Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking in the Petrie Dish

Results just in from Over The Top Warhammer 40k tourmanent held over the weekend.

Charlie used his new Necron army and scored 116/120 battle Points. He finished on 97.66% (those 4 points were all he dropped - scoring maximum sports and presentation). The next highest result was 79.58%.

OTT was a No-Comp event that escalated armies from 1000-2000 points over six rounds.

Well done Charlie!

I'm looking forward to his reports, not to hear about the kerb-stomping, but to hear about whether he believes we are seeing an evolution in army selection.

The key question for me is whether he believes the lists of other participants are getting harder to reflect the no-comp environment. The last time this question was raised on the blog there were two views put forward by active participants. The first was that it would take 6-12 months for armies to evolve. The second was that armies wouldn't evolve but that people were happy just to play what they wanted with no restrictions.

From a competitive point of view that 18% gap is massive - 31 Battle Points or expressed crudely 1.5 games. For the scene to be competitive this type of gap is unhealthy and if it isn't reduced I think that it is negative for both Charlie and the other participants.


  1. Being one of those further down the line (7th) I can say that much of the points difference was due to the way the points were scored, and not a difference in armies. I had one game in particular that was exceptionally close, but when the points were added up I had lost 17-4. The way missions were scored, if you won the primary objective(no matter the margin of victory) you instantly gained 10 out of the possible 20 points, while your opponent gained 0.

    My fellow Northlander that attended was placed 10th, but he was around a full games points behind me. As you went further down the list the points became a lot closer together, with the bottom places very close.

  2. Interesting that the doubles tournament warclouds in Chch over Waitangi weekend had similar results. 2nd Place was necrons/Grey Knights, which won all games (96/120 points), and 1st place was necrons/Dark Angels, which only lost one game to the necron/Grey knight team. Scoring was 50/50 points/soft.
    I think the meta is yet to catch up with the new necron book on the NZ tourney scene. That and there isnt just one competitive build with necrons.

  3. Pete, I haven't seen the full breakdown of the points. I would want to see how spread the field below Charlie is before commenting on the 'scene' or 'meta'
    I suspect it has more to do with the factor of Charlie, [and maybe of the newness of Necrons.] rather than how hard or soft lists are in the new comp enviroment.

    Was anyone suprised he won?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Without you there Dave? No :-)

    3. I was surprised I won, does that count?

      In all seriousness, I'll do a full/better write up shortly, but to summarise: Armies were, generally speaking, tougher - at least at the top end. There were also still a lot of people just fielding what ever they wanted, and were equally happy with that. In a 30 person tournament, not all 30 people are there to stand on the top of the podium, and it will never be that way. We don't even have people adopting that mind set in a 12 person masters event.

      Other than that, it was really just that my list breaks the meta somewhat, anytime I needed a big piece of luck I got it, without fail, and almost all my opponents had to ask "what's a wraith do? Whats a command barge?" etc.

      The fagbots are also quite fragile, but because with my setup it actually plays in a very similar way to my orks, being all about controlling threat zones to protect the fleshy backfield it meant I was a lot more practiced in running the list than my 3 games with them before hand would suggest.

  4. The point is Dave that 'generally" in a no-comp environment you would expect the gap to narrow.

    Why? Because people are competitive in nature and and in an environment where "anything goes" you'd expect people to adapt to the dominant player. if I go swimming with sharks I want something that neutralises a Great White not something that is reasonably strong against Walruses, clown fish and krill. I know to win I have to fight the Great White at some point.

    Therefore over time the gap between the great White and the rest of the field should decrease as they bring tools to deal with him.

    Perhaps you're right though. Perhaps the Great White is evolving faster. Harpooned by Dark Eldar at the Masters, he is now a Crocodile

    1. Hey Pete, I agree gamers are adaptive. I don't think that the gap is reflective of comp vs. no comp. Charlie won many events in the same fashion in a math/peer/panel comp enviroment.

      Perhaps the gap will close as time goes on.

      Plus Doug tells me that Charlie tailored his list to beat his GK specifically.

    2. See I probably disagree Dave....Some gamers are adaptive, some not so much.

      I'm really hoping the gap is closed as I think it is far better for the scene.

      Perhaps bots are broken?

    3. I think Bots are in the situation of this is the first tournament that they have been allowed at and there isn't much in the way of direct experience facing them.

  5. I think there's two important details around OTT:

    1) no-comp. We're finally seeing some "real" no-comp style lists being fielded and list creation is critical to success. I recognize now that I made a few terrible mistakes in my 2000 list and it shows plainly in the results. Hard, unapologetic lists were seen for many codexes (Buttle's eldar list is about as hard a list for the current meta as I can imagine, Haydn's DE list cleaned my clock as did Doug Sainsbury's very strong Grey Knights list)

    2) the escalation model. Having to put together 3 strong lists is quite difficult. I was happy with the performance of my 1000 and 1500 point lists (generally, a few tweaks here and there for the next stage) but my 2000 list let me down.

    I think with a 6 game, same point value tournament you'll see your closer calls.

  6. It was a pretty interesting tournament to start off the year, my fairly experimental DE list needs some more tweaking and practice and I certainly struggled with the escalation model. You really need to build separate armies for each level from scratch rather than trying to cut 1850/2000pt armies down to size, and I know quite a few people with struggled with this aspect.

    1.5 games worth of points isn't actually that big a gap tbh. Charlie was the only undefeated player which by itself gives him a 1 game lead, and that one game gap pretty much always going to be the case in a tournament (even if the system allows for draws you still expect someone to win all their games). There are a bunch of other factors which explain the remaining half a game difference, including the scoring system used and purely the fact that its the first major tournament of the year so the 'newness' of some builds gives them an extra boost.

    As far as the whole adapting theory goes I certainly felt that armies were getting tougher and people were taking new stuff. Of course some people are always going to take whatever they feel like, but over the weekend I faced only one un-optimised list, two decent balanced lists, two competitive 'rock' lists (i.e lists which are competitive but fall over against some matchups) and one fully optimised balanced list which is certainly a step up from any tournament last year (save Masters). The biggest indicator of this is probably going to be the paint scores, which without actually seeing the breakdown I suspect weren't that great across the board (which is another factor in the gap in points). There were only a few armies full completed, the likes of Charlie, Mark and Haydn (oddly enough the guys who judged painting lol) had fully finished armies, a few people had nearly complete armies (just short on fine detail) and there were a big chunk of armies which looked very much WIP. Compared to last year there was a massive jump in the number of Dark Eldar, Necron and GK lists which certainly supports the idea that people are adapting.

  7. I think the daylight between Charlie and the others is a bigger deal than you make out. It's certainly a lot less close than the tournaments of about 3-6 years ago as I remember them.

    To me, it's an indicator that there is less competition out there. The lists may be getting harder, but that doesn't mean squat at the top end unless you can use them (as Charlie clearly can).

  8. Well based on the responses I appear to have got it wrong. The 18% gap isn't that big a gap - though I contend that 31 points gap out of 120 is substantial...equivalent to a 18-2 and a 17-3 win.

    From the participants there it seems that the lists have adapted and are harder but the difference is a mix of Charlie's skill and new book syndrome.

    I'm still left wondering exactly how many lists were optimised to beat Necrons rather than to beat other armies.

  9. i'm going to support one of Charlie's pet theories, in that psychology plays a big role in Charlie's (or anyone's) wins. There several competent players who seem to just loose their minds when Charlie sits down across from them. They seem so worried about Charlie that they abandon their original plan and go for something un-tried and un-tested. They take the bait for short term gain (on kill points, scoring units, etc) only to be mauled by the counter attack.

    I think the new Codex was a big deal (if you don't know about Wraiths and Command barges, the lynch pins of charlie's army, it can't possibly go well) but at the end, it's Charlie sitting across from them that really did them in mentally.


  10. People getting intimidated by Charlie? Come on now.. have you seen him?

    His wargaming acumen, however, is impressive, but much like Charlie does, you should be dissecting match ups, not people (although I'm sure his constant babbling helps him some).

    And Pete, I think you're right. The gap is a big one and it is important for the NZ scene to narrow it. But it's not just that the gap at this event is big, it's the constant gap Charlie is able to put between himself and the rest of the field that is worrying. I think the move to no-comp will help and will push people slowly but surely towards harder armies and more acceptance of the toughest builds, but it firstly needs buy in and then fostering. I hope that for the good of the NZ scene that Charlie, and those like him, are teaching others the what, how and whys of 40k.

    1. The only people I don't help are the small group of players who don't believe they need help, and only want false reassurance that their was nothing they could do, it was the dice/matchup etc. Instead I stroke their ego's as that's all they're after.


      Other than that, I actively podcast helping people, write blogposts, walk dozens of people through their lists and help them with them, and give advice in terms of steps they need to take to progress themselves as a player, on and off the table. Later this year I'm probably heading to Tauranga to run a workshop of sorts to help a group of players there.

      Excuse my tone of indignation, but I think you're pretty hard pressed to find many other people in the country putting that much effort into helping others with this particular issue.

    2. Why didn't you help Gav Thorpe write the Chaos Codex then?

    3. I did. I co wrote it with him. We worked out the best way to get you out of the hobby and go play that square base crap with upstanding individuals like Anthony Spiers.

    4. (No offence Dave, I've just had a few suggestions in recent times that I'm not helpful to the NZ scene, and it would be better if I left. I'm somewhat touchy on the subject as a result :/)

    5. No offence taken, I know that you and Pete have helped me a lot when I was looking to improve my game, but I think as a whole community there is a little bit lacking there, moreso from those not seeking help than those waiting and willing to offer it. Perhaps they don't see it as a problem and they see you as 'just an outlier' whereas the truth is that yes, you are very good, but others could and should be as good if they really pushed for it. I'm sure you believe that there are players that should be able to push you to a draw/loss if they played well enough..

      I can tell you that I've learnt more from getting my ass handed to me than I do from ever roflstomping teh n00bz. But it can be really hard to swallow your pride and ask for help from someone who just destroyed you and your hobby, but it's a necessary process.

      I know those associated with this blog do a lot of good (although I didn't know about your travelling guru status), but having been a person who couldn't get passed a certain level until some very fundamental flaws in my approach were pointed out by someone in the know, I can tell you that a lot of people won't even know that they're not doing it right (or rather how it is that they're not doing it right), without some really good advice.

      It wasn't a criticism, it's more that I can't understand why people aren't clamoring for your advice every waking moment until they're smashing your face in the way you've been doing them (us) for so long.

      I agree with Pete, to be the man, you gotta beat the man, not ask him to leave so you can feel better about yourself.

    6. I'm sorry, I think I missed a WOOOOOO! in that last sentence...

    7. I am Charbaddon, Despoiler of Hobbies.

  11. Well you should leave if you were associated with the Chaos codex.

    Hang your head in shame!