Monday, September 27, 2010

Where I will be

Neoncon: Las Vegas NV. Nov 5-6th

It looks like the next event for me will be Neoncon in Vegas. I am on the fence about this one though because it is the weekend before: 

Da Boyz GT: Rochester NY Nov 12-14th

I am flying out there for this event. They have over 80 people signed up and they are a lot of top players. By popular demand, (and they go weill with the comp rules) I will once again be playing my foot eldar.

Edit: 10/13/2010
Since I am going to Da Boyz GT in Buffalo, I might go to Mechanicon on Philly that weekend before and then rent a car and see some sights while I drive to Buffalo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A quick post on VP vs. KP in response to MBrandt


For some reason Stelek and Mike Brandt thinks that the debate is over in the VPs over KP since they posted on their blogs why they think that Victory Points are a better way of determining wins/losses than Kill Points are.


I will post why I think that KP are superior to VPs at a future date, and I will look up their posts to see what there arguments are, and why they favor VPs. I will take a good look at them and break down the VPs vs. KP, but for now I will talk about Mike Brandt's post found here:

Mikes comments in Green, and mine in Purple:

Mike Brandt; mvbrandt@gmail said...

I really, really don't understand WHY people feel KP, and emphasizing giant crap units that fail miserably at most missions but can in theory "cheese" KP wins, is a good thing.
I wonder why you think that giant units are "Crap" units? Let's take a look at Thunder Wolf Cavalry, are you trying to say that they are a crap unit? Nob Bikers? Sanguinary Guard? Seer Councils? (I could do this all night). There are a lot of expensive and small units that are anything but crap.

On the other side of the coin I could reverse this and say I wonder why you think that taking a lot of crap units that fail miserably at most missions other than Seize Ground is a good thing?

Restated, why would anyone WANT to encourage that kind of play? It sells less models, encourages (bad) list building techniques and tactics, and is generally disliked as much as liked.

I did not realize that tournament organizers are part of the marketing arm of GW to sell more models. Not only that, as I stated before you can play any MEQ army and make it another MEQ army no purchase necessary! Again, at the Nova Open you had a blue crimson fist army as blood angels, going against a red chaos army that was space wolves.

Since when does not building a MSU army constitute bad list building? There are many ways to win this game with many build of armies out of all of the codexes. Why is MSU the only acceptable build? And tactics? Are you kidding me? If you think that tactics constitutes rolling dice for your long fang missile launchers, and your razorbacks? Yes, that is some tactics! Try winning with a small elite army, and you will learn a ton of tactics. Try doing a lot more with a lot less, and you will learn to play the game much better than determining who will win the game by who wins the dice roll to go first.  

Ours can't be the ONLY part of the country where just about everyone, when rolling KP randomly for a pick-up game, shrugs and re-rolls. Every 40k rulebook edition has that shitty mission or two ... like Alpha level missions in general in the 4E book. Why the obscene angry attachment to KP?

I can ask you why the hatred of KP? There are a lot of areas that hate a lot of things. There are areas that are still playing 2nd edition 40k, does that make it the better game? There are people out there that fear change, and refuse to do it. There are others out there that find that certain missions do not give their armies and builds an advantage and they pressure people into dropping them. There are people (like me) that hate Dawn of War, but it is part of the game and I have to adapt or lose no matter what my personal preference is.

By the by, MSU takes advantage of the 5x5, which reverses the aim of KP. You have a MUCH easier time "hiding" or reserve-hiding the units nominated when you've got redundancy and tons more units. Someone with a 10 KP army can't really "hide" half his force and expect not to get tabled, whereas someone with 25 KP can much more readily suppress the use of / hide / reserve 5 of the 25. It's kind of an obvious thing, and plays out in-game over and over. I'm not even saying it's bad, but it certainly does the opposite of KP (which is reward low-KP armies and punish MSU spam).
            I agree the 5x5 kill point model still does not even the playing field for small KP armies.

So to sum up: I am not averse to modifying the basic missions, but a lot of the alternatives reward MSU armies, and punish small elite armies. There needs to be balance in the game and you can't reward one type of build over another.
How balanced missions should work:
In one example someone talked dismissively about is a 4 land raider army. If you took a 4 LR army against an 8 razorback spam army (You can throw in some long fangs too) I don't see why only the LR army should be at a huge disadvantage in both the objective missions and VP missions. The 4 LRs might be able to win in a strait up shoot out with the 8 RB, but there is no way that they can play whack-a-mole to kill all of those units. So in a perfect world with both KPs and objectives, the LR player says that they need to diversify their army more to win objective based missions, and the razorback spam army says to himself that he needs to consolidate his army more to make it durable for KP missions and in the end both of their armies are not on the extremes. The way it stands now with VPs and Table Quarter missions, the impetus is only coming from one side to get the LR army to diversify and not the MSU army to consolidate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why do Space Wolves dominate tournaments? Becasue of tournament organizers.

Tournament Organizers are letting Space Wolves win. 

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.

For Example:

Reason #1:Missions

A) Objectives

If 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: Terrain

This 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?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why are Space Wolves dominating the tournament scene?

So why do you think Space Wolves are dominating the tournament scene?

Sure they are a newer codex and codex creep is certainly a factor, but Tyranids and Blood Angels seem to be struggling and they are the latest codexes.

Let's look at the Nova Open where they had a ton of Space Wolves and the worst one went 2-2 and they had 5 out of the 8 top finishers playing Space Wolves.

I played them at the team tournament at War Games Con and it was like playing Chaos on easy mode.


I am going to post a very long article on why I think they are doing so well, but what does everyone think the reason why they are doing well is?



Monday, September 6, 2010

My So. Cal. Smackdown Eldar list

After reading the missions for the So. Ca. Smackdown (found here ) I went back to the future and ran my 2007 GT list that I had a lot of success with going 9-0-1 at the Las Vegas GT and the Baltimore GT.

Well a lot of things have changed since then with going from 4th edition to 5th, but the new codexes so I will get to see how well the old list stacks up. 

My List





4 Harlequins w/2 Fusion Guns and 3 Kisses

Shadow Seer w/Kiss

Troupe Leader w/Power Weapon

3 Harlequins w/2 Fusion Guns and 3 Kisses

Shadow Seer w/Kiss

Troupe Leader w/Power Weapon 


10 Guardians w/Bright Lance

10 Guardians w/Bright Lance

10 Guardians w/Bright Lance

3 Eldar Jetbikes w/Cannon

Warlock w/Singing Spear, Destructor

3 Eldar Jetbikes w/Cannon

Warlock w/Singing Spear, Destructor 

Heavy Support

Falcon w/Missile Launcher, S. Cannon, and all of the upgrades

Falcon w/Missile Launcher, S. Cannon, and all of the upgrades

4 Dark Reapers

Dark Reaper Exarch w/ Missile Launcher, Fast Shot

I will be writing up my batreps this week as well as thoughts on my list and how it preformed.