Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reader E-Mail Response / Discussion Subject - Counts As and WYSIWYG at the NOVA and GT's in General

Received an e-mail from R., who is planning to attend the NOVA Open this year, and is among the 200+ pre-registrants we've so far received.

Hi Mike,

I have been planning out an army where I will be using my Craftworld Eldar (Ulthw√©) models to represent a Dark Eldar force. In my discussion with some other gamers, I have faced some opposition on the idea that it is viable. Most of this opposition comes in using the Eldar grav-tanks for representing the Raiders and Ravagers or in my opponent's confusion during the game.  Here is an overview of how I had planned the "Counts As" to work:

Model Swaps:

Autarchs -> Archons
Farseers -> Hekatrix/Succubus
Warlocks -> Wyches
Guardians -> Warriors
Dire Avengers -> Trueborn with Shardcarbines
Fire Dragons -> Trueborn with Blasters
Wraithguard -> Wracks
Wave Serpent -> Raider
Modified Fire Prism/Night Spinner -> Ravager (the modified tank actually has 3 bright lances when used as a Ravager)
Vyper -> Venom
Swooping Hawks -> Scourges
Jetbike Seer Council or Shining Spears -> Reavers (Magnetized gun add-ons for blasters/heat lances)

Weapon Swaps:

Shuriken Catapult -> Splinter Rifle
Shuriken Cannon -> Splinter Cannon
Fusion Gun -> Blaster
Bright Lance -> Dark Lance
Singing Spear -> Wych Weapon (I'll be keeping all Wych Weapons the same in the list)

Using this outline, would I be capable of running such a list at the Nova Open GT? I'm sure I'm not the only person planning something like this. It might be cool to get some feedback from other tournament organizers as well, though I am not familiar with any of the others just yet. Nova 2011 is going to be the first time I travel more than 2 hours away to play 40k.

Perhaps you can give your answer as a post on your blog so we can gauge the community's opinion through the discussion?

Thanks for your time!
 So, this is a good subject of conversation ... what to do about this scenario.
Here are my subjects that I'll touch on:
1) Dark Eldar Models vs. Eldar Models
2) Player "Confusion"
3) Legality and Fair Play

On a personal level, I think counts-as armies are one of the best things about this game.  There are some players who question the originality of a list that basically counts something else you already "owned" as the "newest, shiniest net list."  I think that's kind of a bunch of bull.  If someone takes the time to creatively expand upon and build a list that's uniquely his own, let him - so long as he addresses the issues I'll present in my #1 - #3

In order of difficulty and seriousness ...

1.  Dark Eldar Models vs. Eldar Models

Dark Eldar Models are newer, cooler, and more plastic.  Dude.  Seriously.  You're missing out.

Heh, that's it on that one ;)
2.  Player "Confusion" 
Player confusion is a big one, obviously, but I don't think it's the "real" big one.  It's important that whatever you do, you build your list to properly reflect some of the thematics ... to wit, I once wanted to build a "cowboy" Space Wolf army, that used basically cowboy marines / gunslinger marines.  To that effect, the plan involved appropriate representations.  Dual bolt pistol "gunslingers" on foot would be grey hunters.  If I put a wolf riding a horse around, this would really have to be a thunderwolf cav or a blood claw biker ... it would be "wrong" on a lot of levels, starting with the obviousness of the counts-as, to have a bunch of dudes on horses and tell people they're "grey hunters."  I could try to "force" this, but it would require extremes - having my rhinos actually be big horse carts with horsies inside, to explain how they're disembarking, whatever.  I'm winging it now, so let's get back to you.
The Dark Eldar are thematically different from the Eldar in that they are more fragile, more evil, and more ... well, dark and spiky.  Worth considering how you represent and with what models.

That said - whatever you do can be relatively easily mitigated by preparation and provision of information to your opponents, on the confusion front.  A great note can be taken from the book of Dan Oppedisano of Ten Inch Template (linked in my blogroll) ... Dan provides people with a soft-back binder in which he has included a full backstory on his Vraaksian renegade guardsmen, complete with photographs identifying each model in his list and what it is, as many of his vehicles and dudes (read: all) are not out-of-the-box guard models.  Without his book, even if he explained what things were, you'd potentially have a hard time remembering during the course of play ... but the inclusion of the book completely changes the perception his opponents have, from a guy with a confusing and possibly advantage-seeking army into a dude with a passionate and admirable attention to detail and to the theme of his army.

Consider similar behavior and activities, to ensure that people are NOT confused - remember that we are playing a game here, and you want to make sure that however you design your counts-as army, it matches and meshes well with the nature and course of play - if it's so unrecognizably obscure why each model is actually a DIFFERENT model, you're going to not only piss off and confuse your opponents, you're going to dramatically slow down the pace of play as you spend time discussing what's what, and explaining it all in the first place.

3.  Legality and Fair Play 

What's legal is what this all really boils down to.  I support people building counts-as armies, and I support the creative side of the hobby.  That said, take a look at the NOVA FAQ, and how it addresses counts-as components and models that aren't identical to their out of the box counterparts.  Acquire a Dark Eldar equivalent model for every unit you plan on using as something else, so that you can swap it in as necessary in order to establish "actual" height and positioning.  Additionally, be aware that in any case where your counts-as model has different dimensions and those different dimensions impede or harm your progress in a game, you'll count them as actually being there.
To provide a more concrete example, let's presuppose the dimensions of a Dark Eldar Raider are 5" long by 3" wide by 4" tall (I  have no idea what they really are).  Let's presume the dimensions of your Eldar Wave Serpent are 3" long by 5" wide by 3" tall.  When people are firing at you, you'll treat cover and los as if you are both as tall and long as a Raider, but as wide as a Wave Serpent.  For purposes of disembarkation, however, you will not be able to disembark from the edges of the wave serpent, but instead the edges of where the Raider would be.
This can provide a complex problem when participating in game play during a tournament - so, think outside the box, innovate, and be creative.  The goal here, indubitably, is to be creative with your army disposition and building.  How do you address the vast disparity in size between a raider and a serpent?
My honest thought is that the "easier" approach would be to work into an Exodite Eldar theme, so that you are using Eldar infantry models across the board, but so that you use the "frames" of Dark Eldar vehicles and other similarly large models where relevant.  Frankly, you could also find a better fit for things such as the Talos - alien "beasts" from the Exodite world your Eldar hail from.  It strikes me that it would be much easier to de-spikey-fy a Dark Eldar Ravager, remove the sails, smooth over some of the portions of it with green stuff, and mount a trio of the new Eldar Fire Prism cannons instead of a trio of Dark Lances ... for instance ... than to try and jury rig the proper dimensions of an actual Fire Prism model.
I'd like more input here, and I'd also like more creative suggestion - my goal is not to discourage R. from fielding his Eldar counts-as-Dark Eldar army, but to try and find a way to do it that remains true to his goals / motives (whatever they may be, perhaps he'd like to share ...), while making the models used much more functional for in-game play.  The actual infantry models are the EASY part - it doesn't even require a great deal of thought (IMO) to fit them in.  The tricky part is the vehicles - Eldar Vehicles are possessed of DRASTICALLY different dimensions than DE vehicles, and therein lies the rub.
Discuss away!
 - Mike


  1. I get that you dont want to discourage R from fielding his army. However this guy is taking this army to a "Competitive" event. I see alot of confusion for his opponents.
    Ive seen Chaos Marines counts as Space wolves and make it work. However certain units were converted to fit with the Theme such as the addition of TWC. However simply using an Obliterator as a TWC wont cut it IMHO.
    I think there can also be issues with the Vehicals.. WYSIWYG can be effected since the vehicals are clearly not open topped and a different demension.
    I think "counts as" are fine for trying things out and for fun but really has no place in a tournament unless its converted properly. Simply plunking down a eldar army and saying its dark eldar doesnt work.

  2. Thanks for posting this Mike. I'll put a couple of my motivations out here and see what people think. Bear with me, this is a bit long winded but gives all my motivations.

    As long as I have followed 40k, I have loved the look of the Eldar Gravtanks. When I was in high school and the new Eldar boxed army came out in 3rd edition, I just about made the plunge into the wonderful world of 40k. People were palying it at the local comic/game shop all the time.

    Fast forward to 3 years ago, and some of my close friends actually piked up the game. By talking with lots of people I realized Eldar would be hard to start with and so I chose to go with space marines. At that point I wandered towards Dark Angels, as I liked the idea of terminators as troops.

    Fast forward to this year, I have been playing Dark Angels fairly successfully for a while. However, when i goto tournaments I'm usually finding myself outplaying my opponents to achieve a draw or low-battlepoint win.

    I decide since I am comfortable with the mechanics and DA it is the perfect time to pick up Eldar. I plop down a sizable chunk of money and I currently have about 6,000 points that I am working on building up.

    My playtesting, however, reveals they are even less forgiving than the Dark Angels. The bloat in points really takes its toll on them, so I decide I will simply use my massive space marine collection with a different ruleset (right now I'm running Space Wolves for my competitive fix) In a truly competitive environment, all of us can agree that Eldar are handicapped if we are being honest with ourselves. I've had enough of handicapping myself in tournament environments and I'm ready to move into "the big leagues".

    With the release of Dark Eldar and a glance over the mechanics and rules, it seemed I'd be able to build a list that could use my Eldar models AND allow me to be competitive. Most important to me is the ability to use my tanks without making them look too much different. They are, after all, the reason I really like Eldar.

    When it comes to playing the game, I don't mind having a template or replacement model for measuring my disembarking and other features. I am very flexible and accepting and accomodating of my opponents, and I definitely don't want them to feel cheated.

    However, if the end result is that on the table I need to use vehicles that are not truly Eldar, then I will simply set them aside further and roll out with space marines of some sort. That makes me all sad inside. haven't we seen enough Space Marines in 5th Edition?

  3. As a person that Owns dark eldar and has played against and watched said idea, I am perfectly fine as long as things are said upfront. Sure the dimensions of a raider are a little off (raiders 7 and a half by 4 and a half by 4 ;) ) but as long as everything's the same in the army I see no problem. I've been suggesting making it the Shattered eye (ulthwe symbol with a slash through it) and just so happened to steal and plunder them.

    I want to point out a story from back in the day about "count as". A few years ago, I was at a major local tournament around where I live. During this tournament, someone had taken a toy plastic tonka car that was at least 15 inches around for use as a battle wagon. Obviously this was a case of modeling for advantage as a 15 inch battlewagon gets more out of their 13 inch move (it was also red) than the modern battlewagons. This being said, Using a wave serpent as a raider in my mind is perfectly usable as "count as" The length is short by a few inches, and the width is improved by the same amount. It's not as Egregious as "The Tonka Battle Wagon".

    I also want to point out, I do love the new models... They don't stab me as much as the old ones :)

    I do agree there are WAY to many marines. In My area alone, based on who signed up for a tournament later on this month, Out of 16 people, only a handful are xenos(me with my dark eldar in its first tournament outing included) The rest are Marines or MEQs.

  4. Good topic for sure. We have been having this discussion at length a a number of count-as questions have been rolling. I personally disagree with certain avenues people take to justify their count-as armies, but at the same time the last thing you want to do is stifle honest creativity.

    We have a couple of WIP draft addendums floating around as an update to the AdeptiCon 2011 Model Policy, but basically they are similar to what you suggest. The onus is on the player to provide the means to nullify or lessen the confusion for their opponents. Additionally, models must be WYSIWG in terms of weapons and wargear and any custom scratch builds/conversions must maintain the intended size and height on the model they represent.

  5. The vehicles are the main question here because the size, shape and height of the models has a direct influence on game. That said, I'm not it's any easier to claim a cover save with wave serpent than it is with a raider, as long as you're using the same GW flying stand.

    Another problem is the positioning of the weapons as you measure weapon ranges from the actual weapon not the vehicle's base. You'd actually have to model the vehicle so that it somewhat resembled the positioning of the ravager's weapons.

    My suggestion would be to say, yes, you can use all those infantry models as counts-as, but let's avoid doing it for the vehicles. Mike's suggestion, in my opinion won't work because you're going to have to know how tall and wide a raider is and abstractly apply that when you are determining whether the vehicle has cover. I think it would be more time consuming in a tournament situation where every minute counts. This is compounded by the fact that during the game, you probably won't have a raider around to measure.

    I'm also all for counts-as armies when they represent real creativity. I like seeing those genestealer cults and adeptus mechanicus armies at tournament. Plus I understand that sometimes you just want to run the shiny new codex...but in light of the fact that, you've got a little under a year until the open, it's time to start adding in actual raider and ravage models to your current collection.

  6. Being in the hobby to play the game, I see many people's stance on this as enforcing a double standard. Why should it matter in game terms whether my models are creative or not? I can scratch-build something that isn't the dimensions of a Raider, but because it's creative it gets the stamp of approval and my current counts-as option does not?

    I had a conversation with another friend of mine earlier and I asked him the following question:

    "Assuming the Wave Serpent somehow miraculously was the appropriate dimensions for a Raider, would you still have the same objections to this policy?"

    He said that yes he would. I'm assuming that a lot of naysayers would fall into this category, but why would that be the case? If there is a reasonable means of removing the issue of mechanics (replacement model, templates, customized base showing the original vehicle outline, wahtever) what does it matter?

    My friend and I came to a mutual understanding during our discussion, and for the most part he is now ok with me using the models this way.

    As for Old Shatter Hand's comment on buying actual Raiders and Ravagers, I will assume you didn't read my original comment. My option is use the Eldar models or don't do it at all. I'm not using the DE codex to play the new shineys, I'm using it to actually make use of the army I like. While I am going to build the most aggressive list I can, I am not going to play with models I simply don't like. I can make a perfectly competitive list with my 13,000 points of various space marines...

  7. @RayJ, just read your comments and now I see where you're coming from. There still stands the problem of the vehicles...I think that has been established. I understand too that my suggestion isn't what you are looking for, (that's fine no harm done). So what are you proposing? What are you going to do to solve the problem of the vehicles being drastically different dimensions?

  8. You said you do not feel that Mike's options are appropriate? I don't mind purchasing a single raider/ravager for hull comparisons. If a problem comes up mid-game I can swap the model out for the measurement and then swap the model back in. I'll let the opponent verify the placements to avoid problems. Nor do I mend setting up some kind of template to use on the battlefield to mark positions.

    I think maybe the most practical of those is to make a custom flying base for the tank whose size and shape matches the dorsal outline of the raider/ravager. This way, assaults and disembarks on my part can be measured from the base.

    I also don't mind that in instances where my physical model gives me a disadvantage I have to use that disadvantage. For instance, I now can be hit on my side because my model is too wide and you are now in range. Likewise, the base is longer than the vehicle, so if you're shooting me from the front and hit the base but not the vehicle, you also hit me. I can't be much more accomodating, can I?

    I can say for certainty that such situations will be EXTREMELY rare. You are more likely to hit the center of the model or have more than enough range. Even with the Nightshield upgrade, I'm sure you'll find this to be the case.

  9. If the units were the same, I don't see the issue. (Chaos Rhino vs Marine Rhino for example) When they look totally different it's a bit wierd.

    Personally i've never liked the idea of using established armies with different a rule books. It strikes me as very "flavor of the month" - (Chaos Space Marine Armies using Space Wolf rule for example)
    I get the idea where you're coming from though. A DE list using eldar vehicles makes me think of the old school Eldar Pirates/Corsairs which would look really cool and be menacing. This idea alone is making me want to start Eldar!

  10. I would hate to play an eldar army that counts as dark eldar. It would be confusing and comes across as "I'm too cheap to buy the actual army and dont want to invest the time to assemble and paint it. It's just easier for me to use my existing army." Even with a guide book I'd hate to have to keep referring to the flip charts to figure out what is each unit. It adds unnecessary time, annoyance and wouldn't be fun to play against. If you want to play an army then buy the right models, assemble and paint them.

    Mike - where do you draw the line? What if someone wants to use IG to count as Space Marines? I've seen people say they want to attach straws to the big Daemons to count as Tyranid monstrous creatures... Ugggh !!! As a TO I know your goal is to max out the number of players attending your event so maybe you're feeling more inclined to let stuff like this slip between the proverbial cracks. Bad decision in my opinion. I have seen some awesome counts as armies - for example highly converted beautifully painted models to count as eldar Exodites. Hulksmash built a beautiful highly converted army using the daemon codex to count as Ad Mech. These are the types of armies where I can see a good case for allowing a counts as army to grace your tables. Eldar counts as dark eldar (as is with little to no conversion at all) doesn't cut it for me and like I said I would not enjoy playing against such an army.

    I noticed there were quite a few counts as armies at your tournament this past Summer - the Crimson Fist army that counted as Blood Angels I found to be quite poor. I've noticed a recent decline in the overall appearance in armies we see at tournaments lately and it's sad. Part of the hobby is about the overall appearance of the army. Me as a TO I'd say no, you can't bring your eldar and play them as dark eldar. I'd hate to see you get a bad rep for helping to start this type of trend. Ive talked to a lot of my veteran Gamer buddies about this very same subject and they feel as I do... It comes across as crap.

    I have been blunt, not beating around the bushes as the saying goes. I am hoping you can apprecriate my candid response. Did not mean to offend.


  11. @BBF: I understand your position on not allowing Eldar to count as Dark Eldar. I am noticing a huge trend of people with this position, and with current information it looks like this will not be a possibility.

    However, if you (or anyone) on the other hand allow ANY other for of Counts As army, you are enforcing a double standard, and in my eyes are a bigger plague on the environment than anything my actions would bring about.

    Again, once the outcome of this debate is decided I will live with it rather peacefully (and without a DE army), but I won't sit by and be subject to a double standard.

  12. I think leveling accusations of 'double standards' at tournament organizers or calling them 'a bigger plague' over decisions about the count-as conundrum is a bit harsh. It's a shitty position to be in.

    This is a very recent phenomenon that has it roots in the rise of competitive play. Don't think so? I have seen almost 10 years of armies at a major convention and this has only been an issue the past two years. This year I have received 15 emails about using count-as armies at AdeptiCon (12 have been can I use xyz as Space Wolves, 2 were can I use xyz as Dark Eldar (one being Necrons?) and 1 wanted to use Grey Knights as Eldar). Telling.

    This trend puts TOs in a difficult place. Count-as armies are ripe for abuse and foster an aura of confusion. Granted - I firmly believe there is a responsible way to undertake such a project, and I am not 100% opposed to the idea, but personally I think it requires more than just swapping out a codex.

    An Eldar army modeled in the spirit of the Dark Eldar codex could be a cool idea, just as a Chaos Berserker Army modeled in the spirit of the Space Wolves codex generally works. I'd also be in favor of people using a codex to represent an army that currently does not have rules (Renegade Guard, Kroot, Successor Marine chapters, Adeptus Mechanicus, etc.) But like I said above, the onus has to be on the player to limit the potential for confusion.

  13. If you want to play baseball, get a baseball bat. That hockey stick does not equal a baseball bat no matter how much you argue. Thats the cold hard way the game works.

    I feel that a certain amount of pride should be shown to one's army. It seems like every time a new codex appears, it is always the victim of horrible counts as lists.

    It's fine if you are killing time and want to test the strengths and weaknesses of the new army. It's fine if you are planning on getting something and want to experiment with new units. It's not fine if you intend to be in a competitive environment. I would be disappointed in an event that supported this.

    Oh, and by the way, my Orks are also Blood Angels. What's the problem? The vehicles are already red. They are already a close combat intensive army. Orks have really thick skin thats kinda like a 3+ armor save. AND they are Dark Eldar! Fast open-topped vehicles. Tons of attacks. Dreads are Parasite Engines. AND AND AND they have looted a bunch of tanks so they can count as IG as well.

    I don't know why people get anything but orks.

  14. Matthias,

    Let's take your argument that sufficient effort MUST be in place for a Counts As army to be accepted. Let's also say that you define sufficient effort to mean that most or all models in the army have some sort of conversion.

    Now let's assume I make the following conversions for my army:

    Guardians, Warlocks, and Aspect Warriors are a little spikier. They look mean and aggressive while still weilding traditional Eldar weaponry.

    Wave Serpents have spikes and blades instead of antennae. Sections of hull are converted to represent motorized boarding ramps and fire points, and are pinned so that they move and fold properly. This lets them choose to look aggressive but maintain their original Eldar appearance when everything is folded up (other than the extra blades and such)

    Are these conversions now worthy of your standard to be a playable Counts As army? From your previous statement, I would assume the answer is yes. If that is the case, then you are supporting a double standard. I will explain why.

    The infantry models, while spiky are still pretty much all actual Eldar models with Eldar profiles for line of sight. Furthermore, since their eyes are at the same height and their bases are the same size as the Eldar models, there is no mechanical difference between the two.

    For the vehicles, the presence of extended ramps and open plates will only increase the size of the Wave Serpent, and are only for show anyway. The model's hull is measured in exactly the same manner as the unmodified version.

    If you allow the modified models to Count As without allowing the original models to Count As, you have no mechanical justification for this decision and it is simply arbitrary. At this point sufficient effort is just an arbitrary classification with no substance behind it.

    In both cases I am assuming that models are clearly representing what their rules show. A model with a two-handed gun will never be used to represent a unit that should ahve two close combat weapons. All uses of Eldar Bit X in the army will represent Dark Eldar Wargear Y.

    Since my opponent gets time to look at my army list and see the Counts As clearly described there should be no issue. I am assuming to have to explain a few things to the opponent and be willing to double check and remind him in game what the unit is and what wargear options it has. I would assume anyone running the Spikier Counts As army would have to do the same thing.

    From a rules and mechanics standpoint there is no difference, so I cannot see how it is possible to treat them differently. The opponent simply needs to slightly expand his or her suspension of disbelief.

    If however, you think neither of those armies are appropriate for Counts As, then similarly, you should require every player of every army to follow those same guidelines. If your army is using the rules for Vulkan Hestan and your paint scheme is not Salamanders, I feel you are breaking the same rule. Chaos Marines should not be used to represent Blood Angels or Space Wolves. IG players should not be allowed to use larger tanks for their artillery platforms, and custom ork battlewagons must conform to the dimensions of the GW model or be disqualified from use.

    If I can alleviate confusion and make the mechanics neutral (or favor my opponent slightly) why is my army illegal or unwanted?

    Taking any position other than these two does nothing except promote ignorance. That is why I feel it would be a plague on the tournament system. Tournament rules must be consistent on all aspects. Either everyone gets to do Counts As or nobody does.

    I would also like to apologize to BBF. After reading my statement it could be read as a personal attack, and that is not what I intended. I would hope that we can agree double standards are bad for everyone.

  15. BBF, the NOVA had awesome armies last year, and the small handful of counts as were all well converted and WYSIWYG aside from color, which I hope you don't consider sacred. Just think fore you type :)

  16. Like I said I love highly converted beautifully painted counts as armies. They take a lot of work to pull off. "I wanna play my eldar as dark this year coz I love the new dex"... No, just no.


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  18. Edit: iPhone spelling errors


    You really need to read what I wrote above concerning WYSIWYG and shape/size of intended model. Would have save a bunch of typing and you could have gotten right to the point of labeling me as ignorant and as promoting a double standard.

    There is no standard. You are asking to TOs to draw a line or make a judgement call that could possibly impact the enjoyment of the event for attendees other than yourself. I am not convinced that your above example would satify all opponents.

    In a highly competitive environment, Count-as units should strive to be WYSIWYG and maintain the intended shape/size of the represented model. Anything else invites confusion and runs the risk of appearing gamey/codex of the month. This is my opinion as a TO when forced to draw thus line in a competitive tournament, one I am completely comfortable drawing.

    Agree 100% with BBF.

  19. For RayJ's sake, I think we've actually narrowed down the point here -

    Count-as armies are fine, and for some codices it's very easy to simply count a model as another model (rhino as chaos rhino ... chaos space marine as grey hunter ... etc.). While the colors you apply to your models are "important" and can reinforce your theme, they don't impact WYSIWYG and appropriate model size, so a Blue Blood Angel army is largely irrelevant on the legality scale ... so long as your ASM aren't running around with Ultramarine Bolters.

    In terms of "other" counts-as, where counts-as violates model sizes and dimensions fairly heavily ... therein lies the problem.

    The NOVA FAQ, and most other tournaments, are fairly staunch in the position that modeling in a way that looks nothing like the actual model is a tough road to walk - so, we're not double standarding here, Ray, and saying you CAN'T counts-as while others CAN ... instead, it's a standard of requirement that you have your models be the appropriate size and dimension.

    NOVA FAQ's rules for treating models that AREN'T in proper dimension is there as a punishment of sorts, for it, simply to prevent people modeling for advantage.

    I can't blame you for liking the stylizations of the Eldar grav tanks - perhaps you could find a way on the web, or innovate your own ... to kit-bash or otherwise convert up Eldar Exodite Raiders and Eldar Exodite Prisms that have much closer dimensions to the DE boats, but retain the Eldar stylizations, and show that you're taking time to build a counts-as army, not ... play a Wave Serpent as a Raider. The dimensions are actually "close" for a Wave Serpents and a Land Raider as well in a lot of ways, so a similar comparison could be drawn there - someone wanting to play his Eldar as Land Raider Marines. Yatta yatta.

    I don't want to have this leave a sour taste in your mouth, though some people have been a little aggressive, my hope is that we could all - with you - come up with a creative solution that allows you to do what you wish, while having the dimensions and WYSIWYG be more appropriate (and not having to slow every game down unreasoanbly by constantly subbing in DE models back and forth, etc. - which, for an entire army over 2000 points, is just a little too much IMO).

  20. An Eldar army beautifully painted and converted to look like Dark Eldar, fine.

    A out of the book paint job craftworld eldar army that counts as Dark Eldar for today's tournament, not acceptable to me.

    There is a fine line, and I think that line is, "can I guess what the model is supposed to represent by looking at it?" If I see a cowboy marine riding a horse in a counts as Wolves list, I will guess its a Thunderwolf and it will be OK. If I have to guess whether your Banshees are Incubi or Wyches, that is a problem for me.

    And providing me with a sheet explaining the changes is irrelevant too, because it adds another layer of rules I have to remember to play a game that is already built on an abstraction. It puts the opponent at a disadvantage, and that is simply not fair, and not competitive.

  21. What's the solution for RayJ?

    Here's what I think: Get busy modelling! Show your NOVA opponents that you approach this situation with both a gaming perspective(i.e. your army's effectiveness)and, just as important, from a hobby perspective (i.e. your army's appearance and the work you put into it). For the most, players like you are going to spending hours and hours preparing their armies for the NOVA, converting models, buying new ones, making sure their armies look top-notch. Doing the same shows that you respect the fact that the hobby is just as important as the game.

    You have the opportunity to create a really unique dark eldar army from all those eldar minis you've got. I can see how an army like that would get wows and kudos from lots of people. But you have to put forth the effort in order to play a counts-as army. Simply running your old Eldar army as dark eldar is going to meet resistance left and right. Sorry if it's a double standard but I think the perception is generally negative towards doing that sort of thing.

    On the other hand, running your highly converted, painted dark eldar army modelled off of Eldar minis, full of awesome, that is something everyone can applaud.

  22. Is it possible to get to clear standards for counts-as?

    1: WYSIWYG weapons, including vehicular placement. Although use of specific GW weapons models are not absolutely required, the weapon must still be identifiable as that weapon type if converted/scratch built.
    2: Units must be distinctly identifiable as counts-as unit type (i.e. a "jump" unit must have a visible means of "jump" movement, etc..)
    3: In all cases, opponents can require the owning player to use the true model to clarify LOS, base size, firing and embark/disembark points.
    4: The counts-as models can in no way confer any advantages beyond the counts-as unit type's normal capabilities.

    It's probably pretty close to that anyway, but it seems that fairly easily enforced stipulations could be made that wouldn't stifle creativity while still keeping the playing field level.

  23. My issue here would be using "counts-as" with models that really aren't that similar. Not just the dimensions of tanks and whatnot, but the infantry and HQ models as well. The basic models of eldar and DE have very different appearances. My guess would be (having fabulous ignorance of the new DE at the moment) that most tournament armies are only going to use a few types of troops and vehicles. If I only had to remember 2-3 types of troops and it was written on the army sheet that was handed to me before the game which model was what, that might be okay.

    Where it stops being something I'm comfortable with is when it becomes a distraction for your opponent. It removes the level playing field if he mistakes one type of unit for another, or simply mixes up in his head what's what in the Counts As army. At that point it becomes a competitive advantage, and really does not seem very fair. We used to see this in Warhammer tournaments, where people would show up with proxy armies. GW eventually banned proxy armies because they were deemed too confusing.

    This is a big leap from Counts As marines, IMO. No matter what type of marine army you play your chaos minis in, it's usually pretty easy to tell what the models are supposed to be. I don't really see that so much with eldar and DE.

  24. @Matthias:

    I did read your comment on WYSIWYG. I specifically chose the case I did in my previous post to emphasize my point. If your issue of size and dimension prevent my "Counts As" from working, that is an understandable and enforcable position. It's something I can get behind as a true standard and accept. The specific example I gave created a situation where acceptance of one side and not the other creates the double standard I was talking about.

    If the size was not such an issue (because, for example, my custom base allows a reference point to the actual dimensions and placement of weapons, then your only objection should be that I am being "gamey". I don't believe there is any problem with being gamey or picking up a codex simply because it is new. In a tournament environment, being gamey should be expected and almost encouraged.

    While I like the models and do my fair share of converting and painting, first and foremost I am here to play the game. I could enjoy 40k almost as much if it were played with just the bases and an icon on the base representing the model and its wargear configuration. I find it sad that a large number of people care more about what model is on the table (even if its the appropriate dimensions) instead of the rules behind that model.


    Thank you for your honest opinion. I will look into some options and see what works best for me. I think the end result will probably be that I play a Space Marine army.

    I was hoping that the final solution would be something where almost my whole collection could work with both Eldar codices. Your position makes that an impossibility, and that is fine. Any vehicle I make to work with the Dark Eldar codex will not be usable in an army that uses the Eldar codex, no matter how much it matches the Eldar in design simply due to dimensions.

    Ghostin sees what I'm really after here. Before some of these more recent posts, the large majority of my opposition were opposed to me for what I feel are all the wrong reasons. It should not be up to my opponent to decide what models I can use if those models can fairly represent the rules I choose to use. Almost all of them would still be as opposed as they are now even if the Raider and Wave Serpent were actually the same dimensions.

    We have come to an understanding that the only models that are fair are those with the appropriate dimensions and weapon placements. I can support that decision. Saying "No" if a model follows that understanding with a cohesive and consistent army design (whether it is custom built or not) should result in some serious confrontation.

  25. I am against simple "count as." There should be significant conversion work on a good deal of the army. I dont think using eldar weapon x as de weapon y is good enough.

    Its easy to model and use an army as Vanilla, BA, SW, or CSM. They even use the same weapons for the most part. I doubt a havoc launcher would fly as a las/plas.

    The NOVA is so far away this is kinda a ridiculous question. Anyone's daughter could convert an entire army between now and then.

  26. You probably could have done the conversions and paint and not said a word. If a wave serpent looks like a wave serpent then someone will throw a fit. Its not right to make the rest of us figure out the army as we go. Your proposal is nothing like the examples of "count as" that have been brought up.

    If someone really showed up with a red ork army and called them BA, then the rest of us should conduct an auto-beatdown, and then figure out how to split the beer rations.

    The NOVA format seems to be the Most competitive without throwing out hobby entirely.

    "ROR" at "double standard." NOVA 2011 is a long way away for a hobbiest or competitive gamer.

  27. This is a great challenge. Just under a year to convert Eldar into a DE force that can still be used as an Eldar force.... bring a hat and some sauce.

  28. A project log and pictures of said models will be pretty awesome ^^

  29. Okay, so the problem is based around the 3 Dimensional appearance of the models. The Dark Eldar Vehicles are Tall, Thin, and long while the regular Eldar Vehicles are Wide, squat (some what), and shorter. I think the solution comes in as how the model is attached to and positioned on the base as to what kind of vehicle it represents.

    An Eldar Wave Serpent that is positioned on the base so that it is turned on its side, not the full 90 degrees but maybe 75 degrees with the thrusters pointed towards the base at a 45 degree angle suddenly is a very similar shape and has similar dimensions as a Dark Eldar Raider. Positioned properly on a base shaped like a Raider (for deployment purposes) such a tank could be made to look like it was in a high speed maneuver which the Fast Eldar grav tanks are all capable of.

    Add in that the vertical positioning of the weapons (on the turret and under the cockpit) when the vehicle is turned on its side could probably be positioned to rep the horizontal locations of the side turrets of the Ravager and the position of the normally front mounted 3rd lance in a rear mounted position on the turret I think with a little forethought and explanation most competitive players would except the eldar player taking and using a gun that was model and used further back then normal on a vehicle.

    All you would have to do to use this as a regular serpent would be to switch some weapons (magnetized) and remove it from the converted DE base that has it tipped on its side and put it positioned normally on a Regular base.

    I have more thoughts on how to make this army work, but to hear them check out episode 20 of the Gamers Lounge Podcast recording this Sunday.

  30. Interestingly, I'd even be willing to host said project log on the whiskey blog :)

  31. @ShotDownMind:

    I understand and acknowledge that my original approach is fundamentally different from most traditional "Counts As" armies. My question is this:

    If my models look 'similar' to the actual models, weapon options are made clear (both in modeling and the army list), and proper dimensions for vehicles are matched (we know the tanks have different dimensions currently, but assume they are identical for this argument), then why is it utterly wrong to use the rules of another codex?

    If the answer is simply "It doesn't fit my idea of the fluff", then I have a problem with that. You are now imposing your idea of what the game is about onto me while disallowing me the same opportunity.

    I can argue that it is the designer's intention that the Eldar and Dark Eldar model ranges are built to supplement each other both visually and physically based on how the bits are cast. Additionally, both armies have weapons that mirror their counterparts in the other codex extremely well.

    Would calling my army "Corsair Eldar" change your thoughts on why it is allowed? Why is "fluff" so sacred? Why is it not acceptable to approach 40k as a game first and modelling hobby second?

    I'm doing my best to be upfront and open and explain my position, but sometimes it seems like I'm not being listened to or respected simply because it's an inconvenience to a "hobby" player. I admitted in my first post, the decision to do this is ENTIRELY for gamist reasons. Why is the gamist attitude so quickly crucified?


    Your ideas are very interesting, and I will give them some serious thought. Having an end result that fits the original Eldar design aesthetic and works with both codices is exactly the approach I am wanting to take. I appreciate your offer of a potential solution that fits my goals rather than simply arguing against it.


    I appreciate the offer greatly. I'll likely put the project log up on my own blog if this takes off, but I will definitely keep you in the loop.

    I don't mind having shouldered this topic, as a workable solution will bring some ease to the other Eldar players out there that would like to not have to deal with an outdated, overcosted, and inefficient codex.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Hi

    - previous post deleted due to a big grammar mistake -

    I think the biggest issue with this sort of "counts as" approach is the confusion that it imposes on your 4 opponents in a competitive event. NOVA is perceived (emphasis on perceived) to first and foremost be a competitive event.

    Quite simply, you are imposing a disadvantage on them by forcing them to place some of their thought capacity into remembering that those banshees are X, and those scorpions are Y, etc rather than on winning the game. This slight advantage for you in a highly competitive event may be enough to put you over the top. Since there is only Win-Loss in the Nova format, and no recovery possible from loss (as there would be in a Battle Point format), any edge is significant and should be removed if it is in the tournament organizer's control.

    That being said, there are probably a pile of players that can handle it without it being an issue. I have no statistically evidence, but the ancedotal evidence I have from four years of running events and ten years of playing in them points to a 50-50 split on the issue among players.

    A reasonable solution for someone who really wants that cool converted army, rather than to save a few bucks by not purchasing the actual army, would be to require them to also have the actual appropriate GW model (if available) on hand to stand in for any opponent who objects to the use of the counts as model. These models simply have to be assembled, not painted and in no way affect your painting score for the event. Sure it costs you more money to do this, but the purpose of the counts as army is cool factor, not to save money, isn't it?

    This way, you win because you get to use that cool army against all those who really don't care, are probably in contention for best appearance and Ren. Man and got to be creative in all the ways you want to be. The competitive player that doesn't want to deal with "count as" "shenanigans" also wins because they can request you use your alternate appropriate models for any/all units they like.


  34. I'm of the opinion that if you do it well people will forgive counts as quite easily and generally give you props. Doing it poorly or just substituting models makes people upset and generally leads to discord. An Ork "Power-Armor" marine army would be pretty cool but it would need to be done right. My daemons are a complete counts-as to represent Admech. But just saying this falcon counts as this is a bit much for most people to take. I was going to give a "counts-as" eldar jet-bike army using winged marines armed correctly to make an "Angelic Host" but quickly realised it would be poorly recieved because it was to far out there and dropped the project.

    Whether you like it or not it's a double standard. And I'll own up to it. If it's done well expect people to enjoy it, praise it, and not say a word about it even if they have to be reminded what's what 50 times. Just straight subs sucks when it's not the same model. And tourney organizers have pretty much realised this and it's why each thing is a case by case.

  35. Now I want to do an Orky BA army ... Sanguinary Priests as Nobz waaaghin' away, Red Thirst as the whole unit WAaaaghin', etc. Le sigh. All of the orks in PA.

  36. @Hulksmash:

    Thank you for being honest on the topic. Some of the others denied that the double standard even existed.

    I think in my particular case we have reached most of an understanding.

    Something I'd like to discuss further is whether this attitude that creates the double standard is appropriate. It is my personal opinion that those who have zero tolerance for a direct model swap are just as "wrong" as they claim the offenders to be. It is their own personal failings, IMO that lead to such discord.

    I think that debate should be carried in a different post, probably on my own blog even.

    Can I get any suggestions from the rest of you on how to make an army that follows the Eldar aesthetic yet is usable for both codices? That would be a much better use of this thread than arguing the other points.

  37. It can totally be done Mike. I was thinking about it when I was building my looted army. Boyz w/the heavy armor torso, marine shoulders and backpack, ork helmeted heads with preferably the iron gob, some green stuff on the legs to give them armor plates. Sang priests could just be pain boyz in heavy armor, converted rhino's and gretchin w/targeter converted razorbacks, mega-nobz with some good converten as termies and the rest is pretty easy actually. I think it'd be a pretty sweat damn army really.


    Spikify your normal Edlar Vehicles. Drop the cannon off the back of the vyper and undersling 2 of them and put chains on the side. Voila, vyper/venom. The troops are easy and would just need a bit of chaosing up. I'd suggest mixing the ranges honestly as any aspect warrior is going to be to heavily armored to be wyches though storm guardians might work. Vehicles are the hardest. I'd say honestly that you kitbash raiders/ravager sets with other Eldar kits. The biggest issue is the completely different asthetic that standard Eldar tanks have. Your not building a non-repped army like exodites, admech, or squats. Your taking one army and making it another. A nicely modified Wraithlord (4 legs, spyderish maybe?) would work for Talos/Cronos. Swooping hawks modded up a little make great scourges. You'd probably have to kitbash hellions/warp spiders/guardian kits to make some bitchen units that could be both. It's doable but honestly it's more of a start from scratch kinda project. My admech were the same thing for me. They are going to rep several armies before I'm done with them but again, that's a non-existant codex using rules from a codex. Good luck dude.

  38. I think that a lot of contention with counts as comes from the perception of effort. I also play Dark Angels like RayJ and I have a tough time convincing myself to use them as counts as with other marine codices. I just always feel cheap when I do. I think people not liking straight army swaps has less to do with fluff and more to do with the feel that the other person is just trying to power game. "I don't like my rules, so I am going to use different rules" . This is exacerbated by any case where a model might be seen as gaining an advantage over its original representation. I think that conversion work, and painting gives the appearance that at least your opponent is putting some effort into the army, and not just running flavor of the month.

    I would be much more likely to play against someone (especially in a tourney) who took the time to make an original looking army that was counts as, than simply running their eldar as dark eldar.

    My other question to you is that if the tanks are the sticking point have you considered buying some of the other DE models, (Wyches, Warriors, etc) and possibly kit bashing with your existing eldar. Honestly I would find it much easier to play against someone using eldar tanks (and paint scheme) and some DE looking models, with Eldar grav tanks, and even some eldar models (especially those models that don't have existing models), than just a whole sale change. This would make it much less confusing as some of your models are the actual models for the units you are using making it less for your opponent to remember.

  39. @Hulksmash:

    Why is it necessary to run spikes, chains, and blades on everything? That is definitely not the Eldar aesthetic, which is what I asked for ideas on.

    Many players in the past have used the Dark Eldar codex to represent corsair Eldar, have they not? Have none of those armies focused on Craftworld Eldar models?


    How ya been? Kit-bashing the infantry is relatively fine. I like working with plastic to do dynamic things. I'd still like the end result to be easily usable for Eldar as well, sort of following the conversion list in my original email.

    I am still blown away by the idea that using the better rules (not necessarily newer) for the purpose of actually being better is frowned upon. It's kind of like forcing your kid into special education programs or bad schools because you don't want him to be smarter or more educated than you.

    I'm working up my argument against that philosophy. It should be up on my blog in the next few days. It'll take me some time to get the proper words so I don't make myself look too much like an ass in the process. :)

  40. Ray - the better rules argument is kind of a weak one, and I don't mean this in a bad way, but stay with me.

    If someone has Baseball Bat Awesome-O, and 5 years later Baseball Bat Supreme-0 releases, he's going to have to buy it if he wants to take advantage of its advancements in technology and such. Now, if he just LOVES the way his Awesome-0 looks, he could paint the Supreme-0 to match it, but he can't paint the Awesome-0 like the Supreme-0 and have it magically work right.

    We're probably all on the same page here, now, though - having a DE army t hat is actually a Craftworld or Exodite Eldar army is a fine idea, and not bad at all ... but homebrew fluff and model creativity are going to be required for it to function on a fluff and gameplay level respectively. I don't think anyone is trying to be super critical of you, though ... hyperbole on the internet goes both ways. It's a ... plague ... if you will ;)

  41. It is one of the eldar asthetics and "corsairs" have always had the meaner, spikier vibe to them. What I said were suggestions on how to build a theme. You seem very intent on just swapping models out which won't work with 90% of people. I'm sorry that you didn't get the response you wanted but that's simply the case. You'd be stretching WYSIWYG way to far basically. All counts-as armies do but it's the execution that makes ok. Basically you need permission to run "counts-as" and it's totally on a case by case basis which I think is totally fine. Remember that most of those "counts-as" armies outside of marines are generally non-represented army arch-types like squats, admech, exodites, hrud, renegades, and such. Pure swaps just generally don't work because it's a burden on an opponent and your not doing anything to mitigate it.

    And yeah, the rules arguement is a bit bunk. Marines can do it because they all have the same asthetic/weapons/vehicle profiles. No one else currently has that ability honestly. And the DE and Codex asthetics and style are so different that you'd need to do a ground up army to make it work.

  42. Mike,

    While I understand your baseball bat statement, it doesn't really have any bearing on what I have issue with. Bear with me for a second, so I can make it a little clearer. I want to talk about this outside the scope of my current situation, as it applies to many more situations than just mine.

    Many players of 40k seem to have an attitude that using better rules to gain an advantage is a problem. It doesn't even matter if those rules are newer or older. Most of the time the more current rules are better written, better designed, and better implemented than their older counterparts. However, sometimes an older codex has some interesting or powerful mechanic that interacts with current rules in an unusual way (such as Inquisitorial Allies).

    In both of these situations, the prevailing attitude is to attack the person who chooses to take advantage of the rules. When i say "taking advantage of", many people might read that as "abuse", but that definition is incorrect. It simply means "to gain benefit from".

    Those who don't choose to take advantage are inherently at a disadvantage. I believe they are upset about being less powerful in comparison. it doesn't matter why they choose not to take advantage of these opportunities. Most of the time it comes down to finances (we have an expensive hobby) or just love for a specific army. Regardless, because they are less effective, they tend to lash out at someone for being able to seize the opportunity for becoming more effective.

    That is the attitude I am seeing that I oppose greatly. Those people accuse the offender as basically being selfish, but are being selfish themselves. A valid term for those individuals would be "hypocrite".

    Not everyone who opposes my current project has that attitude, but some do. If I continue the project I will make sure the models fairly represent the rules they will use.

    In my situation specifically I understand there are differences where a reasonable argument against my idea can be made. Specifically it has to do with ensuring my army uses the appropriate dimensions for its models and making sure each piece of weaponry/wargear is properly represented (even if it is through a Counts As swap).

    If after that you have a problem with me simply because of my models, you are at fault. Anything other than my modeling for appropriate dimensions and wargear means absolutely nothing in game terms.

    Can it be confusing? Yes, but not to the point of someone assuming I am playing a different army. At least not after I have gone over all the conversions, provided a proper reference, and continue to reinforce the ruleset being used with each and every unit during gameplay.

    In a competitive setting, this should matter even less. Part of playing the game is keeping track of the opponent's units, taking note of their position and capabilities at every step. This information is based completely on the army list and not the range of the models on the table. It is identical to having to keep track of which unit is in a given transport when none of them bear any special markings.

    I think that pretty clearly puts my position out for public consumption. Maybe some people can reflect on it and change their outlook a little for the better.

  43. Ray - I think we're on the same page more than you think.

    The perception here isn't that you are attempting to take advantage of the rules (which is a good thing that should be encouraged ... fill out and utilize the rules, and all will be well ... it's when people decide they don't LIKE rules such as "that infantry model has cover b/c his toe is obscured" that things start to bend and break, when people simply think it's bad form to follow the rules of the game).

    The perception is that you are attempting to BREAK the rules of the game. Building a counts-as DE army that uses a lot of Eldar pieces and thematics is fine ... there's nothing wrong with that. Using a Wave Serpent as a Raider is actually BREAKING the rules, because you aren't in any capacity WYSIWYG.

    There's actually not a problem counting a Deathwing Terminator w/ TH and SS as a Blood Angels Terminator w/ TH and SS. You could "scoff" at someone's dark angels paint job on a blood angel rule, but the model is completely WYSIWYG, in no way illegal, and instantly recognizable the moment you tell him you're a Blood Angels player. He's not going to scratch his head wondering if it's a BA marine, or a sanguinary priest, or a Mephiston.

    Putting down a Waver Serpent, and going "I play Dark Eldar" ... well, you already need more explanation. Even saying "It's a Raider," well, your opponent still doesn't know where you're drawing LOS from, where he's drawing LOS to, etc. You're not taking advantage of the rules, here, you're just ... not following them.

    That said - I'm talking perception; I'm sure you want to follow the rules clearly, but keep in mind that I think we're talking about and discussing over 2 different things.

    Counting a Chaos Space Marine w/ a Meltagun as a Grey Hunter w/ a Meltagun is NP. Counting a Land Raider as a Leman Russ Demolisher? Problem. Savvy? I know some people object to using newer rules with WYSIWYG models originally bought for older dexes, but whatever - chillax, IMO, and I think most readers here would generally agree.

  44. Mike,

    I do think you and I personally have much the same ideas and outlook. If I am to continue this project, here are the options I would consider based on the feedback I have so far:

    Option 1
    Use the Wave Serpent model, but produce a custom base for it in the manner suggested by HuronBH. When comparing a Wave Serpent to the OLD Dark Eldar Raider, they are almost exactly identical in length (tested with the actual models in hand last night). The falcon and prism are shorter because they lack the crew compartment extension, so some special work must be done to make either of them usable for this project.

    By turning the wave serpent so its width is reduced, its height also gets extended. The final result is a shape that is comparable to the Raider though not 100% exact.

    Add to this a special base whose dorsal outline matches the Raider exactly, and now there is an easy reference point for my own disembarkation. For my opponent's firing at me I allow him to simply 'break the plane' of that outline, or make contact with the actual Wave Serpent, whichever is in his favor.

    For my firing at him, the main gun is farther back on the hull, meaning I will be at a disadvantage. If necessary, an object or icon can be added to the base to represent the position of the Raider's gun, and all measurements can be taken from that marker to further alleviate rules issues.

    Furthermore, the custom base makes an adequate crater/wreck for the Raider model once the Wave Serpent is removed.

    This option makes using the model for both Codices a valid option, as I can simply use a different base for each army. Following this idea, a custom base in the Wave Serpent's dorsal outline could make things easier on my regular opponents as well and could also serve as an appropriate crater/wreckage marker.

    Option 2:
    I use plasticard, wave serpent bits, and other options to build a brand new model that has the dimensions of a Raider, but follows the design aesthetic of the Craftworld Eldar models.

    Doing this makes it harder to use both codices without some careful planning and engineering when building the new craft. However, if I match the dimensions of the Raider perfectly, my opponent now has absolutely no ground to believe I am cheating him.

    I will still be making the same custom base for this model to get accurate disembarkation, though the new model will likely not be flying on an angle.

    Certainly other options exist, so recommendations are welcome. Of these two options, Option 1 lets me be truer to what I want to do as well as will take much less time.

    Option 2 will be a massive undertaking, and even with the time I have before Nova would be difficult to complete on time. Getting 10 or more scratch-built vehicles based on plasticard, kit-bashing, and green stuff and having it firmly scream "Eldar" instead of "Dark Eldar" is going to be EXTREMELY time consuming.

    Is option 1 something the community can openly support?

  45. @RayJ

    I think part of the issue with "taking advantage of better rules" Without effort of some kind (conversion, making things WYSIWYG) is the idea of where do you draw the line with such things. Is it ok to do as you originally posted and use Eldar for Dark Eldar with a straight counts as approach (with what seemed like minimal conversion on you part). Well, where is the line. Could I use Tyranids? Gaunts count as Warriors, Fleshborers are splinter rifles, Spine fists are Dark Lances. My converted Harpies count as raiders. My Carnifex is a Talos. Genestealers are Wyches (Rending Claws are Shardnets and Impalers, Scthing Talons are Hydra guantlets?).

    Where is the line? I am fine with a DE Army that looks mostly like Eldar as long as it is idenifiable as DE as well. I don't want to have to look at the table and keep reminding myself that your Banshees are Wyches...etc. While I see the model size issue I would even be ok letting you use Wave Serpents for Raiders so long as they had the same Height as the raider.

  46. Honestly, breng77, I wouldn't draw the line. From my point of view it doesn't exist. All the is important are the rules printed in the rulebooks/codices and the mechanics represented by the original models (model dimensions and weapon placement/configuration).

    If I were to take any other position, I would be just as guilty of hypocracy as I have claimed some others to be. The thing is, that was my position from the beginning.

    Part of me doesn't care if my opponent is confused because a piece of plastic looks one way or another. It is the responsibility of each player to keep track of the models. Players who have never seen the actual miniatures before but have learned the rules should be capable of this. It is simply a matter of, for the duration of the game, assigning the appropriate rules to the model said to represent those rules.

    I understand many people feel differently, which is the entire reason for this lengthy debate. While the social structure of 40k might make a single model represent a specific unit, the rules don't truly care. The rules are what is important to me, and that's what I base my opinion on.

  47. Actually the rules do care, the rules for a model are written specifically for that model (which is why I hate when GW does not make models for certain units) Otherwise what is to prevent me from using Spore mines for Tyranofexes or Tervigons RAW. No where in the rules does it state what size each model is. In addition in the BRB it states that each model has its own set of characteristics (on P 3). Since each set of models has its own rules, it would adversely effect an experienced player who sees those models and knows what they generally do. It would be equivalent to playing chess and having your opponent switch his Rook with his knight. While Technically this does not matter (all that matters is that he moves the piece according to the rules for the type of piece he is using) it is confusing to an opponent that assumes he is safe moving his Queen one space in front of that knight(rook), and then has it taken. This is where in my mind conversion comes in. If the pieces look reasonably different from normal models, and are equipped with the weapons they are supposed to have then it is easier to make the mental leap to them being what they are supposed to be. In addition if one was to use all Dark Eldar troops for example but eldar Vehicles, with DE weapons on them, it would be an easier leap to ok that is a Raider because the dark eldar don't have Wave serpents. It is when you Proxy an entire (unchanged) army for another army that a problem arises. If I see an Eldar army across the table I have an idea of what all those pieces do, and I don't want to have to stop every time I make a move and look up in your army list what each of your models is (especially in a timed tourney).

  48. @ Brent77 -

    "It is when you Proxy an entire (unchanged) army for another army that a problem arises."

    So an exchange of Dark Angels to Space Wolves with minor conversions, such as lighting clawed marines counting as marines with mark of the wolfen, is unacceptable because they aren't modeled/converted to a particular standard?

    In the case of some models there is a direct correlation of a model to the next but only the rules change. In example, Dark Angel Terminators with TH + SS vs Ultramarine Terminaotrs with TH + SS.

    My point is that if competatively we narrow the 'box' everbody thinks in then pretty soon no one will be thinking at all. We reward people who think outside the box in our hobby thru tactics as well as modeling.

    Rob Baer of Spikybits is one person who comes to mind for modeling and Stelek of YTTH for tactics.

    As long as there is a established, enforced standard, that is the answer. Yes, it's subjective but it is also objective with guidelines. At the end of the day someone has to make a judgement call. I hope it's just prior to arrving at the event.


  49. @ Captain Kellen-

    I would actually say that yes using Lightning Claw marines as mark of the wulfen (unless highly converted in some way) is unacceptable, because Space wolves have Lightning claws (wolf claws) as well. So using one specific piece of wargear with its own rules to represent something else is in my mind not acceptable. I would however, have no problem with someone with Green marines/or Bone Termies. Representing an identical model. A TH/SS termi model is a TH/SS model the pain job is irrelevant. This is due to the fact that if I see a TH/SS termi on the field I have a good idea what that model can do/cannot do (though this raises the argument of older codices with outdated wargear.) Whereas if I see a marine with Lighting claws in a Space wolf army that marine in my mind has wolf claws and is subject to the rules that come with those claws. It just leads to a slippery slop otherwise, where a player could easily cheat during the game by declaring that he had the modeled weapon,hoping that seeing the model his opponent would not remember that it really "counts as" something else.

    Competitively we have to narrow the box as far as modeling to some extent so that the tournament is played on a level playing field. We already have many rules against modeling for advantage. I have no problem with an event establishing a standard, and sticking to that standard. However if I saw an even that said bring any models you want and use whatever rules you want with them I would decline going to that event. (or go with spore mine tyranofexes.

    The idea is that the conversions don't have to look good (much as a paint job does not have to look good), rather that there was some effort made to differentiate Your models from what they represent.

  50. @ Breng77 - Thank you for the reply. I apologize for spelling your handle wrong earlier.

    Obviously mitigating problems beforehand is prudent.

    If we go by the the most stringent of standards then we break the most important rule of the game even for competative play. It won't be fun for the greatest amount of people.

    I think, even in competative play, some counts-as must be allowed.

    In the case of this discussion, Eldar and Dark Eldar footsoldiers are almost directly exchangable. Spikey bits or not, the models are very close. Banshee's as witches are also very close. Jet bikes vs jet bikes... I could go on.

    Raiders and Wave Serpants/Falcons chasis not so much due to huge differences in the models.

    When common sense says something is wrong and it can't be easily explained with answering a question or a 'cheat sheet' then it's probably over the line.

    As long as the owning player is forthright to answer questions about conversions and counts-as, even going to the point of a 'cheat sheet' for their opponent, then there isn't a problem.

    We need to give people the benefit of the doubt until circumstances are proved otherwise.

    I'm sure we all agree some 'standard' should be set and enforced. I think to what extent or degree is what Mike is pointing towards.

    I think that the standard for counts-as needs to be established early with a clear...
    "If you think their is a problem then an email with a boat load of pictures to asses the model and scale" is in order. Show up to the event without an email to the event staff and... that is where the line is drawn. It's pass/fail pure and simple.

    Clearly, completely differing models being exchanged is not count-as but proxy. It doesn't pass a common sense test in regards to our hobby in my opinion. I think that this is my point to RayJ.

    Here is why I am interested...

    I'm going to run into the same 'questions', 'opinions' and 'judgements' as RayJ thus I am following this discussion closely.

    I'll be bringing three guys with dual lightning claws counting as mark of the wolfen, providing the points for armies remains the same as last years event and won't effect my list... among other unpredictable things...

    I'll even be using robed marines as scouts. Same weapons load out as the scouts just different models. I hate, absolutley hate, the scout models.

    I've even entertained the idea of using 'bikes' on 60mm bases as TWC. The only differences between the bike and mounting a marine on a plastic fantasy wolf is that the bike is bigger and the 60mm base. I measured with a caliper for work to size up the idea. Canis though is a whole differing dilema...

    It's pretty obvious from my 'models' I'm not trying to model for advantage or douche-baggery and only count-as to fill in models not directly exchangable as the majority of marines go. (A wolfen model among my DA's would look 'odd'.) They're not painted as DA's either so that helps out well.

    ahhh... I forgot what I was going to write...



  51. @ Captain Kellen,

    I see where you are coming from. However, as an opponent I don't want to have to continually refer to a cheat sheet to play against someone. Some things work and others don't (which is where the TO comes in as far as deciding what is what) i.e. I am fine with robed marines as scouts so long as there are no other robed marines in your list. I might even be ok with Lightning Claws as Wulfen (though I am iffy on this as I explained above) so long as no model in your army uses wolf claws.

    The problem about giving people the benefit of the doubt is that sometimes it is too late when you find out that something was played wrong.

    Doing straight counts as with no conversion is at least a small competitive advantage for the person running the counts as army. Using the Eldar as DE example. While the units are very similar they are not the same. As an opponent I need to continually remind myself that this is not an Eldar army, and that those Banshees are really Wyches. While this is not necessarily difficult, it just adds one more thing I need to think about during the game.

    Now if you really loved the Banshee models and hated the Wych models, but used DE vehicles, (or at least converted Eldar tanks to be similar to DE models) this makes that mental step a little easier b/c I am not seeing a straight Eldar force across the table.

    Finally while there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the best rules possible. It does speak toward a person having a particular attitude about the game. Having met some people that want to use counts as so that they have a more powerful army, I can say that in many cases the interactions have not been positive.

  52. @ Breng77 - Funny about your comment... because in fact only the scouts have robes and no others and the wulfen are the only ones with claws in the army. I thought about that very subject when I decided to change codices.

    It's either lightning claws or I'm tacking a DA's shoulder pad to a wolfen... which is fighting words in some circles!

    thank you for the reply,


  53. @Mike:

    Based on the discussion we've had here, can you tell me which options presented you will disallow me from using for Nova? We should have a solid understanding of each others' positions at this point, and I will happily accept your terms.

    If it turns out the options allowed do not allow me to come close to my original goal, there will be no hard feelings. I will adapt and move on. The entire purpose of the original email was to see if it was remotely possible, and I think the discussion here will benefit others in the future.

  54. I have tried posting this a few times and it continues to disappear or not show up. I'm gonna cut it in half and see if that fixes the problem. It gives a final point of reference for how I look at the game. It is obvious now that I view things very differently than a lot of the other players. I can't say that they are wrong for liking a different aspect of the game, only that what is important to me is apparently much different.


    You mention that the physical model is part of the rules required for that model. It is a valid opinion, but I consider that to be 'mechanics' instead. There is nothing in any rulebook or codex that lays out in actual rules terminology which models are necessary for following those rules. They do, however show images of most weapons with a label, and also show some models with those weapons equipped.

    You can use that as your basis for saying 'this model is a Raider because the codex says so', but nothing in the rules text of the codex backs that up. You basically just have a bunch of diagrams.

    That is why I call that aspect of the game a 'mechanic'. It is fully intended that the model shown represents those rules. Size, shape, and weapon placement are part of the mechanics surrounding each vehicle.

    I feel it is possible to replace every vehicle model with something that is so close to the intended mechanics that it has no impact on how the game plays out. With the options presented to me, I think that is even possible using a Wave Serpent to represent a Raider (using special angling, bases, etc).

    This moves into the more recent discussion: confusion and errors. You may be different, but when I first started actually learning the rules, I didn't have the model-to-wargear system for each army memorized. I did not know, when looking at a new collection of models, which weapons were meltaguns, which were plasmaguns, and which were bolters.

    Sure, after looking through the book I had proper reference to know and quickly (almost immediately) had them memorized, but in my first few games, the physical model being used meant absolutely nothing other than what it was defined as when my opponent and I began playing the game.

  55. Continuation of previous post:

    Maybe it comes from playing against proxy armies a lot (my friends don't all own 20,000 points of models to work with), or maybe it comes from an apparently uncommon ability to separate rules from the specific model, but I have NEVER experienced the confusion you suggest would be present in simply swapping out 2 armies.

    I honestly don't understand the idea that you will lose a game because you misremembered a model based on its appearance. I'm not saying it won't happen, but just that because of my experiences I simply cannot understand that mindset. My mind doesn't work that way.

    If you tell me your ork with a big choppa is a captain with a relic blade, I won't all of a sudden think he is going to waaagh!!! on me when you are closing in for the kill. I might need reinforcement that he is a captain with a relic blade (or more precisely, since I have your army list, just reminding which model is representing that opposed to a power weapon so I can plan my charges accordingly). As long as each Big Choppa in your army is a relic blade, and specific units and models are tied to specific rules in your book and army list, I will not have any problem.

    So in Captain Kellen's instance, with ALL robed marines representing scouts, and ALL lightning claw models representing Mark of the Wulfen, and not having anything else in the list to create this problem (no units in his list are equipped with lightning claws, so no new counts as needs to be invented for it) I see no problem and would be very happy to play against him.

    I am not discounting the idea that confusion is a proper reason for hindering counts as. I can only say that I (and my friends) have never mistaken a unit's abilities because of the model being represented. We might not understand the rules of the unit well enough due to lack of experience with or against it, but the physical model has never been an issue. Based on our experiences, we would likely not support the anti-confusion position, but if it becomes the standard, we are more than willing to live with it.

  56. @RayJ

    I have also played plenty of proxy games, in casual games where there is not time pressure, no level of fatigue built up after multiple highly competitive games etc.
    I have no problem if in a casual game someone wants to proxy a model as another model because we are play testing a new army or unit or they are a new player trying to figure out what to buy. The problem comes in a tournament, where maybe I only have 2 hours (1 hour assumed for me) and I don't want to have to look at your list to remind myself what each unit in your army is and we don't have time for you to go in depth about what counts as what for every unit/model in your army. Could I do this, an still win a game, sure I could. It would probably not even be that big a deal as I have a good memory for things like that. But should I have to do this..when is it fair to draw the line. At the ard boyz prelim I played in a player had 2 foam core cutouts the size of thunderhawks representing BA storm ravens, an armless dread representing a Blood talon Furiouso, and armless vanguard vets that all has storm shields and PW. Is this acceptable? Or does he need to acctually put some effort into WYSIWYG. It is easy to say all the armless marines count as X, but is it good for the game?

    Also is there not an inherent advantage to having a counts as army as your opponent cannot begin formulate a plan against said army until he has your list in hand.

  57. Wow. This is a pretty intense debate eh?

    There appear to be several things going on.

    1 - No one likes the idea of someone simply using Army A to represent Army B because Army B is thought to have better rules.

    A good example of this is playing an army clearly Ultramarine in nature (U's everywhere, Marneus Calgar at the helm and a chief librarian skulking about somewhere at the back) only to be told that this is Logan Grimnar and his Space Wolves.

    This is typical of the player who, in an attempt to save time and money, is simply playing his army according to the dictates of another codex.

    I think most people would call this "proxy" play. This is fine for casual games but very few people would be happy to see it at an event or tournament.

    2 - Counts As

    This is where a person crafts an army from scratch of from the miniatures belonging to another range to represent their chosen force.

    Often this involves huge amounts of spending, effort and creativity. When done well all units and vehicles are instantly recognisable.

    The best counts as armies don't need discussing. You can simply see what every unit is meant to be by looking at it.

    This is one of the highlights of the miniature wargaming hobby and almost everyone would be happy to see such an army opposite them.

  58. So... Dark Angels using the Space Marine Codex is not ok?

    See, from my perspective, I sense a double standard here when it comes to tournement players.

    It's ok to model completely unknown models to 'count as' but modeling only a couple of units/models and create another army is not ok.

    Why? Because it's too hard to keep track of 'count-as' models in a tournement setting due to time. I suggest you tell that to Goatboy on BOLS about his Space Goats.

    However, it's ok that the Dark Angels codex hasn't been updated and use the Space Marine codex with their models as 'Green-Marines' but it's not ok to use the SW, BA, or BT codex.

    I mean, has anyone ever had a problem at a tournement with painted DA's using the SM codex? If you don't have a problem with this from a competative standpoint, then why would it be any different if the player chooses another marine codex and counts-as a couple of guys to create a second army?

    I agree that it might be a case of 'flavor of the month' however does it really matter as long as marines are playing marines regardless of the codex?

    It's absolutes at each end of the competative vs casual players spectrum that drives players away from the game. Absolutes implies exclusion when we should be inclusive as much as possible competatively or casualy.

    Instead of saying 'you can't do this' we should be supporting people by saying 'this is how you do what you want to do'.


  59. @ I think what it comes down to is if Codex A allows me to build the army I want to build and I cannot do this in my own book, and I put some thought into it I'm ok with it. If I am just changing one army straight up for another army just because it has a newer/stronger codex, while as long as the list is WYSIWYG is legal and I would play against, is looked down upon. I can honestly say I don't have any kind of double standard here, as I have never played my DA army as anything other than DA. I have a SW army in the works, but it is using different models, and will be painted as space wolves. I also understand that this is a personal choice and would not have a problem with someone doing otherwise as long as everything is identifiable, and he is not doing something like jet bike sammiel counting as a SM captain on a bike, because the models are completely different in scale and would not be WYSIWYG. Also, I would be more ok with something with the case in question like. "I really like the howling banshee models and want to play with a whole army of them." And finding that Dark Eldar best fit this type of army using a wych heavy build. I think the issue is saying I have army X already, but army Y has better rules so I am going to use army Y with my already existing models.

  60. Honestly, I think the SM comparison is a bad one; while you (generic) as a hobbyist may not appreciate someone counting clear Ultramarines as Space Wolves, there's really no problem in the WYSIWYG/"I know what that is" department.

    As long as he tells you it's a Space Wolves army, even someone of subpar IQ is not going to midgame go OH SHIT I FORGOT THAT'S NOT MARNEUS!

    The issue here more revolved around the fact that the army would not have been anywhere near WYSIWYG.