Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thinking about Comp

So if you have not noticed recently (and on going) GW took a big dump on competitive play.  The game with the new data slates and Super Heavies, and D as unbalanced as I can remember.  Another big culprit for "no-fun" 40k has been Super Shooty armies and 2+ re-rollable saves (which by and large were a response to those super shooty armies).  All of these things tend to dumb the game down into a series of dice rolls (did I roll up my uber combo...did I win first turn...did I fail my power...) and luck than being super tactical.  To me this is an a tournament organizer if players are not having fun they are not showing up to the events I run...(which have been rare enough recently due to issues in my own life).  As a TO I want to provide my players with a venue where play is as enjoyable as they can be.  So my thought process has gone through a lot of stages on this.

Stage 1 (prior to escalation, strongpoint, dataslate hell):  We should tweak the game rules to prevent some of the abuses.  Nerf the Grimoir and fortune or Protect.  Nerf Serpent Shields, and Tau mass ignores cover (either through rules or terrain.)

Stage 2: Data slates and the like hit...same as above but ban data slates, escalation, and new fortifications.  They are too powerful.

During all that time though I kept thinking.  Changing rules will confuse players...or they won't read the rules changes and bring stuff and play as normal...or forget because it is not the normal rules...or...just not have as much fun because their army got nerfed etc.

So that brought me to stage 3: Comp-  now there are various ways of doing can give a score and rate units (subjectively), you can limit spam (much like Da Boyz GT no more than x of any one unit.) I see a lot of make every non-troop a 0-1 selection...That way all the broken stuff is limited (so long as you ban Escalation because making a Revenant Titan 0-1 does not really solve the issue)  In my thinking I started to wonder why 40k FoC is so different from Fantasy.  In fantasy you have a certain percent of your points that you are allowed to spend on each unit type...So maybe 40% toward your Lord choices etc.  So I went about trying to think about what was needed in 40k for this to work and I came up with the following.

We use the Current FOC

1-2 HQ
2-6 Troops
0-3 Elites
0-3 Fast
0-3 Heavies

1 HQ
1-2 Troops
1 Elite
1 Fast
1 Heavy

1 Lord of War

1 Fortification

Inquisitorial detatchment

Formations (units in these formations are still the FOC type that they currently are...i.e. while the Storm Talon in the Space Marine Formation does not take up a fast is still a fast attack unit.)

Then we simply put percentage restrictions on the FOC slots

HQ <= 25% of total points
Troops >= 25% of total points
Elites <= 25%
Fast <= 25%
Heavies <= 25%

Fortifications <= 10%
Lords of War <= 25% (which effectively eliminates them from lower point games as at 2k you max out at 500 points, so some Baneblade variants can make it in but to take a Revanant you would need to be playing 3600 points.)

Giving it some more thought I thought well this fixes some armies looking at 2k points (less than this obviously things will be even tighter)

Screamer star won't really function well as Fateweaver + 2 Heralds (Ml 1) is 480 points and does not include the grimoir.  So you would need to either go without Fateweaver (and his re-roll) and bring 3-4 heralds, or go with Fateweaver and 1 herald and minimize your chance of getting Forewarning.

Seercouncil - 2 Farseers run 240 points, at 50 points per Warlock (minimum) you cap out at 2 Seers and 5 a small council and no Baron for hit and run.  Or include baron and go down to 3 Warlocks

No O'vesa Star to speak up as you need Farsight and O'vesa (which I think puts you at or near 500 points already), so no buff commander.

It limits the Tau Formation as 3 Broad sides cost 195 points with no you would naturally cap out at about 7 models.

But then I came to Wave Serpents and Nightscythes...neither of which would be limited at all (beyond regular FOC restricitons) as troops are not point limited.

So I came up with

Dedicated Transports <= 25%

This allows 4 Serpents at 2000 points and 5 Night Scythes (not much comp there really) and really hurts dedicated land raider spam (so hurts BA without allies if they want more than 2 land raiders, and don't want allies)

After that I got to thinking a bit more maybe we need a bit of flexibility

So how about

5-10% flex points to be spent on Elites, Fast, and Heavies.

This allows a few things...You can go over by a little bit so if you are at 25.2% and to drop down would put you at 20% we don't need to drop.

You can buff up one slot.  At 2k and 5% you have 600 points to spend in a slot which allows things like 3 Large units of Khorne dogs....At 10% it is a bit more.  That might be better at lower points than at 2k (at 1500 points 10 % is only 150 points added, which is 525 in one section, at 2k it brings you up to 700 points...but that is usable as well.)

Which really just left me with this question...if I let all the rest of this stuff in...why not FW as well...I really don't have a good answer for non-experimental rules that are 40k Approved, units and army lists(or Lords of war if FW designates some.)  My only thought would be perhaps not allowing any books previous to IA 11 (published not Number, so any book published 2012 or later), because these books lack the table of contents published on the FW site and as such make it difficult to determine which book has the most up to date units in them.

So what do people think about this system?

Is it more or less fair?

Anything I am missing that will be uber broken?


  1. My first impression thinking on this is positive, despite feeling it pretty much nerfs all the competitive Daemon builds.

    I'm pretty doom & gloom, but I really think competitive balance in 40k is unachievable at this point, regardless of what TO special rules are made. It's still a fun game, but any pretense of it being useable in a competitive environment is lost now.

    But, I'll still come and play, cuz it's fun to hang out with friends and roll dice and kill stuff...this, that, and the other thing just isn't happening anymore, though!

  2. It is a bit harsh on Daemons as Screamerstar is very hurt and FMC spam is limited to ~3 MCs (2 if you put no Flex into the system). I guess the question is though if limiting other armies in this way allows some other choices in the Daemon book to Function better.

    I think the toughest thing will be Tau as a lot of what they have that hurts Daemons can come from their troop slots as well as their other slots.

    I think that a big part of it is also having enough terrain on the table. Lots of LOS blocking Terrain can help things like Dogs find a way into lists again. Or allow a pseudo (no Fateweaver) Screamer star to have a chance to work.

    I agree though full balance is really unachievable...this is more about making a more enjoyable environment by curbing some of the more abusive builds out there a bit.

    That said I agree with you in large part and if DZ commander is a blast that might be a nice change of pace.