglitch May 11, 2016 11:41 am #

    How about competitive play focus on a non-constructed style of format, where tournament organizers provide the lists and players bring the models. The fact is that in the current constructed formats, including Highlander, we see people converging on the same types of armies and leaving iconic and characterful units on the shelf. There’s plenty of ‘non-competitive’ units competitive players will not field because doing so puts them at a disadvantage against people who won’t field similarly uncompetitive units.

    One objection I’ve seen is that people won’t go out there and buy a new list, but that’s drivel. Where tournament organizers are writing lists of course they should be writing lists composed of models that people own. Likewise if players don’t want to play in a tournament with any of the miniatures in any of the available lists, then they don’t have to, just as a sizeable portion of the gaming base opts out of modern competitive tournaments because they’re not interested in buying or playing nine Riptides or whatever.

    Furthermore where tournament organizers can define the army lists, I think we’ll see a lot more skilled play on the tables rather than relying on the list-building phase, and painting scores can be more apples-to-apples than in a constructed format. Which isn’t to say that we should do away with it entirely, or at all. Freestyle exists in swimming for the same reason Wild exists in Hearthstone, so people can play that style of any-goes.

    • winterman May 11, 2016 12:47 pm #

      Its a cool idea. Its been done before as well at Wargames Con for a couple of years. Problem is given a choice people will not gravitate towards that type of format. Wargames con had a couple of competitive players take part but attendance was still RTT level. We have tried to get something similar off the ground locally and arguing about what is in the list and what can counts as in the list tends to keep the idea from getting traction.

      • Nurglitch May 12, 2016 10:21 am #

        What do you mean “what is in the list and what can counts-as in the list?” People wanting to proxy miniatures, you mean?

        • winterman May 12, 2016 10:45 am #

          Partly what it should be composed of. Should the list be a bunch of stuff no one owns or uses? Should it be competitive-ish or out of left filed.

          But yes the other side is counts-as and proxy. Say the TO decides several sgts have gear no one will give them in a competitive environment (like say a thunderhammer and combi-flamer). Does it need to be modeled? Everyone has the same list so WYSIWYG is not as necessary but still something people will argue about. And having to buy and make a model you will never use again can be frustrating for some.

          • Nurglitch May 12, 2016 10:58 am

            Seems like it’s pretty obvious that lists should be composed of stuff that most people own. Likewise I don’t see why the model can’t be used in future tournaments. Take a Space Marine army. We can reasonably expect a tournament force of Space Marines to include Rhinos and Drop Pods, for example.

          • Nurglitch May 12, 2016 11:00 am

            I’ll add that tournament metas force competitive players to buy models all the time that will either be obsoleted by the meta, or be models that the player doesn’t want to use but needs to in order to compete. This is a bug in all tournaments, not just in set-list tournaments.

          • abusepuppy May 12, 2016 1:06 pm

            >Seems like it’s pretty obvious that lists should be composed of stuff that most people own

            By which you mean Space Marines, but even by the most recent polls something like half of all players don’t own a single Space Marine. Killing 50% of your playerbase before you even start is pretty rough.

            You suggest this every time anyone brings up… basically anything, really, but the lackluster response (and, as winterman notes, the similarly-weak attendance to such events that are actually run) would seem to indicate that no one really seems interested. People like to play with the armies they’ve made; they like to use their favorite units and show off the cool things that they chose to paint. Being boxed into the list that you, as the TO, created and like isn’t going to make them particularly happy.

    • Ryan May 11, 2016 4:04 pm #

      Nobody is going to tournies with pre written lists. Half the fun for me is digesting the rules and coming up wiyh a list to take advantage of them. This sounds more like something a small club or store could pull off at best

      • Nurglitch May 12, 2016 6:35 am #

        As winterman points out, some people do go to tournaments with pre-written lists.

        The problem being discussed in the article is that lots of other people get off digesting the wealth of content in 40k and coming up with a list to take advantage of them, and accidentally cheat in doing so. I think there’s an additional problem with some units and models being left at home, or ignored in competitive situations because of how the community does this, the so-called ‘meta.’

        Now, obviously this isn’t going to be a sea-change, but rather a gradual thing. Everything good starts small, because you have to go small to get a group of people that will all agree to something. Once you have that group of early adopters, people will be able to see the benefit of the format and it will grow accordingly.

    • Threllen May 13, 2016 11:46 am #

      >Where tournament organizers are writing lists of course they should be writing lists composed of models that people own.

      Well… even the most popular army in the game only accounts for 50% of the players. And even among that… let’s say I make Devastators with lascannons and the T.O. makes a list that has missile launcher lascannons. Now I can’t play because one unit is something I don’t have? Take the same scenario and apply it to every army in the game. It’s incredibly hard to make a generic list that “everyone has the units for.” Complain all you want about powerful list comps in the current meta… at least if I don’t have a powerful list I can go to the tournament and see how I do. In your list-building scenario, if I don’t have the TOs list then I just can’t play, period.

      On top of that… for me at least, a lot of the fun in going to tournaments (big or small) is making my own list. Especially given each tournament has its own constraints making lists varied. For example, all of our FLGS tournaments have points restrictions on models that are above a certain % of your total army. So, in most standard points tournaments, you aren’t even allowed to take Imp Knights or Wraith Knights. This opens up list possibilities immensely without having to plan to see those models spammed… and, trust me, my friend plays Eldar and still wins most of the tournaments without a WK so it’s not as if he is too offended by it.

      Even if I had enough models to fill a pre-determined list – that’s no fun to me. I have to hope whatever this TO made is strong enough to beat the other lists he made and I may have to play with units I’m not a fan of.

      • Threllen May 13, 2016 11:47 am #

        missile launcher devastators**

  5. EvilLairChandler May 11, 2016 1:37 pm #

    There has to be a way to do this where it isn’t such a complicated issue. In this day and age of technology, how difficult would it be to create an ITC application where you can run your list through it to validate? Sure there are legal issues with that, but I hardly see GW stepping in to stop something like that so long as no money is being made from the application itself. Battlescribe, while certainly not always reliable for list building, has been doing it for years.

    Here’s the issue as I see it. I don’t think the recent controversies have been intentional or deliberate. I think the players who won both BSB and Adepticon both made honest mistakes and weren’t intentionally cheating their opponents. The issue then is what was done about it. I’m not saying that either of those guys should have to forfeit because of an honest mistake, but while they were allowed to basically play with ultimately no real repercussions, it sends a message out to those people who might be lets just say less than honest. Hell, I’ll make this illegal list. If no one catches it, then great and if someone does, then there won’t really be any impactful consequences.

    The ITC needs to address this IMO as a whole not just leave it up to TO’s to determine. The reason for this is because we all go to these events to have fun and a good time and no TO wants to be put in an awkward position where he might have to throw some player out of an event. Instead the ITC needs to enact strict consequences for these actions so a local TO can say, well we’re playing by ITC rules. I have no other choice than to .

    The issue needs to be seriously looked at because ITC is growing and with it comes a burden of responsibility to those running it. We all want to think the best of our fellow players, but we have to be prepared for the worst.

    • Jason Wolfe May 11, 2016 1:41 pm #

      How about the following answer: strike the smallest number of models/units from an illegal list necessary to bring the list into legality.

    • Codi May 11, 2016 2:41 pm #

      The answer to every problem in 40k is get the ITC to do more work.

    • westrider May 11, 2016 4:38 pm #

      “There has to be a way to do this where it isn’t such a complicated issue. ”

      Hostile takeover of GW and install a competent Dev team. Expensive and difficult, but probably less complicated than trying to keep track of what the 40K Rules actually say these days 😉

    • abusepuppy May 11, 2016 6:56 pm #

      >In this day and age of technology, how difficult would it be to create an ITC application where you can run your list through it to validate?

      That program is called Army Builder and lots of people use it and still have illegal lists. In fact, the list that started this whole brouhaha was written in Army Builder and validated there and nobody caught the problem.

      • Dakkath May 11, 2016 9:42 pm #

        One of the main issues with Army Builder is that the files for everything are made by 3rd party individuals so wolflair can’t get in legal trouble for hosting them. And there’s no real fact checking aside from filing bug reports.
        Heck, I remember there was a stretch of about a month earlier this year where irridium armor was priced at 20 in AB when it’s actually 25 in the codex.

      • Axis of Entropy May 12, 2016 7:37 am #

        Anyone who says this is easy I sincerely invite to contribute to Battlescribe’s catalog files. The project is open-source and we volunteers have dozens of tickets describing outstanding issues you can help with. Then they’ll see just how “easy” it is.

      • Jural May 13, 2016 1:30 pm #

        Personally- I’m much more forgiving of a list fully printed out in Army Builder (or a similar program) which happens to be wrong.

        I hate showing up to a tournament where a guy has a hand written list, or a list with the units and not the upgrades, etc…

        But point taken- Army Builder isn’t perfect. Right now nothing is. And to be honest, we need to take that into account when judging the “cheaters.” An honest mistake is much easier to come by in this edition.

  6. Nevertriangleface May 11, 2016 1:37 pm #

    There is a wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic community that could support in all of this. If there was an opportunity for lists to be published (all at the same time to avoid tailoring) for this community to look over then that would solve many a problem.

    If there were any discrepancies with a list then TOs could be notified, which they could then moderate, to save actually checking every single list.

    Just an idea.

  7. Mike h May 11, 2016 2:13 pm #

    Wasn’t the issue was with the source you can use unattractive army builder etc but it won’t matter if there data is bad

  8. Tag8833 May 11, 2016 6:25 pm #

    I was the head TO at Flying Monkey GT recently. We had 58 players. In light of the controversy surrounding Adepticon and March Madness we decided to validate every list. We encouraged players to presubmit and a majority of them did which left us with over 100 lists to approve, because many players revised and resubmitted some of them multiple times.

    We had a 3 Judge staff and shared the list validation work with complicated or confusing lists being check by multiple judges.

    We ended up rejecting at least 16 list for abnormalities. In many cases they were typos or missing details, but one list was over by 600 points. I think all of these issues were accidental. I don’t think anyone intentionally presubmits an illegal list.

    Even with all that we approved 3 lists with illegalities in them. 2 had incorrect warlords and one had an illegal detachment. We had procedures to handle these cases and they were dealt with fairly effectively.

    All of that is preamble to me saying the problem isn’t lack of verification or method of verification or even WAC players. The problem is 40k. Until we fix 40k we are going to continue to have these problems. We can treat the symptoms, but there is no reason we can’t also cure the disease.

    The solution is simple. 2 formats. ITC Big and ITC small. ITC big is the wild west. 2500 points Unlimited detachments for unlimited folks. No Ban list at all. 40k as the God’s intended.

    Then we have 40k small. 1 big detachment 1 small. 1500 points. No formations. No superheavies. No Strength D. No Battle Bros (treat as AOC) If you want to play with all of your toys go play at a big format event. 40k small would have a more restricted army comp and a more restricted FAQ. One written for balance and diversity.

    We have painted ourselves into a corner by too readily endorsing the power creep and the rules explosion of the last year. If we separate competitive 40k into more manageable formats which each cater to different type of gamers, we can save ourselves this type of issue in the future.

    • Novastar May 11, 2016 7:18 pm #

      2500 points in 40k would never be able to finish at a practical time at tournaments

      • Tag8833 May 12, 2016 5:34 am #

        2 day 4 round events would.

        • Tag8833 May 12, 2016 5:44 am #

          Part of the advantage of ITC big is that rounds take longer and so players have the ability to spend more time learning each other’s rules.

          Try it 3.5 hour rounds. It’s actually a fairly enjoyable way to play. It is probably much more similar to the way players play noncompetativ3ly.

          • abusepuppy May 13, 2016 2:00 pm

            Yeah but is it a full 50% or 100% more enjoyable than a 2.5 or 2hr game? Because spending the better part of four hours on a single game does not really sound like a great way to do things- 40K is slow enough as is.

          • tag8833 May 16, 2016 7:01 am

            It is definitely 100% more enjoyable than a 2.5 hour 1850 point tournament game against a complex army with rules you aren’t familiar with or complex combos. The sort of list that spawned this article because it generated negativity from players who weren’t able to understand the rules or combos.

            I’m sure people who play as many tourneys as I do have all had that situation. You play against someone with a complex rule or combo you’ve never seen before. No time in game to understand it, so afterwards you look it up only to find that your opponent either wasn’t playing it correctly or was making a rules interpretation that you wouldn’t agree with.

            Let me give you an example. I played a Renegade (Vraks) player with a Chaos Demon ally at the top table of an RTT. He had a model count around 160. The Renegades had a platoon (in a formation) that granted a 3+ cover save to units obscured by them. He had a herald on disc with the grim joined to a unit of Pink Horrors. When I shot at them, they went to ground for a 2+ reroll cover save. It wasn’t until turn 5 when he tried to jink that I realized the herald was on disc and shouldn’t have been able to go to ground. After the event he contacted me and apologized, because the cover save granted by the renegades only works on other units of renegades. So it should have been a 4+ rerolling 1’s which would have made the game go differently. He is a good friend, and wasn’t trying to cheat, but he was using complex combos and rules that I wasn’t familiar with, and accidentally played them wrong strongly in his favor. If we had been playing ITC Small this wouldn’t have been an issue, because the formations, and extra detachments that made those rules problematic wouldn’t have existed. If we had been playing 3.5 hour rounds ITC big, I would have felt comfortable reviewing the army list and rules more carefully, and the two of us wouldn’t have been left with the lingering negative feelings after the game was altered by a rules misplay.

            ITC Big would also be 100% more fun than against a Battle Company, because they can’t slow play you as easily, and games are likely to finish which means BC isn’t nearly as powerful.

    • Dakkath May 11, 2016 9:44 pm #

      I’m sorry, but proposing “40k as the God’s intended.” in one paragraph and then complaining about “We have painted ourselves into a corner by too readily endorsing the power creep and the rules explosion of the last year.” seems very hypocritical to me.

      • Tag8833 May 12, 2016 5:38 am #

        A joke about the rhetoric of the crowd which is constantly calling for less restrictions. They tend to invoke biblical terms.

        I’m obviously in the other crowd. The one that is being under served by the current ITC army comp.

      • Nurglitch May 12, 2016 6:23 am #

        The gods of 40k are famously insane.

        • nathan May 12, 2016 10:53 am #

          so true.

        • Jural May 13, 2016 1:32 pm #

          as are it’s players and creators

    • Heldericht May 11, 2016 11:46 pm #

      Splitting the community seems like a horrible idea. I hope tournaments never do that. What ITC is doing now is a great balance, we need to build on this foundation, not start from scratch.

      • Tag8833 May 12, 2016 5:55 am #

        If you are happy with tourneys consistently being won by illegal lists or people that play their rules wrong and most tourney discussion being meta about is we need to make changes to time allocation or if missions need adjusted to nerf the wildest new formation. Then by all means stick to the current system.

        I’m not happy about it. I want to fix it.

        If we are sticking with an army comp that is all apocalypse all the time we could at least increase round length to 3+ hours to give more time for opponents to learn each other’s rules. Fix the symptoms if not the disease.

    • Darthdiggler May 12, 2016 3:05 pm #

      This is the most sensible solution. The 40k community is already fragmented and maybe this format split will bring some of the lost community back into the tourney scene. It can also help prevent a further winnowing of the field as rules become more diverse and complicated.

  9. Dayone916 May 11, 2016 10:42 pm #

    What about a judge qualification process similar to magic or warmachine? People could sign up or volunteer to be judged and based on tests and processes they could be vetted for ability. These judges could then be used for large event floor judges as well as man power to review lists ahead of time before an event.
    Obviously logistics and legitimacy would be hard but worth it

    • abusepuppy May 11, 2016 10:51 pm #

      The problem there is that it runs into the same issue other methods do- judges are really no more likely to catch a mistake in list-writing than anyone else, even with ample time to review it.

      Again, it’s important to remember that all of the errors in lists that have come up are very subtle ones that are easy to miss even for experienced players. Casual glances at lists aren’t likely to detect most of them.

      • bigpig May 11, 2016 11:16 pm #

        Time to review at least makes it possible. Before your game begins when seeing the opponents list for the first time, there is NO time to review content, points, etc.

        That being said, for a TO to review 100 lists…….. there probably isn’t time for that either 😉

      • punchdub May 11, 2016 11:26 pm #

        IMHO the problem is that people need to spend time checking their own lists. Josh points out very accurately that 40K list construction “can” be so much more complicated than ever before. I’ve been playing about as long as he, but not competitively. However, you can still play a single CAD in some armies and do quite well. So, if a player wants to bring a complicated list, then they need to be 100% responsible to ensure that it is legal. Period.

        Use all the resources available to you, friends, internet buddies, facebook groups, ask the TO as favor, etc. But, invest the time. People invest countless hours dreaming up list ideas, but very few people are willing to spend 1 hour getting all their source material out and hand checking their lists. This should not be optional.

  10. Razerous May 12, 2016 4:40 am #

    Could somebody help me – what happens at tournaments where an error is found?

    I’d suggest a (tournament, Win/Loss/Draw etc) point penalty, if you have won any previous games yet. If not, then simply correct and play on. Either straight reduction or linked to the offending unit/model pt-cost (see below)

    The penalty -could- be linked to the size of the unit/s involved. (IC’s include the biggest unit they’ve been joined to, if relevant) as a % of the total army cost. That -may- be too complicated but it might also balance inconsequential mistakes on low point units vs. that additional bit of crux wargear on an IC in that deathstart (but I do agree, a crux combi-melta could turn a game).

    With regards to an ongoing game, I’d really like to see a sportsmanship style 2 options; A) simple correct the error & carry on or B) , also A) +The opponent gets an additional primary objective, i.e. the original is still up for grabs but the opponent now automatically has it as well, which shouldn’t effect overall tournament score, just the outcome of the match, i.e. it may be used to deny the offending players primary objective or simply add more points to determine the game result (This is a simpler fix, very punishing (a good incentive) but decided by the opponent on a sportsmanship inclined idea, as I tried to think through the idea of removing models/units, returning opponent models/units back to play.. gets too convoluted).


  11. Matt May 12, 2016 7:01 am #

    Lol I love reading these. I do have a hard time though feeling sorry for the guys who make mistakes in putting together “the hyper competitive”, multiple detachments, formations, shenanigans (someone used that term above). Here’s an idea – maybe limiting the number of formations/sources? The 40k power creep is an issue yes, but it has gotten worse since tournaments have gradually relaxed allowing more and more stuff in. Sigh – I remember when it was 1 CAD and 1 ally/formation…… Much simpler

  12. xthexclincherx May 12, 2016 7:26 am #

    I heard of a GT format once where lists were pre-submitted, and your first round matchup was also pre-determined. You were allowed to see your opponents list as well in this case.

    If every tournament did that, then, it would be up to YOU to evaluate your turn 1 opponent’s list… and since everyone should have an opponent… every list should be reviewed.

    Simple, no?

    • Jason May 12, 2016 7:39 am #


      • Sanchezsam2 May 12, 2016 7:59 am #

        Here’s an idea for major tournaments. 24hrs in advance each player submits thier list to the tournament organizer via word document or battlescribe txt file.

        Scan or upload all the lists and lost them online. Have the community go over the army lists just like GW is doing with the faqs. If someone online finds a problem in a list that player must adjust his list before the tournament starts. If someone doesn’t submit a list 24hrs before the tournament. Fine the person $20 and have A tournament organizer Check the list by hand. If a list is found to be wrong after the tournament starts remove models until the list is legal.

        This adds a bit of effort to the organizer but also eliminates work they usually do later such as check lists, post the top 16 online, etc.

      • xthexclincherx May 12, 2016 8:07 am #

        Care to elaborate on the “No” haha.

        Why would this NOT help? Sure, there will be people who just don’t care, and don’t evaluate their game 1 opponent’s list, but I bet the majority would. In fact, most people would practice hard to make sure they could beat their game 1 opponent’s list.

        Unfortunately, this still doesn’t change the fact that gamers will game the system… it’s what competitive gaming is all about, in any medium. It’s up to the community to help evaluate these lists, if they’re going to be offended when they’re “broken”, and it’s NOT the TO’s sole responsibility… but the TO has to be willing to help enable the community to do so.

        Ideas like this and the FB channel are great starts to this…

        • abusepuppy May 12, 2016 1:11 pm #

          The problem there is that it’s only as accurate as whoever you play for the first round- and since most players aren’t familiar with the entirety of the codices, they will be unable to usefully check an opponent’s list.

          Most errors are not obvious stuff like “hey you took seven troops in a Combined Arms detachment”; they are much more subtle and technical errors in lists.

    • Codi May 12, 2016 7:50 am #

      I would like to be able to review my opponent’s list before each round.

      The problem will always be that we are just creating more work for the poor TO’s and event organizers. They are already overworked and underpaid; and serving a community that is hard to please.

      • Ibushi May 12, 2016 11:22 am #

        Yeah exactly. TOs need all the help they can get.

        I would be happy to review any and all Eldar lists in a tournament, probably could catch issues better than most of the TOs who have to read 100+ lists AND organize the damn thing, especially if they don’t even play Eldar…

        • Julnlecs May 12, 2016 3:27 pm #

          You can review my Eldar list anytime.

          • Ibushi May 12, 2016 6:41 pm

            ITC List Checkers FB Group, I’m all over it!

  13. DeviantDuck May 12, 2016 8:34 am #

    I’ve played in quite a few events in the last couple years, including losing to Joshua at March Madness in Arkansas. My biggest beef is is the lack of typed up printed copies of lists supplied to the opponent. Every time I roll into an event I usually have 10 printed stapled copies of my list. I use army builder and print it will full options, so my list is about 6 pages since every rule and wargear is listed. Each squad has its points and wargear painfully displayed. My master list I uses is even laminated.

    Now, using March Madness as an example, the rules of the tourney explicitly stated that you had to bring 7 copies, 1 for the TO to keep, and 1 for each of your opponents. I only got to keep 1 opponents list. Why? Players know they’re going to an event, why would they not bring extra printouts? Furthermore, why isn’t this ever enforced? I enjoy looking through opponents lists and sharing them with friends after the fact. In regard to other posts above about reading your opponents list, it is pretty hard to do when he only has the one and constantly holding it.

    This also leads me to my next point. Why isn’t there a penalty after the fact? Most of these errors and illegal lists are caught after the fact by the internet mobs. If a list is found out to be illegal, even after the event is over, why can’t the illegal player just lose his ITC points? That is one of the reasons he’s at the event isn’t it? It’s simply enough to say, “Your foot was over the line. Mark is zero, Dude.” It doesn’t’ affect anyone else’s rankings and seems like a simple painless solution. It will also show a clear consequence and perhaps inspire everyone to double their own lists more.

  14. Charles Keeling May 12, 2016 8:14 pm #

    Have about a 20 minute prep time where you must painstakingly go over to your opponent how you constructed your list. Have a list of all available formations/data slates, etc. You must also have a hardcopy of all the rules or the offending models don’t get to the table. No matter how complicated your list 10 minutes a player max explains it. In walking through your list errors can be corrected first round only.

    • abusepuppy May 12, 2016 9:38 pm #

      That would not have caught Aaron’s error in all likelihood. It would not have caught the error in the Daemons list (since that was strictly a gameplay error, not a list-writing one.) I am skeptical of it actually catching very many problems at all, to be quite honest.

      • Charles Keeling May 13, 2016 8:45 am #

        Why wouldn’t it? Each match players would go over the list plus you would have to explain it. For problem issues (who can have however many relics) have a primer handed out at the beginning of the event. Again I personally have yet to see a roster error in pick up games when you walk through it. The top players should be familiar enough with army construction that only the most fiddly things get through. The important element is you must explain and show your work with your rulebooks. If you can’t show a configuration to your opponent then you have to change the list.o r forfeit after the first round.

        • Threllen May 13, 2016 11:53 am #

          If a player accidentally didn’t add his list correctly or wrote his list with the wrong point value for a certain upgrade, you’re going to catch that given 20 minutes to go over both players’ lists combined? Or if he accidentally took one too many of a piece of wargear? In 10 minutes per player’s list you’re going to be able to go through and fact check and double check that every piece of gear was legally taken and everything adds up to the correct amount?

        • abusepuppy May 13, 2016 2:09 pm #

          >Why wouldn’t it?

          Because you can’t catch an error unless you know it’s an error. The vast majority of SM HQs- across all codices- start out with a Bolt Pistol and CCW. The fact that the Sanguinary Priest does not is not only unusual, but actively counterintuitive and I strongly doubt that most people would’ve picked up on it, even those strongly familiar with the book. Without recognizing that fact, you can’t catch the error in Aelong’s list.

          Similarly, with the Daemons list, most people simply weren’t aware that you could not take both an Exalted Reward artefact and one of the ones from the supplement- and when I say “most people” I am talking even some very, very good players, players who were top 10 in the ITC. It was a very common mistake to make, and it’s only now that the subject has gained widespread attention that most players are aware it’s not legal.

          List-checking is only as useful as the players checking the lists, and those players are only as good as their knowledge of the codices. And the truth is that most players simply don’t know even their own codex all that well, at the end of the day.

          >The important element is you must explain and show your work with your rulebooks

          Except that as I said, this wouldn’t catch the problem. Aelong coudl very easily have shown his list to the other player and gone through it step-by-step and shown all the upgrades he purchased and STILL it is incredibly unlikely that anyone would’ve noticed the problem. It’s not a failure of attention, it’s a failure of knowledge and perception- and bringing additional sets of eyes that don’t know what to look for and aren’t familiar with the book isn’t going to change that.

      • Charles Keeling May 13, 2016 8:48 am #

        Furthermore in game errors are a different animal altogether and for that there should be limited sympathy. Again easy to access and read rules are the key; show your work if your hammering someone with your pet trick.

  15. Charles Keeling May 13, 2016 8:58 am #

    As a general rule what is the most complicated list in the first place? It can be that complex, if you limit to three sources (or however many) then just plug them in. Running a decurion style detachment is simply do you have the core and auxillary plus extras. Nothing in list building is complicated, I have yet to see something more complicated than the instructions used in construction of the models we play with.

    Let’s take a super friend list for instance; it’s as simple as saying I have this Cad, this formation and that formation, here are the rules and here is the point total for everything. Simply do the math and move on. Again is there really a list so beyond the pale a few moments wouldn’t catch it? I agree a 300 person event might pose problems however opponents can step in easily.

    For two or three day events it could be as simple as snagging the top X number of lists and spot check.

  16. Jural May 13, 2016 1:42 pm #

    One idea might be for a group of rules geeks (said lovingly), or GoG, to set themselves up as paid (or unpaid) auditors available for review. The review process opens X weeks before the tourney and closes Y days before it starts. TO’s could demand that unless you are running a very basic list that meets certain requirements (i.e. only one faction and in Army Builder) you need to gain approval through this group of geeks (GoG.)

    Finally, at a mildly excessive fee, TO’s can audit lists on site at the tournament if players pay for it. So if I forgot to get my list in ahead of time, I can show up and pay $50 for the TO to review my list in real time. Maybe that privilege is reserved for only the first 10 people or something?

    So you either get your list in early, run a very basic list, or you pay extra for a review on site.

    I’m not sure I endorse this idea, but honestly it doesn’t bother me if innocent rules mistakes are made in this current meta. I’m sure someone has “cheated” against me and I have “cheated” against somebody in a practice game or tournament now that things are so complex!

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