Friday, August 16, 2013

New Zealand at the ETC - Numbercrunching the Results

As a lot of you are aware last weekend was the ETC in Serbia. This was the fourth year that a New Zealand team had attended and this time they finished 26th out of the 32 teams competing.

The organisers very helpfully posted the individual round score sheets and from this I was able to build a series of tables which summarise the NZ performance. The purpose of this is not to criticise or denigrate anyone's efforts - these guys paid got coin to ensure NZ had representation - but rather to run an objective eye over the results.

First up here is a summary of the individual results:

As can be seen, there is quite wide variation in individual results. There is very clearly a Top 3 in terms of scores and a Bottom 3. Interestingly I believe that two, maybe three, of the top scorers have been to the ETC before. Looking at the races it looks like NZ did not get a return out of what were viewed as two of the stronger races - Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Edit: Dave Meachen used Daemons of Chaos not Dark Elves.

Only four of our players had multiple matches against the same race and nobody played the same race three times. Critically four players played six different races. My understanding of the event is that the teams that perform best are those that formulate and implement a plan. I'm going to suggest that our matchup process shows some potential for improvement in that we did engineer repeat favourable matchups. Team Warhammer is all about planning and roles and it is doesn't appear that we achieved that based on the results.

The second table is our scores versus various races:

Here you can see we did very well against the most populous army - Warriors of Chaos - and also against Chaos Dwarfs. It appears key to this was getting O&G up against them with a backup of Dark Elves and Lizards respectively.

However, perhaps we should have been matching Lizards up against VCs earlier and looked for a solution versus Daemons. I can't help thinking that our WOC player should have been given a role to play against OKs and formulated a solid plan to beat them.

The results show that our general matchup plan failed to deliver consistent matchups for us and I think that is an underlying problem. Ideally you want to have enemy armies playing only 2-3 of your selections.

These are my initial thoughts, I'm sure I'll have more as I digest the data.


  1. Given that a lot of the people playing well in New Zealand cannot get to ETC,, do you think it'd be possible to get a CONSTRUCTIVE private transfer of info between those going and those playing the army with an interest in NZ doing well at ETC?

    1. John, there is a private forum on the Warhammer Forum that those on the team use to post ideas/lists/info etc.
      One of the biggest problems for us is that we 1) don't have enough players with ETC experience and 2)have players in many different countries who are unfamiliar with each other and how we all play.
      If you'd like more info on the team or how to get in touch etc, I'm sure it can all be arranged.
      One of the best tools available is Universal Battle. Simon and I used it a lot and (outside Simon's horrific luck in 2 games) it paid off, with us being familiar with each other and with other ETC builds. It is something I hope the team can utilise more fully in the future.

  2. The ETC this year was awesome. Serbia put on a very impressive event and if anyone in NZ is interested in what the best of it looks like, take a look at the facebook page they created and the Bad Dice coverage.

    As for the results, it was overall disappointing, but experience with the ETC and with each other probably ended up costing us a lot.
    Chris and I did the match ups (first time for both of us) and given the ratings we were given by each player we only had one very bad match up and 7-10 somewhat bad match ups the entire tourney (with 14 good match ups). I know that doesn't sound great, but every round we believed, based on the match ups, that we did a decent job and that we'd be competitive. It's one thing to get the match ups, but the performance has to be there as well. It is also vital that players really know their match ups well as we had to change some on the fly based on in-tourney performance. It's just another layer that the European teams tend not to have because they all practice with each other all the time. Living in one country in the same time zone will do that..

    I think you're right, however, in saying that we should have engineered repeat match ups where possible and it's something I'll have to learn how to do if I'm ever to do it again. It was an on the day decision to use me for the match ups and I feel with a little better preparation it may have gone differently.

    I feel I have to defend us a bit here though:

    The VC match up for Mal was vs a knight bus list, which is not how most VC lists were constructed. It was just good for us at the time that Mal's lizards were built to beat that kind of list, but otherwise Mal wanted to avoid VC. I was outplayed by the Danish captain and have learnt a lot on how to approach VC with daemons because of it.

    The Daemon matches were mostly good, but luck just wasn't there. My match in the first round was initially a 19-1 for me, but due to a mistake made by both of us early on (regarding reign of chaos) the game was invalidated and reduced to 10-10. Tim had a one in a million shot devastate him in vs the Danes and Simon's lvl4 decided to take off in turn 2, so luck hurt us there. Obviously we also had Empire to deal with daemons, but they were always going to pick the alternate or wait until we had committed empire to put their daemons out. Probably something some better practice doing match ups would have helped with.

    Ogres should have been handled differently, but we put up Brets, WoC and my daemons against them and they took the lesser of two evils every time. I feel Brets and WoC are decent matches for ogres, but it didn't play out that way.

    I'm poring over the data now to see how things could work better for us next time. If anyone out there has a programme for match ups (many countries were using them), I'd like to get a hold of it. Our Excel and gumption took us only so far :)

    This year's captain, Chris, has stepped down to take a break from the ETC and we're trying to figure out who will step into the breach. I'd encourage any and all players interested in getting involved for next year to get in contact. It's looking like the event will be in France (or possibly Greece/Germany, depending on the details to be ironed out), but the earlier the team can get organised the better the results will be. The NZTC is a fantastic way of hopefully getting more involvement in the ETC and, although it's expensive to travel to Europe, I hope all back home realise how great an event the ETC really is (despite what the comp may look like) and encourage all to try and get there at least once if possible.

    Really looking forward to seeing some more analysis on the results here to see what could be done differently and appreciate your input and welcome it from others. Don't be shy New Zealand, your team and country needs you! :)

    1. Oh wow, sorry for the wall of text.. :/ yikes

    2. David,

      Thanks for the feedback. Great insight and honest.

      I initially put my hand up for ETC 2013 but eventually withdrew. Why? Well in the Warhammer Forum I thought it only fair to lay out my expectations and how I would approach the event. This was more as a challenge than an experience - though obviously the two things are not mutually exclusive. I believe the whole team needs to be as one re the expectations and what goal they want to achieve.

      For me it was to approach the event with the intention of finishing in the top half of the field with outperformance being 10th place. I saw these as realistic goals and believe with the right team and preparation it could be achieved.

      So what did this mean. It means assembling a group of players with experience of ETC and/or the right skills and approach. It means checking egos at the door and then playing to assigned roles within the team. It might mean playing initially with an unfamiliar army or build but requires commitment to playing that build for 40+ games through the build up period to the event.

      Ideally it would involve a group of players who can get together at least once or twice prior to the event to hothouse lists, builds and strategy.

      Again that is just my approach and it may not be everyones. However if I am investing coin to go I want to know that my expectations are the same as the other 7-8 players.

      For NZTC this year Jack wrote us software for an Android that did the matchup process for us. It took all emotion out of the calculation. At the end we had three players on 77-79 and one on 60. In every round somebody took a bad matchup to engineer a better overall result. We didn't think we had the best lists at the event but good players, solid lists and cold hard calculation.

      I guess I'm putting my hand up to be involved but only if my expectations fit the rest of the team and captain.

      I don't think NZ can win the event but I do think with a coordinated and focused approach we can easily make the Top Half.

      Happy to continue offline if you wish.


    3. What was up with losing 5 green match-ups 0-20? That really signals poor understanding of the match up process and false expectations of how the team members thought their lists would perform.
      Ideally, the NZ ETC team should be organised and based in NZ, with players who are familiar with each other - and without trying to cause a stir, ideally with NZ citizens.
      Obviously financial issues will be a difficulty but....we could be creative as a community and organise some fundraising tournaments that would go towards the costs of team travel from NZ to Europe. I for one would be keen to help with that, if it sent a well organised team of NZers to the ETC.