Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Did the Special Character thing work at Blog Wars?

Well from the feedback I've been getting it appears that it did. End of post. Good job. See you next week....

Seriously though, aside from it mainly being open to bloggers and their friends, what set Blog Wars apart from a lot of the other tournaments was that I required everyone to field a special character. Now initially there were a lot of groans and moans and "my codex has crap special characters" etc. Then we had "I'll just drop this unit and throw in a token SC to keep him happy". However, once people started to think about how including a certain character would affect their army they began to see that it wasn't that simple. You know I'm a big fan of SCs and I think that they add a different dimension to games. There are certainly better ones than others but for the most part they all have their uses. It comes down to how you use them. Take the winning army, Andy's Dark Eldar, led by Baron Sathonyx. If Andy had just thrown in a 5 man Hellion gang and attached the Baron then he'd have had a fair amount of success but Andy actually put some thought into his army and it really paid off.

By including a massive gang of Hellions (20 of them) but also including wracks and an haemonculus Andy was able to use the Baron to full effect. Not only did that make a massive troops unit that would be difficult to deal with (and must be dealt with because it's scoring) but also the pain tokens from the wracks/haemo meant it would be an even harder task. Now don't get me wrong, Andy's list was definitely a tournament army thanks to the good old classic of MSU but at the same time it had character. I'm sure Andy will agree that it's a by no means perfect list but it proved itself on the day.

In my own list, which was significantly less successful, I had Ragnar and his unit as a centrepoint for all my battles. He was always in the middle of the field smashing face as he does best. Any opponent that knows about him will naturally want to stop him before he steamrolls their army. This means that my lone wolves, rhinos and speeder got a little overlooked. It's just a shame my rolling didn't let me use this to full effect.

Blog Wars 2: Battle of the Bloggers will definitely feature the same mandatory SC rule because I thought it worked and it seems like most of you did too. I quite like the xbox-style achievements for things like SC vs SC scraps etc but I think the difficulty here is that again I'd like to play so monitoring the scoring of the achievements would be difficult. It's all fine until a couple of people who know each other play and all of a sudden they seem to earn a lot of achievements in that particular game. 

Anyway, I'm going to keep that as the only condition of entry as I don't want it to get too complicated. Hopefully before the next one people will have had more time to play test and figure out which special character suits their play style best. I've already got plans....


  1. I absolutely think they worked, it contributed to the general feel of the day too.

    Maybe we should go to 2k next time though? some of the SC's arent half expensive, and that way people with "tournament" lists would only have to re-work in a small way if they want to fit him in?

    if we ares taying at 2.5 hrs we should have no probs with time and the extra points..

  2. Actually I army IS perfect.

    *ahem* seriously, the SC thing worked beautifully.
    I spent ages working through a wide variety of Special Characters from a large number of codices..well, GK, SW, BA, IG, DE anyway.

    And PLAYTESTED them.. without seeing what a SC can actually do on the tabletop it is hard to envisage clearly what they can accomplish or what they add to the army.

    Adam from SpaceWolvesGrey appears to have just taken his highly successful SW UKGT army and dropped the Land Speeders to fit in Njal...

    This approach to me just doesn't work. Granted the army was very successful at the Indy GT, but Njal, plus Termies, plus Raider meant only having 1000pts to spend outside those 3 elements. 2 of which worked together as one, and the other (Njal) sat with some seemed to me that there were several elements that detracted from the synergy of the army...I expected to see Adam on the top tables as an experienced tournament dude.

    Thats not a jab at Adam BTW! lol..thats just my take on that approach...

    The other approach seemed to have been picking the cheapest possible dude and throwing him in with as little impact as possible on the army *cough* Marbo/Harker *cough*...this works of course because the rest of the army can be lean and mean.

    The final approach, the best IMHO, is the "Belial approach"... in which the SC alters or "unlocks" part of the codex...this creates some wonderfully characterful armies, but also ones that synergise very well...Deathwing, Dante-wing, Loganwing...even my own Green Goblin (or should that be Pink Goblin) army reflects that..

    Just some thoughts...

  3. I'll hold my hand up as one of those guys with a Harker.

    In fact I pretty much always have a Harker, so I didnt even add him. I stripped out a atraken, because I usually play at 2k. I really wanted to include and build arouns Yarrick, but I couldnt seem to make it work with the models I had.

    next time, I'd build around a character as you suggest. it really did seem to pay off both in terms of fun had and army sucess.

  4. Haha! Wasn't witch hunting!

    Thats a shame Straken came out of the list..I'd have loved to see another interpretation of how he works, and with that kind of character you have to build around the character..

    To me, its the same sort of principal as building armies for different points don't just add 250 points to a 1750 to get to a 2k army, nor 250 to a 1500 to get to each level has completely different builds available to them that are unavailable at the lower level..or simply ineffective.

    So in the same manner, the SC is like a point know that by including a certain character, alot of the time you are trying to accomplish the mission in a certain way..granted alot of staples will be in, but alot of your 'regular' choices might be out due to the nature of the SC and how he works with the army in order to maximise the benefits..

    I so agree still though that some codices have dirt poor choice when it comes to SC's...

  5. I absolutely enjoyed using Grimmy. I would rarely use him outside of this sort of setting so it's a pleasure to have somewhere to be able to do it.

    I think the only codices that can complain of dirt poor characters are Tau and Necrons. All the others have at least a decent character that can give you something. It may not be a FoC shuffle... but it is something. Grimmy for example makes the terminators work very well. Ablative wounds, righteous zeal control, uber-fleet equivalent, re-rolls vs vehicles, fearless. Without them, the terminators would have been dropping much sooner.

    I say the SCs should be there to stay for BWs. The only thing I'd like to see changed is the mission. I prefer something more along the lines of NOVA. The only other thing is I'd like more games, which would mean more days. Sat & Sun would be great with 5 games overall. That would give me more of a chance to beat... ummm I mean play Ven.

  6. I liked it - I certainly liked the painting element as he's the dude I put time into so that being recognised outside of the army (typically its army and nothing else) - that actually was a big big high for me.

    I think next time if I take DW again I am going to work in a second SC or just IC and make him look special - shame there is no more Brother Bethor for DA as I'd love to do him - might have to do a chappy and make him look all blinged up.

    I know I was "half joking" with the SC vs SC thing, but I do think things like that will encourage some funky games. I mean you could have so many different variants

    "King of the Castle" - SC to take an area of the board - typically a central piece of the board (or designated building) - points of being there at the end of the game.

    "King Among Kings" - Offing the other SC in the list

    "Monnnnnnnnnnster Kill" - 5+ Killing Blows with your SC in combat!

    Tons of stuff lol.

    Then of course is the other side of things;

    Assassin - Killing your opponents SC.

    I have no idea why I've attached names to it lol.

  7. My first attempt on a list had Straken, Harker and Marbo in it - hardcore Catachan SC spam! It all comes down to the objective in the end and mine was to

    1) break open boxes, and;
    2) mortar everything inside to death.

    As such, Pask was a perfect fit and rolling with a S10 lascannon and S9 battlecannon really helped. The only other advantage was that he didn't give a killpoint (beyond the tank) ... but I wasn't lacking for killpoints - just ask Loring.

    Next time - maybe Tau. I'm very successful with my Tau, although the 'specials' are more needs than characters.

    Definitely bringing more plasma though ... mmmm plasma.

  8. I think the special character thing worked. Made it a little different, as people have already stated though it works better for some codexes over others. Though despite the rules saying I didn't have to, I still took farsight. Didn't think he made his points back in all three games combined, but that's not the point.
    One thing I would ask though, is it possible to allow forgeworld characters? as Tau have 2 from forge world and I would like to take Shas'O R'alai
    Obviously with the organisers permission.


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