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40K: The Comp Police (and other stories)

12 Minute Read
Oct 17 2011

Last year around this time I wrote a little article called The Quiet, Dignified Death of Comp, which discussed the patient’s unheralded exit from the world of indy tournament play…

…well, it’s possible I spoke too soon!  You see, Jay and Da Boyz didn’t much feel like going out like that, so they resurrected the patient before brain death, gave it the face-lift-plus-body-sculpt, and will reveal all at their event this weekend!

It’s coming up quick, but tickets are available!  If you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it!

Hello again boys and girls, Unicorns and children of all ages, Brent here for a Terrible Tuesday offering I pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy!

If you don’t, BigRed promises you a complete refund.

So What’s This One About, Brent?

Being the Internet Personality and all-around Blogger stud I am, it’s not hard to guess what some of you out there are thinking, but let me assure you this article isn’t about army composition in the tournament scene.

And no, that much porn isn’t good for anyone.  Put the mouse down.

Even if Comp isn’t dead, it’s a dead subject.  Much like Counts-As, I spent way too much space over the last year writing about it.  It’s boring.

I’m a trendsetter I am, so instead of dishing the event, let’s play meet the player.

Hyv3mynd is a hobbyist and tournament player who runs a little piece of the Blogosphere called Synaps3; on Strictly Average it’s a Read Up To Keep Up, and I suggest you do.  Check it out.

Enough running the old muncher, let’s get started.  My questions will be in italics for the remainder of the interview.

An Interview with a Blogger

Hyv3mynd – can I call you Hyv? 


Call me Aaron please 🙂

Okay then!  Call me Brent.  Can you tell us a bit about the army you’re putting together for the event?

Aaron:  I’m building a special Grey Knight army for DaBoyz GT this year. Oh god, I can hear the whining already. Anyways, the army draws inspiration from several sources.

I’ve uploaded the entire, large file; click on these pics for all the glorious detail!

The first inspiration was a teammate of mine from the Dicehead Seige ATC (American Team Championship) event. Our local club offered me the honor of joining their 5 man team with my Tyranids. Our team was made up of Jay Woodcock (USA’s ETC ‘Nid player), Shaun Kemp (USA’s ETC Ork player), Joe Johnson (2nd Renaissance Man @ NOVA 2011), Chris Courtney, and myself. I was truly amongst giants. We ended up taking 3rd out of 14 teams without a SW, BA, or IG army. The true inspiration came from Chris Courtney, who took Best General out of 70 players which included Ben “Spacecurves”, Nick “Darkwynn”, Greg “Inquisitor Malice”, Goatboy, Paul M (ETC), John W (ETC), and several other 40k “celebs”. Chris played an Eldar “one of everything” list with only a single duplicate unit which was guardians.

Up in our neck of the woods, we’re all accustomed to Chris kicking our butts and dominating tournaments with his “rainbow” lists, but to see it happen at a major event without comp changed my outlook on the game. We chatted for most of the 14 hour drive back from Tennessee and my mind was swimming with ideas. His Eldar list succeeded with flexibility, utility, maneuverability, and force multiplying psychic powers. I felt I could accomplish something similar with Grey Knights but without the spam you find in popular lists these days.

My second inspiration was a “future police” concept I’ve been daydreaming about since watching Appleseed. I originally wanted to build an ESWAT force out of Tau Battlesuits, but the cost of 20 battlesuits was daunting. Instead, I decided my Grey Knights would be ISWAT, the Inquisition’s Special Weapons and Tactics force. This would provide a solid theme as foundation for painting and direction for the army. My concept is a detachment of Inquisition and Grey Knights permanently assigned to police a valuable hive world plagued by heretics and daemonic incursions, but too valuable to subject to exterminatus.


How many hours of work do you estimate this is going to take, all told?

Aaron:  That is hard to say really. I was fortunate enough to grab a Nemesis Dreadknight in our pile of loot at the ATC (May 22nd) which was my first model in the army. I bought a couple boxes so I could play in a 1,000pt team event and took 3rd, grabbing another GK box. The next week I played in a 1250pt tournament and took 1st and grabbed another couple boxes. A generous friend also helped out with some donations along the way.

I’ve basically been working on the army since the end of May, taking some breaks to play casual games, tournaments, and build terrain for DaBoyz GT. Each model takes me between 4 hours (henchmen) and 8 hours (terminators) from priming to painting and basing. The Dreadknight and Storm Raven took a bit longer. The army will have 37 models total.

Was this special for Da Boyz?

Aaron:  In short, yes. I’ve been playing Tyranids competitively (haha right?) for a year and I wanted something totally different. Back in May, Grey Knights seemed like a cool idea before everyone started raging on them so much. I am a competitive gamer, but I fancy myself more of the “renaissance man” type in that I enjoy creating a strong theme and appearance when I build an army. It makes all the tournaments more enjoyable for me if there’s a story behind my army other than just crushing people.

I started synaps3, my blog to tell the story of my Tyranids from fluff to conversions, painting, tactics, theory, and battle reports. The blog has become more popular than I imagined and Jay approached me about blogging a new army for this year’s GT to help promote the event. The timing was perfect with my new Dreadknight in hand and it gave me direction for the months to come.

So, what’s in the list and how well do you expect it to work?

Aaron:  Here’s the list (keep in mind it’s for a comp tournament):

Librarian + sanctuary, shrouding, might of titan, quicksilver, vortex of doom
Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor + psyocculum, serve skull
Henchmen – 2 crusaders, 1 death cult assassin, 2 plasma cannon servitors, 1 heavy bolter servitor, 1 jokaero, 2 acolytes w/ melta, 2 naked acolytes, chimera
Techmarine + psykotroke grenades, rad grenades, blind grenades
5 Terminators – 1 warding stave, 1 halberd, 1 hammer, 1 psycannon, brotherhood banner
10 Strike Knights – 2 psycannons
5 Strike Knights – 2 halberds, 1 hammer, 1 psycannon, razorback w psybolt ammo, hunter killer
Storm Raven + typhoon missiles, lascannons
Dreadnought + 2x tl autocannons, psybolt ammo
Nemesis Dreadknight + teleporter, heavy incinerator


So it’s a “rainbow” list with no duplication and built for max comp. It had lots of flexibility, so much it’s hard to decide which way to go with it sometimes and it’s definitely not an easy list to play coming from Tyranids. When I make the right decisions though, it’s a brutal army.

The lynchpin is a unit designed to fight the “meta”. The inquisitor joins the henchmen and makes them bs10 when targeting psykers or units with attached psykers. My hopes were to pop open some transports with the other shooting units and then lay down some bs10 plasma cannons on units with runepriests, farseers, etc. If my opponent doesn’t have psykers, I can zoom up in the chimera and melta some stuff or jump out and get annoying with the assassin and crusaders.

The librarian and techmarine are there as force multpliers with all their powers and grenades. If I’m lucky with terrain, I can pull the 2+ fortified ruins/shrouding shenanigans. The Dreadknight and Storm Raven provide mobility and disruption and are the models I wanted to use for fun value.

Overall, it’s a list with a wide variety of fun and (hopefully) effective choices.

Why Da Boyz? Can you let our audience know why you’re parting with your hard-earned hobby money to attend this event?

Aaron:  DaBoyz GT is hosted by our local club and has been going strong for several years. The guys put on an awesome event with the best thematic terrain you will find in America, fun missions, and top-notch prize support. Enforced comp isn’t my first choice when it comes to tournament format, but it does offer a fun change to the open format spamfests. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some of the prominent players and bloggers. Last year I had the opportunity to meet the entire USA ETC team, 4 BoLS contributors, and several bloggers. You can’t beat the price too with an entry fee half of other comparable GT’s.

You run a blog call Synaps3.  What’s the blogging experience been like for you?

Aaron:  It’s been really enjoyable and rewarding. I initially started blogging to fill the void when I got burned out painting and couldn’t find a game. Tyranids were a great topic because so many people love the army but struggle with it and seek advice. I was moderately successful with the army so the blog drew a lot of interest once I started posting battle reports and tactics articles. Several of my loyal readers despise me for picking up Grey Knights, but playing a second army has given me a lot of new ideas and inspiration to return to ‘Nids after the GT. I’ve also been blessed with a great many supportive readers.

Thanks Aaron – I really appreciate you taking the time to stop in and show off your new toys!

And that’s that, folks… HOLD THE PRESSES!


I was about to finish this article off, but my mail made the mail-sound, and lo!  Jay, or J-Dog as nobody-but-me calls him, took time away from his very busy week to answer some questions…

…and though I’m not going to dish on comp, there’s nothing that says I can’t get J-Dog to do it!

Interview with the Tournament Organizer

Jay… so exactly how much do you regret beating me in the first championship round of the Adepticon tournament?

Jay:  I feel bad, but getting to go to the ETC was totally awesome. I honestly think my army was built to beat your army. I will be back at AdeptiCon next year, so maybe you can get your revenge!

After Da Boyz last year, the talk was about ditching the comp system. I was so confident in what I heard I left believing Da Boyz had seen its last year of comp… what changed? Why the decision to continue to embrace this style of event?

Jay:  One of the things we do every year to get feedback from the players is to do a survey of the players that attend. We had over 80 survey forms filled out and majority of them wanted the comp system to stay, but with some changes. We want to do what the players want to do.

I also feel a lot of players are sick of playing a Space Wolves with 15 missle launchers or a Grey Knights Player with 3 to 6 dreadnoughts.

You’re aware Ye Ol’ Blogosphere talks mad crap about Comp-style events! Why do you think that’s the case?

Jay:  Maybe they hate what they don’t understand. It is funny because I want to say 99% of events have comp. I would argue that the only event I am aware of that does not have comp is Bay Area Open. One of the main reasons is that they use basic rule book missions with no modifications. Let take this past AdeptiCon Champions Tournament as an example. Every mission had kill points as part of the mission. You could have built your lists with a lot of kill points and tried to win the other two missions, but you are losing before you even start. It is easier to build low kill points armies. This is very similar to what Blackmoor did at the Nova. There is hidden comp everywhere, but ours in not hidden.

The army rubric this year is interesting. Let’s see if I have this right; 1) the player will develop an army using the guidelines supplied by the outline, then, assuming the army in question meets the minimum requirements, it will be submitted and 2) five judges will score it, gifting additional points depending on the ‘fluffiness’ of the list. Have I got that right? 

Jay:  1) Yes. 2) The additional judge’s points are partially for fluffiness, but mostly because we know the rubric is not perfect. Some really fluffy armies get hurt by it and we would like to give them some points back. On the other hand some armies can “break” the rubric and this was the only way we could try to level the playing field.

In previous years, the judges’ scores were something of a sticking point. They were seen as subjective. Do the judges have an outline of sorts – a secret measure by which they’ll review the list?

Jay:  No secret measure exists, we will be looking at Codex exploration; did the player pull some units that you don’t see every day? Or did they just take the best units from their codex and spam those units? We have a vast amount of experience with all of the armies of 40K, so we can judge armies fairly. While it is still subjective, we believe that the matrix is going to help a lot this year.

You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into it; what do you want players to know about it?

Jay:  We want our GT to represent how we started playing the game years ago. Our group always prided itself on being all around players, good sports, good hobbyists, good players, and most importantly have fun. That’s why we have the tourney set up this way. We want to reward the well round players that our group tradition has evolved from over the years.

Now that we’ve addressed the system, let’s move right past it. Last year I attended and had an absolute blast! It was truly sick how much fun I had! What’s the secret here – what sets Da Boyz apart from other tournaments?

Jay:  I think it starts with our group as a whole and just wanting to have a good time. You will notice that there is a trend now to copy what is being done with the Nova Open. A lot of events have copied that system. It is great system, but not everyone wants to play in that type of system. It has a lot of games and is a very competitive event. You have one bad game of dice rolling or make one mistake you are done.

Our terrain is another thing we pride ourselves on. We spend a lot of time making tables that make players say “wow” that is awesome; I want to play on that one. We feel playing on a cool table is just as important as the miniatures we are playing with or against.

We also give out a ton of prizes. Just for the 40K singles event we have 22 places where prizes are allocated to be given out. Everyone argues that our event is not competitive, but just the opposite is true. We draw some of the very best players from across North America. Come on we even have Goatboy coming again. I think he is going to bring tons of donuts to hand out evey time he wins a game.

Is there still time to get in on this year’s event?

Jay:  Yes but we are only going to have limited tickets available at the doors. We have 96 people signed up just for the 40k Singles event so far and we have 12 teams signed up for our “ETC” event on Friday.

What’s the first step in getting involved?

Go to our web site

And there you have it!  Cool, right?  Drop a line to let Aaron know you appreciate his work… and if you’ve a mind, check out his blog and hit the ever-important ‘Follow’ button.

Look, if you have the extra cash and some free time, think about attending Da Boyz this weekend.  I attended last year and the experience was top notch.  Comp or no comp, if you’re not attending tournaments for the experience than you’ll end up an unhappy camper.

Da Boyz is an established event.  It’s that good, so keep it on your tournament calendar. 

Thoughts?  Comments?  Hugs and gropings?

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