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Friday, September 10, 2010

Eighth Edition Comp Considerations

We're considering several comp. restrictions here for tournaments.  Unlike 7th, the basic Eighth Edition has some issues at the moment.   Seventh had problems, but they were in the army books.  I would love to get some feedback from outside our local forums on this, so please go nuts in the comments section.  Here are some basic ideas, cribbed liberally from Australia:

1.  Remove the Power Scroll

2.  No Special Characters

3.  No single items that are greater than or equal to 100 points. 

And then the ones with options:

This seems to be generating the most discussion in other threads post Pilgrimage so I'll start here. It was also the single largest issue in the unbalancing of games. In the last edition, the restrictions/comp systems developed were an effort to balance armies out so that the best general, and not the extreme powered army, should win most games. What I saw on the weekend was that in about 10 out of 43 games EVERY round there were devastating big spells that removed generalship from the equation and annihilated characters and units from the table. the were games where the first one to roll a double 6 would win. of those 10, 5 would be over in the first few turns from such spells. In others, the superior general of a game would be on top, winning by a big margin, and all the opponent needed to do was roll a double six on a purple sun/ dwellers below, etc and characters and units would disappear and the game reversed to a big win to the lucky but poorer general of that match. We've all heard stories of this happening every now and then in the last edition, but in 8th its a regular occurrence. I think it will be too problematic to re-write some of these power spells so instead, in the name of balancing the game, they should be omitted. However, you might have a different idea, so below are your vote options.
A. Do NOT allow the most powerful spell from each deck/15+ spells
B. Modify these spells to tone them down but so they can still be used
C. Use these spells as they currently are

The GW FAQ ruled that the 12 power dice limit was the amount of dice that could be in the pool at any one time, but there was no limit on the number of dice that could be rolled in a magic phase of dice continued to be generated, such as from dark elf daggers/spells, death lore casualties, Slann extra dice, etc. At The Pilgrimage we set a 12 dice allowed to be rolled limit in both power and dispell dice and am glad we did, even without the power spells more than 12 dice would unbalance the game.
A. Use a 12 dice rolled limit per phase
B. Have no limit on the dice rolled per phase as per rule book

War machines are a lot more effective than they used to be, they no longer require range guessing skill to use and there are no partials but some are much worse than others. 3-4 elven bolt throwers are no where as effective as 3-4 tooled up Empire/Dwarf war machines. We used a 5 war machine cap at The Pilgrimage with the steam Tank counting as one. Because of their effectiveness I believe they need to be pulled back a tad more, I would suggest 4 War machine models max.
A. Cap Warmachines to 4 max
B. Cap Warmachines to 5 max
C. Do not cap Warmachines

There are 6 Pitched Battles now, at The Pilgrimage we used Battle Line, Battle for the Pass and Meeting Engagement, twice each. This favoured armies with shooting and magic as in 2 of these scenarios you can have a very deep deployment where a combat army will have to trudge across a lot of table while getting shot at. If we had used all 6 scenarios these shooty armies would not have been able to compete in scenarios like Blood and Glory where the deployment is very compact and forces you to have many standards or The Watch Tower where you need to take a building to win the game. Using the 6 scenarios would have forced a more balanced army build.
A. Play All scenarios
B. Play selected scenarios (list which ones)
C. Play only Battleline

There was a lot of discussion on this pre-event, but during the event it seemed to have very little impact. There might be a story here or there of how a monster could not hide from a cannon and so on, but overall, people seemed happy with the way it works. The very few comments I heard from players related to their concern for abuse, where some people might have non GW models that get an advantage by being smaller. We could easily get around this by saying that all models are considered to be of the equivalent GW size and if there are any doubts the situation goes against the person not using the non GW size model.
A. Use TLOS as per rule book
B. Set heights for terrain (such as hills being infinitely high)
C. Set heights for models (such as models hiding equal or smaller size base models behind them)
D. Use both B & C


  1. For the sake of full disclosure, I am completely anti-comp. I do not believe you need comp, because when you introduce composition you change the game fundamentally. I have looked at the composition rules from AU and from the Michigan group, and they are easily abused, just by a different META.

    Right now the problem is that the META has not really evolved. The big META right now is, how do I get off the big Lvl. 6 spell. Sure that is useful, it discourages death stars, and punishes horde units. What beats the big Lvl 6 spells? MSU.

    GW is trying to balance the game by providing balance in the rules, the army books and the META have not caught up yet, so just give it more than 2 months to evolve.

    That said, I think the solution to the problem you are talking about is exactly what you said in number 4. Play all the scenarios. For every Battle for the Pass and Meeting Engagement, play a Watchtower and Blood and Glory.

    Watchtower forces a balance to armies that the other scenarios do not. You cannot just sit back and magic and shoot an entire army down and hope he has nothing left in the tower T4+. Watchtower forces combat in the middle of the board.

    Blood and Glory forces you to have banners and be careful with your general. The other mission that you did not mention that you should have included is Dawn Attack which messes up with shooting lines by separating crucial parts of the army.

    This is all just my opinion, but I think people are rushing to the composition crutch too quickly. The game has evolved, give everyone a chance to catch up.

  2. As much as I might be annoyed at encountering some of those things, without having read through 8th myself yet I'd be inclined to agree with jollyboy42. Wouldn't those warmachines help counter those wizards? How about other ways to target the wizards, like some long rifles? On their own, the wizards would be even more vulnerable, and in a unit they're vulnerable to the same sorts of things they dish out. If they're so dangerous, and they manage to survive long enough to get into position and unleash that massive spell against a crippling target, isn't there some level of generalship in that?

  3. I just had another thought, that I will add here.

    You mention that 10 games were decided by a big spell early. I would like to ask the counter, how many games were decided by a big miscast early? People tend to minimize negatives, and things like Power Scrolls and high casting values tend to have big negatives. What about Feedback Scrolls? Were any of those used when someone tossed 6 dice at a spell?

  4. I understand what you are saying with comp and I have always been a big proponent of it. BUT even with my lack of games played in 8th I still think it is too early to start down the comp road. There hasn't been enough time to figure out how to beat those armies which rely on FBU (few big units) and those big spells.

    Let's try becoming better tacticians first and then after a year of GTs start looking at comp.

  5. I don't think it's too early to start pondering ideas on blogs, however. GT's will be comped, if only to prevent the basic problems that cause games to be won before one person even moves.

    For instance, as the game works now, a Level One Vamp mage can take Talisman of the Lycni (MV 9), Power Scroll and be a Loremaster for Death. Another Vamp Character can take the ability to let Ghouls march before the game. Lycni Vamp goes in the Ghouls, marches up, then turn one moves 18" into the opponent's line and Power Scrolls a Purple Sun. Opponent then packs up their army without having played. Does the "big negative" of losing the Vamp to kill most of an army matter? No. Can you spend a year becoming a better tactician to stop it? Only if becoming a better tactician involves not playing Dwarves, Ogres or Lizardmen. There are some fundamentally broken things in the new book.

    I hope to treat things like our small tournaments as labs for bigger stuff like Grail Quest, or bigger bigger stuff like Brawler Bash.

  6. Ben, let us take the example you just posted. First off, if you are playing open list, and know which vampire has the Talisman, put a unit of scouts in front of him. Yes, he will eventually pull this trick, but not turn one.

    Second, do not line up in a straight line. That prevents the spell from effecting as many units. With a decent deployment, if you know of the trick, you should be able to limit the effect to one or two units.

    Third, there is a chance that he does not roll 5+ dice turn one in which case the spell will not go off, and even with six dice, the power scroll may not force an IF.

    Fourth, the spell could misfire and do little to no damage.

    Is this trick damaging, if not devastating? Yes. Are there counters? Definitely.