Goatboy here again – wanting to talk about the yin to the competitive 40k player yang – Comp.
I am sure we have all heard about it and the cries of needing it to be dropped as well as the cries of those that want it to let them still play. I might be known as a WAAC gamer/Tough list builder/mean ole SOB – but I don’t hate comp. I see Comp as just another avenue for playing the game.
To better explain lets think of it this way – when I get down to the shop, friends house, or tournament I come with multiple lists to try out and play. I start the game by asking my opponent what kind of game they want to play. Do they want to test versus an extremely aggressive tournament list? Would they rather play something goofy and fun? Do they want to fight a themed list? I consider the type of list I play just as much as I consider the amount of points I plan to throw down with.
Lets look at Magic the Gathering. I am sure if you have ever been in a game shop, you have seen the game being played. The interesting thing about the game is that they have multiple formats in which you can play the game. There isn’t just the old way of whatever deck you have versus whatever deck your opponent has. It is now defined by card sets, drafted decks, just bought decks, and other variations that create different games. Some have much more pronounced abilities in the game – ie Deck Building, luck, metagame predicting, etc. Each of these variations adds a different spin on what is essentially the same game. So the question is – can’t 40k have the same sort of variation as Magic? Maybe Comp is just a variation on the game that stresses different game avenues?
Lets look at what I could consider different game avenues 40k could take. Some make sense, others might be a bit too out there to really push as the cost would be too much. Magic benefits from some formats being rather cheap to compete in without the need to put a ton of time into creating/building/painting the miniature/army.
You can only copy one troop unit but every other unit must be different. I have talked about this one before and I know some armies really can’t make a true highlander army that is both effective as well as fun to build and create. So this type of format might not be available until all the codexes get truly revamped for 5th edition (or 6th, 7th, or 8.56th). Here you most likely wouldn’t need to comp as much as the overall list restraints presented should hamper most lists in a way that comp happy players seem to want. They desire more variety and this type of format would push it. I have build what I consider “good” highlander lists before and it is pretty easy to do with most of the newer books out there. Here is hoping that the continued push for varied troop choices continues in the Dark Eldar and Grey Knight releases.
What I mean by Flat Armies is that everyone has the same army. All lists are the same and this event would push the general versus the list as the main winner of the format. This would be a much harder thing to accomplish as get 8 similarly built armies would be a pain to accomplish. In fact most likely the only army that could do it would be a Marine build – and we all know not everyone likes 3+ super humans. It is still an interesting thought for a tournament format to really push the best player.
Armies with a side of Sideboard
The sideboard is a Magic term again and normally refers to an extra 15 cards you can bring to the table and side out for games 2 and 3 during a tournament match. Magic has a lot of “spoiler” cards that effect certain colors/strategies and having such a wide variety of options during a tournament means that sometimes specific cards would only be worthwile versus a small section of decks. Thus the Sideboard allows you to change your deck and hopefully change your chances in what might be a lop sided match up. So in terms of 40k lets look at some things that might be worth a sideboard. Lets say they have no vehicles in an army, meaning the massed of melta you have on your team might be worthless. Wouldn’t it be neat to just swap out all those guys for Flamers or maybe Plasma guns if there is a massed amount of MC across the table top? The big issue here is that there is very little 1 for 1 trading in 40k. So much of the game has things with different point costs that it is hard to really trade out one model for another. It might just be better to have two lists that you could transform your list into. In fact that would probably be the best way to do this type of format.
I know we have all seen this and a lot of us have groaned when we have read some of the crazier interpretations. Like I said before, I don’t hate comp as I just see it is another way to play 40k and I really like to play 40k no matter the format. It is an interesting thing as I feel some comp works out better then others. Personally hard core players will have a much better idea of what is “broken” and hurtful to a fun game then a lot of comp happy players. I have seen before as I question some lists getting allowed in a tournament and others not getting allowed. Too much of the time I think some people don’t look at the numbers and figure out what truly is good and what might not be good. A lot of us heavy players look at the numbers all the time. Math Hammer is there for a reason and figuring out the benefits of certain units really gives us a good idea on what is good and isn’t good. A lot of the time I feel a well designed comp system really showcases the general over the list but creating a good comp system is extremely hard to accomplish.
No Comp – All are Welcome to the Party
These are starting to pop up and I think they are good for the game. The more options we have the better we are as a player base. We all play the same game, just not with all the same rules. Giving those heavy competitive players an avenue to duke it out is a good thing. Those competitive players are usually the ones buying new armies and creating new lists whenever the new hotness comes out. This also sees the increase of grey armies too, so it is not always the best thing. Still the no Comp just Battle Point tournaments are in what some would say as a Renaissance period. Will see if they continue to grow and effect some of the other tournaments.