Have the Australians Figured Out the Secret to Balancing 40k?

By |2016-02-03T14:00:57+00:00February 3rd, 2016|Categories: army lists, Editorial, News / Rumors, Warhammer 40k|

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You have to see this comp system that’s all the rage down in Australia and based on the mantra “Everybody is different and everybody matters”

A Guest Article By Matthew Antonello

On the recent few Long War podcasts the guys have been speaking about the magic days of 40k when soft scores were just scores,  Players were enthusiastic about their hobby and really forged a narrative with their armies.    The metagame was never balanced but at that stage it was not so competitive and powerful that making these choices would not only lose you games but leave you deflated from humiliating defeats.

The Long War guys are not the only ones and I would like to tell you about how the Australian 40k community is trying to bring the balance and the hobby back.

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A year or two ago several groups from across Australia decided that a concerted effort was needed to reverse the decline of the tournament community or we would soon end up without one and the hobby we all love so much would die.

This is the kind of topic that everyone has strong opinions on. Almost all of us have gotten tied up in long conversations about it and I myself could talk for days. To prevent myself ranting away for 3000 words ill just dot point all the efforts were going to and how they are working but in summary:

We have been doing everything we can to save Tournament Organisers  (TOs ) time and supprot them, after all they make it all happen. And we have made a comp system that actually does what it intends to and without all those annoying side effects. Most importantly of all we have done everythng with the principals that everyone matters, you cant change people and there is no one solution for everything.

 

  1. We bit the bullet and set up an Australia / New Zealand FAQ.

We all know that GW’s FAQs dont cover everything and TOs are left to fix it.  Its alot of work so this awesome dude called Simon from Queensland nearly killed himself reading every major FAQ from around the world and found the best fit FAQ answers.

He set up a democratic committee with representatives from all states who manage this system which takes feedback from the community. Of course not everyone agrees on everything but its better than the alternative and it lightens the load on TOs.

 

  1. We created a set of resources to help out TOs because they are the lifeblood of tournaments.

They blow time and money to make you happy and after its finished a bunch of disgruntled players go and complain about some annoying little detail.

To combat this issue we have made up template player packs, score cards, mission packs, quick reference sheets for players to speed up rounds, scoring systems and even offer help checking lists over and advice on how to avoid problems.

This is all stuff TOs have to do, alot of it is just grunt work but scoring and pairing  systems are complex and small errors in methodolgy create big problems on the day.

I wont bore you with the details  of how but we assembled people who make and who break tournament systems to analyise a bunch of  systems and came up one you cant really break and  some good advice on how not to fall into common traps.

These things seem simple enough but the details often require spreadsheets, dummy trials and maths to understand. TOs dont have to do it themselves and they werent communicating with each other to learn from one anothers mistakes and successes.

 

  1. We made a really balanced mission pack and by made i mean plagiarized the European Team Championship missions with a few minor tweaks. The ETC committee is a group of competitive players from around the globe and did a very good job.

In a nutshell these missions combine one of the Eternal War objective missions,  a Maelstrom mission and a Kill Points element.  These scores are combined which means to win big you have to dominate in all 3 categories and if you’re going to lose you can still score some points by scraping by in one.

If you havent played them you really must, they go a long way to ballancing the game and we get nothing but glowing responses from players.   Regardless of your armies stratergy and how badly you are missmatched you always have a game plan and they dont prevent you adding fluff or flavour to your missions.

  1. And then there was the comp issue.

Australia has always been really big on comp.    We have tried just about everything, including no comp at all and im sure none of you will be surprised that all these systems have some critical failure. Theres 2 imporant  problems that Community Comp succeeds at where other systems fail.

The first problem is that those systems which create a score for our army’s  strength, very often leaves us with a nasty supprise at the end.

No matter how experienced we think we are we all have a subjective veiw on the game and it leaves us feeling screwed by the system when we get a score we dissagree with.

Even when your not hoping to win nobody likes being unfairly treated, not even Monkeys.

What it is:

Community Comp is essentially  a committee of experienced players whos job it is to actively seek out opinions from the whole community through social media and in person and turn that into a functional system.

Its essentially what people call  “Math Comp”. We made a document with costs for different units / combos and you build your own score.  Its  100%  transparent so players get to make informed choices, thier score is up to them so  they never get supprised.

That problem can be avoided by not usinig a judged score but that requires use of a set of restrictions or rules changes like the highlander  or the ITC system. Unfortunately this creates the second problem where the top armies dont work which just makes room for the next most broken crap to ruin the meta. It always ends up being the same boring rock/paper/scissors  because the bottom line is  winning games which means making the best list within the system.

Community Comp solves this by making the “best list within the system” the most powerfull list that fits within a certain cost. Players can spend what they want so this means the “best list within the system” is not the most powerful.

It does thiswith a deliberate  “Sweet Spot”  where players get the most efficent number of points for each “Comp Credit” they spend. Because the system is 100% transparent they know, that all  the other compettetive players know, that to win an event you have to  play in the sweet spot.   Knowing this means they all play in the sweet spot  so they all  end up agonising over how to get the most out of average or bad units which fortunatley they love doing.

Compettetive players set the pace of every metagame but in Community Comp the pace they set is softer and lends itself to more varied unit choices.  They still beat less competretive and hobby centric players but with finesse not list stength. In turn those players have games that feel closer so they arent discorraged from making unit choices inspired by thier hobby or what they like.

Experiecne has shown me that if you decide to check out Community Comp, your likley to notice things you strongly dissagree with immediately and that most of the time this is  simply a lack of context.  All our minds are stuck in the context of thier own metagame and it shapes the way we interpret new ideas. Below  you will find the armies played on the top 5 tables at a recent event called Eastcon which is a good example of what the Community Comp metagame looks like.   See if you can pick which list wins on each table, its closer than you think which to me proves the metagame is much more ballanced that others.

I have paid pretty close attention to the way people in the Wargaming commuinty conduct themselves and the effects it has on the community. One thing that stands out to me is  that we as a community keep falling into the same traps which we need to learn to avoid.

You cant solve all problems with one solution.

You cant change people and shouldn’t try.

Everybody is different and everybody matters.

We haved started to come around to these principals and its making a huge difference in our community. My home state of victoria had more torunaments than i could attend this year and next year there will be even more.  I keep seeing awesome new hobby projects at tournaments.     Almost every army is fully painted with a growing number of players going those extra miles to awersome display boards and self written fluff.

It has been a rocky road these last couple of years but its starting to feel like the magic days again.

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Example of The Community Comp at Work

Top 5 tables at Eastcon 2015 based on battle alone, other scores added at the end of the event.

Note that the “sweet spot” is spending of the 20 available “Comp Credits”  between 5 and 8.

The average number of credits spent is 8 and less than 5% of players spend more than 12

If a player elects to pay a special and high cost for invisibility they may roll for it. If they dont they reroll results of 5 as if they already had the power. Nobody at any major event has yet paid that cost so invisibility is not a relevant part of the metagame. The following lists should be interpreted with that in mind.

 

Table 1 –  Dark Eldar / Tau / Dark Eldar

1x Medusae in a Venom with no extra cannon

5x Kabalite Warriors in Raider with dizzy

5x Kabalite Warriors in Raider with dizzy

3x Reaver Jetbikes, Arena Champion, Cluster Caltrops

3x Reaver Jetbikes, Arena Champion, Cluster Caltrops

Razorwing Jet Fighter, Splinter Cannon, 4x Shatterfield Missiles

Ravager with  Dizzys

 

Tau Commander, 2x Missile Pod, Drone Controller, 1x marker Drone, Early Warning Override

3x Crisis Suits, 6x Missile Pod,  3x Early Warning Override

Riptide, Earth Cast Pilot,  Velocity Tracker, Early Warning Override

4x Marker Drones

 

Corpsetheif Claw Formation

5x Talos, 4x Ichor Injectors

7 credits out of 20

 

Table 1 –   Eldar / Dark Eldar

Autrch with Warp jump Generator, melta, combat weapon and banshee mask

6 Fire Dragons

5 Dire Avengers in Scatter Serpent

4 Jetbikes with scatter

4 Jetbikes with scatter

Cruimson Hunter Exarch  2 lances

2 Vipers Shuiriken Cannons

9 Warp Spiders Exarch

6 dark Reapers Exarch

Falcon with Bright Lance

Wraith Knight with Sun cannon, Shuriken Cannon

Honnored Imperium fortification.

 

Dark Eldar Archon, webway portal

5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom extra cannon

Fast Attack Raider

9 credits out of 20

 

 

Table 2 – Dark angels / Grey Knights / Inquisition

Ezekiel

Librarian, Eye of the Unseen

5 Scouts

5 Scouts

Command Squad, 5 grav, 5 storm shields, Sacred Standard in Drop pod

Fast Attack Drop Pod

Fast Attack Drop Pod

Vindicator

Azrael

 

Grey Knight Grand Master, Leiber Daemonica, Psycannon

5 Strikes incinerator

10 Purifiers 4 incinerator

Dread knight Heavy Incinerator, Sword, Teleporter

 

Ordeo Malleus inquisitor, 3 Servo Skulls

 

7 credits out of 20

 

 

Table 2 – Grey Knights / Space Marines

Level 3 Librarian

Grand master with psycannon

5 Terminators psycannon

Dreadknight with teleporter

Dreadknight with Psycannon

 

Imperial Fists Chapter master, Shield Eternal, Terminator Armor

5 Scouts in Land Speeder Storm

5 Scouts in Land Speeder Storm

3 Grav Centurions Omniscope

 

Inquisitor With Terminator Armor and Psycannon

7 credits out of 20

 

 

Table 3 – Eldar /  Dark Eldar / Harlequins

Asuremen

Eldrad

10 jetbikes 5 Scatter Lasers Warlock

5 Jetbikes

9 Warp Spiders Exarch

6 Swooping hawks Exarch Sun rifle

 

Dark Eldar Archon with shaddow Feild, armor of misery, huskblade

Court of the Archon.  1 Sslys, 8 Llahaman in Dissy raider with night shields and shock prow

5 Kabalite Warriors in a venom with extra cannon

 

Cast of players formation

Shaddow seer Level 2 Mask of secrets

Death Jester

Troupe Master with Radamant and Caress

9 Players with Caress, 2 with melta

 

8 credits out of 20

 

Table 3 – Grey Knights / Space Marines

Librairan Level 3

Librairan Level 3

10 Terminators psycannons

5 terminators Psycanno

Dreadnknight teleported Incinerator psycannons

Dreadnknight teleported Incinerator psycannons

Draigo

 

White Scars Librarian Level 2 on bike

3 Bikes

3 Bikes

12 credits out of 20

 

 

So there you have the run down of the new Community Comp System and some very specific examples on how lists would be scored using it.

Find Out More About the Community Comp System

How would YOUR army stack up in this system?

How will you equip YOUR Wulfen?
Wulfen Are People Too – Long War Episode 37

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About the Author:

Virginia Restless, Miniature Painter & Single Father to 3 Cats. I blame LEGOs. There was something about those little-colored blocks that started it all... Twitter @catdaddymbg