This Week in the ITC 10-12-18: Standardized Lists and Hard Data!?

Hello, fellow Warhammer 40k fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio, and one of the Las Vegas Open Head Judges, here to bring you a wrap up of this week in the ITC.If you follow my articles here on Frontline Gaming or you tune into TFG Radio on a regular basis than you’ll no doubt be aware of my opinion on how Competitive 40k needs to change and progress in order to become a more legitimate, “professional”, style game. I wrote an article a while back about the stumbling blocks to Pro 40k. In it I raise a few points about how 40k needs to change to become something that can be seen as a Pro level game. I’ve also been a broken record when it’s come to uniform list formats since 5th edition. I had this conversation on Facebook the other day and Michael Snider, a great GSC player in Idaho, reminded me that I was harping on this way back when he met me for the first time. It’s been a while now that I’ve wanted uniform list format, mandatory early submissions to BCP, and tightened rules of conduct for players. All of which would bring our beloved game of Competitive 40k closer to the realm of being a “pro” game. In terms of mandatory BCP list submissions, we’re there pretty much. In terms of a uniform list format, well, we could be and the benefits of it just went through the roof!

The Iron Halo GT was used as a testing ground for a uniform list format through BCP which enabled the guys at Best Coast Pairings to get some crazy data from the event! Just by using a uniform list submission format via the Best Coast Pairings app the BCP guys got us the amazing data below.


This type of data is indispensable to players, TOs, Judges, even Games Workshop. We can math hammer and theory hammer online until the cows come home. Speak anecdotally and discuss what occurs in our meta, local GTs, and basements until we’re blue in the face. But the data doesn’t lie, and what we’ve been without all these years in competitive 40k is hard data. Hard data of the sort and magnitude that can prove one way or the other the direction of the meta, which lists do well, what factions are played most and perform best, and there’s so much room for potential. With a uniform list format, submitted through BCP, it could even be possible to break down the percentage of which units are used in winning lists, games, or round by round in an event. This kind of data at the disposal of the players could create an even more finely tuned idea of where the meta is at and allow for players to come up with new builds that can more effectively counter the older dominant builds. It’s a truly exciting time to be playing 40k competitively, which means you are probably playing in the ITC and using the BCP app. That brings me to my overall point for this week’s article. It’s a short one because I want to get you to focus.

If we want this game to go to the next level, and I am sure you do by the fact you’re reading this article on Competitive 40k, then there are a few things we are going to have to commit to. One of those things is a universal list submission format. The ETC format (page 14 in the link) is a great one; simple and easy to use, it also has the benefit of working with what Best Coast Pairings has developed in order to get this data. I know people get attached to their way of playing, organizing, running events. Especially in 40k. In reality though, when you look at the games out there 40k is almost alone in not having a standardized list format. It’s time, for the good of the game on several levels, that we adopt one. It will make it easier to check the lists for errors, it will make it easy to assess lists across all the events, and the best part is the standardized list will allow for the BCP app to aggregate all this data, from all these lists and events into something really useful, and honestly, beautiful. As a Las Vegas Open 40k Head Judge I don’t get to dictate if we go this route for the LVO this year, but if the idea is floated by the Judges for our opinions, you know where I stand. Just think how much better these weekly ITC wrap up articles would be will all this data, and standardized easy to read lists, week in week out. I would really like to write those articles for you, and I would enjoy playing and judging that game a hell of a lot too.

Let me know what you think in comments as usual. I’m off to play Call of Duty Black Ops 4, the servers just went live and I am going to work tired tomorrow, I’m not going to argue about it.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



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.

26 Responses to “This Week in the ITC 10-12-18: Standardized Lists and Hard Data!?”

  1. Kevin Lantz October 12, 2018 1:21 am #

    I totally agree, I love data like this… which brings me to some questions about the graphics…

    Is there a key or label somewhere I’m missing? the brown banner that says “most common” what is it most common of? tau seem to be roughly 12% of the pie in the top left, but under most common is 7 of 22 or some unknown thing… although the tyrannid part of the pie seems larger than the tau.

    There are two rings, they seem to be aliens/heretics vs imperium ring I’m assuming.

    Then the last says Top Fives…. I’m assuming in number taken, but one is small and other seems in thousands or it a decimal and if that’s the case what’s it mean? and I don’t think there nine thousand + knight crusaders….

    • Just asking questions October 12, 2018 2:44 am #

      I am pretty sure that the 2nd bar graph is the total number of points spent on that unit.

    • kevin lantz October 12, 2018 3:27 am #

      yeah and I’m guessing the bottom left is based off the upper right as far as “mono faction” but that seems a bit of work to tease out.

      Then the value changing on the bar graft from points spent on to number of units seems silly.

  2. Just asking questions October 12, 2018 2:43 am #

    Can you please provide a link to the ETC list formatting.

  3. yukondal October 12, 2018 7:46 am #

    Imperial Knights are Imperium

    • SaltyJohn October 12, 2018 8:21 am #

      Hyperlink added to the ETC doc in the article. Page 14, I think.

    • BCPCasey October 15, 2018 9:54 am #

      Yes but, they are such a large percentage of the overall Imperium it seemed worth while to highlight.

  4. Mark F October 12, 2018 7:50 am #

    A standardized list format sounds great. It sounds like you’re proposing that people adopt the ETC list format as the standard format. Is that the case? If so, for those of us not familiar, what exactly is the ETC list format? Or is it defined somewhere on their website or something? If not ETC, what’s an even better format that you would propose get adopted?

    I’m not trying to be overly critical or anything. I just feel like your article did everything except take that final step of explicitly saying “this is the format I think we should use”. Which leaves it up to each person to interpret it on their own. Which will lead to people coming up with different answers. Which defeats the purpose in the first place.

    • SaltyJohn October 12, 2018 8:20 am #

      Hyperlink added to the ETC doc in the article. Page 14, I think. In reality, I didn’t want to specifically advocate for a single format too forcefully as I don’t want people misinterpreting/misunderstanding and think that the Las Vegas Open is now demanding this format because Head judge so and so wrote this article. That said I think the ETC format is the best I have seen so far.

  5. Paul Winters October 12, 2018 8:01 am #

    Could we get further break down on Drukhari and Chaos Daemons? These codices are unique in that they aren’t really sub-factions (Ultramarines vs Raven Guard) or variants (Blood Angels vs Dark Angels). Rather more like mini codices on to themselves. As they restrict what units may be taken in a detachment.

    Knee-jerk the majority of Chaos Daemons are Nurgle Daemon detachments and Drukhari is a mix of Prophets of Flesh and Black Heart Kabal.

    • Yakhunter October 12, 2018 1:36 pm #

      The Chaos Daemon detachments at iron halo were: 6 Chaos Undivided, 6 Nurgle (I believe actually 5 Nurgle Daemon and one Nurgle Mixed Daemon/Astartes), 2 Slaanesh, 2 Khorne and 1 Tzeentch. That is out of 15 lists that had some kind of Daemon representation.

      Drukhari detachments were 5 Kabal of the black heart, 1 flayed skull and 1 cult of the cursed blade.

      • Ujayim October 12, 2018 4:12 pm #

        RIP my beloved Tzeentch, still paying for the sins of Brimstone horrors.

  6. rvd1ofakind October 12, 2018 8:51 am #

    Alright mr. rules guy. I got 2 questions:
    1. Some unit teleports/redeplots, person says they can warptime it because they remove the “treat them as reinforcements” from the “heavy weapons get a penalty after teleporting” FAQ. However the rulebook still says they are reinforcements as they are being set up mid turn and the SM FAQ says that you can Auspex Scan them (which works only on reinforcements and it wasn’t an errata to add “reinforcements and redeployments)

    What’s the ruling.

    2. Do you really think Nid spores that say something along the lines of “always start in deeptrike and always deploy turn 1” are now literally unplayable? I feel like the specific rule should beat the broad FAQ in this case.

  7. Some dude October 12, 2018 12:35 pm #

    You would win over 90% of players straight away if you could get battlescribe to set it as a formatting option.

    • Kevin Lantz October 12, 2018 10:08 pm #

      For sure, super easy that way

  8. vybert October 13, 2018 12:23 am #

    Hate to play critical evaluater for ya it to ya bro… but on this one you are like the worst of both Maxine Waters and Michael Enzi. 90ish% of 40k players at the tournament level (in my random musing opinion), even if they want to enjoy the competitive aspect and want a balanced environment to enjoy the best one on one game possible could really give a sh## about the “going Pro” position.

    Yes, there is some value to being able to collate data, but by harder to the competitive side of BCP has a standardized format, do we run the risk of alienating the average player which we all agree makes this game thrive. Balance is important and be careful how far we push about “requiring” standard format blah blah blah, otherwise we could become a smaller pond

    • Dakkath October 13, 2018 8:54 am #

      You seem really angry about the idea of having a standardized way of presenting army lists so that TOs and opponents can read them quicker and check for mistakes easier.

    • SaltyJohn October 14, 2018 10:26 am #

      Getting beyond your weird political rant I fail to see the relevance of what you’re saying. Are you attempting to say that average players will leave simply because they’re asked to submit their lists in a simple, universal, format? We’ve instituted far more restrictive measures on players for the Las Vegas Open, such as 3 color minimum and mandatory list submission to BCP, and it’s only ever grown by the hundreds year after year. An odd stance to take, but ok.

  9. Donthemagnificent October 13, 2018 3:24 am #

    The lack of death guard representation is making me sad. I think I have to go to more tournaments.

  10. Asmeralda October 14, 2018 6:48 pm #

    I do not have a problem with a standard list format. I do have a problem with making one mandatory that costs money. From what I understand for Best Coast Pairings you have to pay a monthly fee. While I get that it is not much I do not believe in forced costs unto a player base. I have zero interest in paying for an app that I will only use 1-2 times a year. Warzone Atlanta is requiring battlescribe which has a free option. My 2 cents.

    • WestRider October 14, 2018 7:05 pm #

      BCP Player App is free. As is list submission via the website. Paying lets you see more info about events you didn’t attend, get lists from them and such, and I believe the TO App has a fee as well, but what John’s advocating here doesn’t even cost one of your two cents 😉

  11. Vernon Burt October 15, 2018 6:44 am #

    One of the most common is listed as AM+IK+BA/Necron. How do you field necrons in a list with Imperium?

    • Reecius October 15, 2018 7:35 am #

      The slash means or Necrons. So, there were as many Necron armies as the Imperial Soup combo.

      • mike October 15, 2018 11:47 pm #

        AHA! Caught you using the word “soup” to describe a list with pure detachments taken together!

        (Just tired of so many people claiming that “soup” is LITERALLY ONLY if you do a mixed detachment.)

  12. Kdash October 18, 2018 6:11 am #

    So, my first thoughts on this, in regards to standardised lists was, “Great! This should be done anyway!”. Nearly all events ask you to submit a list in a certain format. 90% of the lists submitted fail to match the format 100%, 25% of the submissions don’t even bother and just copy/paste battlescribe. Nothing is ever enforced with it though.
    You then say use BCP. This, I have a slight issue with. If you want BCP to be the standard you need to do the following things – 1. Make the app work 100% of the time on all devices with easy pin reset options when there are issues submitting lists. The app has -never- worked for me when submitting scores. Ever. 2. Rather than have lists be uploaded via picture, have a list building piece of software in the app and on the website for players to use to submit their lists. You then automatically get a standard format AND the ability to pull all the data you want and know (to a reasonable extent) that the information will be correct and detailed. I presume you can somehow link it to battlescribe or something if BCP don’t want to create their own list building software.
    I also agree that Imperial Knights should be in the “Imperium” section. If the reason was “because they have a high representation” then others probably should have been too. I also don’t get why there are 2 different pie charts for “imperium” and “everything else”, and there appears to be factions shown in the charts but not given a legend. If you want to showcase the stats by faction you should group them together entirely – oh, and actually provide things like percentages on the charts and have them in some kind of order, numerically or alphabetically, rather than randomly. What I’d personally like to see from the infographs are as follows (with numbers and/or percentages!!) – breakdown of armies by major faction. Breakdown of armies by codex. Breakdown of detachments by codex. Breakdown of detachments by codex and sub-faction for each main faction – i.e Aeldari chart would be 50% Ynnari, 25% Craftworlds, 15% Drukari, 10% Harlequins, and then 50% Alaitoc, 50% Black Heart etc. If you’re going to do a “most common” don’t group groups together. Necrons and AM+IK+BA should have been separate sections on the chart. Also, put it in numerical order. Why is it 10-5-7?????? Top 5 section – doesn’t have any info on what it actually means. I’m presuming the first one is count of unit, and the second, points spent on a unit, but I shouldn’t have to be guessing this!! All I can 100% take from those stats are that >50% of the armies were Imperium and AM+IK list combos were the most common at 10 instances. I’d also like to see a breakdown by top 10/top 25 etc in regards to final standings.
    If you want the info to be there to competitive players casual players, reporters, observers and analysts, then you need to actually give actual numbers to them. Guesswork and estimates from some unexplained charts means nothing. Also, you need to make the option to create your own graphs – including taking the details from more than 1 event at the same time a possibility on the site. I’d also argue that this needs to be a free tool and not part of the subscription cost. Sure, you can keep the detail in regards to what is in each list behind the paywall, but this sort of headline data should be available to all.
    “Pro 40k” isn’t just about the players, you have to look at the whole system and support around it otherwise it’ll just remain the way it currently is.

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