The Current State of 40k and its Community.


Dan S. shares his opinions on the current competitive 40k scene.

Hi everyone, Dan here from the UK.

I thought I should share my recent experiences with the game and community, and why I think that despite this being a possible new Golden Age for Games Workshop enthusiasts, the flagship product could still use a lot of attention.

I have played 40k (and other miniature games) on and off for many years and my understanding of the rules and list building are very advanced as a result.

As a game for players to express themselves through modelling, converting, painting or making themed armies 40k has absolutely no equal. The more I play the more I appreciate how well the game scales to anything from kill-team patrols to huge Apocalypse style games. Of course larger games take longer, but the rules never become bogged down outside of a few exceptions. GW’s main current competitor, X-Wing, does not function well at all in larger games and that’s something we have to give 40k credit for. As someone who appreciated the visuals and themes of miniature games like this it’s really fantastic that a normal 2k game can convey and include everything from infantry combat in ruins, Tank battles in streets, Giant Robots firing across the battlefield and even jets dogfighting in the Skies.

Competitive and Tournament play is a major driving force in the community. Whether you partake in it or not, no one can deny that the tournament community stirs excitement for the hobby, creates buzz around new models, units and tactics and helps attract new players and invigorates the existing ones.

It’s unfortunate, however, that the power Creep (or more accurately; Power Leap) that’s become defining of the recent Codex and formation releases is in a lot of cases responsible for driving some hobbyists away.

In my local club a player recently took up Tau as a 40k army. This particular player is new to 40k but not general miniature games. He has no real understanding of the broader state of 40k or the struggles of some armies but he is aware of hobby forums and has an understanding of unit efficiency and army composition.

Of course, as he added to his army it enevitably became a Hunter Cadre that utilises the Buff-mander HQ, as well as an assortment of Riptides, Stormsurges, Battle suits and so on.

This player is not aware of ITC FAQs, and in all truth he doesn’t have to be. He plays the rules as written in his book, as he’s entitled to, but this creates problems for those he plays against.
His Tau army has more firepower than other forces can hope to muster, and all of it is resolved at BS5+ with Twin Linking, Preffered Enemy, Ignore Cover, Monster Hunter, Tank Hunter, Interceptor and being able to support fire from 12″ away.

To put it bluntly, most opponents don’t survive turn 1, and even deepstriking armies are crippled due to Interceptor. He’s crushed Marine players, he’s decimated Tyranids, Orks and Guard, and he even soundly defeated a Necron Decurion. It’s not so hard when you’re dropping 8 Str10/Str9 ap1/2 Templates that don’t scatter and ignore cover each turn, on top of D strength missiles to boot.

One player, a local Marine collector and long term hobbyist (longer than me in fact) has become so disheartened at the state of the game that he’s actually turned his back on a 20 year hobby he invested himself in. This is a person who GW don’t want to lose. Someone who in time would have introduced his kids into the hobby and created new customers for GWwithout them having to invest anything.

Eventually it was my turn to battle this Tau player. I didn’t actually know what his army included but I had heard at the time that he’d stomped a Necron Decurion that I knew belonged to a very capable player.


Let it be said that I never list Tailor, so I mustered my Grey Knights for battle. I did include a contingency plan in my army. I had allied in a Librarius Conclave led by Tiggy, and would determine what powers I rolled for and how I formed/deployed the units upon seeing just how strong his list was.

My fears were confirmed so I started rolling for Invisibility and Veil of Time, coupled with Sanctuary and other powers from my GK, and assembled a unit into an assaulting Death-Star.

My army was ultimately comprised of a 10 man Termie unit with Draigo, Stern, the Libby Conclave and beyond that 2 Dreadknights, 10 Strikes and some Interceptors – a pretty typical Grey Knight force.

By the end of turn 1 everything outside of my Draigo and Termie unit was dead. D-Str missiles, Ignore Cover Templates and so on eliminated all models with impunity and in most cases I didn’t even roll dice.

My main unit, luckily, was invisible and had a 2++ with re-rolls and the ability to teleport. By turn 2 I had multi-assaulted chunks of his army and proceeded to clear out all of his castled units one by one. He was unable to cause any significant damage to my “Death Star” and admitted defeat on turn 4.

Having suffered a crushing defeat, he asked me how his army could deal with my invincible unit, to which I replied: “It can’t.”

He perhaps felt what everyone he’d crushed had felt before him, who can say?

I’m trying to make a point here, after all!

The rules are so flawed in this example, one army ignores so many fundamental mechanics of the game that an average opponent running typical Codex units literally stands no chance of even surviving past turn 2, yet it crumbles to something even more broken – invincible Death Stars that require thousands of dice to damage, meaning most armies can’t even interact with them.

None of these things are good for the game and brand. Competitive games create buzz and it’s something that would benefit GW immensely, but they truly have to fix the game systems, possibly from the ground up.

Despite all this gloom and negativity, the hobby is actually flourishing. GW are interacting with the community, they are being transparent, and the various new game releases are all stellar and worthy of people’s interest.

I’m hopeful that given time the core game that keeps them afloat will receive some critical attention beyond simply new to ways for them to make profits from overpowered units and formations…

Feel free to comment and share your opinions!


About Reecius

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

99 Responses to “The Current State of 40k and its Community.”

  1. Vilicate June 1, 2016 10:14 am #

    Part of playing this game is making it a game – and if your group or club isn’t having any fun playing against this particular person, they shouldn’t have to. Banging your head against the wall is never fun.

    If your group is competition oriented, however, that just means the rest of the group needs to step up their game. As you’ve shown him, every power list has a counter.

    • tag8833 June 1, 2016 10:22 pm #

      There is also a bit of social engineering that goes into a health group. Peer Pressure in positive ways.

      In some cases that is peer pressuring players to be a bit more min/maxed in their lists so that they don’t auto-lose. In some cases that is peer pressuring players to be a bit more friendly in their lists so that they don’t autowin.

      There are always those not receptive to such peer pressure, or with enough sociopathic tendencies that they don’t care about the health of the group, and they must be dealt with by exclusion eventually.

  2. Mike June 1, 2016 10:19 am #

    I do quite hope that after these Facebook faqs, they get to work on doing some surgery on the game proper. It is definitely not in a state that I want it to end up in right now.

  3. Threllen June 1, 2016 10:47 am #

    As much fun as 40k is for casual play right now, it’s equally as aggrevating in competitive. The sheer number of formations and detachments allow you to field almost any army in a fun/fluffy way. But the sheer OP-ness of some of the formations/codices makes competitive games really not fun. Especially for the armies that really have no counter when executed correctly. There’s no counterplay when I’m fighting a Tau player that never misses, ignores cover, and penetrates my armour. I just get to take models off the board. There’s no counterplay when a player just gets to take a giant invisible deathstar and drop it in front of your face because there is nothing you can do to kill it. There still is counterplay in the game, and good players find ways to win, but it’s not where it could be. There shouldn’t units that you can literally just march up the field and watch them never die or units that can sit back and obliterate anything they target.

  4. BBF June 1, 2016 10:52 am #

    Very pro ITC article.

  5. zyekian June 1, 2016 11:22 am #

    Tau pose the same problem in the circles I play in. Players with middling skill just demolish superior opponents by standing and shooting.

    • B. Raven June 1, 2016 4:04 pm #

      I feel your pain. We now avoid playing Tau players which is unfortunate. No one likes to get blown off the table and we refuse to run deathstars but it appears to be the only way to win.

      The worst part is that one young punk keeps taunting everyone as if he is a highly skilled player. “How about I start with 200 less points?” – How about you play and win with Dark Eldar or Chaos SM? Then you can talk!

    • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:44 pm #

      It sounds like those really aren’t superior opponents, then. There are plenty of ways to beat Tau, as evidenced by the fact that they keep losing at big events like Adepticon and LVO.

      • Mythic June 2, 2016 10:23 am #

        Ya they get beat at big events where funny enough people bring big death stars!

        But otherwise AbusePuppy is 100% correct. I have found that so long as the lists aren’t at massively different power levels its player skill not lists that win a game.

        • AbusePuppy June 2, 2016 6:53 pm #

          Deathstars, and Eldar, and Daemons, and all those other things that Tau are weak to. People keep saying Tau have no weaknesses, but as someone who’s played a lot of Tau they have PLENTY of weaknesses.

          • Nurglitch June 7, 2016 11:30 am

            Agreed. I think the issue is that they don’t get those issues trumpeted with the volume and frequency we see with other issues that some armies face.

    • Heldericht June 2, 2016 7:31 am #

      If Tau were so good, they’d be winning every event. As it stands there are a wide variety of lists in the top tiers of competitive 40k. No one list dominates.

      Tau, however, are very good at punishing inexperienced players, so the challenge can seem insurmountable if you dont know what you’re doing.

  6. iNcontroL June 1, 2016 11:43 am #

    Where have I seen that “State of the Game” before… 😉

    • Ishagu June 1, 2016 12:41 pm #

      So Geoff, what are your thoughts in truth.

      Now we all know that Ad Mech will be just fine 😉
      Buuuut, perhaps you’d agree GW can address some things?

      On the plus side, the game is better in many ways than it’s ever been, and the community is growing – we can all see and feel that

  7. Happy_Inquisitor June 1, 2016 11:59 am #

    Most of the online information and advice you can get about 40K is tournament focused. If you are preparing for a tournament then it makes sense to follow advice that tells you how good Stormsurges are and how bad Vespid are – for that context it is good advice.

    The problem is that most games played are far more casual and are against non-competitive lists; if you follow the on-line advice and turn up for a game it might not be much of a fun experience for either player.

    If you get a new player into the community who is disrupting things with “the internet said this was how to play” lists then perhaps the best thing to do is for someone to sit down with them and a beverage of choice and talk through with them what they want from the game and how that fits with the local scene. If they really do want to be full-on competitive then point them towards whatever other local players want tournament practice. If they just want fun games then talk them through how to build lists that are fun to play with and against – which is not something you can easily learn on-line.

    40K supports a wide range of play styles and its rules allow for some crazy crazy stuff. This is all fine and allows different people to play the game they want, it only turns sour when the two players on opposite sides of the table have taken different approaches.

    • David Alastair Hayden June 1, 2016 12:17 pm #

      There is definitely a lack of fluffy army advice and encouragement online. And I get why. It’s understandable.

      I’m fortunate to play in an active store with almost no tournament players and no jerks. Everybody puts together lists that interest them or they think will be fun. We have a few people with super powerful armies, but they’ll warn you before playing. And they have more than one army.

      I like competitive fluff. And I’m always reading tactical articles to figure out how to make my subpar units I chose for fluff reasons, or aesthetics, work better.

      • Vercingatorix June 1, 2016 1:03 pm #

        Well, Fluffy list advice is kind of silly right? “I think the background for this unit is cool so I want to take it” Okay, cool. That’s the end of the discussion. “I have 150 points left over in my list and I have a psyker weakness, what should I get?” is a much better beginning to a discussion. Most people will say culexus others will point out that sisters in pods might be the way to go. It’s a discussion, fluffy list building is just taking stuff you like and playing. Which is great! It just doesn’t lend itself to forums as much.

        • punchymango June 1, 2016 3:59 pm #

          There’s still room for constrained maximization: “I like penitent engines, what’s the best configuration for them?” or “I want a Slaaneshi chaos lord, how should I kit him out?”

          • Nurglitch June 7, 2016 11:31 am

            I feel like it’s the mark of a good player that they can optimize under constraints.

    • Val Heffelfinger June 1, 2016 12:31 pm #

      Absolutely. As I’ve said before, just like other adult forms of role-playing one must set clear boundaries pre-game. Things do tend to self-correct though… unless you learn how to play well with others, you won’t have many folks to play with before long.

      Hopefully the overall group is strong enough not to sour completely due to one guy who’s refusing to pull punches. As mentioned – 40k doesn’t need to be played any single way, and the insane scope of the game allows for just about any taste to be covered.

      As for beating that deathstar, you should have told him to listen to Signals from the Frontline. META MONDAYS BABY. WOOO.

      • westrider June 1, 2016 5:00 pm #

        “Absolutely. As I’ve said before, just like other adult forms of role-playing one must set clear boundaries pre-game.”

        Also a safeword.

        • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:46 pm #

          Only if the safeword is “critical hit.”

    • Threllen June 1, 2016 12:47 pm #

      That works in some cases, but it’s not necessarily always true.

      As someone who likes to try and play fluffy CSM lists (mono God lists or ones that fit my legion), I tend to get my ass kicked if I don’t include enough of the “staple units.” I have friends that play Eldar, Tau, and Necrons and if they take a “casual list” and I take a “casual list” there’s a very high probability I’m going to get destroyed. Almost every unit in their codex is useful in some way and can make for a decent list even if it is not top-tier competitive. On the other hand, there are so many outright bad units in the CSM dex that it’s nearly impossible to field a totally fluffy list against one of the power codices. I don’t need all of my units to be amazing, but a higher percentage of them at least being viable would be nice.

      • westrider June 1, 2016 5:02 pm #

        Yeah, some of the most horrible Games I’ve had in 6th/7th have been when we were both actively trying for fluffy lists, but it was Nids vs. Tau or CSM vs. Eldar or something. Even very worst Units in the top Factions are better than many Units from the worse Factions.

    • PrimoFederalist June 1, 2016 6:28 pm #

      Necrons, Eldar, Space Marines, and Tau can all field perfectly fluffy lists which will destroy the rest of the armies on the table.

      • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:47 pm #

        And thus we see the fatal flaw in GW’s game design style.

        • Heldericht June 2, 2016 7:33 am #

          It’s not a flaw, it just means they need to update other armies to have their own “op” tools represented in fluffy ways.

          • Threllen June 2, 2016 7:44 am

            Until they decide they want to “tone things down” and then you’re stuck with Eldar and Tau getting OP codices followed by GK, DE, BA, Orks, and others getting neutered. And then they go back to releasing Necrons, Tau, Eldar, and SM and breaking the hell out of them again. The whole “wait for an update” thing doesn’t really work when they don’t update things fast enough and they aren’t even consistent when they do.

            Power creep is real in a game like Warhammer where it takes them many years to update every army. It’s not like a videogame where they patch everything at once. Watching the same couple armies place highly in every tournament while 2/3 of the codices consistently lose sucks. That’s the problem when you introduce “let’s turn everything up to 11…. but it’ll take us 10 years to re-release every codex.”

          • PrimoFederalist June 2, 2016 6:28 pm

            I think AbusePuppy is correct – it is simply a flaw in their game design. GW’s modus operandi is not to “update other armies” to match the current powerhouses. They just don’t really think about it/care about it. I’m sure there’s pressure to make some models good occasionally, and some of the designers trick out their favorites occasionally, but by and large they do not look at game design holistically. Hopefully the FAQs are not simply their attempt to throw us some bones to shut us up, but rather a signal of a culture change. If GW cared as much about good, balanced rules as their competitors do, they’d be a “toy soldier” juggernaut with nothing to worry about.

          • punchymango June 3, 2016 10:52 am

            I really don’t think we should get our hopes up about the FAQs. Those were written and finalized at the same time DftS and Angels of Death were in the works.

            Angels of Death is a pretty good sign that the current design philosophy of “who gives a fuck” is alive and well.

  8. Sanchezsam2 June 1, 2016 12:35 pm #

    While the jist of the article is not about these specific outlier lists. I have a feeling GW faq on hunter cadre is going to limit combined fire rule to only the initial target (without the help of any attached ICs outside of the formation from benefiting).

    However the invis star and 2+ rerollable mess is exactly what GW intended and I don’t think it is managable outside ITC rule changes to 2+ rerollable and invis. And even those changes and the clarifications to librarius conclave and ML aren’t really that much help to contain that list.

    There are always outliers to competitive 40k which seem broken and you can either except them or agree to modify them as a community to make them more manageable.

    • tag8833 June 1, 2016 10:27 pm #

      One solution to those sort of things is to correctly cost them. Community comp does a pretty good job as an example. By adding Comp points for certain combos and abilities you force players to make choices when building lists. They can have somethings, but not everything all at once.

  9. zyekian June 1, 2016 12:37 pm #

    The problem is illustrated in this article though, Inquisitor. People’s Tau “casual lists” tend to table opponents’ casual lists with ease… as well as many competitive lists.

    • Happy-inquisitor June 1, 2016 1:35 pm #

      If a casual Tau list is tabling all comers then it could be made more casual. With Tau it can seem tricky but really there are plenty of fun formations in that codex that you can use with little chance of tabling anyone. I think it is easier with Tau than with Eldar, after all there are a fair few mediocre units in the Tau codex especially when not taken in specific formations that boost them.

      Nobody has to field a buffmander; a Coldstar commander is a hoot to play and the named characters are all fun and various levels of fluffy. It is possible to field Tau without massed MC/GMC – really it is. It is possible to win games like this, it just takes more effort and you will often find yourself scratching out wins on objectives instead of tabling people. There is a lot more in the Tau codex than you will ever see on a tournament table.

      • punchymango June 1, 2016 3:06 pm #

        Make Tau list more casual = add more fire warriors. 😛

        • Dakkath June 1, 2016 4:13 pm #

          Fire warriors, devilfish, vespid, and the flyers.

          • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:48 pm

            Devilfish weren’t that bad until Jinking turned all the passengers into idiots. :\

        • Lord Krungharr June 1, 2016 4:23 pm #

          More Vespid Stingwings!

  10. Dakkath June 1, 2016 12:40 pm #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, GW should just outsource/license the rules writing aspect to FLG so they can focus on being a ‘models company’ since it’s so darn important to them (GW).

    • Axis of Entropy June 1, 2016 2:00 pm #

      outsource to Fantasy Flight Games. They’re already making other 40k games.

      • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:48 pm #

        Have you looked at the rules for the FFG roleplaying games? They do not impress me.

    • Jason June 1, 2016 4:50 pm #

      They will never do that since they write rules to sell models, which is what makes their business money. I do hate to be cynical but that is the truth. There is no way that Games Workshop would allow a third party to potentially affect the sales of their miniatures.

      • Dakkath June 1, 2016 5:33 pm #

        I dunno, seems like they could probably push a lot more of the underpowered models if they actually had decent rules. Then again, it’s a sensible business plan, so there’ s no way GW will do it.

        • EvilCheesypoof June 2, 2016 3:18 am #

          That’s what the formations are for, especially ones with “Tax units”

          • Threllen June 2, 2016 8:28 am

            Notice how Crimson Slaughter was basically “codex: Possessed” and that translated over to all of their formations? And the KDK core includes Possessed as tax? And people try to say GW doesn’t purposely craft their formations to boost sales…

          • AbusePuppy June 2, 2016 6:55 pm

            Yeah, well if that was their goal they did a fucking terrible job of it, because Crimson Slaiughter made exactly zero people go out and buy Possessed and I doubt KDK encouraged many to do so.

    • Heldericht June 4, 2016 9:45 am #

      Willingly giving up control of the rules for their models makes little sense.

      They just need to hire better designers and overhaul the ailing codexes like CSM, Orks and Nids. After that, I think besides unkillable deathstars and some of the free stuff formations, 40k is in pretty good shape overall.

  11. Huy June 1, 2016 12:42 pm #

    The problem with this article is that it’s saying 2 very different things.
    1. The hobby is flourishing and that we are possibly in a new golden age.
    2. The game is broken and possibly needs to be fixed from the ground up.

    Unfortunately, the anecdote doesn’t really support either side very well.

    Certainly you could argue that things could be improved (and iterated on) but that’s not what’s being suggested. My read of the article was that 40k essentially needs an AOS-ing which for Fantasy was a complete from the ground up rework of the game.

    For me, I really enjoy 40k and I personally have a great time. But I do see that it needs some work in terms of reducing the barrier to entry (not just $ wise). It’s a massive set of rules, units, detachments, formations, and unit types. Things like clustered special rules especially make understanding what a unit does even harder. For example, a Bloodletter has a Daemon of Khorne rule which means, 5+ invul, fear, etc. It would be much simpler to state the rules fully in the entry.

    The example used of well someone’s scary list got hard-countered by someone else’s list has never been new. No edition of 40k has ever not had the problem of hard counters and balance, a complete rework won’t fix that.

    • Vercingatorix June 1, 2016 1:07 pm #

      I think what he was trying to get at was that the “core rules” are very good, easy to explain and scale-able. However the individual codex creep and rules are an issue. I think that’s a fair rebuke. The mechanics of shooting or durability aren’t bad, but in order to survive 30 scat bikes or riptide wing you need absurd saves, I would be quite happy to eliminate both of those from the game.

    • punchymango June 1, 2016 3:13 pm #

      No edition of 40k has ever been balanced, and there have been crazy competitive lists that would mop the floor with casual lists in every edition, BUT

      I don’t think the gap has ever been as big as it currently is. The strongest lists don’t just beat casual lists, or even beat them soundly: there’s often very little actual gameplay happening. The Tau shoot you, bypass all your defenses, and you pull your casualties. The deathstar runs around killing stuff, and all your offense bounces off its defenses. The Eldar S6 spam your stuff off the board, flickerjump out of range before you can shoot back, and then the wraithknight beats you to death.

      Counters to these tactics do exist, but they’re way outside the scope of most casual lists, and without them, you’re not really playing a game, you’re just watching another person execute combos and pulling your casualties.

      That’s, um, bad for the game’s long-term survival. It’s very possible for 40k to still be fun, and competitive 40k to be in a very degenerate meta at the same time.

      • westrider June 1, 2016 5:14 pm #

        I’m not sure about in theory, because back in the day there wasn’t nearly as much connectivity, not nearly as many people working together and sharing their ideas and results, so there may have been things that were missed in large chunks of the community*, but I’ve played in Tournaments in every edition from 2nd on, and in actual practice, yes, the gap is larger now than it has ever been.

        *Or that just never happened because basically no one cared enough to shell out that much money at the time, like the 2nd Ed Space Wolf all-Terminator list that could choose which Turn it Teleported down on, and literally could not be beaten in many Missions if it was going second. But I’ve never heard from anyone who actually saw it on the table.

        • punchymango June 2, 2016 1:07 pm #

          My experience with 2e was pretty limited. I’ve heard stories about those sort of lists but as far as I know they were the equivalent of those DnD characters than can hurl giant rocks for 600,000d6 damage or ascend to godhood by level 5 or kill everything within a several mile radius through creative metamagic; the system allows them, they’re funny to think about, but nobody actually plays/played them in a live game as anything but a joke.

          Maybe the analogy is imperfect: DnD isn’t a competitive game.

          And as much as I subscribe to “hate the game, not the player”, and dislike shaming people for bringing powerful lists, it still seems to me to be a sizable problem that a lot of competitive lists actively try to lock the opponent out of getting to meaningfully participate in the game at all. In 5e, people talked about minimizing luck as a factor in game outcome; invincible deathstars or Tau uber-alpha strike lists go a long way towards making your opponent’s actions irrelevant as well.

          Like I said before, nothing is impossible to counter. And in a competitive event, you can’t and shouldn’t hate on people for bringing the best list they can think of. I don’t know that there’s really a solution, especially since for all that people seem optimistic about GW releasing FAQs, they also just released Death From the Skies, which if it did anything, it arbitrarily nerfed most fliers and then crowbar-ed in a reason to take more of them anyways, Angels of Death, or “Codex: Yo Dawg, we herd you liek Spess Mehreens, so we gave Spess Mehreens all the best magic powers from other factions and a bunch of new ones that make superfriends deathstars even more awesome.”

          GW doesn’t care about competitive balance. They haven’t for a really long time. I have no idea what their vision or design philosophy even is, but if the community really wants a tight ruleset that isn’t dominated by a handful of specific archetypes and hard counters to them, in which an “average” list will get without even really getting to play, it’s not going to come from GW.

          • westrider June 2, 2016 1:54 pm

            Yep. The real core of the issue is that GW doesn’t even seem to recognize or care that there’s a power level gap between, say, Dark Eldar and Craftworld Eldar.

            And I may have gotten too distracted on tangential stuff, but at core, I was trying to agree with you: This is the worst 40K balance has been at least since the start of 3rd, no question.

    • westrider June 1, 2016 5:54 pm #

      Well, first off, the Hobby and the Game are different things, so it’s entirely possible for one of them to be doing great, while the other has issues.

      And secondly, yeah, a lot of the issues with the Game are fairly core problems that pretty much need a hard reset to fix. I’d make the comparison with 2nd-3rd Ed 40K rather than AoS, but yeah, something of that magnitude.

  12. 40krevalation June 1, 2016 4:32 pm #

    It’s simple guys. Just force as many people as possible locally to join your club and play your way. Then host your own events where 50% or more of attending are your club. Prop up a select 3 to 5 guys.
    Farm ITC points by hosting tournaments 14 times a year or more, in the meta you control. Discourage out 9f towners…

    Then pick and choose factions to rank up in while boosting your club to ITC fame.

    All this while never travelling out of state. It’s really quite simple.

    Tell everyone in your sheltered little corner how business is done, and slander anyone who thinks differently.

    • Reecius June 1, 2016 4:36 pm #

      Except that the ITC doesn’t work that way =)

      You have to travel to big events to win anything, if you just go to local events you can’t get enough points to rank in the top spots.

      • 40krevalation June 1, 2016 4:47 pm #

        Just make your own GT. Done. It’s already happening Reece.

        • 40krevalation June 1, 2016 4:48 pm #

          The ITC scenarios I think are awesome. The balancing is awesome. The ranking system is flawed.

          • Reecius June 1, 2016 4:49 pm

            You mind providing some specific examples, please? It’s rather difficult to get 58+ people to commit to a two day event all acting in collusion.

        • Threllen June 2, 2016 7:46 am #

          Why don’t you go make your own GT and get to rank 1 in ITC. That’ll show us how broken the system is. Sounds like it’s pretty easy.

    • PrimoFederalist June 1, 2016 6:40 pm #

      You seem like a fun, reasonable guy, and your vague accusations have convinced me you’re right.

      • AbusePuppy June 1, 2016 10:53 pm #

        I knew it all along, the Illuminati and Freemasons control the ITC through PROJECT MKULTRA mind control chemtrails from the molemen’s hollow earth Morgan bodies NO FREE WILL infrasonic complete control unit (ICCU) = four-cornered timecube flat earth revolution black helicopters sent by GOVERNMENT DEATH PANELS who know the full truth of ancient cosmic pyramid power drawn out of indigo children by crop circles sent by our Reptoid masters.

  13. 40krevalation June 1, 2016 4:53 pm #


    • Reecius June 1, 2016 4:58 pm #

      I hope you understand that this is a fairly serious accusation. You’re saying the Great White North Gaming Group got 58+ people to all come to a tournament with the intention of trying to falsify an ITC event result? Or is this more of a disagreement with the way they do things kind of stance?

      • jmanj321 June 1, 2016 5:25 pm #

        I know nothing about this accusation, but you certainly don’t need 58 people to rig an event. Only takes the TO really.

        • 40krevalation June 1, 2016 5:37 pm #

          Check thier event results and who TOs are. All events are in the same city or down the road a few hours. The top placings rotate. They have GWNG players who are not listed as GWNG also.

        • Reecius June 1, 2016 8:21 pm #

          Sure, but why? These types of accusations pop up in any type of competitive event from time to time but my experience has been that is almost never happens. More often than not, it is a misunderstanding that gets blown out of proportion.

          • Erik Robertsson June 2, 2016 2:32 am

            Same talk happened in Sweden. In our ranking system any TO can put in the results and affect the ranking. People were appalled that someone could do that. Turns out, no one wanted to destroy for the rest of the community and reporting in a tournament takes some time. It takes the administrator 2 minutes to remove the tournament.

            It have never happened.

          • Erik Robertsson June 2, 2016 2:41 am

            Another note as well.

            One argument raised was that people can hold local tournaments and fill them. Turns out also was wrong. Or at least partly. The argument was- if a local tournament is held 6 times a year with the required 30 people (needed to get a good ranking score) the amount of new players would be massive in that area as it would be very active (sweden’s population is sparse).

            So we came to the point that any organizer holding crap loads of 30-man tournament for the single point of making sure a few players will be in top 10 it was well worth it. A lot of those people started to attend other tournaments as well.

            Also – holding a lot of tournaments so that a few could get good ranking scores was not as fun for the TO as if they held a tournament that got good players from other areas coming there to play. It was much more satisfactory to hold tournaments where people wanted to travel greater distances to play in.

      • 40krevalation June 1, 2016 6:26 pm #

        It’s not GWNG so much as the system that anyone can host as many events as they want and influence who attends. Full it with thier own people.

  14. 40krevalation June 1, 2016 5:18 pm #

    No one said 58 people. Said that it leads to controlling your local scenes. And by playing in your own events in order to dictate what the local scene does. Just so happening to prop up your club. It’s entirely by the book by ITC standards. I played in thier first GT. They can do it, so they do.

    • Novastar June 1, 2016 7:43 pm #

      58 is the minimum for a Grand event iirc

    • Randex434 June 1, 2016 8:08 pm #

      This argument seems rather specious to say the least…

      Checking the rankings GWNG has 2 in the top 25, while TZC has 3 of the top 5… and TZC members often run tournaments and they often go to tournaments “a few hours down the road”. Clearly the only answer is match fixing… no regression analysis needed just a gut feeling!

      I always knew you guys were up to something Reece, first with Frankie single handedly bringing the nerf bat down on Tau so he could play them, now not only going to nearby tourneys but the same people doing well at them 😠 Thanks for ruining 40k guys…

      Sorry if that got a bit rant-y just trying to defend some fellow Canucks, even if they are Albertans!

      • Reecius June 1, 2016 8:32 pm #

        I applaud your correct use of the word specious, sir!

    • Reecius June 1, 2016 8:30 pm #

      I think you may be misinterpreting what is gong on. Our team, Team Zero Comp, used to go to tournaments just about every weekend. If a store needed a TO, we’d volunteer one of our crew to do it and we’d rotate who had to not play in order to TO. We often won the events, too.

      And as you note, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. Often the most enthusiastic tournament attendees are also the most likely to take the time to be a TO. This isn’t bad, it’s good. Those are the folks that love what they do enough to invest the time in being a TO, which I can tell you, is not nearly as fun as being a player. They don’t get paid to do this, they do it for the community as a sacrifice of their own play experience.

      I think you might be seeing misconduct where there actually isn’t any. They are in all likelihood trying to strike a balance between playing and administering events, and it is tough to do.

      My advice to you is this: offer to run an event as the TO. That way they get to play and then you know, for sure, if there is any misconduct or not as you are the one calling the shots. You will also get the chance to hang out with this club on a personal level and I find that 99% of the time, this cuts through any misconceptions and leads you to the conclusion that these guys are not trying to screw anyone or the ITC over, but are doing the best they can and take their responsibilities seriously.

      As for dictating what the local scene does, that to me sounds like there may be a rules disagreement (or something similar) between you and them. Fair enough, but please try to remember that this game is mega ambiguous when it comes to the rules. There are so many ways to play, so many different philosophies. If you want to have fun games, you have to be willing to compromise a bit and see things from a different perspective other than your own.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I hope you can reconcile with your local club and have fun playing some 40k.

  15. demofool June 1, 2016 8:01 pm #

    With a game as complex and ever changing as 40K there will be power imbalances and there will be OP armies. The Tau are my nemesis as a SM player. But ITC has done an awesome job of making the competitive circuit fun and just random enough that anyone can win any game. Yes, mid level Tau players can leaf blower solid players of other armies but doesn’t that spark interest in how to become better and how to use tactics to overcome simple fire power imbalance? I play a number of armies and sometimes I am the winner and sometimes I am not. I am ok with being tabled so I can go back to the drawing board and try again. This is a game of endless combos and strategies. Tau normally don’t win top tier events. Anyway I am off my soap box.

    • Reecius June 1, 2016 8:32 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad to hear you are enjoying the ITC format, sir!

    • Ishagu June 1, 2016 10:37 pm #

      Problem is, because of Tau range, Ignore Cover and bs increases, there’s no real way to use tactics or strategy to overcome them.

      It’s not like you can use terrain or positioning to your advantage, with the exception of some LOS blocking that potentially hinders you as much as it does them.

      You’re left with 2 options:
      1: Running MSU spam and playing to the mission, capturing objectives and hoping you don’t get tabled.
      2: Invincible Deathstars to bring the fight to the Tau.

      People don’t just want to spam a DS unit, or to run disposable armies who die in droves to capture a hill. The middle ground is gone unfortunately, due in no small part to overpowered, rule ignoring Codex like the Tau.

      • Dakkath June 2, 2016 12:02 am #

        “Overpowered, rule ignoring codex”
        You mean like how space marines basically ignore morale, or how the gladius and war convo let you break the point limit?

        As for range, what range? The vast majority of tau weapons fall at 30″ or less, compared to the 48″ on all the imperial standard heavy weapons.

        How about option 3: Learn your darn target priority. Tau have bs3 across the board and no ignores cover once all their markerlights are gone. They’re spending several hundred points on fragile 30″ range units just to bring everything else up to par. The buffmander can only benefit one unit, and under the ITC ruling it can’t share with the other units in a hunter contingent either.

        Option 4: Psychic powers. Tau have only 1 defense against powers, and that’s a 25 point relic in a supplement.

        Option 5: Go after their shitty leadership with pinning, fear, or just causing a handful of casualties to a unit.

        Option 6: multiple fast assault units. Tau overwatch is not nearly as deadly as everyone like to whine about, especially when you catch anything more than 6″ away from anything else. And ws2 across the board doesn’t even scare grots, let alone space marines. Bikes, thunderwolves, even assault marines. Hell, if you really need to, match their almost 900 points invested in 2 stormsurges with 2 wardens and a gallant. Pretty sure the knights win that one.

  16. Jason Wolfe June 1, 2016 9:43 pm #

    Off-topic, any rules announcements for the BAO? Specifically, what about Angels of Death, Death from the Skies, and the GW 2016 FAQ? Those seriously shifted up the state of 40k. Turn 1 charges could hard counter the Tau leafblower.

  17. elwrath June 1, 2016 10:53 pm #

    In the current ITC rules the tau monster mash does well, but isn’t the only list out there winning. Other tau lists aren’t winning big ITC format tournaments. I get peoples frustration with tau outside the ITC format, but then that’s why I play in this format. Now if you want the ITC format to be better (better meaning less potential feel bad experiences and fixing some of the root problems with the new angels of death crap) the ITC should change all battle brothers to allies of convenience.

    • Jason Wolfe June 1, 2016 11:39 pm #

      That change would make Eldar, Tau, and Necron dramatically stronger relative to battle brother compositions.

      • abusepuppy June 2, 2016 4:26 am #

        I will cry greatly for all the superfriends deathstars that would be no more. Rivers of tears I will cry for them.

  18. malc June 2, 2016 12:22 am #

    Maybe these players losing to the mediocre tau player are quite mediocre themselves? There are lots of things you can do mess with Tau; being aware of range, markerlights and other special rules is crucial. Any decent player takes these things on board. Perhaps this is evident with how Tau really don’t do well at any majority of events. Eldar are a lot stronger by comparison, in most rules packs.

    Death stars are a bit more problematic. Sometimes you can just auto lose if the star goes first and is able to buff up.

    • Brutishcard June 2, 2016 5:24 am #

      I think his point is more that you can basically accidentally create a really optimised tau list which will just stomp the more casual scene. This is particularly true in the uk where I don’t think there are any itc events? I listen to the podcast hopefully every week but alas. I have had exactly the above experience with a tau player, where I’ve tabled them with a supreme centstar and they’ve just been shocked, as usually a bad turn for them is when a unit shoots at something and the something doesn’t die, compared to everyone else who’s happy with a few wounds and a hull point here or there. Ps. Dan are there any itc events In the uk?

      • firewaspuk June 2, 2016 7:57 am #

        North west open in Stockport week next to the Caledonian, £60 for two days, 5 games includes food, think its at wargames, organised by Aceface (warhammer youtuber)
        Also summer slam in August ran by the greetings from the warp facebook group. Also a 5 round two dayer in Northampton.

    • westrider June 2, 2016 11:44 am #

      Pretty much. Where Tau are really screwing things up is for the casual Players. The people who like the Game and the Hobby, but don’t have the time and energy (and possibly money) to really kick their game up.

      And Tau are just one example. Eldar and Crons are causing the same issue, where they can, more or less by accident, create lists that will roflstomp Armies from any of several other Dexes if both are run by casual Players.

      • Happy_Inquisitor June 2, 2016 12:38 pm #

        Any of the about half-dozen stronger codexes can do that.

        Honestly the trick is to get a feel for the power level of a local group and then find fun things to do from the codex within that broad power level. The other trick is to understand that crushing defeats are a good thing in tournaments (more tournament points) but a bad thing in casual play (fewer opponents in future). This leads to some fundamental changes in list design approach.

        • westrider June 2, 2016 1:24 pm #

          Yeah, the whole point is that there’s a huge power gap now between the weakest and strongest Dexes. Certainly larger than it’s been since the end of 2nd Ed, possibly the largest ever.

          It means that you have to either introduce formal or informal comp if you want a remotely balanced game. Each of which approaches has issues.

  19. demofool June 2, 2016 5:01 am #

    Tau monster mash is winning some but gets mauled by deamons and the Black Legion covent deal. Has a hell of a time with any thing over AV13 and really doesn’t like flyers. IG Vets with lots of indirect fire do well and you have to play to win the mission. If you are trying to table that list more than likely it isn’t going to happen. This is about the total game not one army that we are currently having trouble beating. It is the same conversation when the new Necrons came out. Play your game its the grim dark everyone dies!

    • Ryan June 3, 2016 12:06 pm #

      D missles dont care about AV14, and double surge has 8, that will most likey ignore cover and hit on 2s

  20. Davis Centis June 2, 2016 5:05 am #

    It’s always a struggle for me when introducing new people to the hobby. I introduce them with a small game, no cheese, just the basics, and they love it. Then they start doing what gamers do – optimizing. They start telling me all these cool formations and tricks, and uber-powerful things. I have to somehow explain to this still completely new player that these things are not where the fun of the game is found. I somehow need to tell them “No, the game I showed you was checkers. You liked checkers. Everything that drew you to the game were things that are important to checkers. But the stuff you’re reading about? That’s chess. You won’t like chess.”

    And the new player’s confused. I mean, it’s right there, in their book. Why shouldn’t they take this? What if someone else takes something too strong for them? They *need* this to have a chance, especially since I’m so much more experienced than they are. Eventually they learn what I’m trying to tell them on their own, but it often takes a year, and those with deeper pockets that suddenly buy the most OP-stuff often kill the game for someone else in the community.

    I haven’t found the right way to crack this yet. I’m getting better, and articles like this help, because I do love the game, but I need something better.

    • deuce11 June 2, 2016 2:33 pm #

      “I have to somehow explain to this still completely new player that these things are not where the fun of the game is found.”

      Um no. For many, as you point out yourself, they is where the fun in the hand is found. The issue is that since 40k had poor balance, these gamer’s efforts are wasted.

    • malc June 3, 2016 12:29 am #

      get off your high horse? seriously though re-read what you said haha

  21. SonsofVulkan June 2, 2016 3:18 pm #

    Competitive 40k has been rock, paper, scissors for many many editions now, I don’t know why this is new? Avid, casual players has been crying about in-balances for over a decade. Nothing new here, move on.

  22. Evilmonstar June 5, 2016 12:59 am #

    So serious question, is it possible to have fun at tournaments without bringing a dickstomp or flavor of the month power list?

    I ask because as someone who is relatively new to 40k (started at the beginning of 7th) I am starting to get pretty disheartened with the game myself because I feel like I’ve sort of hit a wall in terms of where I can go to find “fun” in the game anymore. I’ve progressed to the point where I really enjoy the game and want to play *all the time* but due to the popularity of Warmahordes, X-wing, and other systems in my area, I really only get to play once or twice a month, at best.

    So, desperate for games a few months ago, I recently decided to try my hands at a tournament. All of the aforementioned friends who moved on to other games warned me against doing this vehemently when I first suggested such a thing. But, I figured it was worth a day to try it, so I took my KDK to the tournament with what I considered to be a pretty competitive list (dog spam with 2 d-thirsters and 2 soul grinders). 14 people attended this tournament, 9 of which were Tau, 3 were eldar, and 1 was SM.

    I played 3 games, and I didn’t kill a single model. Now i recognize that my very melee-focused army is poorly matched against Tau and Eldar, and I got very unlucky with some reserves, deployment types, and other factors that led to me really just prevented me from playing the game, but every single time I was finally able to charge, or deep strike in, or fucking interact with the game, I’d be like “well I am going to do X” my opponent was like “oh all my units ignore that” or “Oh I have this thing that does this when you do that”. And it was like “are you serious?!”

    I honestly felt bad for “spamming” with my 35 flesh hounds going into this, but this experience completely opened my eyes to the level of bullshit that exists in this game (and is exploited by the people who frequent even small events like the one I went to). I basically left the event in stunned disbelief at what had just happened.

    I have no meta at all, because of this very thing. When I reported the results to my friends, they were like “yep thats 40k” and acted like it wasn’t a surprise at all. This ridiculous power creep has pushed everyone else I know out of this game, so I can’t get friendly games with friends, and I’ve not seen any evidence to suggest that I won’t get fucked over by even worse bullshit at any other tournament I go to, so my options really are just be a painter/collector, or just give up.

    So, seeing this sort of bullshit, what am I to do? Can you have fun as a semi-serious player in this game at tournaments?

    • AngryPanda June 5, 2016 2:35 am #

      I’m sorry for your bad experience but I got to say the community as it is sort of keeps this cycle going with it’s weird “hate the player, not the game” attitude.
      You say these people exploited the game, as if they somehow actively abused something that would otherwise be great. But all they did is play the game as it is. And unlike what people seem to think, games do not have to be like this.
      So I think the number one issue that would need to change if people want a better game is for them to go to the one place there anyone is actualy responsible for the state of the game and demand they do better. And that’d be GW.
      Because otherwise yeah you’re friends are right, that’s 40k.

      • Nurglitch June 8, 2016 4:01 am #

        No, they didn’t play the game as it is. The game as it is requires more cooperation than competition, and playing well with others means that you discuss how you want to play. In a tournament the rules of play are set by the organizer, both to aid competition and to make sure everyone has a good time. Which is the important thing, in that it’s a cooperative venture for people to have a good time.

  23. drobocopter June 15, 2016 9:31 am #

    I don’t know, I played warhammer fantasy ages ago and started playing 40k last year with tau (because i loved them in dow1). when i started watching batreps and went browsing the internet i found that tau are often bashed and i couldn’t grasp why. i may be rather new to 40k and have to find my way back into warhammer, but even though i know the rules better than most people in my group i lose 9/10 games with my tau.
    after thinking about it i came to the conclusion there’s a lot of flaws with tau that need less tau-bashing and more tau-loving to be resolved.
    I don’t like cheesy, fotm, meta, power-creep shit and my lists vary wildly using lots of units no one else ever fields. and there i see the first problem. strong/winning tau lists tend to field and spam the same shit over and over and over again. I think one of the reasons why i always lose is that i like piranhas, kroot, unit upgrades and stuff, i like pathfinder utility drones, squad sergeants etc. but most of that stuff is just plain shit.

    i think the tau cheese needs to be toned down, and instead they should tune all of the other stuff that makes 60% of our codex but never sees play.
    the problem is people always only ever see the cheese, but believe me: on my end of the game i hate the state of the tau just as much as you tau haters do, just for other reasons i guess

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