Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Masters Comp - A Real Exercise in Balance

With Guardcon out of the way I am now waiting to see what Composition rules the TO, Phil Wu comes up with for the Fantasy Masters.

I know that there was a lot of confusion with the system employed at Guardcon, which was a series of guidelines but with the TO retaining a veto. My understanding was that around 75% of the lists were initially rejected. This suggests that the guidelines were largely pointless.

I understand one Wellington gamer ended up not taking Orcs and Goblins because of the restrictions (no doubles of any Rare choice) and then ran into an army toting two Doom Divers. He was a little bemused.

For something like a Masters event my own view is that a Hard Cap system published early is the best option. This gives people the chance to digest the system and either make adjustments to the army list for their chosen army or select a new army that they feels offers a better chance. By releasing any restrictions early any participants have the opportunity to get some practice in the knowledge their list won’t be rejected.

This type of system also tends to even out regional differences as right from the outset people know what the playing field is.

At past years’ Masters I used a system that allowed players to mark all the other lists. In retrospect it didn’t really work as I’m pretty sure most people marked lists on how they would perform against their list rather than the overall strength of the list. In one situation (40k) this led to a horde list being marked down because they were all power armour lists – a real case of the Meta being punished.

So it can be a real balancing act but I’m firmly of the opinion for a Masters event hard caps trumps subjective.


  1. I've requested ETC format, but I know Phil is asking around a lot, so will see what happens. Guarcon I pretty much got what I deserved, I was in the 25% that self-comped myself into not requiring a re-submit, and I may have overshot the mark :D

  2. I completely agree Pete - Phil is doing a terrific job!

    We both know from personal experience how difficult the role of "TO" can be and he is basically THE guy keeping the Warhammer tournament scene in Auckland going (strong) at the moment. His activity on forums, via email, personal contact; managing some of the more 'difficult' players; leading the Auckland City Guard club - all this deserve great accolade and a round of applause.

    I also agree that his decision to pursue an "ETC-type" format is a solid one and that the exploration of hard caps as a comp system under 8th edition is healthy one for the current environment. It's great to see other TOs have an opinion on what is appropriate for any given event, giving it a go and seeing it through, no doubt learning a lot from the results. It also ties in nicely to supporting initiatives like the ETC/ATC. I see it as a step towards rekindling the kind of feeling and energy the international/Australasian scene had a couple of years ago. Good stuff!

    I was gutted to have missed out on playing last weekend but I managed to score a leave pass on the Sunday to pop in and catch up with some friends. The whole place was buzzing and busy! There were so many great looking armies, interesting matches and match-ups (I caught the tournament mid-round 5 when the blowtorch was being applied and dreams were being crushed). I was particularly pleased to see an array of unfamiliar faces and to also see familiar faces playing in other events and systems. Made for a great shake-up and a sense that the tournament scene continues to develop, evolve and (I suspect therefore) grow. I've yet to play in a smaller "campaign/narrative" event with less aggressive army caps but I can certainly see the continued attraction of a large gathering of enthusiastic, ambitious and positive players scenting the win and going for the jugular (in the nicest possible way of course!).

    I imagine the best generals won the event which speaks to me of a system that worked well. Pete Williamson in particular - buy that man a medal! Outstanding effort with that list!

    Looking forward immensely to similar events early next year and sincerely hope that Phil is involved - one of the champions of the Warhammer community in my opinion.

  3. I hope Phil goes with something like the ETC Army Restrictions - they are based on solid accumulated experience and address most imbalances.

    Phil is doing a great job running Equinox, Guardcon and the Masters all in a year. It would be great if next year other (besides you Dave) step up and share the burden.

    For mine the biggest drag about TOing is comp bitching. From experience I've found the best "solution" is to remove the subjective element.

  4. If you are considering the hard caps as a system can you at least have a look at one thing that might help make it work. Thats a 5% limit on magical items & special abilities & mutations. IMO a lot of the abuses come from combinations derived from things like double slann with renumerations.
    Also ook at giving certain armies a few more points to play with and DE a lot less points say 2200pts :). Along with say no double rare choices except HE and a cap on unit pts at 400 max.
    I'm a big fan of not having comp, but it's tough as people try really hard to break restricted comp. As a final barriewr I'd talk to Chris cousins and Adam wonderly om lists that might have gone a tad to far as well as Pete who I have a very high regard for. Ok don't get a big head pete. :) I of course will offer you my honest opinion and make you cry, but thats another story.

  5. As I have stated repeatedly to the point of boredom for regular readers I favor minimal comp systems that focus in knocking the most offensive lists out. I don't favor wholesale rewrites of the game. Limiting magic items to 5% would fall into that category in my opinion.

    I'm certainly of the opinion that the course gw is on with limited race specific items and overpriced Special Characters will ultimately create a game where comp can be feather light.

    I do think TOs reserve the right to run things how they see fit but when you get to events like Masters you should remember the underlying focus of the event.

    Players have responsibilities too. Last year one player at Oz Masters sent out a pre-emptive strike which destroyed anything the TOs were trying to achieved. This left a very sour taste.

  6. Sean - did you have post removed from RHQ Tavern re masters?

  7. I can understand the confusion, some of the wording wasnt clear. But the hard cap did allow for 1 double rare choice. Phil still ran an awsome tourney and i thought most of the armies where fine, although damn there was alot of dragons!