Guest Editorial: Should Tournaments Scale Back 40k?

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Guest Editorial by Requizen on the state of 40k.

Let’s face it: the scale in 40k has grown a lot since the old days. You see the term “Apocalypse-lite” thrown around occasionally when talking about 7th edition, and it’s not hard to see why. Massive armies, formations, superheavies, gargantuans, and Destroyer Weapons are all extremely common things to see on the tabletop. In fact, some people might consider them more expected than likely. This very thing has even driven some players away from the game.
And, to an extent, I can understand that. Not the leaving part, I quite love the game still, but being put off by it for sure. Both new and old players can be vexed by it – old players are seeing their armies pushed into obscurity since many tools in the book are just not on the level to combat things like Wraithknights, Multiple Formation Detachments (aka Decurion-style detachments), and D-weaponry. A squad of dudes sometimes doesn’t feel like it goes quite as far as it used to (though they still provide their role in the grand scheme of things). A lot of times they just vanish in a puff of dust under the withering fire of that Imperial Knight. And for new players, the disparity between “power units” and “leave at home units” has never felt quite as high, and even to an extent “power armies” and “please why armies”.
This is why I think it may be time for TOs and other event organizers to think about scaling back on 40k to make it somewhat more manageable.

Tools

Tools, Not Requirements
“But it’s all in the rules! GW put Gargantuan Creatures, Superheavy Vehicles, and Formations in regular codices, you can’t tell me I can’t take them!”
Well, you’re not wrong. Kinda. GW did specifically make these units part of the baseline 40k game, including dataslates in codices and having the SHV/GC rules in the Rules. but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s compulsory to utilize them.
I’m also a player of Dungeons and Dragons and other Traditional RPG variants, being the nerd I am. These types of games often have massive rulebooks, sometimes multiple, the contents of which are comparable to 40k or even dwarf it. But, one of the first things you realize when you start playing with people who have been doing TRPGs for a long time is that many of those rules aren’t utilized or are modified. Take, for example, Polymorph. It’s one of the strongest spells in D&D, and is available at relatively early levels. Many DMs outright disallow their players from using it, or will put restrictions and modifications in place to keep it from being too game breaking. And don’t even mention Wish or Deck of Many Things to a DM worth their salt.
A rulebook is a series of building blocks, especially for games with lots of rules like D&D or 40k. GW is saying “here are all the tools you need to play on basically any scale”, not that they’re required parts of the game. The core rules are required – your Phases, actions, profiles, and Special Rules – they’re what’s needed to play the game and allow both players to know what’s going on. But, there is a lot of stuff in there that is not *needed* to play a game of 40k. Look at Mission rules, for example: You can play games without allowing Reserves, they’re just an option for missions (though you may want to let everyone know before they bring Flyers and Pods). You can play games without Mysterious Objectives (as the ITC does) or Night Fight. You can even play games without Terrain, though I wouldn’t suggest that. But none of those are core rules – they don’t tell you how models interact with one another or how to start and end a game.
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Banning Things and Balance
Of course, no one likes to be told that they can’t bring stuff, especially stuff that’s right there in the basic book they need to play the game. But, sometimes that may not be a bad thing. There are some parts of the game that are more problematic than others, and we as a community need to accept that. You’ll often hear people say things like, “Well yeah Wraithknights too cheap for how strong they are, but what can you do?”.
I’ll tell you what you can do. You can look at the game and remove or limit the things that make it unfun for people playing it. Most places, including ITC, do this by limiting to just one SHV/GC, a limited number of detachments, and banning Unbound, all of which are part of the basic rules, but even then there are armies that are abusive in those formats.
Just because 40k now allows everything, doesn’t mean it’s good for a competitive scene. In fact, GW has made it clear many times that they don’t really design with true competition in mind. Core 40k is a Beer and Pretzels game, even moreso than people would say tournaments are. They want people to collect an army based on the fluff, paint it up with their buddies, and throw some dice while laughing at the results.
If the community really wants a competitive or tournament scene, then it’s up to us to make it a reality. And that means taking at least a measure of balance into our own hands. ITC does this to an extent already, and it has been, on the whole, a good thing. While I don’t think we need a group of people going in and making Errata to the books and rewriting the core concepts of the game (which are, themselves, not bad), it should be by and far acceptable for there to be some restrictions on the more over-the-top things that are out there, or slight modifications to rules that dominate the game.
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First Steps
While I’m not a GT winner and I don’t propose to be the best 40k player out there, I think these are considerations that TOs and the community in general should consider for events. Not to say that all of them should be put in place at once, but rather, if you feel your meta is stale or in some way unhealthy, think about adding one or more of these sorts of restrictions and see if that helps.
Ban problematic Formations/Detachments
While there are none that I can think of off the top of my head that are too bad right now, TOs should not be afraid of just outright banning things they think are bad for the game. There are a few that come to mind as potentially problematic – Battle Company Gladius with the free Vehicles, Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation with massive amount of free points and shared special rules, Riptide Wing for plug and play Riptides into a huge number of armies, and perhaps super casting formations like Seer Council or Librarius Conclave (though they got a reasonable nerf with the FAQ). I wouldn’t say any of them need to be banned yet, but a watchful eye should be kept on them as 7th Edition continues.
Still, this like anything is an iterative process, and after a year of people playing with different limitations, things might be different.
Ban Superheavies and Gargantuans
Everyone loves their Wraithknights, Stormsurges, and Knights. I get that, but they are very limiting on the scene. There are so many interesting lists that I’ve seen out there that would be fun to play with or against, but people refuse to bring because there’s no way to deal with LoWs, and that can be really disheartening when you see one on nearly half of the tables at an event. In fact, I’m usually surprised when I don’t see one in some lists.
Sure, you can beat them without having one of your own or a dedicated counter unit, but a lot of times it’s just… not fun. There’s not a lot of player agency when fighting one, you just sort of accept that it’s going to kill one or more units per turn by itself, and unless you have a unit built just for killing it, it probably won’t die. It takes a lot of choice away from the player, and for some armies one can be an insurmountable obstacle that they just have to pray to get lucky against. Especially with multiple Knight lists, which have weaknesses, but many armies just sit there and don’t even bother to shoot or really do anything besides run around, because they have no real way to interact with that sort of army.
I think that, while there are things that SHVs and GCs add to a game, their downsides far outweigh what they bring. Especially for armies that don’t have a good one of their own or a good way to deal with one other than luck.
Limit the number of Factions an Army can bring
This is another things that can be a problem, generally seen in Imperial armies or some Chaos lists. Cherrypicking the best units out of the choice of all armies can lead to abuse cases and is a relatively prevalent part of the current 40k meta. While this can lead to some interesting armies, it can also lead to a lot of annoying things – RavenWolfSanguinaryConclave, for example. Limiting an army to 2 Factions (regardless of the number of Detachments) allows players to pursue interesting interactions while also cutting back on some abuse cases.
Alternatively: Change Battle Brothers to be more likes Allies of Convenience Plus
Battle Brothers is one of the most powerful systems in the game, in my opinion, and has a bit of an unfair feeling to those armies that can abuse it like others. One of my favorite things to say is that Armies of the Imperium is the best special rule an army can have, and I honestly believe that. Especially with Formations and alternate Detachments, it’s so easy now to just pick and choose the best parts of a codex, creating something that is exponentially better than the sum of its parts. Detachment limits help stem this somewhat, but you still see lots of cherrypicking in armies.
I would say what needs to be done is pretty simple: don’t allow ICs to join BB units. Keep allowing them to cast Powers on each other, that’s strong but reasonable. Allow them to embark on Transports, that’s a neat tool for some units that otherwise would be dead on foot. But ICs joining and pooling special rules has led to really toxic situations and more rules debates than you can shake a stick at, which is not good for a game.
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What are Social Norms?
“Is any of this really necessary? Why can’t people just cope with the way the game is right now?”
Well, social norms are why. A casual game, especially Tabletop ones that require human interaction like 40k, have built in social norms. When you play with friends or local people at your FLGS, you don’t do dickish stuff because if you do, they’re going to label you and dislike you. They may even shun you or refuse to play with you. That doesn’t bother some people, but it’s the same reason you don’t cut in line at the bank or leave a mess in shared spaces like the office. You do it because, even if you don’t care about those people, being part of a society means that you have to not act like a jerk sometimes because it’ll have negative consequences if you do.
Tournaments somewhat take away from that. It’s no longer you going out and rolling dice for a few hours with your buddies (or even casual acquaintances), once you add in things like entry fees, prizes, and just general winners, social norms can occasionally go out the window. People aren’t going to refrain from playing, well, like a WAAC tourney player now that there’s pride and prizes on the line. In 40k, when you just go to a local place for a pick up game, you can reasonably expect someone not to bring 9 Riptides because they’ll be laughed out to the curb if they tried, and you can just refuse to play them. At a tournament, well, that’s just a thing that can happen (and surprise, now is easier than ever).
It may sound cynical, but without social norms to really keep people from doing those sorts of things, you really do need rules in place to keep the environment from becoming too toxic. And that’s what we want, because a toxic environment kills community and drives away new people. For a newbie who goes to a tournament and sees the insane min-maxing that GW has allowed in 7th edition (*cough*45 Warp Spiders*cough*), it can be a big turnoff and prevent them from ever coming back. And for long term players, seeing their armies slowly move into obscurity can be the tipping point to make them quit.
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The Point
I wouldn’t pretend to be the best 40k player out there or have high level grasp on balance, but the point is that I think it should be more acceptable for TOs to just say things like “No Superheavies/Gargantuans, I think they’re bad for the game and community” without some sort of backlash. I understand that the Tau guy who just bought 2 Stormsurges to build his army around, or the Knight player with a Baronial Court might feel personally attacked, as might Deathstar players if their Battle Brother tactics get changed. But I think, on the whole, that they can adapt in ways that some players can’t adapt to the LoWs or Alliance tricks just can’t. I think restricting 7th edition to play at least a little more like previous editions can be very healthy for the community and the game overall.
And in the end, that’s what it’s all about. We want a thriving community where we can play the game that we enjoy at a more competitive level, and that means we may need to take some actions to make that a reality. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
What do you all think? Do you agree with Re Uizen or not?

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About Reecius

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

101 Responses to “Guest Editorial: Should Tournaments Scale Back 40k?”

  1. Cephalobeard June 15, 2016 1:38 pm
    #

    You could follow suit with how TCGs work.

    Have a Tournament set which allows you to run everything, go as cheesey as possible.

    Have another set which dials back on the “power creep” by limit unit types, or formations.

    Formats, basically. One where it’s more mid-tier, one where it’s full blown eldar smashing their dicks into war convocations, etc.

    However, this is operating on the idea that this type of thing is needed (which it may not be), but adding “Formats” allows you to keep rules in place, while limiting what can be taken while also maintaining a consistent point value.

    • westrider June 15, 2016 4:50 pm
      #

      I really think multiple Formats are the way to go. A local store does something like this, with larger Tournaments that are basically ITC, and then smaller ones that have more restrictions, and it seems to be working well, since they’ve been increasing the differences between the two Formats for a while now.

  2. Vilicate June 15, 2016 1:40 pm
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    *slow clap*

    This should be a thing.

  3. tag8833 June 15, 2016 2:20 pm
    #

    2 Tracks.

    ITC SMALL – 1,500 points: No Super-Heavies. No Formations. No Strength D. Maximum of 12 warp dice. 2 Detachments (one big, one small).

    ITC BIG – 2,500 points: Unlimited Detachments.

    Everyone gets what they want.

    • Dakkath June 15, 2016 2:23 pm
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      I think there needs to be an ITC medium in there that’s basically our current format.

      • tag8833 June 15, 2016 2:33 pm
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        I think the current format should just be expanding in points and time.

        It is already basically that, just at 1850 it isn’t really possible to access the warhost style detachments for less powerful armies like Orks and IG.

        At 1850 games don’t end in 2:30 so time needs to go up.

        I also think if you cut off the subgroup of players who are interested in ITC Small you’d have an overwhelming majority for unlimited detachments.

        • Dakkath June 15, 2016 5:29 pm
          #

          Put a poll up for it, but I’m among the ones who want to play something a little less restrictive than itcsmall without going all the way to apocalypse-in-all-but-name.

          Like the article said, reign in things a little bit more to stop abusive exploits.

          I guess my complaint is that your 2 option solution feels like things are too far to each extreme without allowing a sensible middle ground.

          • tag8833 June 15, 2016 7:28 pm
            #

            You feel like 650 points changes it so fundamentally that running something 650 points less counts as middle ground?

            For me middle ground would be allowing in some formations, while either nerfing or banning others. The same way with lords of war, and limiting warp dice to some number.

            That being said I don’t think we have that many that would favor that sort of middle ground.

          • Dakkath June 15, 2016 10:26 pm
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            No, I think the 1000 point difference between your proposed small and large, along with the vast gulf of rules changes, is a bit too far apart to be the only options.

            Personally, I’d like both and, say a 2000 pt middle ground that does as you suggest and allows formations, combi detachments, LoW, etc. But still put in to place some necessary nerfs/restrictions on the problem examples.

    • Evilmonstar June 15, 2016 2:29 pm
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      That actually sounds great to me.

    • Drachnyen June 16, 2016 3:27 am
      #

      I really like the 2 tournament format, it’s also super easy to implement and test it out. Just set rules for both types then track adoption / usage. TOs and players just need to select which format they like better.

      1. ITC GT Standard: current format

      2. ITC Classic: no super heavies, no formations, etc (exact rules would need to be defined/refined)

  4. Lysere June 15, 2016 2:25 pm
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    This has always been a thing, and people shouldn’t complain if a tournament decides to ban stuff. Obviously not every tournament should but nothing wrong with a few doing that.

  5. Evilmonstar June 15, 2016 2:28 pm
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    Couldn’t agree more with the Societal Norms thing. I’ve been playing 40k for about 2 years now and I had a lot of fun with it, but I couldn’t find many games. The games I was able to play were generally cordial affairs with people warning me about the tricks of what their stuff did, and asking me permission before bringing certain powerful builds.

    Due to the the aforementioned lack of games though, I decided to try my hand at a relatively small, local tournament, just to get some games in. I brought my normal list (KDK with no superheavies or anything crazier than a dthirster) It was probably the worst tabletop gaming experience I’ve ever had. Everyone I played had a maximum dickstop list with all the usual cheesy suspects; wraithknights, stormsurges, powers, etc. and zero quarter was given. The cordial sportsmanship was completely gone and the prevailing attitude was “you chose to come to a tournament, this is how it is and you need to deal with it” when I made even the slightest joking remark about cheese in lists.

    It was incredibly offputting, but I couldn’t really blame the players. At the end of the day, all it takes is that one “that guy” to ruin fun games, and at a tournament, everyone *has* to be “that guy” or they will get mercilessly punished for bringing a “fun” list like I did. So, if you know people literally CANT police themselves, we need the intervention of independent FAQs to help do it for us, and I really hope that we see rules ratcheted up even more to allow more fun and flexibility for everyone, not just the powergamers with the deepest pockets.

    • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 5:54 am
      #

      It’s not that there is no “Social Norm” at a tournament. It’s that the “Social Norm” is different. I’ve had almost all of my favorite games and opponents at big tournaments where we both brought super hard lists. If you enjoy playing to win and are playing against someone who is of the same mind, it’s an absolute blast.

      • Evilmonstar June 16, 2016 4:36 pm
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        That’s actually exactly what I was getting at. The social norm shifts, but it shifts in a direction that some (myself included) think takes the game in general in an un-fun direction. You might not agree, and that’s fine, but that’s what we are talking about.

        • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 7:20 pm
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          You don’t define fun the same way as me! You really are an evil monstar.

        • Acid reflux diseas. of Entropy July 4, 2016 9:11 pm
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          Three detachments of two factions is a good idea. Or even two factions in any number of detachments. Sure that hurts Imperial players like me but it puts them on the same level as xenos who can’t ally.

          Super heavies can be hard to kill, But Stomp keeps deathstars in check. Reduce to 1500 points and you’ll see less of both.

          Free points are good but not THAT good.

          The Librarius Conclave IS that good. Maybe change it to harness Warp Charge on 3+ like the Dark Angel conclave. Limiting the number of independent characters in a unit is also a neat idea.

  6. Threllen June 15, 2016 2:50 pm
    #

    Everything you mention seems to be the norm (at least in my area) when it comes to smaller, store tournaments. I know everyone at the big GTs wants to bring their giant toys, their 500pts of free transports/upgrades/additional models, their super-best-friends deathstar, and their formations that let them move, run, shoot, move, shoot again, assault, and eat an ice cream cone all in the same turn – but sometimes competitive 40k is a lot more fun when you adopt the TCG idea of limiting what people can do. In our tournaments (which are generally 1500-200) you are not allowed to take a single model that comprises more than 25% of your points. While this obviously shifts the balance of power, I have found it makes for a heck of a lot more enjoyable of an atmosphere. No worrying about how you need to perfectly craft your list in case some jackwagon wants to bring 4 Knights to a 1500 point game.

    At the end of the day, everyone has their own opinion on what makes things fun, but it would be nice to see more variety at a larger level when it comes to tournaments. There don’t seem to be too many huge tournaments that really go after the biggest power comps that make the game the most aggravating for opponents.

    • Evilmonstar June 15, 2016 3:31 pm
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      Hmm, I wonder how a restriction like “no one unit, including attached characters, can comprise more than X points” to kill death stars.

      After all, when discussing balance, people always point to superheavies (and stomps) as the answer to death stars. If we were able to kill death stars by greatly limiting their footprint on the army, it might prevent the pendulum from swinging too far in their direction if you removed superheavies.

      • Mythic June 16, 2016 10:06 am
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        Thats a good idea but I think the math might make it easy to mess up. What about a variation on an old 4th ed rule and say “there can only be 1 ic in a squad ever.” And cut out squads of ICs entirely?

        • Threllen June 17, 2016 5:21 am
          #

          Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of straight up restricting units because there are some units that can be huge (by virtue of being a big blob) and not be overpowered. But limiting the number of ICs or by limiting power combos (ie nerfing invis and 2+ re-rollable) can really serve to limit abuse without limiting what units can be taken.

        • Blight1 June 17, 2016 8:33 am
          #

          Poor orks in any format where only one IC can join a unit.

      • Scotyknows June 17, 2016 10:46 am
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        They could always start the game independent and then form up like voltron on the first turn.

    • Dakkath June 16, 2016 5:22 am
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      I hate to nitpick, but 1500 is exactly enough to bring 4 knights at 25% or less each. basic paladin and warden = 375 = 1500/4; Errant = 370 so can grab a meltagun; Gallant = 325 so can grab a melta and a carapace weapon.

      • Threllen June 17, 2016 5:20 am
        #

        Errr… sorry. Most of the time it’s more like 30% or 40%. I was thinking of the last tournament which was a 1000 pointer and was capped at 250 per model. Generally unless the points are 2k or above they won’t allow anything Knight-sized. However the math works out.

  7. Mike June 15, 2016 2:51 pm
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    Yes please. I am not a fan of apocalypse lite events. And I love real apocalypse games.)

    Our local scene simply does no formations and no super heavies for events, and it is glorious. Without their wraithknights, eldar are strong but not unbeatable. Alpha strikes work well on them. Without conclave, marine deathstars are less reliable, especially now that the FAQ looming on the horizon seems to be in favor of stripping chapter tactics due to ANY other marine presence. Without gladius, blackmane, and convocation there aren’t hilariously one-sided games between Bob the funsies ork guy and Ted the tourney player who has 500 more points. Yes Ted still wins here, but because he’s a more tactical player, not because he brought a list where the outcome of the match was obvious due to codex power discrepancy.

    We’ve even had rather adept (if I say so myself) pure BA players take the crown, with pure dark eldar and pure chaos marines getting close.

    I personally think that if the tourney scene in general had simply flipped off GW when they first released firebase cadre, the tourney scene right now would be significantly better.

    So yeah. I think in competitive play that formations especially should be treated just like the “free” imperial space marine. That is to say “F that” and outright ban it. Free power is free power, and unless there’s an equal amount of free for everyone to make a level playing field, no one should have it at any serious competitive event.

  8. Hiveminded June 15, 2016 2:51 pm
    #

    Highlander anyone?

    • Dakkath June 16, 2016 8:26 pm
      #

      Would certainly help vs a lot of armies.

      Though a minimum sized war convocation with 1 unit each of breachers and destroyers (knight is a gallant) runs 1345 pts and qualifies as a highlander.

    • westrider June 16, 2016 10:16 pm
      #

      Helps Armies that have many different good Units (Eldar, Tau, SM come to mind). Hurts those that have few good Units (Nids, DE, IG, most forms of Chaos, etc.)

  9. Jason Wolfe June 15, 2016 3:32 pm
    #

    These “baby steps” are going to be a massive number of highly judgmental nerfs. You would have to have rulings on all the powerful units. Any possible restrictions need to be high level and avoid unit by unit stuff. The usual suggestion I have seen is:

    CAD + Allied Detachments + ArmyCADs only.

    ArmyCADs are: Nemesis strike force, Skitarii battle maniple, cult mechanicus war convocation, real space raiders, etc.

    You would need to actually list all the ArmyCADs out before the tournament.

    • Jason Wolfe June 15, 2016 3:33 pm
      #

      ** I meant “war congregation”

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:32 am
      #

      I agree, it’s very easy for people to make judgements based on what they don’t like. But I find many TOs to be relatively impartial, and for bigger GTs it’s up to the community to point out if they think that any one army is being unfairly punished.

      Still, these are just suggestions, not final verdicts. Obviously banning SHV/GCs hurts certain armies more than others.

  10. Luke June 15, 2016 3:51 pm
    #

    The other difficulty in doing something like this is that it just tends to create a new top dog. I can still bring a bloodthirster and buff him to all hell so that he feels just as unkillable and deadly as an imperial knight, for example.

    The rules that super heavies and gargantuans break are not so much the problem (gaining FNP, relative immunity to an explodes result, etc). Their issue is that they are big kits that GW wants to sell and have seen commensurate increases in effectiveness and efficiency.

    Creating a blanket ban against gargantuans/super heavies isn’t a bad step, but at the end of the day, a tournament is a tournament and people will do their best to win, which often means creating an army that shuts the opponent out, taking as much randomness out of the game as possible and creative high probability win situations for any army it faces. Just look at Nick Nanavati’s Daemons (before he included the knight). Not much you could do against it at all unless he got really unlucky.

    I think the best solution is to have multiple tournament scenes, and also to expand more on narrative events. People just wanting to play and have fun should have a place in the hobby where they can meet up with like-minded people. The issue is that people are meeting at the same table with two very different expectations – one to win, and the other to have fun. On a basic level, they will always have trouble both walking away happy.

    • NathanD June 15, 2016 4:57 pm
      #

      Any chance you can help me out with finding his army list of daemons?

    • westrider June 15, 2016 8:16 pm
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      Someone always brings that new top dog point up, even when the original post already qualified things by saying that it’s not expecting this to actually balance things, just to reduce the gap between the top and the bottom a bit.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:35 am
      #

      That’s true. There’s always going to be, if not one, something like 3-5 power builds that dominate games when played by good players. Even given my own restrictions, a White Scars army with Grav Command Squad on Bikes with ICs and a Libby Conclave attached is absolutely brutal. As are Eldar with just Jetbikes and Warp Spiders.

      But, the difference in my mind is that there are ways to deal with those in most books. Many books straight don’t have effective ways to deal with big LoW units. Many books struggle with multi-factional deathstars. Most books can find a way to deal with one other book’s version of strong, or at least, it makes for closer games that allow for more player agency.

  11. Odras June 15, 2016 4:16 pm
    #

    While I agree with you that there are some people that would be turned off from tournaments by the fact that most people bring fairly strong lists to these tournaments, there are probably just as many people who would be turned off because of the restrictions you propose to introduce. Some people enjoy trying to build a list that is able to play against the many different strong things that can be brought to a tournament. I like the stage of a tournament when I get to see what everyone else has brought as I can see how well I have done with my list building and I can learn for next time what I should do differently.

    My personal opinion is that very restrictive tournaments are causing more of the very problem they are trying to solve. They are effectively saying “I don’t like tournaments because I can’t bring my “fun” list and still win so I think we should ban what everyone else wants to bring so I can bring what I want to bring”.

    I agree with some restrictions being necessary for tournaments, but the ones that you have proposed are too much in my opinion. While I was originally against the ITC format, having played a few local tournaments and games using the ITC rules I think they have done quite well compramising between restricting some of the ridiculous things that there are in 40K but not stopping people completely bringing the strong things they want to bring. You can’t bring 5 wraithknights, but one is no problem, yes you can bring your awesome super death star, but invisibility is not quite as good and neither are re-rollable 2+ saves.

    In my opinion, the best things a tournament can do to become as inclusive for everyone is to adjust the missions that are going to be played.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:39 am
      #

      I totally agree. Some of my proposals are a bit on the big side, and for some people (especially those who have bought/built a specific army around these concepts), it can feel frustrating to be limited. However, I do feel that the amount of people that would feel offended/put off by the restrictions is less than the people that would feel more comfortable with them in place. But, we really wouldn’t know until it was a thing.

      You bring up a very good point about missions, though. Good missions can really weigh things more evenly – especially when using things like “Through Attrition, Victory” and “Impending Doom” to give an edge to the people who do not have access to or choose not to use certain tools.

  12. Heldericht June 15, 2016 5:41 pm
    #

    Fracturing the community is not going to solve any problems.

    The ITC currently is the perfect middle ground. Sure there are abusive things like Battle Company or Eldar D spam or Deathstars still in there, but it is a hell of a lot more balanced that full fledged, unchecked 40k, like the lists seen in Adepticon.

    Iterating on the ITC ruleset and making it more balanced is the right answer. You can bring Superheavies, but you can’t spam them. You can have D but you it’s not an instant I-WIN button. These compromises help balance the game while letting you bring the things you paid for.

    If you disallow all superheavies, people are just going to find another format that lets you play with them. You cannot go overboard with these kinds of nerfs and right now ITC is doing a great job toeing the line. I’d say it’s great the direction they are headed, they just need to make quicker rulings on things like Deathstars, because even in this toned down format, they still suck the fun out of the game.

    Easy fixes, like limiting the number of ICs that can join a unit, would be a good start.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:42 am
      #

      I personally don’t see how this is “fracturing the community”. If it is, then the community should already be “fractured”. ITC has it’s own set of restrictions, FAQs, and flat rule changes in place. NOVA doesn’t allow SHVs/GCs, or at least they didn’t last I checked. Adepticon allowed nearly everything with minimal restrictions. And the thing is, the turnout at the various events that use these various rulesets are all pretty high and have a decent amount of overlap in players.

      Would it fracture the Community if LVO decided to limit to 2 Factions tomorrow? I don’t think so, I think it would just be a tournament rule and people who wanted to go would accept it.

      • Heldericht June 16, 2016 7:26 am
        #

        The reason this hasnt been an issue yet is because these are all different events.

        If you have 2 sets of rulesets for the same format, like the ITC or Adepticon, then you start seeing the fracturing issues.

        Also, formats for Adepticon and other one-off tournaments dont matter, because they arent being used as templates for multiple tournaments all around the world, every week. If the ITC split their ruleset, you now have people on both sides and smaller local tournaments will suffer because people will want to go to one or another and they will have trouble filling the alternate formats. As it is, the TOs can make whatever tweaks they want for themselves. But the ITC needs to have just one ruleset and they are doing a great job with it.

        To your other point, limiting to 2 factions is different from limiting ALL superheavies like the article suggests. It is a HUGE difference. ITC used to he limited to 2 factions before. It was fine, in-fact it’ll hurt deathstars a little which’ll help balance the game but it may not have as much variety in lists as we see right now. There is a fine line between balancing the game with tweaks and gutting it.

        I think people are not seeing the big picture.

        • Requizen
          Requizen June 16, 2016 8:42 am
          #

          People definitely use Adepticon for their tournaments. Maybe not this year’s since the format and missions were kinda bunk, but I distinctly remember the 2015 format being used for more than a few local tournaments.

          And most non-GT events, tournaments that are just 12-20 people at a FLGS, do modify things. They’ll use ITC FAQ, sure, and maybe the missions, but they’ll put in their own restrictions and tweaks. One of the local ones here allows Unbound and only 1 SHV/GC (so no double Stormsurge or AdLance Knights), but uses ITC FAQ. That’s not fracturing the community, it’s just again taking the core of ITC and putting it’s own flair on it.

          I agree that limiting to 2 factions is a much more conservative approach and probably the better one for people to do. Again, as I said in the article, these are just ideas and not the end-all-be-all word of Nurgle, and I’m not going to campaign around to melt down Wraithknights, just a suggestion. I would like to see the Faction limit implemented in a couple places and see what happens, though.

  13. EvilCheesypoof June 15, 2016 5:47 pm
    #

    I like the idea of a “Standard Format” that is similar to the ITC. Balance but variety.

    And then a “Limited/Casual Format”, Smaller point games, Single Detachment, no Superheavies/Gargantuans, balance restrictions, etc.

    People like to talk about how the overpowered armies make the under powered armies feel useless, which is very valid, but outright banning things literally makes those overpowered armies/models useless. People shouldn’t be punished for spending money on logically sound armies.

    I understand it’s a “greater good” notion, a way to keep most of the fan base happy, but if you get rid of some people’s armies, you’re also driving players away. I own 12 Razorbacks, what if people decided to ban Battle Company in the majority of events? Sucks for me I guess.

    I’d say pushing the idea of multiple formats, casual and competitive, heavy restrictions or everything allowed, is the way to go to make the MOST people happy. The Limited/Casual format would even probably be filled with friendlier players that would be great to introduce newer players to.

    Just look at Magic the Gathering, lots of formats with plenty of variety, and players willing to play each one. Yeah we have a smaller player base, and the tournaments are harder to run, but it is possible to do.

  14. Drachnyen June 15, 2016 6:56 pm
    #

    Good article and good ideas.

    Here’s another:

    For formations that gives “free” upgrades, why no simply calculate the “free” upgrades in the total points ?

    That would be a quick fix and stop the +500 points advantage over regular armies.

    • Mike June 15, 2016 9:29 pm
      #

      Ok. How many points should the crons have to pay extra for +1 RP relentless and MTC nearly army-wide? How many should tau pay to get riptides that can doublefire and come without tax units?

      People like to hate on the free point formations because they actually give you a numerical value to express how OP the formation is, but virtually all formations are giving free things. Some of them just don’t have a point value written anywhere. If you knocked the free points out of the free point formations, they would suck hard. I would never take an army-full of pathetic rank-and-file marines just to get some ultramarine doctrines.

      This is why formations should just be nixed in competitive play. They are unevenly distributed across the armies, they unevenly distribute bonuses across the ones that do have them, and no two people can agree which ones are ok and which are cheese territory.

      If all the codices were nations at the Olympics, you wouldn’t hear judges say “well the eldarian and marinian countries allow performance drugs during sports events, so we allowed them to use those here, but not for the countries that don’t normally allow them.” Of course not. That junk makes the playing field uneven before the actual event itself, which ruins the legitimacy of any result of those events.

      Until such a time that formations are very evenly spread both number-wise and power-wise, they have no business being in competitive play.

      • Axis of Entropy June 15, 2016 9:54 pm
        #

        You know who does best in a CAD-only format? Eldar.

        • Mike June 15, 2016 10:31 pm
          #

          They’re good, but once you also nix super heavies they’re entirely beatable. Both my BA and my buddy’s chaos marines have winning records against eldar in our local events which do no-formations no-super heavies.

          People who tout Eldar as some unbeatable army after you get rid of formations make me think they’ve just never even tried it.

        • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 5:57 am
          #

          I would argue that Daemons can do just as well.

        • Requizen
          Requizen June 16, 2016 6:01 am
          #

          Space Marine armies of either the Bike or Pod variety also are extremely brutal in CAD formats. As are Daemons, Space Wolves (aka TWC blobs) and Tau.

          The difference is, in my opinion, the distance between a lower tier codex (such as Orks, DE, or IG) and a CAD version of those armies is much smaller than the difference between them and a Battle Company, Libby Conclave-powered SM, Eldar with WKs, etc.

          • Mike June 16, 2016 10:33 am
            #

            Yes this is what our no-formations scene has experienced exactly. The gap noticeably shrunk to the point that have-nots can actually win with a good pilot and a bit of luck.

  15. hillshire June 15, 2016 9:15 pm
    #

    Two approaches.

    As a national system, there could be tiers of competition. This is just a rough representation, not going into detail.

    Tier 1. Limited access to HQ, Elite, and Heavy Support units. No Lords of War. Intended to represent infantry/mechanized infantry battles.

    Tier 2. Normal access to all units. No Lords of War, Super-heavies, or Gargantuan Creatures. Represents the common battle field.

    Tier 3. Normal access to all units and limited Lords of War, Super-heavies, or Gargantuan Creatures. Represents the heavy fighting over a vital area.

    Tier 4. Full access to all units including Lords of War, Super-heavies, or Gargantuan Creatures. This represents the epic battles over critical areas.

    At the same time, people should be encouraged to develop their own tournament guidelines. Reading through the tournament lists, there are some great ideas which would not occurring if everyone adopted a national standard.

    As I see it, there’s no reason both couldn’t co-exist.

  16. PT Taylor June 15, 2016 9:42 pm
    #

    Great article. I agree wholeheartedly.

  17. Axis of Entropy June 15, 2016 9:51 pm
    #

    Limiting to two factions is a neat idea. Could even allow any number of detachments to allow fluffy combos while prohibiting real super-friends. This would hurt Imperial players like me but then we’re just on the same level as Xenos who don’t have two battle brother factions available.

    I don’t agree with the other proposals. Stomp is an important check against deathstars. Reducing game size to 1500 would probably cut down on some shenanigans, as each army must devote comparatively more points to contest six objectives, leaving less room for expensive units.

  18. iNcontroL June 15, 2016 10:47 pm
    #

    The funniest thing about articles like this is I get it.. you want to play warhammer that way. So do a lot of other people.. but not most. Most people want to play Warhammer with all their big toys and all the big powers. How do I know? It is continuously getting voted in with each ITC vote. At each tourney I attend the amount of serious lists with real synergy and power vastly outweigh the mega fluffy lists with a pyrovore. Additionally, tourney attendance has never been higher and more and more people are traveling further and further to play games.

    A lot of this is circumstantial or aided by other aspects as well, sure. But I think it would be a hard sell to tell me that most people aren’t happy with (as much as a warhammer person will claim online anyways) the direction the game is going.

    If they werent’.. buying all those new models/formations and attending more tourneys is a really odd form of protest.

    • Turok117 June 15, 2016 11:02 pm
      #

      Seriously. I go to tournaments to play with the toys that I try not to use when playing casually.

    • Variance Hammer June 15, 2016 11:55 pm
      #

      It’s also a very weird stance philosophically. “Bring a list to beat face and try for the top tables…but not too hard.”

      • Mike June 16, 2016 12:08 am
        #

        Well in defense, we already have that stance. No unbound, Max of X detachments, max of X super heavies…

        I don’t think there’s anything weird about trying to make a somewhat level playing field for competition. And from a design standpoint it’s easier to limit the top than boost the bottom, as the top is easier to identify.

        • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 6:57 am
          #

          Creating a level field of competition is completely different from telling competitors not to bring “too good” of lists. It’s like telling track athletes that “You may run in any part of the track but its generally considered bad sportsmanship to only run in the inside lane so try to run in the far lane every once in a while”

          • Mike June 16, 2016 10:43 am
            #

            A more apt analogy in 40k would be telling those track athletes to not bring performance enhancing drugs.

            You can still go all-out hardcore on a list even after some obviously broken things have been removed. That’s why magic and other games have ban lists. Sometimes they realize that “woops, this card/model/rule is just too durn good and can’t stick around if we want a healthy tournament format.”

            40k is the only game system I’ve ever seen where the competitive scene actually allows obviously-bonkers-broken stuff to be played.

          • Requizen
            Requizen June 16, 2016 11:30 am
            #

            Yes, but who is to say that where we are right now is the “level field”? Is a level playing field when everyone has a 50% win rate? Is a level playing field when everyone has access to the same tools? Because neither of those are true, and I would seriously say that those are objectively what “level” means.

            While there are some outliers, the top armies at events generally tend to be the same at most events. Granted, there are plenty of reasons unrelated to SHV/GCs and Battle Brothers that lend to it, but it still doesn’t say “level field” to me.

          • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 12:05 pm
            #

            I don’t think I was fully clear. I am not saying the current system is a level playing field. I gave up playing orks because I just could not do well with them. My point is that we should not conflate “being a bad sport” and “bringing a top tier list with the given rule set”. That’s what I see a lot of hate against and I find frustrating. Whatever the rules are, great, then I’ll build the best thing I can in that rule set. If I find something unique that does well the response should be “Wow, that’s clever”, but I think its often “Wow, You obviously don’t like having fun”. I just really don’t like trying to control power level by shaming or rewarding players over subjective standards.

          • Mike June 16, 2016 12:24 pm
            #

            That’s why they should be concrete standards instead of subjective standards.

            I don’t really care if they use bans, or just use point changes or rules changes, the competitive scene needs to get a fix so the OTHER half of the armies can actually compete. ‘Cause right now I can go to a GT and claim best BA just by walking in the door. Most of the weak-army-players who don’t want to spend hundreds on new armies have realized that they stand no real chance and just don’t show up. I know dozens of these people. This needs to change.

      • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 5:59 am
        #

        Seriously, when I rowed competitively. I would love putzing around with friends but race day comes I’m all in. That’s how I look at this as well.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:51 am
      #

      I think you’re taking it a bit to the extreme. I’m not saying that I want fluffy lists with Pyrovores and Wyches to have a shot at winning, I’m saying there should be more in place to lessen the gap between “top tier” armies/lists and those that don’t have access to the same tools. Orks have internal issues in their book, sure, but they also have the issue of not having Battle Brothers, not having a passable Superheavy (or at least, they didn’t until ITC allowed the discounted Stompa), and not having the same level of Formations/Detachments that are available to some armies. You can make a serious list with more restrictions on, and the top books will still probably be top, just a bit closer.

      As for tournament attendance being higher than previously, I don’t think that’s due to the sudden inclusion of Formations and Superheavies – rather, I think a good portion of it is the ITC. Creating a system to support and encourage tournaments and attendance has been a huge boost to the community, and one that I greatly appreciate.

      On the other hand, I know a lot of players at my casual FLGS who won’t go near anything tournament related because their armies just don’t stack up and they don’t want to build something bigger/badder. I think it would be a much easier sell if I was able to tell them that some of the crazier stuff was disallowed (as it already is somewhat, with Unbound and 3x WKs not being allowed).

      I don’t think this is necessary for tournaments to be popular. They obviously already are, and despite the haters the community seems to be doing ok and actually growing a bit. I just am talking for the portion of the community that would appreciate some further changes to things that I consider more unfun.

      • Heldericht June 16, 2016 7:39 am
        #

        Orks and Dark Eldar being weak is not going to be fixed by heavy handed changes to the game. That is on GW, and the rest of tournament goers dont need to suffer for it.

        Also, discout stompa wasnt arbitrarily allowed to help Orks, thats just how the rules are an ITC simply reverted it to follow the book.

      • iNcontroL June 16, 2016 9:26 am
        #

        Tourneys already run comp like what you’re suggesting and they are less popular / fewer attended. This doesn’t mean nobody wants to play that way just that most people don’t. I’m not at all hating on your WH40k desires.. you might be misunderstanding that. This article is talking about widespread ITC changes and the changes you are asking for are not what the masses want. Sure, you can say tourney attendance is due to ITC but that same ITC you cite has also voted on some of the issues you are asking about and they have gone the other way. Additionally, here in California we’ve had tourneys proposed/ran with comp like the one you are talking about and they have significantly less attendance and frequency while still offering ITC points.

        I like your article as an opinion piece and thank you for the effort. I also think this article as a “policy” piece is just the wax poetical desires of a guy who wants to white knight the supposed aggrieved tourney player who didn’t bring anything to kill a Knight.

        I mean, come on? Banning gladius? Banning Knights? Did you EVER think the majority of people would go for that?

        • Requizen
          Requizen June 16, 2016 9:44 am
          #

          Last year’s NOVA didn’t allow any Superheavies or Gargantuans and was still, as I understand, a pretty popular format. This year it looks like they went the other way, which is more to your point.

          I don’t think “the player that didn’t bring anything to kill a Knight/Wraithknight” is as mythical a creature as you think. Necrons, for instance, don’t have a reliable way of killing either. CSM, Nids, and I would say Guard and GK don’t really have reliable tools in their book either. And those armies can win – by ignoring the 3 Knights, accepting that they’re going to just lose half their army, and try to win the game. And that’s fine, it’s just another tactical way to play the game, but I feel that the removal of interaction is an unhealthy situation.

          Deathstars are also bad in this way. A big, invisible, rerolling Deathstar that instagibs anything it touches and multicharges targets isn’t fun. Yes, you can win by playing to objectives and spreading out to all corners of the map, but who really wants to just move around without doing anything and pray for failed charges?

          And yes, you’re right, this is an opinion piece. I didn’t expect everyone to jump on board or agree, and I’m glad it’s opened up some healthy discussion. I definitely won’t stop going to events if they keep the current format, I enjoy tournaments too much!

  19. Kartr_Kana June 16, 2016 2:08 am
    #

    I don’t think this is the solution, and honestly if it were to receive widespread implementation I’m guessing it would have the opposite effect you expect. Right now the free market is telling us that the current “apoc-lite” format represented by the ITC is what the people want. Tournament numbers are up, the number of tournaments using this format are up, and it looks to be continuing in that direction for the foreseeable future. This is not what you see when a product, especially a niche luxury market, is widely disliked.

    Plus I think we already have the answer to the problems you and the minority who feel the same way have. You talked about the social norms, and in a competitive format the social norm is to bring a highly competitive list that gives you the best chance at winning. No amount of nerfs is going to change that, competitive players will simply find the most competitive options under the new restrictions and continue to beat face. What you need to do is change the social norm for the tournaments you go to. There is a tournament concept, and events built around this concept, that has completely different expectations for the social norms that govern the players – narrative events.

    Narrative events have a similar expectation of social norms as many a local group. The idea that people aren’t going to show up with crazy insane lists just to win, but fluffier fun lists to create stories and memories. The player who brings 45 warp spiders, 2 seer councils and a Wraith Knight is going to get ostracized if not have his ticket refunded and told to GTFO. The Ultramarines Gladius with a funky mix of special and heavy weapons in 10 man squads and some free boxes and pods can expect to play, but the highly tuned grav spam White Scars list with free scouting boxes full of grav cannons will probably suffer the fate as “that” Eldar player. Not because of any extra nerfs or severe restrictions, but because the expectations and social norms are different.

    If you really want to see what the market (players) want you can conduct an experiment by running a 2 day narrative campaign alongside a 2 day GT and see which has greater attendance. Most 40k players I’ve met and talked to seem to like both, they like conceiving of and deploying the toughest list they can against the toughest opponents they can to test themselves, but they also like rolling up themed lists for fun storyish games.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:57 am
      #

      I fear that people are taking my stance to the extreme. I don’t necessarily want fluffy lists to be at top tables at tournaments. I like list building, and tactics, and strategy. But, you can still make a brutal, Take All Comers list while still having restrictions on in place to limit the things that make games unfun for people. There’s not of player agency in fighting SHVs/GCs for some armies. Battle Brothers is an extremely powerful tool that is only given to half the armies in the game.

      It’s not so much a “how can I make fluffy lists win” thing, as much as it is a “how can we help to somewhat balance the game without writing our own codices” thing. And again, I’m not the best player, and these are just ideas to that end, I encourage people to come up with more and see how they run in their own local tournaments or GTs.

      • westrider June 16, 2016 5:24 pm
        #

        “I fear that people are taking my stance to the extreme.”

        You do know that you posted this on the internet, right? 😉

      • Kartr_Kana June 21, 2016 1:55 am
        #

        Well battle brothers took a severe beating in the new FAQs with no starting in each other’s transports and Space Marines losing chapter tactics when joined to SW, BA and DA units.

        SHV and MGCs can be difficult to deal with, but they can frequently be beaten by focusing on the units supporting them.

        The big problem I have is with slapping restrictions on certain things across the game. No formations means I can’t take my Sternhammer Strike Force, which is a decent – but in no way overpowered – detachment. I get that White Scars tooled up in free Scouting boxes is tough. Or that dropping in the Riptide wing can bring some serious firepower with no real downside, but simply tossing out restrictions isn’t going to make things better. As long as the mindset, or social contract is “Win at all Costs” you’re just going to have new broken lists that will continue to make the game “un-fun” no matter how many things you ban. The only way to truly rein in the broken stuff is by changing the social contract.

        Trying to balance the game is doomed to failure as long as people can create their own lists. Because some people are going to build fluffy lists, some people are going to build lists with whatever they have available, some people are going to build super hard lists and still others are going to build lists somewhere in between. So lists are always going to be unbalanced when they face each other because everyone is building their own list, their own way, with their own criteria, for their own reasons. No amount of re-balancing, or banning will change that.

        So as long as we’re playing 40k and not Chess, no two lists are ever going to be perfectly balanced against reach other. Honestly I think that’s the way it should be, because that’s where the unique flavor comes from. If you want an unbalanced game to still be fun and full of player agency then you need to change the mindset of the tournament, not inflict bans that simply change which un-fun lists are taken.

  20. Lord rahl June 16, 2016 3:50 am
    #

    Down here is Australia this isn’t an issue because wer adopted a system called community comp. It limits combinations of units without limiting the units themselves. Oh, you want to use invisibility? It’ll cost you two thirds of your army’s comp credit, but sure. You want to bring 2 wraithknights? Sure, but you won’t be able to field much else. Oh, min squads of scatterbikes? Sure, but if you take more than 3 units tou won’t be able to take any vehicles or a Farseer. It works wonders for our tournaments. If you’re interested just google it and have a look.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 5:53 am
      #

      I’ve looked into Community Comp, and I would be interested in seeing a tournament here that uses it. My only holdup would be the complexity – it’s probably not too complex once you figure it out, but it’s another thing to learn on top of the game itself, which can be a turn off for people. But, if you guys Down Under have embraced it, maybe it’s not a bad idea to attempt here as well.

  21. Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 6:02 am
    #

    I always see battle company brought up on these kind of articles. I have never played it, been beat by it a few times, and still think it is one of the best formations that GW has released. It looks cool on the tabletop and is competitive. If only they could release more battle company formations.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 6:07 am
      #

      I think Battle Company, more than most formations, can really just be limited by Missions. They thrive in missions with multiple objectives that requires movement, because they can be everywhere with ObSec and the opponent generally can’t. On the other hand, they suffer in Kill Point missions since they don’t bring top-tier shooting (though Grav ain’t bad), and they have a lot of small units. Kill Point missions really are the gatekeepers for Battle Company in most events, which already makes them relatively balanced.

    • Trasvi June 16, 2016 6:09 am
      #

      Agreed. Battle Company (in general) is a great formation that makes a very fluffy formation competitive when otherwise 90% of the models would be left at home.

      The BIG thing is that it does extremely well on objective-based missions (especially maelstrom) because they can put 3 obsec units on every objective with no effort. If their transports weren’t scoring it would be a lot different.

    • Threllen June 16, 2016 9:09 am
      #

      Battle Company isn’t terrible because it focuses mainly on units that wouldn’t be used if they didn’t get free transports… but it’s still not a healthy way to balance the game, imo. By the mere presence of Battle Company, you’re kind of forced into a mono-build if you want to take tactical squads. Everything other than Battle Company is always going to be inferior because it gets so many free points.

      This isn’t as huge of a deal with Battle Company because it deals with a niche array of units, but when you start creating formations like the War Convocation – it is a big problem. Now it is basically impossible to make Skitarii/Mechanicus balanced outside of the War Convocation mono-build. If you buff the units to make them viable when they aren’t in a WC…. then the WC is just going to be all that more amazing because it can do everything with 500+ points more of upgrades for free. Variety makes this game interesting. Saying “you only get 40% points for free if you take this formation” kind of lessens the viability of that variety.

      • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 12:15 pm
        #

        My experience with war convocation is pretty limited. I actually managed to beat it with green tide! So I never really found it be amazing but I’m sure if I had army that relied on armor at all it would be much more painful.
        With that being said, isn’t skittari pretty bad outside of it? And doesn’t the convocation (Mini rant: I love the misspellings I see sometimes, War conflagration, congregation, or my favorite, accommodation.) allow super flexible builds? I know its almost always a knight but I’ve seen plenty of list building threads on war convocation so I thought it was decently flexible.

        Either way, I don’t mind formations that buff poorly performing units or builds. Both War convo and battle company did that, even Green tide! There’s a lot of formations I’m not a fan of but I think those were ones done mostly correct.

        • westrider June 16, 2016 5:27 pm
          #

          The Skitarii portion of the War Convocation is ridiculously inflexible. You only choice in terms of which Units to include is whether to take a Unit of Ballistarii or a Unit of Dragoons. After that, you need at least one HQ and 2 Troops from Cult Mechanicus, and at least one Knight.

  22. Demorte June 16, 2016 6:49 am
    #

    I play battle company alot, started this game a year ago was getting beaten nearly every game as I learned the rules and how to play.

    Experience Vs Casual/New Player means alot when it comes to game out come.

    Here is what I know, if you only play one game once every 3 months. Expect to lose… Especially if you play in a very active store. Cause if you play once every three months vs someone that plays once/twice a week and goes to 2 tournaments every three months. It is pretty easy to guess who will be the victor.

    I got better at playing the game by actually playing the game regularly. I have ran bike armies, skyhammer armies, pod spam, and rhino spam armies like battle company which am playing now. The most common thing I see with otherp lays doing well, vs doing poorly is the time you put into the game.. That may also mean the money too!

    Armies from 2 years ago don’t work in this meta. So that might mean you have to buy new models, build them and paint them to be back in the meta. As time goes on gw is only going to keep adding more things. I can tell you now banning all formations, D weapons, super heavies etc.. isn’t going to fix anything. There will always be list people hate to fight and units people feel are broken. There will also always be the ” If Only ” player that lost a match. If you lose accept it improve and try again. Rather then try to lower the standards.

    Battle Company is a hard list to play against but its not impossible to beat, nor is it the most broken thing out there. Battle Company is just one solution to other factions ” including ” other space marine armies janky rules. Have played demon list that have 32+ base dice and are summoning 4-6 units a turn. Have played Necron with 2 up save rerolling ones all day and reanimating troops that get killed.

    Tau, Necrons, Mechanicus, Demons, Space Wolves and Eldar all have there own janky rules that make them not fun to play against too.

    Is alot of factions that need some love from gw and given there own options to compete in the current meta absolutely.

    I really can’t agree that the game is one sidedly broken for space marines. If that where the case space marines would win every tournament in ITC. and they don’t.

    Battle Company is good at alot of stuff and is a forgiving list to play. It also has alot of weaknesses too that once you get over the fear of 10+ Rhinos you can pick up on fairly quick.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 8:56 am
      #

      I don’t think I targeted Space Marines specifically with this. I was more targeting the mechanics that exist that are unfun to play against or seem imbalanced. The Battle Brother suggestions may feel like they’re affecting SM unfairly, but it also affects Chaos and Eldar. And, I specifically said in the Formation section that the mentioned formations are not too bad at the moment, only that they have the potential to be problematic.

  23. Duz_ June 16, 2016 7:10 am
    #

    Is this the first of a new series of “geust editorials” 😉

  24. Nightman June 16, 2016 7:13 am
    #

    Battle Company, War convo and similar stuff are brilliant ideas from GW. Take shitty fluffy units and give them free shit to make them competitive. Your not playing against 2300 points, your playing against a badly written 2300 point lists that is good at 1750. Mathmatically a Battle Company should be better at 1500 right? Because of the higher free point ratio, but you seriously lack a lot of tools at 1500.

    1 superheavy is fine, even though wraith knights are undercosted there is only so much they can do each game.

    • Threllen June 16, 2016 7:23 am
      #

      Brilliant? No. Not at all. If the War Convocation and Battle Company were balanced, they wouldn’t crush at almost every tournament they’re brought to.

      Also, it’s a terrible way to balance a codex. By the very existence of the War Convocation, it means everything else in AM/Skitarii has to be terrible by design. The only way for War Convocation to be remotely balanced is for the units it is comprised of to be pretty bad when not taken in the formation.

      So it creates a “mono-build” scenario with the books. Everything else they can take is vastly inferior to taking the war convocation since it gives you about 30-40% of free points. It is by far the most powerful thing about Skitarii/AM and it will remain that way because if you tried to buff them to be viable outside of fielding that formation, it would be laughably strong.

      • Threllen June 16, 2016 7:24 am
        #

        Forcing an entire book to be balanced around a single mono-build formation that gives you 40% of free points is not a healthy system regardless of whether that formation is overpowered, underpowered, or balanced.

      • iNcontroL June 16, 2016 8:12 pm
        #

        Yes… the ITC is being overran with War Convocation lists winning everywhere isn’t it

        ^___________________^;;

        (The above is very snarky and highly sarcastic)

        Not sure where you play but I have seen very few people do well with War Convocations actually and of those few they themselves are rare (a tourney of 30-50 will have what, 1-3 war convocations at it?) I LOVE seeing the hate for WC because it continues to blow my mind. It’s a highly rare army with garbage units made usable by free upgrades that is finally adding some variety to the tourney scene. It’s also getting nerfed when the GW FAQ goes through (if ever).

        • Threllen June 17, 2016 5:23 am
          #

          And all it does is mask the fact that Skitarii/Mechanicus are garbage. And if they ever aren’t garbage then it will immediately become the most overpowered formation in the game. You literally cannot make those two armies anything but garbage in order to make the Convocation balanced.

    • Vercingatorix June 16, 2016 12:21 pm
      #

      That’s so true. “You’re not playing against 2300 points, you’re playing against a badly written 2300 points that is good at 1750”

      You feel like a boss cause you’re killing all this stuff but you still have to be strategic to actually win the game. Pretty ideal warhammer in my mind.

      Formations that are good enough to make you take them competitively but then still end up with goofy units are great IMO. Despite their uselessness, my friends loves talking about how his furies fair in his daemonic host.

  25. Happy_Inquisitor June 16, 2016 8:28 am
    #

    Interesting and thought provoking article.

    Having played in a few tournaments now I think that having some more variety in format would be great – when I played an ITC-standard tournament I did not run into anything so janky that it could beat me but I really did not enjoy it that much. I have enjoyed playing Combat Patrol tournaments much more.

    Perhaps the ITC is big enough now that it could support more than one major format – to the extent that they are scored differently and it is possible to win them independently of one another. From my experiences of Combat Patrol I think it would be better to build up from that proven format than to try to cut down from “everything goes” 40K to create something distinctive and different. It helps that the faster/smaller games of Combat Patrol make them more accessible to newcomers to competitive play and that it is far easier to fit enough games into a day to get a definitive result from a tournament.

    • Requizen
      Requizen June 16, 2016 8:47 am
      #

      I would also be very happy with this! Some of my favorite events from Adepticon were Combat Patrol and Zone Mortalis. Small games are so much fun – not better than big games, but different, quick, and exciting. Completely different feeling.

      There are some holdups, of course. Zone Mortalis requires a specific board type, which can be an expense (especially when you need lots for a tournament/event), and Combat Patrol doesn’t seem to have any sort of centralized ruleset. Though, ITC could fix that last one up quite nicely.

  26. Leonix June 16, 2016 10:03 am
    #

    The first thing we must do if you want limits is to come up with a unit % limit like 30K does for LoW units.

    There is zero point arguing if 1,500 is better than 1,850 if you can take 2 Stormsurges in ether game.

    • Axis of Entropy June 16, 2016 10:24 am
      #

      Two Stormsurges within 1500 points yields a less effective army because that’s fewer points contesting six objectives.

      • Leonix June 16, 2016 11:56 am
        #

        Doesn’t matter if they are all dead, lower point means less they have to kill… This is a random example but you get the idea.

  27. Heldericht June 16, 2016 11:32 am
    #

    Too many tiers. Even 2 is a lot for dividing up the community.

    Maybe just have different tournaments aimed at different groups instead of running 2 tiers side by side. ITC already counts points from all tournaments even with heavy modifications.

    I can tell you that if it’s not an 1850 standard ITC rule competitive tournament, you won’t see as big of a turnout.

    • westrider June 16, 2016 10:20 pm
      #

      I didn’t get the impression he was talking about running them side by side. I figured it would be more like what one of my local stores is doing, where they alternate 1850 ITC one month and then something smaller (1250-1500) and more restricted the next.

  28. r June 16, 2016 9:14 pm
    #

    Argument by popularity isn’t an argument.

    By your guys’ logic, the game should just remove all races and go with marines since marines are the most popular.

    What white people (or any other ethnicity, this is basically just to emphasize the point here) want is more important than what the minorities want.

  29. Erik Robertsson June 17, 2016 2:45 am
    #

    Good post. Thanks.

    I disagree to some comments that people would be turned off if an organizer ban and restrict as they prefer the game would be. We had a lot of these discussions early when the community grew in Sweden. One argument was that people would be turned off if you restrict their army. And while that is true we noticed that more organizers came up as they was suddenly “allowed” to hold tournaments as they prefer. So those guys who didn’t like one tournament just instead participated in another a few weeks later so the guy who felt restricted still gamed and instead we got more players who liked the restrictions.

    We have found variation is the key. At least until 7:th where I stopped playing. If a TO feel they do not have to have a certain format and instead can do what they think is fun you will get:

    1. More tournaments held.
    2. Satisfy many more type of gamers.

    In short. I believe that the variation is the key. It will lure more players to the hobby.

  30. Michael Brandt June 17, 2016 3:38 am
    #

    FTR, you’d dial most of it back to normal if you simply banned blessings.

  31. HeavyPlate June 17, 2016 3:59 am
    #

    First off great article, you make your point eloquently.
    But, (always a but) a faster way to sum this up is “If a TO wants to run an event as if it were 5th, they should.” Which, yes, they should be able to do that without being jumped on.
    If that’s what’s going to make their event better, do it.
    Personally, I like formations, allies, and SHW/GC. I think it adds flavor.
    But, (again the butts), I think some restrictions can still be brought out. I’d like to see things like Riptide wing get the big mek stomps treatment. Only in lists of all Tau, so it isn’t a plug in play formation.
    I think also if you lower the standard point game to say, 1500, it gets a lot harder to fit in so many things.
    Just my two bits.

  32. Drachnyen June 17, 2016 8:24 am
    #

    I posted this in the ITC formation thread, but I think its more in line here:

    I really like the idea of trying to balance things and bring more competition to the “top tear” armies.

    I feel like creating homebrew formations is a very complicated, hard to sustain way to do it. It also forces “rules” changes, which we all know how delicate this process can be.

    My suggestion to help the game as a whole is to simply establish a Handicap value to armies in the hopes of curbing the power creep of new codexes vs old ones.

    For example, take the top 3 armies and apply a negative handicap to army points.
    Take the bottom 3 armies and apply a positive handicap.
    Exact values would need tweaking but could look something like this:

    Top 3 armies have -150 points handicap (around -10%)
    Bottom 3 armies have +150 point handicap (around +10%)

    Examples:
    – An ITC 1850 point Eldar army would be allowed to field up to 1700 points.
    – An ITC 1850 point Tyranid army would be allowed to field up to 2000 points.

    This way, you are not affecting any rules or any formations but limit (or increase) the amount of stuff you can bring to the table.

  33. Marandamir June 17, 2016 12:00 pm
    #

    I concur with the many posts about format splitting. Have an open tourney that allows things as they are now. Then have a limited format that takes the suggestions into account above.

    I am not a tourney player simply because I don’t like the WAAC playstyles it breeds. I don’t have 45 warp spiders or 5 knights, nor do I want to play a list like that. Even without being a WAAC player I found cheese combos and formation shinanigans to be a real detractor from the game. I really like the benefits that decurion style detachments add to the game. However, I also found they really force your hand when it came to list building. I recently stepped back and played a couple single CAD games with the highlander format (there can be only one!) where you cannot duplicate units other than troops. I’ll say it was alot of fun to get back to core 40k and I didn’t miss the 7th ed silliness of apocalypse crap in my 40k game or detachment combos that make no sense.