Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Composition and the new Orcs & Goblins

Switch off now if you come from a jurisdiction that doesn’t use Composition rules in tournaments or the whole concept is an anathema to you.

Since the introduction of 8th Edition most areas have played the game straight out of the book…..and rightly slow. It is important to play the rules and give the chance to learn the nuances of the rules before imposing “fixes”. This is never an overnight process despite what some people think.

After a period of time it is possible (with confidence) to isolate some of the aspects that might reduce the opportunity for a fair contest. Again here this has to be done with some context, Games Workshop have a 4-10 year release schedule stretching over three editions so it is a little demanding to expect the power levels of all armies to be comparable.

Post Xmas on this blog, I posted a very little approach to Composition which hopefully addressed a number of the abuses. This looked at the selections that caused the most angst, repetition of some Rare choices, spamming of an efficient Special choice through to the one thing I think is truly broken, the Power Scroll.

One criticism of this approach is that not all units are created equal and there is a big difference between three units of Gutter Runners and three units of Rat Ogres, in terms of efficiency. Under a comprehensive system there will always be units that look unduly penalized but it does stop abuses such as double Hydras, two units of Flamers, two HPAs, three units of Shades etc. However, it also stops things like multiple Eagles, multiple Fiends etc.

Now I have some sympathy regarding Eagles (not so much on the Fiends  ) and one amendment suggested (and adopted) was to allow duplicate Rares if they are below a certain points level. The question was where you set that points level. If you set it too low there is no point whereas if you set it two high abuses wriggle under the fence. In the end, for my system, I set it at 80 points).

The restrictions were:

General Restrictions

• Maximum Power Dice usage of 12 in Magic Phase (as distinct from maximum of 12 dice in pool at any time)

• Army to have no more than four (4) potential template weapons

• Army to have a maximum of four (4) warmachines

• No more than two (2) of any Special choice

• No double Rare choice worth more than 80 points (single 2:1 choices excepted)

• No Power Scroll

Army Specific Restrictions

• Daemons of Chaos: No duplication of Daemonic Gifts

• Empire: Steam Tank is classed as Warmachine in terms of General Restrictions

• Lizardmen: Slaan may have maximum two of Focus of Mystery, Becalming Cogitation, Cupped Hands or Focused Rumination

• Skaven: Maximum of three Engineers

• Tomb Kings: No Wizards Hat

• High Elves: Only one of the Book of Hoeth or Banner of Sorcery

• Vampire Counts: Only one Vampire may have the Loremaster ability

In light of the new Orc and Goblin book I think that there is still a case to allow multiple Rares because that section contains a lot of choices that will make the army more viable and these are pointed at sub-100 points. Much as people don’t like to face two Warp Lightning Cannons or two single Salamander units, I can see that facing two of the new improved Doom Divers won’t be fun.

My initial thoughts would be to continue to allow duplicate Rare items but to drop the points threshold to 70 points. This allows people to include multiple re-directors from the Rare section e.g. Trolls, Eagles, Fiends while keeping the system relatively straightforward.

The tournaments I run this year will be using this as the Composition framework


  1. Fujin posted a comment saying why not "No Double Rare warmachines".

    My view is I would rather no double Flamers or Hydra which that wouldn't catch. By having 70 point limit it gets all the warmachines anyway I think and also a few other "problems".

  2. Sorry - I meant in addition to... I guess a 70pt minimum catches everything anyway.