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40K Op-Ed: Fix Detachments By Rewarding ‘Good’ Behavior

5 Minute Read
Apr 7 2018

With all the talk of HQ Limits and Points Increases to fix “problem” HQs, folks are looking for a quick fix to a complex problem. But what if there was another way to curb “abusive” lists altogether – by rewarding the behavior that should be encouraged.

Look, we all know I’m talking about Flyrants as they are the new boogeyman of 40k. Here’s the deal – if you nerf one unit another will rise to take it’s place. It’s just how this cycle goes; it’s never-ending whack-a-mole. Now, some folks will argue that if you can knock off the top of the ladder and bring up the bottom, then you’ve got a better mix – I get that philosophy, but I don’t think that’s what we’ll see happen at this point. That would take a complete re-working of everything we know so far.

I also think that the problem isn’t the units themselves, its the fact that you can take the same thing over-and-over again. We all call this Spam.

Goatboy loves this stuff because it travels so well.

Now, I’ve said my piece about Detachments and how I think they are the real culprit. I think that GW needs to take a good look at how those work and tweak the game there and not at the unit level. (That’s not to say some units shouldn’t get looked at, by the way, it just means it’s a systematic issue and not a case-by-case problem.)

My solution is twofold – Reward ‘Good’ Behavior and Punish ‘Bad’ Behavior.

There’s your problem.

Reward ‘Good’ Behavior

What is ‘Good’ Behavior? That’s a great question. And it’s subjective as anything else that involves opinions. But in this case it really comes down to Spam vs not-Spam, I think. We’ve already seen GW take shots at this type of behavior correction as well. Don’t believe me? Check out the Drukhari Codex:


If you only take Archons, you don’t get the benefit of this stratagem. We need to see more of these types of things in the game – rewards for taking a diverse army list! Lots of folks will talk about a format like “Highlander” – just like the movie, there can be only one (type) of an HQ, Elite, Heavy, or whatever slot that you think is appropriate. Troops might get a pass in this case, but you get the idea. This stratagem reinforces the idea by giving players a reward for NOT spamming an HQ. And look at that – it doesn’t require a nerf to anything.

What could this look like? Well It could be as simple as a new rule that gave you a bonus CP (or more…) if all your HQs were from a different Datasheet. If your army doesn’t have that many HQ options, well, you’re probably not going to get those points, but you weren’t counting on them now, so it’s not going to hurt you as much as reward the other players. Besides, I’d much rather my opponent had an extra CP or two if I didn’t have to face 7 Flyrants. At the same time, it would have to be a bit more air tight because you could just take 6 Flyrants and 1 Broodlord to get around this – but it’s a start. We can work on the verbiage later.

Give players a reason to NOT Spam in the form of some other rewards. Take that idea and run with it.

Punish ‘Bad’ Behavior

Much in the same way this ability rewards a player for running a ton of Detachments, I think we need to actually do the opposite and tweak how those Detachments work to begin with. Why are we rewarding players with CP for taking a Supreme Command Detachment? Other Detachments give you ZERO command points, why not these? Heck, I think these should actually COST you CP to use. In fact, I think if you’re running pretty much any of the Detachments from the page above, you should be docked a Command Point (or more).

This is a tricky road to go down however. Let’s be real – there is a tenancy to over react and want to nerf the thing that beats us. When Dark Reapers where the boogeyman, everyone was saying “yep, they need to get nerfed” and before that it was Storm Ravens. And before that…well, I could go on.


That flavor that went BAD. And QUICK.

The nerfs never address the problem of player behavior. There is a reason players are using these units in the quantity they are using them – they WORK. And the game allows them to use them in that way. I can’t really blame someone for doing something that is 100% allowed in the ruleset. I can do that too!  And I think that’s the real problem. The ‘bad’ behavior that is being exhibited is being reinforced by the fact they are the ones winning the game. So if you want to ‘fix’ that, change the behavior not the units. Other wise the players will just gravitate to the next big thing.

Warhammer 40,000 is a competitive game. There will be a winner and a lose at the end of the game (unless you get a draw, in which case you’re both losers). Players gravitate towards things that will let them win the game. Currently everyone is pointing the finger at one specific HQ when they should be pointing at the easily exploitable nature of the Detachments. Fix this by rewarding players for taking diverse lists and punishing players for running the Spam-lists that make us all groan when we see them on paper.


How would you reward ‘good’ behavior and punish ‘bad’ behavior in the 8th edition ruleset?

Note: In most cases, I think Troop Spam is acceptable. But JUST troops. It’s unavoidable for most armies.

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