Chapter Tactics #79: 40k By the Numbers, a Pre-Nova Breakdown of All Faction Performances

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today Peteypab and the gang go over data pulled from thousands of games of 40k to look at which factions, and internal codex factions are performing well at tournaments.

Show Notes:

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  • Click here for a link for information on downloading best coast pairings app where you can find lists for most of the events I mention.
  • Check out the last episode of Chapter Tactics here. Or, click here for a link to a full archive of all of my episodes.
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About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

85 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #79: 40k By the Numbers, a Pre-Nova Breakdown of All Faction Performances”

  1. Avatar
    rvd1ofakind August 27, 2018 11:35 pm #

    Some weird audio issues with people repeating themselves and then skipping about 5 seconds.

    But other than that – woooo numbers! I swear you could have this episode every week and I’d happily listen.

    • Avatar
      rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 12:00 am #

      Also I’d like a link to the data :>

    • Avatar
      Yakhunter August 28, 2018 8:33 am #

      Yeah, the audio problem is all on me, Arctic internet can be hit or miss and it was a miss about halfway through our recording.

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 8:49 am #

        I don’t think it was you since everyone: Val, AP, etc was doing that. So it’s all on the recorder’s end. It was a really weird glitch, something like:
        “So next is the chaos daemons faction so next is the chaos daemons faction and this winrate is because…”

  2. Avatar
    rvd1ofakind August 27, 2018 11:39 pm #

    Honestly, I just want digital only rules. No need for flipping through FAQs, codexes, indexes, CA – just download a patch with patch notes, grab a tablet and you’re good to go. This would also be an easy way to change unit rules, traits, etc and not just points.

    • Avatar
      Anggul August 28, 2018 2:18 am #

      In theory I agree, but in practice I find it so much quicker and easier flipping through a book than scrolling through a file on a tablet.

      But yes, I do feel they need to be more willing to make bigger changes than just points, because some things don’t cost points.

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 2:34 am #

        It all depends on execution. If done properly the rules could very easily be faster to navigate on tablet due to the search function

  3. Avatar
    Zweischneid August 28, 2018 1:22 am #

    Cool stuff with the spread sheet.

    How many Drukhari Coven Detachments are there that aren’t Prophets of Flesh?

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy August 28, 2018 3:00 am #

      Zero that I have data for, but there are five DE detachments with unknown affiliation, so it’s possible that one or more of those is a non-Prophet.

      • Avatar
        N.I.B. August 30, 2018 1:01 am #

        Hey abusepuppy, or should I call you – Captain Cold!

    • Avatar
      Yakhunter August 28, 2018 8:40 am #

      Of the 5 unknown Drukhari sub-factions only 1 was coven that I know of and unfortunately the list did not include which one it was. I believe the detachment was just an HQ and 3 Talos so take what you want from that.

    • Avatar
      Venkarel August 29, 2018 10:24 am #

      Generally it is going to be PoF as the warlord trait, relic, and obsession trait are just head and shoulders above the others.

  4. John Lennon
    jifel August 28, 2018 8:43 am #

    You guys talk about how bad GK are, but may I ask what events are being referenced here? Because the #1 GK player in the ITC has gotten to 4-1 and top 5 in two separate Major/GTs since the Beta FAQ dropped, and also helped out our team a lot on the way to a top 8 ATC finish. But, I get the feeling that none of the events recorded here are from the South region.

    • Avatar
      Yakhunter August 28, 2018 9:53 am #

      The tournaments were all pulled within the last month and a half, all post-Imperial Knights codex release. The criteria I used to be included in the list were simple: the tournament needed to have at least 40 participants, I had to have access to at least 90% of the lists either via BCP or a forum/facebook and I had to be able to find the game scores.

      Tournaments included:
      Hammer of Wrath, Siegeworld 2018, Gencon, BAO, Capital City Bloodbath, Wintercon, WGCX Texas, the Northwest Open and the Tabletop Gaming Expo

      The datasheet will continue to grow go-forward with addendums to be able to filter out for tournament rulesets and dates (for those interested in how a particular FAQ or codex has impacted the tournament scene).

      I have no doubt in my mind that a strong player can make any codex work in this edition, btw, but these numbers do provide insight into what factions either need some love or a change in their base players’ mindsets in order to create a more balanced game.

    • Petey Pab
      Petey Pab August 28, 2018 10:30 am #

      Hey man, one person performing well isn’t always indicative of the faction’s performance as a whole. Unfortunately Grey Knights are not performing well at the largest singles events, and though your friend may have played a big part in your ATC success, the average person does not have the luxury of playing in a team format where a hyper specialized codex like Grey Knights have the tools to succeed.

  5. Avatar
    Ishagu August 28, 2018 9:30 am #

    Is Reece still going to claim that the Space Marine codex is good? Lol

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 28, 2018 9:41 am #

      I am, yes =)

      I am bringing them to NOVA so we can see if I can show that they can compete like last year. They of course have their shortcomings and some things I would like to see change but I still win far more games than I lose them them in a competitive setting. YMMV of course.

      • Avatar
        GhostValley August 28, 2018 10:57 am #

        I am rooting for you Reece. I mostly play Space Marines (Salamanders through a lot of 8th) and am always looking for new ideas to steal. One of my favourite armies from 7th edition is my Sentinels of Terra Scout list that I mostly stole from you.

        • Reecius
          Reecius August 28, 2018 11:29 am #

          Glad you enjoyed it! That army was so rad, haha.

          We’ll see how it goes, I feel confident. In test games I can compete with the net lists that are coming. I just have to play very well. My list has all the right ingredients but it is very unforgiving.

          • Avatar
            GhostValley August 28, 2018 12:13 pm

            Try to limit drinks and get some sleep. Easier said than done when attending these events

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 3:27 pm

            Indeed! I am coming to do my best this time. I even played the missions prior to coming! Lol, big change of pace for me. If I lose, I lose, but I am certainly coming to play my best.

    • Avatar
      Ujayim August 28, 2018 10:39 am #

      In a very endearing way, he’s very positive about the current state of the game.

      There’s almost no way for me to write this, even with it not being a directly negative remark, without him taking it that way, but there’s very little that’s “bad” to him in 8th, based on responses I see.

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 10:48 am #

        “Stompa/Fistellans/Kataphrons are soooooooo good”


        • Avatar
          Ujayim August 28, 2018 11:12 am #

          RVD is the opposite of that, and is very frank with things that aren’t good.

          A bit of hyperbole, but he’s not often wrong, either.

          Different side of the same meme.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 11:28 am

            You beat me to it, lol.

            And, he’s been on a rant for months that greater daemons suck, then I take Skrabrand out and go 4-1 at a GT and all of a sudden the story changes to “well Skarbrand is fine, but the other greater daemons suck!” lol.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 11:29 am

            The ying and the yang as it were

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 11:55 am

            Skarbrand is still hot garbage. But he’s hot garbage with outplay potential. He has nothing on stuff like knights, swarmlord or primarchs.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 3:24 pm

            And here, rvd1ofakind proves my point, haha.

            I (or anyone) takes a unit a unit that is “bad,” uses it to good effect but as it does not align with their views still sticks to their guns despite actual evidence to the contrary, lol.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 12:05 pm

            As far as perceived “backtracking” is concerned: that’s because of this communication system. It’s not a chat room, it’s not IRL, it’s not even an editable forum.

            In a live discussion this would’ve went:
            “greater daemons suck”
            “what about skarbrand”
            “ok, he doesn’t suck as much because he has unique potential”

            And Reece, well I’ve learned that to talk to you, I pretty much have to talk about every exception, scenario, etc or else you’ll find the one thing I didn’t mention and lach on to it, ignoring everything else.

            Finally 1 run proves nothing. Repeated success is what matters. GJ, Reece. You won with a few bad models in your list. They’re still bad. I’m sorry but I’d rather trust the opinion of Nick, Hooson, etc when it comes to competitive play, especially when it alligns with my opinion already.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 3:26 pm

            If you don’t care about my opinion then why are you always engaging me about it, lol? Just ignore me if you actually don’t care =)

            Also, as I know you don’t speak English as your native language (although you write it very well) I am and have been, just busting your balls.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 7:48 pm

            Oh, I have admited in the past where I was wrong – gretchin for example. There I was taking into account that the whole ork dakka thread was flaming the post and I was new to orks. I have learned since then to trust nobody but the best of the best.

            Why I engage you:
            1. You are one of the people responsible for testing the game
            2. You say everything is good (when IMO it clearly isn’t)

            That’s basically it. I’m trying to bring your attention to the problem. If one of the guys on BiF podcast were testers – I wouldn’t engage them. Because they, Nick included, trash the game constantly. No one likes living in a world of infinite CP batteries, Castellans, slammies, terrible factions like Grey Knights, Necrons, unpunished cherry picking from allies, etc except you and Frankie it seems. Maybe you don’t focus on that and that’s fine, but from the outside perspective – it feels that the testers are misguided.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy August 29, 2018 6:34 am

            Criticizing aspects of the game that are imperfect isn’t the same as “trashing” it; Nick, Colin, Mitch, et al all speak about the flaws they see in the game because they want to make it better in order for it to succeed. The presumption that criticism = hatred is one of the most damaging influences on many media today, most especially games and video games.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 29, 2018 7:35 am

            Poor choice of words. But the last 20 or so minutes of the Nick episode is pretty much just “this is terrible” “why is this a thing” “i hate it so much”.

            And obviously I don’t hate the game. Else I wouldn’t be here. Most of it is great. However certain aspects are so infuriatingly stupid that they sour the experience.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 29, 2018 11:09 am

            Dude, you look for the negatives though, lol. 8th has a few issues that continue to get hammered out but compared to previous editions it’s amazing. Try to sprinkle in some positivity in there and also just accept that a game with this many variables will never be even close to what you consider to be perfect. It’s a constant work in progress.

      • Avatar
        Mike D. August 28, 2018 10:54 am #

        Did you even play previous editions? I mean, this is the most fun 40K has been, ever!

        • Avatar
          Ujayim August 28, 2018 12:00 pm #

          I didn’t imply it wasn’t. I’m having a blast.

      • Reecius
        Reecius August 28, 2018 11:27 am #

        No offense taken, Ujayim. The thing, now being on the other side of the fence I just have a different perspective. Plus, in 8th, a good player really can win with any Codex–which has always been true–but more so now than ever.

        However, I have come to realize that gamers just like to see things in black and white as it makes it easier to cut through the massive amount of variables in the game. “Unit X is broken” and “unit Y is garbage”, etc. It just isn’t true. Often the only thing you have to do to get mileage out of a unit is to change the way you’re using it.

        It’s funny too, because I put my money where my mouth is all the time and go out and play “bad” armies and do well with them and yet I have found that it just sort of falls on deaf ears at times. Last year at NOVA I made the top bracket with pure Space Marines, had the second highest SoS at the event and the game that knocked me out I lost because I made a mistake, not because my list was bad, or whatever. Same with my Khorne Daemon army I went 4-1 with. Most people on the net would say Khorne Daemons are bad and Skarbrand was terrible, and yet, I almost won the event. The game I lost I lost because I clocked out, lol.

        And as I always say, I am not the best player out there by any means. I simply choose to trust my instincts on if a unit or list can work instead of looking for outside validation on it and more often than not, I am correct.

        So instead of dismissing a unit or codex outright, I find a lot of enjoyment in finding ways to make them work. If more people did that instead of going along with group-think, the community of competitive gamers would look at a lot of units in a different light, I think.

        • Avatar
          Ujayim August 28, 2018 11:58 am #

          I don’t, broadly, disagree with you.

          I felt pretty burned on my Tzeentch Daemons, and really let down by where they ended up. Mostly the lack of viability to retain a pure mono-god Daemon army, which was what I had been doing. Feels like it went from Psychic army to Gunline army, and if that’s what GW wants that what GW wants, but I can sympathize with folks who feel burned by some codex changes.

          Again, I agree with you on almost all of that.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 3:25 pm

            Yeah, all good. I mean, I always try to stick within theme for my lists, even when going to the most competitive events, as that is how I enjoy playing them game so I get your point.

        • Avatar
          GhostValley August 28, 2018 12:20 pm #

          I think one the things that gets left out with these x=good y=bad meta conversations or Space Marines cant win – is that you are a very good player. If more very good players took “mid tier” armies , we would see the win percentages go up and perceptions change.
          But when travelling to large events that people know will have 20-30 of the top players in the country participating, no one really wants to give their opponent any type of advantage. When players of equal skill face off – lists or dice can play a larger role. Which is why winning with an off brand list immediately grants Big-D Bandit status ( like the recent Blight Lord list )

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy August 28, 2018 2:46 pm

            Yeah, there is a world of difference between “this unit is bad” and “it is literally impossible to win with this unit in your army”- but a lot of people who feel like they need to defend units tend to take the former as the latter.

            Player skill and list strength (as well as dice luck, matchups, terrain, and missions) are all factors in whether a player wins with a list. It is entirely possible to win matches, or even a tournament, while using a weaker list- and especially in 8E, where the gaps between lists tend to be smaller than they were in previous editions, we’ve seen it happen a number of times. I think even the staunchest of advocates would have to admit that, say, Orks are currently well below the curve for armies, but even they have taken some GT wins now and again; that doesn’t prove that Orks are fine just with the index, it proves that some players with a lot of skill and a bit of luck can still win with the army they love, even if it has some major flaws.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 28, 2018 3:37 pm

            That’s the thing though, if good players don’t take them we don’t know what they’re actually capable of. It’s a catch 22.

            I agree with you though, and thank you for the kind words.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy August 28, 2018 3:58 pm

            I think you’ll find that good players _do_ take “underappreciated” lists a lot more often than most people expect… they just don’t take those lists to major events, because they typically are trying for a shot at winning those events. Of course, some players (such as Joshua Death and Sean Nayden) make a habit of bringing such off-kilter armies to tournaments because they like the originality and surprise factor of doing so, but even they are typically willing to admit that such armies are simply not as outright-powerful as the more run of the mill armies.

            “Underappreciated” lists that consistently do well at tournaments when people bring them quickly stop being underappreciated- and while there is a certain degree of the meta being determined by fads and trends (rather than just raw power of armies), competitive players will inevitably home in on the lists that are the strongest in the format once they are known- and BCP and other resources mean that no list remains unknown for long.

            There are many, many competitive players who like to innovate, because innovating a list carries a significant amount of prestige with it, not to mention the competitive advantage of playing a list that others are completely familiar with and versed in the strengths/weaknesses of. But the simple truth is that some armies (and some codices) are stronger than others; whether you’re willing to accept that and chase the most powerful list you can manage or whether you want to play with something you’re more familiar with and accept that you may lose some matches because you simply didn’t have the tools you needed is a personal decision, and not one that there is strictly a right or wrong answer to.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 28, 2018 7:38 pm

            Here are 2 situations when it comes to good players and bad units, and why you don’t see them taking it to GTs+ :
            1) Mathammer pretty much says the unit is worse than other similar units with no unique abilities
            2) They find out that the units is bad in private practice games/RTTs

            Basically – if you don’t see a unit in the competitive scene, it’s really bad. The good players usually play tons of games and if you think “hey why don’t they use this” when you look at tournament results – they most likelly did… and it sucked.

          • Avatar
            GhostValley August 28, 2018 7:44 pm

            Abuse Puppy – defintley agree that unit selection is key and I certainly don’t advocate that any unit can be a good unit in the right hands ( we had a lictor-shame but never did see a pyrovore shame). I have always felt that game time is a huge factor – players that can play fast and finish turns and don’t make mistakes under pressure do well – and their lists are venerated – but I believe that there are great builds in non top dexes that could produce consistently if each game went to six turns – but I fully understand that is not the debate at hand – I am just lamenting that the meta the broader Internet adopts and assumes as the top is actually a specific use case and a small sample size when viewing the game played world wide in basements and gaming stores. – but when listening to a competitive podcast about the tournament standard as played by the top players – I can’t find any fault in your statements

            Reece – no problem! I enjoy your positivity and will shamelessly buy any kool aid you sell.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy August 28, 2018 9:27 pm


            Not be a contrarian, but I think people tend to overstate the impact that round time has on players. I find that top players very often finish games to six turns, even when playing “slow” armies- I mean, the flavor-of-the-week list right now (IG/BA/IK) typically fields 80+ models in it, but no one seems to be complaining about it is “too slow to win games.” Similarly, several players have been doing extremely well with horde Tyranids and/or GSC lists, which field 150 or more models in many cases- but these players still finish their games.

            I think for the middle tables, game speed is definitely a concern; like anything, it is a skill that needs to be practiced. But the irony is that unless you actually play armies like that and practice with them, you’ll never become good at playing quickly with them. So if you think there’s a “good” list with 100+ models that you’ve been avoiding because you think you’ll go to time- by all means, start playing it. Maybe it will turn out to be less amazing than you thought, or maybe you’ll find you can play it quicker than you imagined, but don’t let the possibility of round times hold you back, because they certainly aren’t holding other players back.

          • Avatar
            Ghostvalley August 29, 2018 4:30 am


            You have attended and followed a great deal more events than I have so I certainly have nothing to go on other than my own bias. What you say is interesting though,

            A friend and I once logged all the dice thrown in a game. No context, just raw numbers. Was very surprised at the end that my impression of the dice skew was not aligned with the actual data. Of course without the situational data – when the 1s were rolled and what it meant to game state etc, it didn’t tell us much other than we could not rely on ourselves as reliable narrators

            That’s why I find topics like this podcast so valuable. I would love some 40k deep stats. Dice rolls with context, unit and army metrics measured against what was rolled, what they stakes were and on and on. Very hard to do – I’ll continue to hope that someone just rolls out a magic video program and everything will just be happy and nothing will hurt.

        • Avatar
          Commodore August 30, 2018 12:43 am #

          Okay, sorry I’m responding to this days late but I went and crunched a lot of numbers, and there’s a lot to get through so bear with me. The primary contention of a lot of people reading this is that this is evidence that some factions are *better* than others, but first we need to establish that some factions are actually winning more than others. To do this we do a categorical analysis of dependent proportions, using a Chi-squared test for difference in proportions, and get a test statistic of X=185 for a df=50 Chi-squared function, which gives a p-value so small it shows up as 0.000 in Stata.

          ***technical note: the reason we’re doing a chi-squared approximation even though I should be doing a Fisher’s exact test is that Fisher’s exact tests are extremely hard to compute when the numbers in the cells are large, which they are here, so my piddling 8gb ram core i-7 laptop was about to crap itself trying to compute it. Fortunately, a chi-squared approximation is very, very close in these circumstances so it’s fine.***

          So, from this we can definitely say that some of the factions are performing better than others, but *why* are they doing better? There are a few possibilities:
          1. The codices for the outperforming armies are stronger, so they win more.
          2. Better players prefer playing some armies, so those armies win more.
          3. Better players prefer armies that are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being better, so those armies win more.

          To check this I calculated the win rates of each army when it was a primary faction, as well as the win rates of those players when they chose alternative primary factions. For example, Sisters of Battle won 32.26% of games as a primary faction, but those same players won 51.67% of their games when Sisters of Battle were not their primary faction or not used at all. This helps give us a sense of how strong the players are when they are not affected by the codex in question. I will reproduce the key values below, along with a p-value for a Chi-squared test for difference in dependent proportions. Note that most of these differences have relatively large p-values so even though there might appear to be a large difference we cannot say, generally, that the codices overperform or underperform their players.

          Win Rates By Faction and Faction’s Players When Playing Alternative Factions–
          SoB: 32.26% – SoB Players: 51.67% (p=.145)
          SM: 37.84% – SM Players: 44.03% (p=.352)
          Custodes: 44.12% – stodes Players: 53.69% (p=.142)
          Guard: 55.06% – Guard Players: 55.70% (p=.857)
          Eldar: 49.11% – Eldar Players: 60.18% (p=.0088)***
          BA: 38.06% – BA Players: 54.70% (p=.0016)**
          Demons: 50% – Demons Players: 43.63% (p=.222)
          CSM: 44.44% – CSM Players: 56.83% (p=.037)**
          AdMech: 50% – AdMech Players: 43.89% (p=.562)
          DA: 41.98% – DA Players: 40% (n too small)
          DG: 43.61% – DG Players: 53.67% (p=.080)*
          DW: 51.61% – DW Players: 33.33% (n too small)
          DEldar: 54.08% – DEldar Players: 68.32% (p=.0014)***
          GSC: 46.15% – GSC Players: 58.75% (p=.187)
          Harly: 51.92% – Harly Players: 65.56% (p=.201)
          Knights: 54.24% – Knights Players: 52.64% (p=.624)
          Necrons: 40% – cron Players: 20% (n too small)
          R.Knight: 54.84% – R.Knight Players:52.38% (p=.79)
          SW: 32.26% – SW Players: 55.15% (p=.056)*
          Tau: 50.78% – Tau Players: 16.67% (n too small)
          TSons: 54.95% – TSons Players: 49.66% (p=.352)
          Nids: 40.86% – Nid Players: 52% (p=.258)
          Ynnari: 70.75% – Ynnari Players: 51.90% (p=.0128)**

          *: significant at 10% level
          **: significant at 5% level
          ***: significant at 1% level
          n too small means that too few players played different primary factions for me to feel comfortable using an approximate test. Additionally, Orks and Grey Knights players, bless their hearts, couldn’t bring themselves to try other armies so they don’t get numbers.

          From this we can see a few things:
          1. Eldar, Dark Eldar, CSM and Blood Angels players significantly outperformed their codices, meaning when they chose to play another primary they won significantly more often. This indicates that these players may be stronger than their codex’s results would imply
          2. Ynnari players statistically significantly underperformed their codex. This indicates that these players may be weaker than their codex’s results would imply.

          My best guess is that Eldar and Dark Eldar players performed better by selecting Ynnari as their primary detachment instead. Additionally, this suggests that all of the other codices are not performing statistically better or worse than what would be expected based upon the win rates of the players who have selected those codices for their primary detachments. So, to directly address Reece’s argument about Space Marines, it would appear that the Space Marines codex does not attract much play from stronger or more competitively minded players. This may be because the codex is perceived as being weaker, but it does not significantly over or underperform the players.

          We can now approach the question of whether certain codex players perform better than others. Without getting into every combination, because that would leave this post far too long, the answer is yes. Many of these groups statistically significantly outperform each other. For example, Harlequins players, when not playing Harlequins, win 65.56% of their games, compared to 44.03% for Space Marines players not playing Space Marines; which we can be 98.36% certain are statistically different from one another. This is further evidence that the codices have attracted players of different levels of strength, rather than suggesting that the codices themselves are strong or weak.

          So lets reevaluate the initial three propositions
          1. Are some codices are outperforming each other?
          One and only one, the Ynnari codex wins more often than would be expected from the win rates of its players when those players are not playing Ynnari primary.

          2. Do better players prefer some armies, causing them to win more?
          Yes, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Chaos Space Marines and Blood Angels players underperform when using those armies as their primaries compared to their own performances on other primaries. Note, however, that Eldar and Dark Eldar are probably underperforming because their alternative is Ynnari, which we just showed is statistically overperforming. Consequently, the Ynnari-Eldar-Dark Eldar disparities are most likely all derivative of one problem.

          3. Do better players prefer some armies because they’re perceived to be better, causing those armies to appear to be good?
          Plausibly, but also unclear. Certainly stronger players prefer certain codices, and certainly those codices have a reputation for being strong, but generally speaking each codex is performing within the expected range of its quality of player. This is, in many ways, an extension of the previous question, but a much harder one to answer because it contains a cultural component. Overall, it is not clear what attracts good players to any particular codex.

          Anyway, I know that this post is long, and you should give yourself a pat on the back if you bothered to finish it. If you take nothing else away from this post then remember the following: don’t listen to the podcast and hear that some army has a 47% win rate and think that it must be bad compared to an army with a 55% win rate. Statistically, it’s the player that makes the codex good or bad and you’re not going to change how good of a player you are by changing your codex.

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 30, 2018 4:06 am

            Great post! Thanks for commenting.

          • Avatar
            WestRider August 30, 2018 1:41 pm

            Thanks for doing that analysis, and such a clear write-up of it. I only vaguely recall this sort of stat work from college ages ago, so the explanations are really helpful.

          • Avatar
            Yakhunter August 30, 2018 8:29 pm

            Hey Commodore, this is very interesting data. Can I ask you to clarify what lists you are using for the Chi-Square analysis when you say you are comparing win rates of primary armies when those same players chose alternate primary factions? I just want to make sure we are on the same page here as there are only 31 players with more than 1 list in this document. Are you comparing to an alternate data set? Just curious as the old sociologist in me is kicking in.

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            Commodore August 31, 2018 8:25 pm

            Yakhunter, I’m not sure I’m reading this dataset properly. For example, and not to pick on any person in particular I’m just going from the front of the alphabetical sort, AJ Johnson, August 18, is listed as Dark Angels primary, Dark Angels Secondary, Blood Angels secondary. I’m not sure how he can have Dark Angels as his primary and Dark Angels as not his primary without have two lists.

            Also, thank you for making me take a second look at the primary/secondary entries, because I now notice that they’re entered as 1 and missing. Unfortunately, Stata in its infinite (read: gormless) wisdom treats missing values as “greater than any value currently recorded in the file. You’d think that might be okay, because value* is still , but it’s actually thrown off the whole thing. So regardless of whether or not I’m reading the data correctly I know the analysis above is still going to be off.
            (For anyone who cares about the specifics of what happened, my code missed the distinction between primary and secondary when calculating alternative faction win rates by player, so the cross comparisons ended up being the win rate of primary faction, e.g. Death Guard, compared to the win rates of those players across all other factions, not just primary factions. This is bad because it’s an “apples to oranges” comparison)

            I’m going to redo this, but to make sure that how I’m reading primary/secondary doesn’t screw it up I’m just going to do the analysis by faction and ignore primary/secondary distinctions altogether. So, to pick on Mr. Johnson again, on August 18th he played both Blood Angels and Dark Angels. He played six games and went 2-4. That’s a 2-4 record assigned to each faction, making no distinction which was primary. So, if we imagine that Mr. Johnson is the entire population of Dark Angels players, then we would say that Dark Angels players have a 2-4 record when playing Dark Angels and they have a 2-4 record when playing other factions (even though, yes, all of these games were played with both Dark Angels and Blood Angels, but we’ll get to that).

            Repeat this process for all players, across all tournament appearances and we can say something like “the population of Blood Angels players win x% of their blood angels games and y% of their games that involve all other factions.” Note that involving all other factions does *not* mean that those games didn’t involve Blood Angels. Consequently, those two percentages are not independent from one another. It’s actually okay to have dependency in the proportions. The classic example we teach students is surveying how people feel about various politicians, obviously if you like one side you’re going to be more likely to dislike the other side, hence dependency in the proportions. Fret not, this is why we have to do a chi-squared test for differences in dependent proportions rather than a regular t-test for difference in means, because we don’t want biased results.

            When I do the chi-squared tests for difference in dependent proportion I, unfortunately, now get a whole lot of null results. Basically, very few of the faction groups significantly over/underperform when playing other factions instead of or in addition to the faction in question, and a lot of this is driven by the fact that the other faction games are the same games as the faction in question. These null results don’t really tell us much, because the absence of evidence for a difference is not evidence for an absence in the differences. This is much more uncertain than before because I’m no longer getting to make the clear distinction between “primary – not primary,” and am instead in the vague realm of “other or in addition to.” Basically, if I ignore primary faction (because I’m not sure if I’m reading the spreadsheet right) and fix my error with missing values the results just become very unclear.

            That said, there is one, illuminating, exception, Imperial Guard. The population of Imperial Guard players won significantly more often (63.17%) when playing games where they had any other factions either instead of or in addition to their Guard (52.33%); p-value for difference in proportions < .0001, even assuming df=1. My guess is that this is entirely driven by Guard CP batteries powering up other codexes to make them even stronger, so if you bring only Guard you're going to have a much rougher time than if you're bringing the Standard Guard Detachment to power up some other army.

            tl;dr I flubbed up my code before and now the results are just uncertain altogether, except that Guard players do *much* better when playing other factions instead of or in addition to their Guard, but you didn't need me to spend my night doing chi-squared tests to figure that out for yourself. Everyone can now return to their regularly scheduled bickering about factions being overpowered or underpowered ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • Avatar
            Commodore August 31, 2018 8:33 pm

            Huh, I wrote a sentence using ‘less than’ missing ‘greater than’ to mean a missing number and it literally caused the word to disappear, because it’s, well, missing. I’m slowly learning how this website is coded.

            The sentence should read “You’d think that might be okay, because value*missing is still missing…”

          • Avatar
            Yakhunter September 1, 2018 6:13 pm

            Thank you for the explanation, it mostly fits what I assumed was occurring here.

            To explain how AJ can show up as having both a ‘primary’ and ‘not primary’ Dark Angels detachment; part of the analysis I wanted to grab included the # of detachments being used, as well as sub-faction counts and win-rates. This lead to each detachment requiring its own line of data. Thus, if a person runs 2 Dark Angels detachments in their list and a Blood Angel detachment, 1 Dark Angel detachment gets tagged as the primary and the other as a secondary for counting purposes. I have other columns that then filter out any non-unique faction/subfaction secondary detachments for a player to ensure there is no ‘double-dipping’ in the Win % and average VP columns in the respective pivot tables that could skew the data.

  6. Avatar
    redmapa August 28, 2018 3:04 pm #

    Well now that theres hard data to corroborate the crappiness of the SM codex I do hope the Chapter Approved helps them. At this point I will take anything but would prefer to see some buffs to assault based armies within the codex because as it stands (and its been the case since 6th edition) Black Templars and assault in general are an afterthought and GW has always seemed scared to buff assault in the Vanilla Codex while giving out good stuff for the other chapters.

    Give us something GW! 8 years of pure crap is a long freaking time.

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 28, 2018 3:41 pm #

      I agree they have their weaknesses. But I do not agree with people say Space Marines are terrible, or what you as that does not align with the reality I have experienced.

      I mean, I just went to an event and went 2-1 with pure Marines and the game I lost to a Eldar Soup list I lost because turn one a vehicle randomly exploded and did 21 Mortal Wounds to me before I got to act, lol. Even so, I only lost by 2 points to what most people would consider to be a superior list. Had it not been for that insane explosion I likely win by quite a bit. But, I didn’t and it wasn’t due to the fact that my army was inherently bad but due to a lucky break for him and in retrospect, a bad deployment on my part.

      All that said, some points changes in Chapter Approved would go a long way, I agree.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy August 28, 2018 3:51 pm #

        The ability to absorb bad luck and still win is part of what makes a good list. Although bad (or good) luck can affect any player, players and armies that consistently fall prey to getting one unlucky thing going wrong and having their plan collapse are lists that are flawed from the get-go.

        It doesn’t mean you can’t ever win with a list like that, but there’s a reason that certain kinds of lists can consistently win RTTs and GTs, but struggle to win Major events- needing to go six, eight, or nine rounds without taking a loss is a steep prospect, and it demands a list that is extremely reliable and that has multiple redundant ways to get around failures of dice.

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        redmapa August 28, 2018 4:01 pm #

        Good for you Reecius, I do agree with you that 8th ed the power gap is much closer and some of the lower end codices can win against the upper tier armies. My gripe isnt so much with the Codex itself but rather the direction and treatment of Black Templars in the codex since 6th edition. They havent been good, the codex doesnt support a close combat army beyond just using all the characters at once so the whole theme of the army is just and afterthought and has always been since 6th ed, hell I still remember Angels of Death the supplement for the codex they were supposed to be in where they didnt get anything and now recently its not like the FAQ did the army any favors, now you either spam rhinos or you might as well change to another chapter tactic.

        I would like to have stratagems that are actually useful beyond just two or three that are incredibly situational, I would like to have a codex where making an assault army is an option instead of just an excuse to shoot myself in the foot by using a sub-optimal theme in a sub-optimal codex.

      • Avatar
        Bananathug August 29, 2018 8:49 am #

        First, thanks for all the hard work you’ve done to improve and promote this game. It’s obvious that you are invested in making 40k the best game that it can be and even taking the time to go through comments and read them much less reply to them shows just how dedicated you are. That being said…

        “Hard data from many sources directly contradicts my personal experience but my personal experience is obviously right…”

        Come on man. All the hard data from BCP points to marines being one of the least powerful factions in 8th edition. How does your personal experience invalidate the data of thousands of games? At what point does the fact that you hold an opinion contrary to most competitive players (even those in your own company) create a “is everyone else wrong or just me” moment?

        Nova last year wasn’t even the same game. No DE dex, no Knight dex, no rule of 3, no deepstrike restrictions…Come on bro.

        Just look at the price difference and stats between a disintegrator cannon and a grav cannon as an example of the up hill climb marines have. Helvrins vs predators. Heck even a stormwolf vs stormraven.

        The abundance of -2 ap + d2 multi-shot weapons has pretty much removed primaris as a competitive unit (check how many winning SM lists run a significant amount).

        Marines are at a mathematical disadvantage in most contests and are so lacking in certain ones that creating a TAC list that has a chance of winning vs hordes/knights is very difficult (which is backed by thousands of games vs the handful that you personally have played).

        Closing your eyes and chanting “Marines are fine” doesn’t do anything to help the state of the game.

        It’s going to take more than “some points changes” to make marines a competitive dex. The strats are terrible (probably my biggest gripe if there were good strats it could go a long way to salvaging the dex), vehicles are made of paper, psychic powers are maybe the worst in the game, lack of invuln saves, assault units are bad, dev centurians, bolters don’t work as anti-horde, tacs are significantly less durable per point than guardsmen…

        None of that makes it “impossible to win games” but it does create a situation where marine players are more reliant on the dice gods than a significant portion of the other armies in the game (GK, Crons and maybe AdMech among factions with dexes are in the same boat).

        • Avatar
          rvd1ofakind August 29, 2018 10:22 am #

          This is some quality shit right here.

        • Reecius
          Reecius August 29, 2018 11:06 am #

          Thanks for the kind words.

          But yes, I do hold the opinion that you can (and I still do) win with pure marines. Not just at NOVA, but as recently as two weeks ago I got second place with them at an RTT.

          I’m not saying every unit in the book is good, they’re clearly not. Nor I saying the basic marine statline is good (in fact I’ve said numerous times and on this podcast that their fundamental statline is not reflective of their points cost or fluff).

          What I am saying is that I’ve continued to play them against some of theost competitive lists in the game and won more often than not. So, yeah, they’re not terrible and in fact have some gems in there that can do some serious work.

          Why they perform poorly, I couldn’t say. It’s not a head in the sand moment for me, I am honestly relaying not just my opinion on the matter but the objective reality of my experiences based on real games played in a competitive setting. Clearly not everyone is experiencing the sector success but that doesn’t make my experiences false, lol.

          • Avatar
            bananathug August 31, 2018 3:15 pm

            Reece is killing it at Nova with a SM list lead by Guilliman. The man put his proverbial money where his mouth is and looks like crow is on the menu for me. 3-0 so far at Nova and playing well. Scouts + scout bikers seem like they are doing well with the sternguard in support.

            Hopefully we hear more about how the list performed but from this distance it looks like he’s been able to outplay his opponents so far. Although that first round loss at the invite looked bad turning that around to a 3-0 start at Nova is pretty awesome.

            Keep up the good work. Let us know how you are putting down knights with bolters and good on you for showing us how it’s done…(god that hurt to write)

          • Reecius
            Reecius August 31, 2018 6:56 pm

            Going well so far 🙂 thanks for the kind words and I’ll certainly do a writeup afterwords.

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            rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 7:29 pm

            Yeah but he lost the invitational round 1 to Stephen, who lost to Nick round 3, who lost next round anyway.

            In the open so far he’s faced 3 people not on the list in the ITC. So that’s 3 complete nobodies vs Reece (who is really really good at the game because he plays (probably) every day).

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 1, 2018 3:52 am

            Dude, lol, calling people nobodies is pretty damn rude, particularly considering they probably read this blog. You may want to rethink those types of comments.

            And play every day? What, lol? We have a business to run which is extremely demanding. Most weeks I work at least 6 days, typically for 9 to 10 hours a day if not more. I’m lucky to get 1 competitive game in a week.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 7:44 pm

            And about the invitational: it looks like Steve only won against his round 2 opponent (Matt) because of the 1” charge from deepstrike because he landed on top of a ruin and charged straight down (FLY ignores vertical distance). Matt obviously did not know this as he didn’t place a single model on the ruin, which would’ve prevented the play.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind September 1, 2018 4:57 am

            Yeah “nobodies” might be a bit too strong. However I really doubt people not on the list (there are 0 pts people there) are reading this. Especially this huge thread.

            And you may not play competitive games every day, but playing even test games helps you makes less mistakes in the game due to repetition.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind September 1, 2018 9:16 pm

            honestly I have no idea how you won game 4

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 2, 2018 2:10 pm

            I played it correctly. My army easily has enough shots to plow through the bodies, it just came down to positioning, timimg and a little luck.

        • Avatar
          trantatrus August 30, 2018 6:27 pm #

          Dude he’s allowed to be of the opinion that an army’s hard data doesn’t reflect it’s potential – so often the groupthink, the aesthetic popularity, or just specific players can affect these statistics. He feels otherwise, and he’s taking the time to go out and play it at events. I don’t even agree with him, but just weight of numbers of people disagreeing with him isn’t an argument – you know how many times this community has been wrong or has looked over a unit?

          “Closing your eyes and chanting “Marines are fine” doesn’t do anything to help the state of the game.”

          This sort of hyperbole is just unnecessary.

          You do NOT need to take it this personally that someone said he thinks Marines aren’t that bad and is planning on playing them

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 1:26 am

            This isn’t some random person. Reece is responsible for testing the game and creating everything about the ITC. He should know better. It feels as if he’s afraid to admit that he didn’t test the game properly. You can’t let the game be tested by normal/nice people. You should give the game to complete WAAC guys that spam and do whatever it takes to break the game. Not to Reece and Frankie, who play space marines vs slaanesh daemons.

            How’d that invitational go BTW. :^)

          • Avatar
            Trantatrus August 31, 2018 5:41 am

            He should know better than to form his own opinions and test them for himself? God you act like the guy writes the codexes. This kind of absurdity just encourages people to put far more weight in his opinion over your own, you can disagree with him without trying to rebuke him for daring to disagree with the groupthink.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 7:35 am

            I don’t think a person would be so upset if he didn’t own marines. He probably tested them on the table, saw the mathammer and saw the tournament results – all of which made him realise that Space Marines SUCK in 8th ed. Then there’s Reece saying “nah, they’re fine”.

  7. Avatar
    abusepuppy August 28, 2018 4:03 pm #

    For those who want to view the sheet for themselves:

  8. Avatar
    Ishagu August 29, 2018 3:04 am #

    If Reece can take a list comprising mostly Centurions, Assault Marines, Hunters, Land Speeders and Tactical Terminators and win most of his games then I’ll be very impressed lol

    Go on sir!

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 29, 2018 10:52 am #

      Lol, that would be impressive. like I said, they have weaknesses and some units really struggle, I agree. I’m not saying every unit is an all star. What saying is you can win with the army in a competitive setting.

  9. Avatar
    N.I.B. August 29, 2018 5:31 am #

    The topic starts at 10.33

  10. Avatar
    JesseS August 29, 2018 11:02 am #

    I play Tyranids, GSC, and Necrons (and no allied in AM) and am pleased to see them being all solidly middle of the pack.

    I, personally, care a lot less about the overall strengths and am hoping that Chapter Approved takes a long look at internal balance. What I mean is, Tyranids are at a fine place as a Codex overall, but I’d really like the Haruspex and Maleceptor to be looked at and brought up to the standard of the rest of the book.

    Every unit doesn’t need to be great, I still take my Toxicrene even though its meh because I love the model, but the Haru is just a raging disappointment in every game I play.

    • Avatar
      N.I.B. August 30, 2018 9:52 pm #

      Jesse, Nids and Necrons are in the lowest 3rd of all 29 factions, so not really ‘solid in the middle’. Unless you have a generous definition of the middle. As an ideal, win rate of all factions should be 50%.

      I agree with you about the bad internal balance of Tyranids, every faction have their stinkers but it feels like Tyranids have the most.
      I wouldn’t hold my breath in hopes for CA to sort that out though.

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 7:31 pm #

        According to Nick Nanavati (if you ask anyone to make a top 3 best 40k players, he WILL be on it), nids are top 4 but are really really hard to play properly.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy August 31, 2018 10:47 pm #

        >every faction have their stinkers but it feels like Tyranids have the most.

        This is the list of units in the Tyranid codex I would consider strong enough to use in a top-tier competitive list:

        Hive Tyrant, Swarmlord, Malanthrope, Neurothrope, Hormagaunt, Termagant, Genestealer, Ripper Swarm, Zoanthrope, Hive Guard, Venomthrope, Gargoyle, Spore Mine (and its variations), Carnifex, Biovore.

        That is a pretty large and diverse list. Not a lot of codices can boast that many strong units.

        • Avatar
          rvd1ofakind August 31, 2018 11:48 pm #

          Uhhhh not sure about gargoyles, but other than that – yeah. Tyranids are the army I want to collect the most (gameplay wise). So much stuff you can do with them. But I think 4 armies is enough for now :p (12k of daemons, so might as well count em as 4 armies xD )

  11. Avatar
    John August 29, 2018 12:13 pm #

    Will the data that you guys talked about in the podcast be posted?

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy August 30, 2018 4:16 am #

      It already was. Look at my post just above this one.

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