BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K: A New (Comp) Challenger Approaches!

9 Minute Read
Feb 4 2016


The ITC has some new COMP-etition from Down Under. Come take a look at Community Comp!

You have to see this comp system that’s all the rage down in Australia and based on the mantra “Everybody is different and everybody matters”

A Guest Article By Matthew Antonello

On the recent few Long War podcasts the guys have been speaking about the magic days of 40k when soft scores were just scores,  Players were enthusiastic about their hobby and really forged a narrative with their armies. The metagame was never balanced but at that stage it was not so competitive and powerful that making these choices would not only lose you games but leave you deflated from humiliating defeats.

The Long War guys are not the only ones and I would like to tell you about how the Australian 40k community is trying to bring the balance and the hobby back.



A year or two ago several groups from across Australia decided that a concerted effort was needed to reverse the decline of the tournament community or we would soon end up without one and the hobby we all love so much would die.


This is the kind of topic that everyone has strong opinions on. Almost all of us have gotten tied up in long conversations about it and I myself could talk for days. To prevent myself ranting away for 3000 words I’ll just point all the efforts were going to and how they are working but in summary:

We have been doing everything we can to save Tournament Organisers  (TOs ) time and support them, after all they make it all happen. And we have made a comp system that actually does what it intends to and without all those annoying side effects. Most importantly of all we have done everything with the principals that everyone matters, you can’t change people and there is no one solution for everything.


  1. We bit the bullet and set up an Australia / New Zealand FAQ.

We all know that GW’s FAQs don’t cover everything and TOs are left to fix it.  Its alot of work so this awesome dude called Simon from Queensland nearly killed himself reading every major FAQ from around the world and found the best fit FAQ answers.

He set up a democratic committee with representatives from all states who manage this system which takes feedback from the community. Of course not everyone agrees on everything but its better than the alternative and it lightens the load on TOs.


  1. We created a set of resources to help out TOs because they are the lifeblood of tournaments.

They blow time and money to make you happy and after its finished a bunch of disgruntled players go and complain about some annoying little detail.


To combat this issue we have made up template player packs, score cards, mission packs, quick reference sheets for players to speed up rounds, scoring systems and even offer help checking lists over and advice on how to avoid problems.

This is all stuff TOs have to do, a lot of it is just grunt work but scoring and pairing  systems are complex and small errors in methodology create big problems on the day.

I wont bore you with the details  of how but we assembled people who make and who break tournament systems to analyse a bunch of  systems and came up one you cant really break and  some good advice on how not to fall into common traps.

These things seem simple enough but the details often require spreadsheets, dummy trials and maths to understand. TOs don’t have to do it themselves and they weren’t communicating with each other to learn from their collective mistakes and successes.


  1. We made a really balanced mission pack and by made i mean plagiarized the European Team Championship missions with a few minor tweaks.

The ETC committee is a group of competitive players from around the globe and did a very good job.

In a nutshell these missions combine one of the Eternal War objective missions,  a Maelstrom mission and a Kill Points element.  These scores are combined which means to win big you have to dominate in all 3 categories and if you’re going to lose you can still score some points by scraping by in one.

If you haven’t played them you really must, they go a long way to balancing the game and we get nothing but glowing responses from players.   Regardless of your armies strategy and how badly you are mismatched you always have a game plan and they don’t prevent you adding fluff or flavor to your missions.

  1. And then there was the comp issue.

Australia has always been really big on comp.    We have tried just about everything, including no comp at all and I’m sure none of you will be surprised that all these systems have some critical failure. There are 2 important  problems that Community Comp succeeds at where other systems fail:


The first problem – those systems which create a score for our army’s strength very often leaves us with a nasty surprise at the end.

Second – no matter how experienced we think we are we all have a subjective view on the game and it leaves us feeling screwed by the system when we get a score we disagree with.

Even when your not hoping to win nobody likes being unfairly treated, not even Monkeys.

What it is:

Community Comp is essentially  a committee of experienced players who’s job it is to actively seek out opinions from the whole community through social media and in person and turn that into a functional system.

Its essentially what people call  “Math Comp”. We made a document with costs for different units / combos and you build your own score.  Its 100% transparent so players get to make informed choices, their score is up to them so  they never get surprised.

That problem can be avoided by not using a judged score but that requires use of a set of restrictions or rules changes like the highlander or the ITC system. Unfortunately this creates the second problem where the top armies don’t work which just makes room for the next most broken crap to ruin the meta. It always ends up being the same boring rock/paper/scissors  because the bottom line is  winning games which means making the best list within the system.

Community Comp solves this by making the “best list within the system” the most powerful list that fits within a certain cost. Players can spend what they want so this means the “best list within the system” is not the most powerful.

It does create a deliberate  “Sweet Spot”  where players get the most efficient number of points for each “Comp Credit” they spend. Because the system is 100% transparent they know, that all  the other competitive players know, that to win an event you have to play in the sweet spot. Knowing this means they all play in the sweet spot so they all end up agonizing over how to get the most out of average or bad units which fortunately they love doing.

Competitive players set the pace of every metagame but in Community Comp the pace they set is softer and lends itself to more varied unit choices.  They still beat less competitive and hobby centric players but with finesse not list strength. In turn those players have games that feel closer so they aren’t discouraged from making unit choices inspired by their hobby or what they like.


Experience has shown me that if you decide to check out Community Comp, your likely to notice things you strongly disagree with immediately and that most of the time this is  simply a lack of context.  All our minds are stuck in the context of their own metagame and it shapes the way we interpret new ideas. Below you will find the armies played on the top 5 tables at a recent event called Eastcon which is a good example of what the Community Comp metagame looks like.  See if you can pick which list wins on each table, its closer than you think which to me proves the metagame is much more balanced that others.

I have paid pretty close attention to the way people in the Wargaming community conduct themselves and the effects it has on the community. One thing that stands out to me is that we as a community keep falling into the same traps which we need to learn to avoid.

You can’t solve all problems with one solution.

You can’t change people and shouldn’t try.

Everybody is different and everybody matters.

We have’d started to come around to these principals and its making a huge difference in our community. My home state of Victoria had more tournaments than I could attend this year and next year there will be even more. I keep seeing awesome new hobby projects at tournaments. Almost every army is fully painted with a growing number of players going those extra miles to awesome display boards and self written fluff.

It has been a rocky road these last couple of years but its starting to feel like the magic days again.

angron happy

Example of The Community Comp at Work

Top 5 tables at Eastcon 2015 based on battle alone, other scores added at the end of the event.

Note that the “sweet spot” is spending of the 20 available “Comp Credits”  between 5 and 8.

The average number of credits spent is 8 and less than 5% of players spend more than 12

If a player elects to pay a special and high cost for invisibility they may roll for it. If they don’t they re-roll results of 5 as if they already had the power. Nobody at any major event has yet paid that cost so invisibility is not a relevant part of the metagame. The following lists should be interpreted with that in mind.


Table 1 –  Dark Eldar / Tau / Dark Eldar

1x Medusae in a Venom with no extra cannon

5x Kabalite Warriors in Raider with dizzy

5x Kabalite Warriors in Raider with dizzy

3x Reaver Jetbikes, Arena Champion, Cluster Caltrops

3x Reaver Jetbikes, Arena Champion, Cluster Caltrops

Razorwing Jet Fighter, Splinter Cannon, 4x Shatterfield Missiles

Ravager with  Dizzys


Tau Commander, 2x Missile Pod, Drone Controller, 1x marker Drone, Early Warning Override

3x Crisis Suits, 6x Missile Pod,  3x Early Warning Override

Riptide, Earth Cast Pilot,  Velocity Tracker, Early Warning Override

4x Marker Drones


Corpsethief Claw Formation

5x Talos, 4x Ichor Injectors

7 credits out of 20


Table 1 –   Eldar / Dark Eldar

Autrch with Warp jump Generator, melta, combat weapon and banshee mask

6 Fire Dragons

5 Dire Avengers in Scatter Serpent

4 Jetbikes with scatter

4 Jetbikes with scatter

Crimson Hunter Exarch  2 lances

2 Vipers Shuriken Cannons

9 Warp Spiders Exarch

6 dark Reapers Exarch

Falcon with Bright Lance

Wraith Knight with Sun cannon, Shuriken Cannon

Honored Imperium fortification.


Dark Eldar Archon, webway portal

5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom extra cannon

Fast Attack Raider

9 credits out of 20



Table 2 – Dark angels / Grey Knights / Inquisition


Librarian, Eye of the Unseen

5 Scouts

5 Scouts

Command Squad, 5 grav, 5 storm shields, Sacred Standard in Drop pod

Fast Attack Drop Pod

Fast Attack Drop Pod




Grey Knight Grand Master, Leiber Daemonica, Psycannon

5 Strikes incinerator

10 Purifiers 4 incinerator

Dread knight Heavy Incinerator, Sword, Teleporter


Ordeo Malleus inquisitor, 3 Servo Skulls


7 credits out of 20



Table 2 – Grey Knights / Space Marines

Level 3 Librarian

Grand master with psycannon

5 Terminators psycannon

Dreadknight with teleporter

Dreadknight with Psycannon


Imperial Fists Chapter master, Shield Eternal, Terminator Armor

5 Scouts in Land Speeder Storm

5 Scouts in Land Speeder Storm

3 Grav Centurions Omniscope


Inquisitor With Terminator Armor and Psycanno

7 credits out of 20



Table 3 – Eldar /  Dark Eldar / Harlequins



10 jetbikes 5 Scatter Lasers Warlock

5 Jetbikes

9 Warp Spiders Exarch

6 Swooping hawks Exarch Sun rifle


Dark Eldar Archon with Shadow Field, armor of misery, huskblade

Court of the Archon.  1 Sslys, 8 Llahaman in Dissy raider with night shields and shock prow

5 Kabalite Warriors in a venom with extra cannon


Cast of players formation

Shadow seer Level 2 Mask of secrets

Death Jester

Troupe Master with Radamant and Caress

9 Players with Caress, 2 with melta


8 credits out of 20


Table 3 – Grey Knights / Space Marines

Librarian Level 3

Librarian Level 3

10 Terminators psycannons

5 terminators Psycannon

Dreadnknight teleporter Incinerator psycannons

Dreadnknight teleporter Incinerator psycannons



White Scars Librarian Level 2 on bike

3 Bikes

3 Bikes

12 credits out of 20


So there you have the run down of the new Community Comp System and some very specific examples on how lists would be scored using it.

How would YOUR army stack up in this system?

  • Talisman: The Horus Heresy is Coming!