Quick Fixes for Competitive 40k

Another tournament weekend down for 40k, and another week begins where people who didn’t even attend those tournaments (me included) get to tell everyone who will listen what is wrong with competitive 40k. While I am not as doom and gloom as some of the experts on the internet, I do think 40k needs some slight touch ups. The missions are becoming to feel stale and figured out, the last points adjustment (that wasn’t an emergency patch for Drukhari) focused on Space Marines and Necrons, and Orks seem like they may have one problematic army build. We are by no means at the level of demolishing the house of competitive 40k and starting over from scratch, but this thing could use some fresh coats of paint to keep everything looking fresh and new.

Only One Faction Specific Secondary: Yes, Space Marines your time of taking Oath of Moment and something else from another Space Marine Supplement should come to an end. Admittedly, this is much less of a problem now that Space Marines are no longer at the level of Orks, Admech, or Drukhari, but in a game where Secondary choices are so important there cannot be an entire third of the armies out there getting more choices then the others.

We dont need more of this happening with Secondaries

This little rules tweak would also future proof any other Codexes or Secondaries which are released later. With the current system GW needs to be extremely careful of what Secondaries some factions get access to, or the game will devolve into some factions scoring well because they have the better Secondary choices and not because they were played by a better player. No one enjoyed playing Dark Angels after their Codex was released when they could take Oath of Moment and Stubborn Defiance. Those games of just watching Dark Angels Terminators sit in their backfield and dare you to come over to them to try and score enough points to win were EXHILERATING, but maybe we make it so armies have to interact with one another to play the game?

This change will also give the non-9th Edition Codex armies a slight boost. One major hurdle older Codexes need to get through is that pesky third Secondary choice. Generally, armies can take a Secondary from the Battlefield Supremacy and Shadow Operations categories, but then it becomes a little tougher to pick. By taking away some of the options from armies that have a 9th Edition Codex the older army books won’t feel so left in the dust.

Two Flyers in a 2000pts Army: Flyer spam has never been a positive thing in this game. I know, I played Craftworld flyer spam back in 8th Edition. My friends hated playing against it, called me all kinds of hurtful things as I told them their Leman Russ Battle tanks could not shoot my planes, and they were right. GW did solve the issue of the stacking minuses to hit, but flyer spam is still extremely toxic for the 40k community. No one wants to walk up to the table and know if they can’t shoot their opponents flyers out of the sky, or even if they just go second, they automatically lose.

I don’t believe the ability to punish you opponent for deploying badly should be taken out of the game, and a gunline army should always been something a competitive 40k player needs to plan for. The issue with a flyer spam gunline is that it completely negates the terrain on the table. Nothing a player can do will mitigate the damage coming in from a flyer spam list, so it will always have the potential of a negative play experience.

Necron flyer spam: the new hotness

The secondary effect of these flyer spam armies will be players taking punishing gunline armies in the hopes of going first. Nothing will make a competitive scene die quicker than new players coming to their first event just to get tabled on Turn 1. Sure, they were expecting to lose, but they at least wanted to play with the army they painstakingly painted and assembled.

Terrain: This seems to be less of a problem then it was early in the Edition, but if your local meta has a ton of shooting armies coming to your events planning for a first turn shooting gallery on planet bowling are you even really playing 40k? Yes, it is very interesting to see how many dice you can roll before my 60 Necrons, which are completely exposed, die in turn one. Then we get to spend the rest of the game listening to my opponent awkwardly apologizing for playing big Skitarii blocks instead of focusing on the game of 40k we were supposed to play. I’m fine everyone, totally over how punishing the Admech Codex was to my Necrons.

Ok little Timmy deploy your Tyranids then ill deploy my Admech!

Anyway, if your tournament tables don’t AT LEAST match what GW is doing at their events there is not enough terrain on your tables to say you are playing a competitive game of Warhammer 40k. My local shop has slightly more terrain then a GW standard table, and some of our tournaments have been won by some interesting factions. Don’t get me wrong, the insane Ork, Admech, and Drukhari lists are still making people cry, but these feel bad moments happen way less often when their opponents have a place to hide at least 20 of their Necron Warriors (it’s fine).

Now I am not saying these three things will dramatically change competitive 40k, but they will help. These are things that can be quickly implemented with little notice or work for the tournament organizers. What the game actually needs are FAQs and points balancing that matches the release schedule of the new models and rules, but the 40k community has no control over these things. The things we can control are how some of these rules will be played at competitive events in order to make the most fun and fair tournament experience for the most people. Oh, and Necrons need some significant points reductions GW. Don’t fail me on this.

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About Eric Shifflett

If my wife ever makes good on her threat to do an inventory of the models in my garage I'd have a real problem on my hands. Until then, I enjoy playing GSC (along with some other armies located in the garage) at local tournaments and hope one day to prove my gaming group wrong about how terrible I am at this game I love.

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