Friday, August 23, 2013
Ideas for Army List Restriction at Blog Wars 6
It's always my intention to make Blog Wars a fun and friendly event. However, I always want to have prizes that are worth winning too. In the past I've reduced the top prize in order to try and discourage people from bringing a top flight tournament list to this event and easily taking 1st place against lists that simply aren't competitive. Now obviously Swiss Pairs goes some way to match people up with an equally skilled opponent but we all know it's not without its problems. I don't want to insult anyone who's won Blog Wars (that's only two people) but most of the time I've looked at the pairings and known what the outcome will be. Of course you can always do that to some extent but it's a problem when you look at the lists before the event and know who's going to win before any dice are rolled.
Ideally everyone would bring something more on the fluffy than competitive side but you simply can't force people to do that and it would probably put people off. Blog Wars 5 was probably quite an extreme example where there were very few purely competitive lists or players. Ultimately I want everyone to enjoy the event and of course losing is never fun but when you know from deployment how it will go then you're going through the motions for how ever long it takes you to get tabled. I don't personally think it's much fun to play with some of the top lists. Surely if there's no challenge to it then you can't enjoy it?
What I'm trying to get at (slowly) is that I'd like to find some way of levelling the playing field a bit. There obviously isn't anything stopping one of the less competitive players from bringing a competitive list but it works the same in reverse too. There are two solutions that immediately spring to mind. Firstly, remove the "cash" prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. That way it becomes more of a club night than a tournament. I have to say I don't like this idea as I'm a firm believer that a tournament should be competitive and that the prizes should be worth competing for.
The second option is to "comp" the event. Blog Wars has always been sort of "comped" in that special characters are compulsory but what I'm talking about here will go further. Everyone knows that 40K is a system that likes multiples. If something is good, take as many as you can. I'm talking about riptides, heldrakes, wave serpents, flying daemon princes, annihilation barges, etc. To counter this kind of multiplication requires some amount of tailoring. For example, that triple heldrake list won't be much good against pure terminator armies or riptides with skyfire and intercept.
The solution then is to restrict the number of each unit you can take. This means that you'd only be able to take one of each unit in a particular FOC slot. Thinking of Tau for a minute that would mean you could take a riptide, a crisis team and a stealth team in your Elites slot but you couldn't take two of any of them. You could of course take a second crisis team as a bodyguard for a commander. Similarly you couldn't take 3 heldrakes. Of course with the advent of supplements there's the potential to squeeze one heldrake into a CSM list with a second in a Black Legion allied list. This wouldn't be acceptable should I impose this system.
Realistically, unless you make everything scoring, you can't limit the number of Troops people are allowed and several codices have only two options for Troops units whilst others have several. Therefore Troops would be exempt from this restriction as are their transports. Now, I appreciate this doesn't solve every problem. A Necron player can still bring 7 flyers (6 night scythes as transports, 1 doom scythe in heavy). He could potentially still take a unit of deathmarks in a night scythe too. Similarly a Eldar player could end up with lots of wave serpents without breaching the restrictions.
The other problem with it is that people who want to bring themed armies will struggle. Their armies may not be particularly competitive but may still have multiples of particular units. That's probably the biggest problem for me as I always enjoy seeing an army built around a theme.
It's not perfect then and that's why I'm not simply enforcing it without discussion. Of course there will still be dirty lists but it should encourage players to think outside the box a bit more and hopefully generate some interesting combinations.
I really want to hear feedback from people, even if they aren't coming to Blog Wars. Are you all for this idea or do you think it would be too restrictive? Will it even work? Comments and emails on the subject will be gratefully received.