Friday, February 26, 2010

IA Rules in a Tournament Setting

In my post on composition,

Atrotos said...

Ok that clarifies things. It also makes it obvious to me that a comp score really only befits "narrative" or less competitive play.

On the subject of IA I think every tournament organizer should be including these rules. It's not an extra investment because the rules are now free online (
and as long as you inform people ahead of time everyone could be familiar with them if they took the time to read them.

The reason I think these rules are so important is because they update a lot of entries from older, less competitive codecies to bring them in line with newer ones - an important balancing issue for any tournament organizer to consider. Why should Inquisition players pay double for the same chimera the IG use?

It's the habit of most organizers to say "we won't use them because GW events don't use them" but when it comes to being progressive and forward-thinking GW's is the last example I would follow. Just my two cents. Take a look at the rules and let me know what you think.

Oh and sorry for rambling.

There are a couple of things that motivate me or concern me regarding IA rules. First, I don't think they hit all of their marks.

The capacity, for instance, to take Vendettas or Valkyries as dedicated transports for a minor investment of 105 (b/c you'll always take 2 melta) points on a storm trooper squad is over the top in a competitive sense. Why, you ask? The Imperial Guard Fast Attack section is rife with potent choices ... even the basic sentinel with the new outflanking rules and their low cost is a brilliant unit. Vendettas and Valks currently provide much needed competition with those slots. The capacity to take 3 vendettas (for example) and still take hellhounds or devildogs or what-have-you is nuts. Additionally, 5 point autocannons for Chimeras? While the autocannon is statistically similar to the multilaser against most targets, it's far different in its capacity to screw with an opponent's target priority and threat assessment - a problem that guard already presents in spades.

You're correct that some of the IA changes most assuredly bring the older codices into a more competitive place, and it's a problem in the hobby that the older ones have a far more limited spectrum of competitive builds. What you don't want, however, is for the allowance of the rules to make already dominant codices even better. A conundrum.

What this boils down to is that the top finishers at my event will qualify for Vegas, just like the rest. The Vegas tournament is a GW run event, and presumably we would want to qualify the best people for it ... so the kinds of things I ultimately allow will be influenced when more info about THAT event starts showing up on the e-mail list that the nation's circuit qualifying tourney organizers are on.
I'd be curious about peoples' input on IA inclusion, either way. - Mike


  1. I'm sorry, but I simply can't condone using IA in a tournament setting. It doesn't really make sense. There are components in those books that are meant to add character and story to a campaign and not to be used in a tournament enviornment.

    There are simply to many things covered by those books that aren't used in standard play and you shouldn't be expected to know about them before a game starts. I played in a tournament a few years back that allowed apocalypse units. I didn't know before going to the tournament that they were allowed and so I had only the smallest idea of how to deal with those units/vehicles.

    It seems a bit silly, but Mike is right, there are tiny changes that are made in IA/Apoc that make huge impacts on the game. I'm reminded of watching a guy with a 'seeding swarm' tyranid army from a few years back that tore threw a tournament because of a minor rule that was included in his 'special' army. Because these things can't be anticipated or planned for in army selection I don't think they should be included.

    On another note I'm a firm believer that the tournament organizers for the circuit that feeds into the finals in vegas should abide by the rules and expectations of that tournament. ie. if you can bring it to vegas, you can bring it here. This means GW only models, this means only the core rules and codex, this means ONLY GW FAQs, and it means you meet the base painting requirements.

    I'm sure that last bit would cause a great deal of bile on some of the other boards.

  2. Just to point out, IA2 allows an Imperial Guard player to take up to four Valkyries as non-Fast Attack (as dedicated transports for the maximum of two allied Inquisitorial storm trooper squads, the maximum of one allied Inquisitor, and one allied Inquisitor Lord). No Vendettas, though.

    On a broader note, I don't think I can agree with David that Imperial Armour "can't be planned for." There's nothing magically unpredictable about the IA books; they just add more items to the list of things an opponent might do. The basic skill test of "Understand every unit allowed in the tournament and prepare for anything" is unchanged.

    Yes, IA books are expensive, and no, the downloads don't give you everything you need to play with them ... but that too is not different in kind from the existing tournament scene. At what point do we say that the basic investment is too much? Why is the point at which a tournament player has to go out and buy every codex an acceptable price point, but the point at which a tournament player has to go out and buy every Forge World book not acceptable? We are, after all, talking about a voluntary investment on the part of a player who has decided that learning what his opponents can do on the battlefield is insufficient preparation.

    The "competitive advantage" argument holds a little more water with me, but that too I find difficult to judge. As you know, Mike, I'm not a tournament player, so maybe that's part of it, but ... what's the principled distinction being drawn here? Surely it isn't that we think the codices are balanced whereas IA is not. Who really thinks that the codex scene presents a level playing field? If we aren't restricting units from the codex, why are we restricting units from IA? And if we are restricting units from IA, why aren't we also restricting units from the codex, on the same theory of eliminating the "over the top" competitive advantage?

    David's last point seems best to me, at least in a tournament that wants to exist in the context of other tournaments. It does seem to me that all linked tournaments should use the same set of rules, so that players who win one tier don't have to switch lists at a higher tier. For non-linked tournaments, though, or when discussing an entire system of linked tournaments, I admit I find the no-IA attitude puzzling.

  3. Allowing IA into tournaments is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons already listed. I do believe it is up to the TO to decide and he should make that decision widely known. The rules changes in IA don't solve any of the power imbalance issues with older codices, especially when you consider that the strongest armies seem to get the most benefits from the rules set.

  4. Hmm... I came to defend my post but found that Natalie had already said pretty everything I would have. To reiterate Inquisition gains access to Valkyries NOT Vendettas.

    Not sure why anyone feels the addition of up to 4 Valkyries in which only sub-par ISTs can deploy makes IG more competitive. The same argument could have been made about Inq. Land Raiders but I think I'm the only player in the world that's pulled that out of my hat. Autocannon chimera turrets really aren't gonna do it either.

    Frankly I'm surprised either of the above were mentioned and the elephant in the room, the armored battlegroup list, was not. There you could argue all day on game balance (I think pure IG is better but people hear about all-tank armies and go nuts.)

    The IA updates are too valuable NOT to include. Dark Angels, Black Templars, Blood Angels, Inquisition, SOB, and Grey Knights all have outdated rules that are improved upon by the update. Moreover many of these armies receive entirely new units. This lets us tournament players see something new across the table from us - something I've been missing for a long time. It seems ridiculous to cite autocannon upgrades when we're up to our necks in Lash Princes and Eldrads. The game needs an influx of new things and if you boycott one alternative source for rules you set precedent against all of them. A nightmare future indeed when GW is the only source of rules.

    I should point out that many people (like David) believe Forgeworld and Imperial Armor = Apocalypse and Flyers. Obviously this is the whole truth. While FW was the originator of Apocalypse their rules have much more to offer.