Making the Case for Using Power Level Points in Tournaments.

Hello everyone, the crew from TFG Radio here (also your LVO Judges), to talk about changes, specifically how list building works.

Seriously, you haven’t done anything except read the title and opening sentence.

As is the norm with my articles now if you’d like to listen instead of read, you can! Just click play below.

With the coming of Dark Imperium, a new age of Warhammer 40k is dawning. Along with this new age comes a multitude of changes to the game: Model range changes and additions, rules-bloat cut, and the game redesigned to be far simpler. We are seeing a complete drop of new faction rules the day of release, something entirely unprecedented in the history of Warhammer 40k in the 21st century.

The most consequential changes though comes in the form of list building. Games Workshop provided us with 3 basic ways to play the game, a completely open format, a format based on granular points like they’ve had in previous editions, and Power Level points, something entirely new. The two formats relevant to Competitive 40k are granular and Power Level.

The Problem with Granular

8th edition has brought us a clunky granular points system, one that requires much more work than before. It is a system where mistakes are easily made, a system that will prove difficult and unwieldy from a Tournament Organizers perspective, a system that will lend itself to less than honest players taking advantage to make their lists illegally with even less chance of getting caught. Having to buy units and then purchase all of their equipment separately adds an additional step, and this step will likely cause players to stumble, intentionally or not.  You need only check the various social media groups to see a constant barrage of questions about how much a unit really costs.

This does not at all address the fact that if a player so wanted, they could easily skim points out of their lists by forgetting to tally certain mandatory equipment, and it would take far more investigation than most TOs/Judges have time to commit to fully vet each list.  As events get larger, this is even more true. A friendly FLG RTT with 12 players is one thing, but what about a GT level event with over 40 or an ITC Major with over 100?

In the Power Level points system, we have an easy to use, easy to verify system that provides the basis for a more competitive and healthy tournament scene; it lends itself to simple list formatting for verification, simple player by player use, flexibility in lists, and an overall simpler way to run the list building side of things in the new era of 40k, all while adding an entirely new level of strategic thinking between games.

Ease of Use

Using Power Levels to build a list is just plain easier than using the new granular points system. It’s easier for the players and easier for the Tournament Organizer and Judges. You remove several steps in terms of adding lists up, and just about anyone with a basic grasp of arithmetic is going to be able to quickly build and verify a list. The counter argument to this tends to be that it also is easier to cheat by having things change from round to round in a tournament. To be honest, this is actually not a bad thing if embraced as a whole, but even then,  if you are concerned about dishonesty, there are certainly mechanisms in place already for this. One is mandatory list submission to the Best Coast Pairings App, on a game by game basis. When building a list using Power Level, you need only mark down the basic points cost and if you’re taking additional models which increases the cost. Then, mark on the list which weapons options are being taken and you’re done with that unit entry. No further addition, no making sure every bolt pistol, grenade, etc is paid for in points.

You can do this without technology by simply having several army lists without the upgrades selected, and before the game, you mark the upgrades and give this list to your opponent. It will add no more than 5 minutes of time, and really, players should have printed copies of their list for opponents anyway.  Let’s not forget that we are already moving towards this idea of modular abilities as psychic powers and warlord traits are selected each game, not randomly rolled or assigned for the course of a tournament.

If you need any more evidence that points and list building are a problem then you need only search the internet. Several major events had problems with illegal lists due to point mistakes and wargear option inaccuracies, and that is with the simpler 7th edition system of points and list building. There was the instance of Apothecaries and their Bolt Pistol not being properly pointed, the older/cheaper version of a Forgeworld Land Raider being taken mistakenly, wargear changing between rounds, and the list goes on and on. A simpler, easier to correct version of list building would be a great advantage to Tournament Organizers and the Competitive players, creating a Tournament scene with more integrity.

The Fallacy of Optimal Choice

The most common argument against using Power Levels is that it means only the best options will see use. This counter doesn’t make a lot of sense seeing as how we just left an edition behind us that saw 3 Riptides, Wraithknight and Jetbikes, Magnus, Pink Horrors, White Scar Centurionstars, in some combination, on almost every table at major tournaments. Competitive players will always seek and find the most powerful units to spam. Some say the most powerful units are even more powerful in a PL format. It’s not that they’re more powerful in PL format; it’s just that the clearly more powerful choices stand out immediately rather than needing people to really dig into the granular points and crunch the numbers. Again, this is not really different than it is now. People will always find the best combo(s) and use them, and in the PL system, it is just more obvious which units are better.

That said, balanced lists are working well in 8th edition not because players are using the granular point system but because balanced TAC (Take all Comers) lists are what 8th edition is designed around. My impression was that GW was aghast at what they saw the game had become when they went to Adepticon and LVO, and as a result, it’s more balanced all around which is why balanced lists are working well, not the point system you’re choosing to use.  Plenty of units have less utility in granular points because the cost of their upgrades make them points inefficient, particularly because they are frozen into a specific role that may not be applicable in each game, but if they are given the ability to switch between these upgrades at no penalty, they become far more effective on the tabletop.

This is why it is not accurate to say that PL encourages only taking the “elite” units when units can have a fundamental impact on the game if they were allowed to alter their wargear round by round at no cost.  A lascannon may be a less points efficient weapon in the granular system for a unit, but PL removes that distinction, making the unit more inherently viable.  We’ve been using this system for so long that we’ve forgotten the simple truth: a granular, static points system is part of the cause of some units being weak and others strong. Heavy bolter teams for Astra Militarum may be points inefficient for the dakka, but against certain armies, they are far more valuable than autocannon or lascannon teams.

Another common argument against using Power Level points for competitive play is that Power Level doesn’t accurately account for the different weapon options. That simply isn’t true. Power Level gives a great average for how powerful each unit is potentially. If you look at an Imperial Knight for example and compare potential wargear options, it is still well costed no matter the options taken. The difference between the options is also relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of granular points.


Unit PL Cost Load Out 1 GP Cost Load Out 2 GP Cost Load Out 3 GP Cost
Knight Errant 23 Thermal+ Sword 426 Thermal+Gauntlet 401 Thermal+Gauntlet+Meltagun 418
Knight Paladin 24 Cannon+Sword 450 Cannon+Gauntlet 455 Cannon+Gauntlet+Meltagun 472
Knight Warden 25 Gatling Cannon+Sword 445 Gatling+Gauntlet 450 Gatling+Gauntlet+Meltagun 467
Knight Gallant 21 Sword+Gauntlet 385 Sword+Gauntlet+meltagun 402 Sword+Gauntlet+meltagun+Rocket Pod 464
Knight Crusader 27 Gatling+Thermal 491 Gatling+Thermal+metlagun 508 Gatling+Thermal+Meltagun+Rocket Pod 553


As you can see, the PL score between different Knights very much accounts for the discrepancies in total kill power.  A Knight Crusader is by far the most expensive to account for its ability to lay down a heavy amount of firepower at range while the Gallant is the most inexpensive as it is primarily dangerous in melee, but this means that it cannot necessarily impact the game immediately.  Yes, when fully loaded with a carapace weapon, it is starting to approach the cost of other Knight versions, but then this isn’t really a fair comparison as the above calculations do not factor in the most granular points expensive builds for each other variant, namely taking a carapace weapon and the most expensive weapons available.

Looking at another way, assuming 100 Power Level game versus a 2K granular point game, a Knight Gallant with all the upgrades  is going to make up 21% of your overall army in a PL game while a in a granular system, it will make up 23.2% of your army. That’s a difference of 44 points if converted to granular. A Crusader is going to account for 27% regardless of configuration in Power Level while a maxed out Crusader is going to still take up about 27% of your army in the granular system.

The difference in points in terms of the granular, are nearly irrelevant in a 2k list. The decision point between taking one over the other, or “shaving” points to build a specific list isn’t tactical: It’s just list building. Yes, shaving a few points here or there can net you an extra unit or two, which is what creates the idea of “tuned-lists” where you maximize every single point, but this is just playing a game of numbers and efficiency, and again, it creates more of the dichotomy between efficient and inefficient units. If you want a truly competitive game, then it should be the player skill in game that matters, not the ability of a player to be the better accountant and risk management analyst.

How Power Level makes the game more competitive

If you want a truly competitive game, Power Level games using the full panoply of that style of play is what is needed. Yes, instead of being worried that meltaguns will turn into flamers game by game, embrace this and give all players the opportunity to do such if they have the appropriate models to do so.

Allow players to choose each game what those units will and won’t have. By freeing the players from the confines of the minutiae of a detailed item by item list, we introduce a more flexible and therefore competitive environment. Allowing players to use the best weapons options on their units for the given game they are playing will move us away from list building being one of the most important parts of the game and move towards player skill and choices in game being the most important. The way this would work is simple:

A player builds a 100 Power Level list and populates it with the units they want to take. In their first game, they choose which weapon/wargear options each unit will have for that game and mark it down, they then deploy the appropriate models. They play the game with the units/models being armed in whatever manner they think is best for that game given the mission and their opponents army. In round two, they can then choose the best load out for the units based on their round 2 opponent and the round 2 mission, and so on and so forth, round after round.  You as the general of your forces can actively reassess the situation and adapt, if you’ve built a list that is capable of adaptation, meaning a combined arms force rather than a skew list.

This creates a tactical/strategic flexibility in the game that is more akin to what you find in Magic the Gathering and in Warmahordes where each player is allowed a sideboard of a certain number of points so their list can be tailored game-to-game to help mitigate the rock/paper/scissors syndrome. For quite some time, the 40k community has discussed how to mitigate the hard-counter nature of competitive lists, and GW has given us one.

For a specific example, a 4 Knight army in 7th edition essentially meant that some armies could never beat them as they lacked the ability to hurt the Knights.  In 8th, if you can choose which upgrades you have at the start of the game, all of those autocannons become lascannons or Impaler Cannons become Shockcannons, and suddenly, you have a chance to win.  In the next game going against a Tyranid swarm, you can swap back to Heavy Bolters and flamers.  Again, this may make certain spam armies worse, but that’s what we want.  Everyone wants balance, but balance means that skew armies shouldn’t work because they lack too many tools.  Power Level rewards list design that has modularity and variety, thus ensuring that in-game decisions matter far more.  If you have ever screamed about 40K not being balanced, this is a mechanism to allow for that balance far more than a static army list using granular points where the very nature of its immutability offers avenues for exploitation.

What You See is What You Get, or WYSIWYG, would be an absolute necessity in a format like the one outlined above; so players can easily see what each model is armed with for the game. Yes, this would mean TOs would have to be more strict about custom conversions and 3rd party bits. WYSIWYG was once law of the land, and really, moving away from it only opens up more avenues for potential abuse.  Also, the benefit of PL and WYSIWYG is that it gives players a greater opportunity to use their collections, not just the best units and weapons.  How many times has a newer player been excited and built a box with all the upgrades, and then when he/she is finally ready to hit a tournament, he/she finds out that plasma pistols on sergeants sucked and were an active detriment?  Now, any model has a chance to see play because yes, some loadouts are suboptimal in a fixed points system, but they may shine brightly in certain situations, and if you can actually adapt to that situation, you get to use them.  In essence, granular, fixed equipment cost systems (like what we’ve had for several decades) encourage the kind of list building metas that most decry, but Power Level is a remedy to this where skew armies are less impactful and player skill is more meaningful.

To sum up

The benefits to a full use of Power Level as the list building format far outweigh any other negatives. If PL is fully embraced and players are allowed to change their unit(s) wargear/weapons from game to game, the scene not only becomes far more competitive but the amount of worry over cheating via list building goes down dramatically.

In the end, 8th edition is looking like an amazing version of our beloved game, but for those of us who enjoy playing in/running competitive events, it also offers a completely new way to do so, one that has distinct advantages over the previous method. Yes, we’ve been used to this system for 20+ years, but perhaps it is time to try something new.  By allowing flexibility in army construction, you empower the individual player to determine their success far more, and by streamlining the list building process, you make events easier to run, easier to participate within, and more accessible to a wider audience, which means more opponents and more thriving communities.  As they say, don’t knock it til you try it, so we would encourage you to try running a tournament using Power Level instead of points, and let us know how it goes.

If you like what you read, or not, don’t forget to listen to the TFG Radio Podcast, visit the website for articles, the YouTube for Videos, and most importantly don’t forget to tune into the TFG Radio Twitch stream on June 17th for an all day 8th edition gaming extravaganza including prize giveaways! Prizes include brand new token sets for 8th edition, 8th ed indexes, a FLG Mat, and much more! Don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the article in the comments!

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About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

69 Responses to “Making the Case for Using Power Level Points in Tournaments.”

  1. dustin lane June 18, 2017 1:18 am #

    I love this idea and wonder how close this is to reality?

  2. Arabviking June 18, 2017 1:45 am #

    The power-level system sounds neat for events/tournaments, it is really a hassle now to build a list by hand. At the same, we are seeing several army builder apps have now implemented point cost and armies already, surely that makes list building a lot easier?

    The counter-argument to that is that some apps will screw up the proper point cost – I guess.

    I am not too fond of the idea of changing upgrades game from game. More space needed for transporting more models, or people now really need to magnetize all their stuff. :p

  3. rvd1ofakind June 18, 2017 2:43 am #

    So you give an example of knights and completelly ignore the Chaos Knight on purpose?
    21 pts – Knight Galant that is stuck with garbage melee weapons
    23 pts – Chaos knight that can literally take any Knight weapon. Even 2 Rapid-fire battle cannons.

    21. 447 pts. 447/20=22.35
    23. 593 pts. 593/20=29,65

    • rvd1ofakind June 18, 2017 2:45 am #

      Also how are the lists now suddently harder to make. Nothing changed. Use an app/excel fuke like any sensible person

      • Riddip June 18, 2017 2:55 am #

        The battlescribe app is already updated for 8th edition making it not easier or harder to make a list like in 7th edition.

        • happy_inquisitor June 18, 2017 7:17 am #

          The same app was available in 7th – it did not stop “mistakes” from happening then and it will not stop them now.

          Simplifying the system so it can be checked properly is one way to fix the problem.

          The only other one I can think of would be a harsh enough penalty for infringement that players take their responsibility to play a legal list seriously – with detail checking of any list that is in a position to win anything. That seems pretty time consuming and possibly rather divisive – I am hardly surprised that the people who would actually have to do this at LVO prefer another approach.

      • Charles Keeling June 18, 2017 5:24 am #

        Lists are not harder to make, the abuse factor is just as bad as last edition.

        This is a plea to remove one of the major pain points for cheating and mistakes in list building. Power levels are Sigmar so a good deal of us are already embarrassing of this.

    • Adam (RUMBL) June 18, 2017 7:28 am #

      Yeah Chaos Knights really kill the argument, a flat 23 power level means you would never see regular knights, just Chaos Knights painted loyalist colors. Getting 4 fully loaded chaos crusaders in a regular game seems a bit OTT when you compare it to how points would restrict it.

  4. AngryPanda June 18, 2017 3:05 am #

    With Battlescribe lists aren’t really harder to make. On the other hand, we just came out of an edition in which people played with 500 free points, or summoned even more. Power levels being a bit unprecise really isn’t a big deal in comparison to just how screwed the point system was in the past.

  5. Joshua June 18, 2017 3:41 am #

    I tried to get a similar point across to my local game scene and it was fiercely shut down on the spot. 2 people voted they didn’t care. I voted for Power Level and 9 voted that they wanted points. Wouldn’t even try it… Sigh

    • AngryPanda June 18, 2017 4:10 am #

      That’s probably resistance to change in part. Just find one person to try it with. If people see it work they might change their stance. And if not, oh well points it is.

  6. lessthanjeff June 18, 2017 4:59 am #

    I like some points here (especially the part about having a sideboard of sorts) but one thing I wish they’d touched on was the loss of unit size control for power level. I hate not being able to take units with sizes other than the 5, 10, 15 etc. I’m definitely going to give it some tries and see how it goes though.

    • WestRider June 18, 2017 10:25 am #

      Yeah, that has been annoying. Especially given how many of my mid-size Nid Units I have painted up at 5-strong, when the Power Levels put them at 3, 6, or 9.

      Also annoying when trying to make a Mech list with room for Characters in a Transport.

      • WestRider June 18, 2017 10:25 am #

        That said, tho, we’ve been playing with Power Levels here so far, and really liking it.

  7. Charles Keeling June 18, 2017 5:10 am #

    The best argument is the sideboard option in tournaments. I love the idea of changing your force based on selections.

  8. UniKage June 18, 2017 6:14 am #

    Yeah untill you use power levels for a GSC army

    • Strugglepeter June 18, 2017 8:47 am #

      Or Deathwatch for that matter. I mean almost every dude can take equipment worth around 50-60 points not shown in thr power levels. I would love to use them like this as I could finally use all the cool conversions I’ve done, but I doubt this is the intention of GW.

  9. Fagerlund June 18, 2017 6:25 am #

    How is it harder to make lists now? It’s exactly the same. Just make it mandatory to build the list with an app for tournaments (you already suggested use of an app for Power Levels so).
    The best part of how points are presented in 8th is that GW has set it up in a way that they can now easily adjust cost of models/wargear and thus creating a living balance that can take current meta into account.

    Also you can’t look at Power Levels in such an isolated example and say it’s all great. Look a bit more in depth. You will find that some armies when built to a certain power level will drop to half the size when using points. Especially elite armies has this syndrome. Doesn’t sound like a balanced way to me at least.

  10. Garrett Mulroney June 18, 2017 6:30 am #

    Great article. Didn’t really look at power levels this way.

  11. William Brice June 18, 2017 7:23 am #

    Or people could take a month to get used to how things are done now instead of instantly trying to “fix” everything that doesnt feel right.

    Seriously, it took me like 2 days to get used to the points and unit building. A few more days to memorize the points costs for certain upgrades.

    • AngryPanda June 18, 2017 7:32 am #

      To be fair, exactly the same argument could be made for power levels.

      • EvilCheesypoof June 18, 2017 11:16 am #

        Angrypanda, but his point is that GW made a competitive point system in this new edition where nothing is free and is ready to be rebalanced at anytime. If one of the biggest complaints was the flawed system before that had too many free points has been fixed, why wouldn’t we try it for awhile instead of switching to a new loose system that was designed for new players or narrative games?

        This article makes lots of great points, but I think switching to power levels brings up the problem again of some things not being appropriately costed and then all of a sudden we’re ignoring GWs new improvements to the point system.

        • AngryPanda June 18, 2017 11:21 am #

          Absolutely. I’m just saying that the argument of trying things before breaking them works just as well for the Power Point system. Well, that and I’ll never believe they do appropriate points so I don’t care but that’s just me being a cynical old bastard.

  12. ryan June 18, 2017 7:34 am #

    there is zero excuse for not tally up points correctly (though mistakes can be made) when its as easy as it can be to have people submit list 3 weeks before the event, the TO can send out 3-4 (or ten whatever) random lists to each player, than have said players check them. Dont think for a second guys going to a tournament will not be vigilant as a hawk and will makesure the lists are correct. This has been suggested tons of times on forums like this, everytime somebody had cheated and won a tournament in 7th but the change is never made for no obvious reason.

  13. Jimonmars June 18, 2017 8:07 am #

    Tankbustas with 2 free bomb squigs are pl 4. Lootas with nothing are 8. How could anyone think this is a good idea?

  14. Blight June 18, 2017 8:33 am #

    Personally we only seem to use PL now where we play. Just a lit easier. We’ve found the games to be really well balanced.
    Only thing you lack with power levels is the ability to buy models individually instead of in blocks.
    So 6man marine squads of 12 irk boyz aren’t a thing with PL.

  15. Quinn June 18, 2017 9:45 am #

    Stick to points..a Centurion Devestator Squad with Lascannons and Missile Launchers is 17 pl or 420 pts. Not quite the 20 to 1 thing is it? There are a ton of examples of this disparity. Not interested in PLs at all. Tournaments should be checking lists anyway, it’s part of their job..not easy but necessary and with lists shared on BCP there won’t be any secrets anyways.

    • Jason Wolfe June 18, 2017 1:06 pm #

      Check out inceptors. 8 power level (~160 if x20 was true) but end up being ~225 points in granular.

  16. Mrmattywoodz June 18, 2017 9:59 am #

    My Group has been using power levels since our FLGS got preview copies of the rules a few weeks ago. I have about 7 games of 8th edition under my belt, all using PL, and none of them have been unbalanced because of it. We like it because it allows us to model our minis the way we like, but not have to pay points for items that a lot of the time don’t make a difference (e.g. giving a devastator sergeant a power sword, even though we know he most likely won’t use it.) Considering in the last edition you could get hundred of free points worth of Transports with BatCo, summoned Daemons Or free upgrades with War Convocation, the points in upgrades don’t make a huge difference. Also, the nature of the I go, you go game that we play with Warhammer means that if you go second, you have the possibility of losing points before you even get to play a turn. Power Levels are easy and awesome. I don’t understand why people switching upgrades in between rounds is even an issue. You can still make people turn in lists for their army including upgrades before he event, and then you can’t change from those upgrades. Magic, the Gathering does not use points at all, and still manages to not have people cheat by switching cards in and out by requiring lists to be submitted before events. I hope PL becomes the norm, as we have found it to be a lot more fun.

  17. WestRider June 18, 2017 10:58 am #

    In a lot of ways, It’s just a different system to optimize. PL favours smaller Model Counts with more upgrades, MP favours larger Model Counts with more carefully chosen upgrades.

    I think the “Sideboard” possibility is really the strongest aspect of the proposal, tho. The basic design of 8th has already gone a good way toward eliminating RPS “balance”, and this would do it in for good. The fact that it’s limited to upgrades and the possibilities of magnetization and such eliminate the logistical concerns that have set me against such ideas in the past.

    • Vercingatorix June 19, 2017 11:50 am #

      My only concern would be that you could really start running into spam issues if you one of your units has an option to deal with most other targets. The new OP unit would be the most flexible rather than the one with the load out that is good vs most things.

      The result is also a huge advantage to those players with a large model count. My only concern is do we want to put another barrier to entry for new tournament players.

      Getting steam rolled by 20 dev squads that all picked up heavy bolters and lascannons vs your ork boys in truck army would be pretty frustrating. Obviously hard counters happen now but we’d be giving even more control to good players with a big collection.

  18. Pyrothem June 18, 2017 11:08 am #

    Sooo those that play SM get to field all the toys and change things per opponent so they always have the right tools but for those that play things like Necrons totally lose out because their army choices are for units only not wargear.

    Sounds fair and reminds me of 7th with all the free crap they got….

    • EvilCheesypoof June 18, 2017 11:20 am #

      I agree, if we switch to Power Levels right away we’re ignoring all the improvements that GW has made to the points system where nothing is free and it can be rebalanced whenever they want.

      • SaltyJohn June 18, 2017 12:54 pm #

        Why can’t we, as a community, try both and see what works the best? Who said it must be one or the other?

        • Jimbo June 21, 2017 11:17 am #

          We tried it. It has been found wanting. Makes 7th ed seem balanced by comparison.

    • Sethmo June 20, 2017 10:49 am #

      You are assuming, like many others, that space marines always have the BEST tool for the job. Frequently that is not the case.
      Bolters are not the best troop weapon. (Tau and necrons)
      Special weapons all have equivalents in other armies.

      Maybe focus on why necrons do not need a million options in the rules before assuming they are just worse then marines?

      It seems like complaining about PL is also a TON easier to fix in dataslates then individual points for each ticky tack weapon option lol.

  19. Novastar June 18, 2017 12:24 pm #

    In your description of the knights you forgot to add in the points for their heavy stubbers

    • SaltyJohn June 18, 2017 12:53 pm #

      Sort of proves the point that granular points aren’t as easy. nor as cut and dry, as it first seems.

  20. Fagerlund June 18, 2017 1:48 pm #

    So GW confirmed in tje recently released FAQ that Power Level is based on tje average of all options on a unit. Meaning units that has a cheap and an expensive option are the big winners here. As demonstrated by the Chaos Knights earlier..
    Does that really sound good for tournament play?

    • Sethmo June 20, 2017 10:52 am #

      Knights are not the be all end all of units, they have some pretty glaring drawbacks….

      Like being unable to avoid anti vehicle weapons due to their size. A unit of devastators with las cannons is going to tear apart a knight now….

  21. Ken June 18, 2017 3:21 pm #

    “Please do this.” – me and every competitive Deathwatch player

    • Sethmo June 20, 2017 10:56 am #

      Deathwatch are still just a single wound infantry model…….not a well balanced force.

  22. Dbiesto June 18, 2017 7:59 pm #

    Search 8th edition army list builder and this seems to have everything built in. Switching models to take on different lists during different games may be balanced overall with power levels, but I don’t agree with it as I view it as tailoring lists technically which Waac players will probably take full advantage of. This site works perfectly on computers for points system and power levels until the army builder apps update.!/rosterCreator

  23. Karvala June 18, 2017 9:03 pm #

    One of the key changes from 7th to 8th edition was the abolition of the ‘buckets of free stuff’ formations and rules (summoning mainly). This was a deliberate change to eliminate a problem in matched play. It seems very strange to see the argument of ‘we could get free stuff in 7th ed’ used to try and justify it in 8th.

  24. Murth83 June 18, 2017 9:35 pm #

    What about using both?

    For example you might get 125 power for your units, and build 3 lists at 2000 pts with those units. Then you have to decide which of your 3 lists you will use for each game.

  25. Vudoo June 19, 2017 4:17 am #

    PL are really a wrong direction when the idea was to bring units to the game that haven’t seen the light like Orks. This system punishes MSU build as well. Check the PL vs points in a 2k game and it’s obvious unbalanced and top heavy.

  26. Pingor June 19, 2017 4:41 am #

    Some examples:
    Each can take a flamer which is brutal and costs 12 Points which is 50% of the Models base cost. So with 16 Powerpoints you either get
    220/12 = 13.75 pts/pp
    360/16 = 21 pts/pp

    Compare to a Knight:
    593/23 ~ 25 pts/pp

    Gaunts have weaponry which doubles their points cost (for good reason) and the PP should be pretty high I don’t have the index. Maybe someone can calculate it for 10?

    Why Autocannons when you get a Rocketlauncher?
    When you like the sideboards why not implement a sideboard or 2 list format and make list submission to a specific tool which validates the lists (like battlescribe which is pretty solid)

    • SaltyJohn June 19, 2017 8:49 am #

      1. Implementing side boards, or double lists would be awesome. I still disagree that the PL points is too far out of whack to work the way we outlined in the article. Although as one of the contributors that should be obvious 😉

      2. Battlescribe is not solid. If you’ve downloaded their 8th edition data and tried using it you’d see rather quickly it is not solid. They have consistent problems with their data. I agree though that tournaments should have a specific, and mandatory, list submission tool/template. Using Power Level would make the creation and updating of that tool/template much easier.

      • rvd1ofakind June 19, 2017 9:10 am #

        So instead of spending a few more minutes let’s have a completelly unbalanced tournament. Ok. Cool.

        • SaltyJohn June 19, 2017 12:25 pm #

          Spending a few more minutes doing what exactly?

          • Pingor June 20, 2017 5:39 am

            Put the lists online. especially for higher player numbers at least 3 Days before the tournament. The community would certainly see a lot of invalid lists if there are some and it could be reported.

            ITS sometimes doesn’t even post any lists though all should have been submitted. Why? Just post ALL lists. Clearly after modifications or telling your opponent something has a weapon that would be better against the opponent sucks but for that: Give each player the list of his opponent so he can see for him self. Put the Lists on the tables where the pairings are for example.

  27. SCumlord June 19, 2017 10:23 am #

    100% agree. There’s ways to cheese the system with points or power level, I’m way more game for fun and fast. Why not sideboard? It’s nearly universal in other systems and adds to strategy and as stated, mitigates spam. Great article.

  28. winterman June 19, 2017 3:46 pm #

    I usually agree with Travis et al on TO stuffs but in this case I have to shake my head. GW finally agrees to a system where points get updated regularly instead of waiting 3-8 years for a codex and you want to eschew that for the power points that aren’t planned to be changed? Cause its “harder”? Its just different and new, in 6 months you will know the costs of your armies things by heart and if you are a TO or list cruncher you will get most points down and rely on programs for the outliers and the total math. Cause it gives “flexibility? Lots of units, armies and builds have very little option to swap options within their units. Necrons and Tyranids are prime examples. At best it will cause is more of a rift between those who magnetized or own 20k points of an army vs the casual collectors. And give certain armies advantages over others in terms of flexibility.

    That said I am all for it in one off ard boy style tournaments or apoc or friendly events. It will be my preferred pick up game style too.

    I also think tallying power points killed vs units killed at least an alternative for mission packs and is something I intend to try in my events.

  29. ScottR June 19, 2017 4:27 pm #

    I could not agree more. There is no granular points in AoS and it works fine as a competitive game. I’ve run events with sidebars and point swaps without problem in AoS. I could not add to such a clean and clear argument. Love the Podcast, too!

    • SaltyJohn June 19, 2017 9:04 pm #

      Thanks, we appreciate you listening!

      • ScottR June 20, 2017 3:43 pm #

        And I am a Stock holder of GW and could not be happier.

  30. Jim Griffith June 19, 2017 4:36 pm #

    Well, stop calling it a ‘sideboard’ and you might get more people into the idea. How about ‘reinforcements’. No, wait, what about ‘extras’. No, wait, what about ‘unused models’. No, wait, what about ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’. No, wait, what about ‘Emperor’s Finest’. Wait, that was used in the keyword argument. How about ‘Scottish Clay-more”, because “if it isn’t Scottish, it’s crap!” Okay, I lost track of what I was saying. Just skip it.

  31. Moridan June 20, 2017 3:57 am #

    I’m not opposed to PL for games among friends, but not for competitive play. As a daemon player, my models are expensive enough and have little to no warhead options. That would bring us back to the days of some armies getting tons of “free points” while others have to deal with the imbalance. No more free daemons, but free upgrades?

  32. Seccy June 20, 2017 5:41 am #

    This is…Probably the worst idea I’ve seen since 8th dropped.
    This article reeks of the author not having read the various points correctly.
    If they had, they would have seen all the horrifically varied ways in which this can be abused.

  33. Wayniac June 20, 2017 6:10 am #

    I think it’s interesting. I know a lot of people are afraid of the idea that you will just only take the best stuff (somewhat understandable in a tournament) and a lot more would have fear that it wouldn’t “be fair” if someone didn’t pay for everything.

    Now, I’ll preface this by saying I am not in any way, shape, or form a competitive player. I play for fun, preferably casual and narrative (I pick units I like the look of or have a particular theme in mind). I think this idea requires testing, to further see if it’s a good one. Most competitive players I have spoken to are very dismissive of power levels, and feel it does an inadequate job of doing anything that regular points does better.

  34. Yonas June 20, 2017 8:22 am #

    I really hate this idea. Power Levels were never designed to and don’t capture the nuance of how the options a unit takes can drastically alter how powerful it is.

    The article cherry-picks knights as an example because Power Levels work reasonably well when comparing within that faction, but I can create a 50PL Daemons list that’s worth 534 points and an also 50PL Tau list that’s worth 1540 points. That’s a frankly obscene difference between two supposedly ‘equally powerful’ armies and the idea that a system with that much variation could be the basis for competitive play is laughable.

    It’s not a case of PL just being more generous than points – it’s that the degree to which it’s more generous varies wildly between factions and would result in chronic imbalance. We’ve seen from 7th edition just how powerful free points are, and make no mistake – using PL in competitive play is effectively identical to giving those factions whose units have expensive options available hundreds of extra points (for free) when compared to factions without those options.

    Anecdotes of “my group uses PL and we haven’t had balance issues” are less than worthless, because you guys aren’t cut-throat tournament players looking to squeeze every last drop of imbalance out of the system.

    I also find the assertion that removing list-building and optimization from the game makes for a more competitive environment ridiculous almost to the point of being insulting. Creating an optimal TAC list while accounting for the cost and performance of different options against the spread of opponents you expect to face is a huge skill factor and eliminating it from the game in name of simplicity (and reducing list-building down to spamming the units with the most expensive and flexible options and then picking which guns you want at the start of each game) would make the game drastically less competitive, not more.

    There are plenty of other things the article mentions that I vehemently disagree with, but those are the core reasons I think this is an awful idea.

    • Turok117 June 20, 2017 10:03 am #

      Well put! I almost hope this goes to a vote so I can stamp it with my strong disapproval.

  35. Brendan Gallagher June 20, 2017 10:18 am #

    yeah, your argument doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. You specifically pick an army with very few options to make your point that the difference isn’t that great between PL and Points. As a counter point

    10 Nobz – All with Killsaws, Kombi-skorchas, 10 ammo-runts, 2 cyborks = 680 points/21 power. In a 100 power that is 21% of your list, in 2k that is 34.5%. A difference of 13.5% or 270 points. That 13 point difference is the exact cost of a fully kitted out Boyz mob. Not a big difference? The same holds true for armies like deathwatch, or units like marine veterans. This shows that it is clear that GW realized if you made PL = Points for most kitted out, there would be units that were never taken, so they took an average level of upgrades, because the system wasn’t designed for competitive play (they say as much in the rules)

    The idea of a side board is interesting, but handling it through power level is a horrible method. That knight army you use in your example of how little difference there is between points and power, would get screwed by it because they lack options, and would end up facing entire lists of anti-tank every time. Further this approach is a huge buff to factions with generalist units vs specialists (Imperium, Tau) units that can take different weapons for different roles gain, whereas units that don’t have options suffer (Necrons, Eldar, Nids etc) so most non-imperium players need to try to make a TAC list, while Imperium lists always build to match the opponent. Sounds bad.

  36. colonel_havok June 21, 2017 2:07 am #

    This does explain why an imperial guard vet squad is so expensive power-level wise – 6 of the squadron can take special weapons of some kind. Thought they had been nerfed

  37. Timothy Roller June 22, 2017 8:53 pm #

    You didn’t take your examples through much of a ringer, did you? Let’s just do some math on IG vs Daemons.

    10 bloodletters, with banner and instrument (or without either), 5 PL. 125 points. (90 without gear)

    10 man infantry squad for IG without gear: 3 PL. 40 points.
    Same 10 man squad with full gear, reasonable loadout: 3 PL. 87 points
    Adds in a lascannon team, a melta gun, a vox caster, and a sergeant with plasma pistol and power axe. Not unreasonable.

    Multiply both squads by ten. 50 PL for the daemons, 30 for the IG.
    Points equivalence: 1250 points for daemons (max loadout), 400 points for the base guard. 870 for fully kitted guard.

    LOADING OUT YOUR GUARD IS NOT CHEESING IT. It’s absolutely standard, it’s literally what they need to survive as units. (For anyone about to make this argument).

  38. Lichtbringer June 26, 2017 6:40 am #

    Here is the fundamental problem with using Powerlevels instead of Points:

    GW will balance points (to some degree), but not powerlevels.

    So yes, no matter which system we use, we will have some units that do better. But in points a unit may be 10% better. In Powerlevels a unit may be 50% better.

    And don’t even get started with the different armies. Some armies get screwed by Powerlevels, while other armies love them. Now, some thing, some armies might be screwed by Points. But that will be changed!

    The only way to make Powerlevels work, is if GW balanced them, instead of Points.

    I like the Idea of a sidebar. I am not very excited about the Idea of swapping wargear/weapons before a game. I like that it would allow you to customize your Anti Vehicle vs Anti Infantry. But that’s why we have weapon profiles like Heavy 1 D6 damage / Heavy 6 D1 damage.
    If you want the flexibility, there are already options for it in the game.

    I am also not excited about it, probably because I play Eldar. What could I really swap out? I would always take all vehicle upgrades, I would always take the Aeldari Missilelauncher as a weapon on my vehicles / weaponplatforms. If a unit has the choice between weapons, I would always take the most expensive.

    Ive just gone through my entire Craftworld codex, I don’t think I would have any choice for wargear/weapons if I played Powerlevels. I don’t see cheaper stuff I would take in any situation.

    My Fireprism right now gets a boost in power, because it has 3 weapon profiles. That is build in to the system.

    And thats the problem. Changing weapons depending on your opponent would have to be supported by GW. The loadouts would need to be designed with that in mind.

  39. Tomguycot June 28, 2017 6:13 am #

    Some good points here but I just don’t see it working out at this time. I wasn’t even trying to game the system, just building 100 PL lists for Imperial Guard and Necrons in battlescribe. The Necrons usually came out to around 2200 points and the guard around 1850 to 1880. That’s a HUGE difference when you consider that one of the design decisions for 8th was to get away from “free” points in competitive play. The last thing we should do as a community is to go right back to it.

  40. Threllen June 28, 2017 7:04 am #

    The example given in the article using Imperial Knights was not a good example for showing why using power level is a flawed system. GW has come out and said that power level is an *average* of all the loadouts a squad can take. So obviously when you have a small amount of variance between loadouts – power level is quite a good system. As shown in the article, Imperial Knights have a pretty small range of points costs from their cheapest wargear to their most expensive.

    However, let’s take a look at a different kind of Knight – the Renegade Knight. Unlike Imp Knights, Renegade Knights have one single profile with much more customizability. The power level of a renegade knight is 23.
    The cheapest loadout is Heavy stubber, chainsword, and gauntlet. That’s 409 points. AKA – 17.8 points per power level.
    On the other hand the most expensive loadout is meltagun, gatling (with H flamer), gatling (with H flamer), and a stormspear missile pod. That’s 606 points. AKA – 26.35 points per power level and a whopping 197 points more than the other loadout *for the same power level.*

    Again, power level is a great, easy way to have a quick game. And it works great for units that don’t have any upgrades/customizability or units where the floor and ceiling of points values are very close. But not every unit is like that. Units with high variance in points cost are going to greatly overpowered using power level because they just need to max out their upgrades and become crazy efficient. The same power level can generate a giant swing in points (50% difference in the case of renegade knights) and effectiveness on the field.

    I do agree that it’s currently pretty complicated trying to make a list. Even if you’re not purposely gaming the system it’s really easy to let things fall through the cracks. Using Knights for yet another example – you never had to worry about paying for the heavy stubber that came with the model previously. Now you have to remember to add that in there. Also if you take the gatling cannon or the battle cannon you have to remember to add the secondary in-built weapons to the cost as well. The gatling cannon isn’t 100 points. It’s 100 points + 17 for the flamer. With that being said, promoting a system that is woefully inadequate for some armies is not the answer in my opinion.

    Hopefully GW will release an official army builder app in the near future, but until then everyone just needs to be hyper-diligent about making their list and checking it twice.

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