Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tavern Talk - Tournaments and Comp

Another subject of hot debate from The Trading Post. This time it's all about comp. There's some pretty definitive comp lists, the ETC springs to mind, and every variation all the way to no comp - bring your filth tournaments such as the Ard Boyz. Your opinion of these rules depends on how you want to play warhammer, but of course, as rules packs are available well before the tournament begins, you should know what you're in for. A fluff player (guilty) might find the kind of mathhammer at the ETC disagreeable, but a hardcore-tournament junkie (I could easily go down this road if I went to more tourneys!) would love it. Personally, I tend toward more scenario-based soft list warhammer, but I still like the odd frenzied competition game. But there's a few pitfalls in comp.

Most games of 8th I've played have had some form of comp. Some of this, at this stage still comes from knee-jerk reaction to a new system, but also as it takes time to get enough feedback to refine comp lists, so I think we have some time to go before a truly balanced comp list (again, the ETC comp is pretty good) is in common usage.

The most common comp I've come across is the no special characters rule. I regard this as almost mandatory, even in friendlies. I hate special characters, they unbalance the game (hello Teclis) terribly, so I'm all for this one. There are the other common comps I can take or leave such as no power scroll, no scenarios, max 12 power dice and so on. Most of this works quite well, as they adjust common mechanics that affect all armies. As most of the army books are 7th ed, I think there is some adjustment needed to allow for 8th ed tourneys. One thing that causes problems is true line of sight (TLOS). I know that the virtual line of sight (VLOS) is gaining momentum, but...I dunno. I have no issues with TLOS, but I can understand how, if you're playing a jackhole it can get unpleasant. The jury is still out on that one.

Where I think it gets more complicated is where you get into allowances for specific armies, like 200 extra points for Beastmen or Wood Elves. Granted Wood Elves are a tough prospect in 8th, but once you start introducing army-specific comp things can get messy. I'm not saying it's a bad idea per se, but I think an organiser needs to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the game to start comping in this way to achieve balance.

One thing I do like about comp, especially comp that forces soft or unusual lists (1000pts core minimum, no lvl 4 wizards etc, or special scenario lists) is that it forces you to play in a different way, using units you might not usually field. To me, this is a good thing as it brings something fresh to the game. This appeals to me too as being a vampire counts player, I am tiring of having to play the same list over and over. I'll never give up my dead lads, but being tied to virtually one viable build (plus I miss my skellie blocks) is getting boring, both for me and my opponents, so unusual comp stirs it up a little.

So there you go. A little rumination on the vagaries of comp in 8th edition.

Wayland Games

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