As you can see by the comments below on the other post where I wanted people's opinions on why they thought the Space Wolves are dominating tournaments there were a lot of answers why. Not only do they do MSU well with a lot of razorsbacks combined with good assault units, and then add in Logan, Thunderwolves, some of the best anti-psycher abilities, and 4 HQ units means that they and a tough army to face. Normally armies can either shoot, assault or do a little bit of both, but the Space Wolves can do everything so well that they are able to out shoot most armies, and out assault most armies at the same time.
So almost everyone is in agreement that the Space Wolves are on the top as far as powerful codexs go, so what do tournament organizer do to balance out the armies? They make the Space Wolves even better!
Instead of making minor changes to their tournaments to help balance out the codexes, they do just the opposite and play right into the Space Wolves hands. They are enabling all of these Space Wolf armies and creating a format that rewards them and punishes other armies.
A) ObjectivesIf you look at the rulebook they have missions that have 3-5 objectives and one that has 2. Do you know how many troops you need to win one of those games? One! Tournament missions love to have 5 objectives, and they reward you with the more objectives that you can hold. Do you know what that does? It heavily favors MSU armies. They also favor armies that have a lot of small troops that can cover a lot of ground and hold multiple objectives. As any Tau player will tell you, all troops are not created equal, and those with bad troops, or fragile troops struggle when you make armies hold a lot of objectives all over the board. In theory you should average 4 objectives, and you should be able to place them where you want to. That way if you do play a small elite army, you can group the objectives together to increase the likelihood that you can control more than one with your army build. I read that one blogger suggest placing objectives in the middle of each table quarter and one in the middle of the table. If you think about it, there are several armies that would struggle with this because they have a few large troop units, but those armies that are MSU can easily take and hold multiple objectives.
B) leaving out kill points.After the Nova Open there was much discussion about VPs vs. KPs. I think Redbeard on DakkaDakka summed it up this way:
Seize Ground (3-5 Objectives) favors MSU armies
Annihilation Missions (KP) favor small elite (deathstar) armies
Capture and Control (2 Objectives) favors neither.
If you use a combination of all of these missions together you balance out the game with all of the different codexes and army builds. On the other hand if you have VPs instead of KP they both favor MSU armies and they will dominate the tournament. If you look and MVBrant's breakdown of the armies at the Nova Open you will see that the worst Space Wolf player went 2-2 and Chaos went 11-21. Chaos is still a good codexs (although with limited builds), but they do not do MSU very well while Space Wolves do. Chaos has a few troop options and some other nice tricks, but they can't be everywhere and do everything like the new codexes can.
There is no reason to handicap those armies that do not need any handicapping by hurting armies that are small and elite, while helping out the MSU armies. This is one of the reason why I think that Blood Angels did not do as well as their older MEQ cousins is because they have very expensive units and they operate as an elite force and the lack of KP missions in exchange for VP missions hurt them. For example, you shoot down one Stormraven there is 200 VPs right there. Do you know how hard it is to get 200 VPs from a Razorback spam Space Wolf army?
War Game Con/Bolscon did not have any KP missions as well, and the upcoming Battle for Salvation has one VP missions and one KP mission. It will be interesting to see how the MSU armies do in the KP missions, but it is one of the later games and I would imagine that MSU armies will just be facing up against other MSU armies and the game will go to the player who wins the dice roll to go first.
Speaking of the dice roll to go first deciding who will win…
Reason #2: TerrainThis is one that people do not even think about anymore. Everyone thinks some terrain that obscures vehicles is ok these days, and that they play in mostly open table tops where nothing blocks LOS. The problem I think is that we have started to get use to this since 4th edition was so long ago.
Let's go back to 4th edition and see what terrain they had. Hills were certain levels and most where level 3 terrain that blocked LOS to anything behind it no matter how tall the hill really was. Forests completely blocked LOS to anything behind them as well. So what you had were several pieces of terrain that you could hide almost an entire army with or at least a lot of important units that you did not want to die on the first turn. Since you did not know who was going first, you had to set up both offensively and defensively so you would not get crippled on the first turn.
Now let's go to 5th edition and we are using the same forest that we used in 4th edition, but they no longer block LOS or rarely even obscure vehicles. We are using the same hills, but they do not block LOS to any large vehicles. I have only played on a couple of tables in all of my tournaments where you could hide a Land Raider or a Defiler but in 4th edition all of the tables had some place where you could place them without fear of them getting shot at.
The deployment rules have changed in 5th edition where the player who goes first sets up and then the player who goes second gets to react to that placement. That is suppose to mitigate the advantage of going first, but when you can't hide anything from your opponent's fire, there is nothing you can do to prevent them having a huge advantage. Sure you can start your army in reserve, but that is only good for a very few armies, and the fact that you do not know which units you are getting, and that you are coming on piecemeal is a recipe for disaster for most armies.
So this gives Alpha strike armies a huge advantage. You go first you can cripple your opponent's army and almost insure a win. Go second and you are still have a good chance of winning unless you are facing another Alpha strike army. This also means that static shooting units are undercosted like Long Fangs and Lootaz. They have the inherent disadvantage of being immobile and static and you should be able to use terrain to hide behind, and to neutralize their tremendous firepower. When you are playing on a board with no LOS blocking terrain, there is no place to hide from these types of units and they dominate the game. When you have 15 missile launchers that can fire at 6 targets you can figure out how that is going to go for you.
If you use the tools available, tournaments should be much more balanced affairs, and there would be no need to have comp. but with TOs making it even easier for the best build to win they are destroying them. If you have read some Battle Reports out of Nova Open or War Games Con everyone is playing Space Wolves and Blood Angels. I do not know about you, but I like facing a variety of armies and players, and I do not want to play the same armies again over, and over. I can stay home and do that.
What do you think?