Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Final Leans and Thoughts - Army Construction Rulings for GT/Invitational



I'm serious here, these guys are incredible. Show off the compassionate force that gamers worldwide can represent, and also get yourself tickets toward some pretty incredible armies with some of the best-painted minis on the planet. Seriously, that Knight Titan is arguably one of the best I've ever seen anywhere.

It's an odd thing to "soul search" for a ruling on a toy soldier game, but some of this definitely happened over the last couple weeks!

Side Bar on the "Other" 40k GT at NOVA
In case you feel any of the restrictions below are too tight, keep in mind we have a 7-game, GT level event in the DC Narrative Warlords track complete with competitive and casual elements, and some really cool thematic but still NOVA-layout terrain tables, and more. While not wide open, this event has more of a 2-CAD/etc. style army construction layout, though more than half the spots are completely gone.

The Trios Team Tournament will continue to have completely unbridled Battle Forged Army construction rules for the Singles component. Lords of War, limitless Combined Arms Detachments, etc.

Back to the Rulings ...

We've been through hundreds of discussions with peers and gamers, listened to a great deal of feedback, evaluated the needs of the community and preparation times and the like, and also fielded a great deal of playtesting-based feedback and results from RTT level events held since the edition released.

We need to polish and finalize these in a professional fashion (Website, primer, newsletter, etc.), and we also will need to revisit Lords of War based upon potential rumors from how the Ork Codex is built (i.e., it would be hard to sell many people on banning Ghazkull Mag Uruk Thrakka due to him being a Lord of War ... hope GW doesn't do this anyway, and change an iconic hero of Calgar stature into a de facto Primarch level model).

Keep in mind that the following rules and discussions are in regard to the Grand Tournament and Invitational ONLY.

But, on the divisive issue of army construction ... Here's our informal ruling at present:

  • 1850 Points 
  • 2 Detachments (as described in the 40k Rulebook), maximum of 1 Combined Arms Detachment, Allied Detachments may be chosen from the same Faction as your Primary Detachment
  • No Lords of War* 
  • Force Structure Addendum - Detachments are built by FACTION as per the Rulebook, and not by source/codex 
  • Force Structure Addendum - Conjured units are under your control, but are not a part of the army selection process, and thus are not part of a detachment. They therefore do not benefit from things which affect the same detachment or army, and do not benefit from detachment-specific rules such as Objective Secured; conjured models will follow the Allies Matrix per normal (as it is done on a by-model basis, not a by-unit/detachment basis) 

*Lords of War may be opened up more based upon the way GW presents the Ork Codex. We are erring on the side of caution here, backed up by past survey results and output from pre- and post-7th events using Lords of War and the feedback revolving around their inclusion. 

Some thoughts

Double Combined Arms Detachments - 
There were a lot of mixed comments on these. Some people argue for allowing unlimited CAD per the BRB. Some people argue for random numbers like 4 (I think there's some New England tourney that arbitrarily chose a limit of 4). A two detachment limit isn't even really a 6th edition style (at the end of 6th edition, you could have a Knight + an Inquisitorial Detachment + a Primary Detachment + an Allied Detachment + a Legion of the Damned Detachment + a few formations + whatever), it's frankly somewhat arbitrary, but I'll stick by the notion that almost anything is. With a new edition on our hands, sticking with the 2 Detachment (similar to source) limit we were pondering pre-7th feels accurate, especially when there will only be one 7th edition styled codex released by NOVA. We will, however, heavily leverage event feedback and lessons learned in the interim to help guide other events within the NOVA format going forward, to make sure the format stays as up to date with the time as possible.

We found in feedback from local events that double-CAD armies were proving extremely troubling and difficult for average to beginner players - even more so than how the meta already was - while generally being a non-issue for more elite players. Similarly, more capable players broadly did not care which way we went, while many more inexperienced or "just there for a good time" players were increasingly concerned about having to feel frustrated by dealing with mass-barge, or double council, or other lists that a top tier guy might blow off or defeat, but that regular joes feel just push the game one step further. This feeling may change as the edition matures, and if it does, we'll change with it when the time comes.

For now, it's clear which direction we're headed, giving attendees the ability to settle in and finalize their lists. Coincidentally, for those who think this flies in the face of what GW wants, single CAD is exactly what they're doing at their HQ. I don't generally consider this to be meaningful precedent, but there are a lot of the smaller vocal Lord of War crowd who will often quote the GW HQ tournament rules in favor.

Allied Detachments Using the Same Faction -
We realized very quickly the pitfall to tweaking on this one :)
Games Workshop heavily modified the Battle Brothers rulings to be "fluffier" from their point of view, making a broad swathe of Imperials (some of whom weren't Battle Brothers in 6th) all Brothers with each other. This combo'ed with the ability of BB to ride in each others' transports, creating a situation where any kind of Battle Brother - same faction or not - is in most respects just an extension of your main faction (ICs can join each other, treat each other as friendly, can share rides, etc.). Games Workshop simultaneously desires players to be able to add infinite Combined Arms Detachments with minimum requirements to their armies - a situation we've (as seen above) decided to limit for the sake of expectation-normalized, fair, and fun Organized Play (something GW HQ, again, is doing themselves).

Problem, though, is this creates an issue resulting from GW presuming every faction would be able to self-ally through CAD as needed. The restriction on Allied Detachments not being from the same Faction is itself ALSO fluffy - if you want more models from your main Faction, just take another CAD! Allies are by nature different, right?! Well, sure, but then Imperial BB mass and non-Imperial dearth creates trouble.

To remedy this in simplicity, we're removing the same-Faction restriction on Allies. This creates a more normalized environment from a fun/build perspective for non-Imperials without introducing the full on crazy represented by mass spam of Combined Arms Detachments, effectively leveling the playfield between all codices so that list builders both competitive and narrative can access 0-4 in their add slots, and 3-8 in their troops, instead of only Imperials from a true "same army" styled perspective.

Lords of War - 
Lords of War are a tricky one here. We were uncomfortable - as was most of the player base and prospective attendee base - with unrestricted Lords of War. Furthermore, we are not using Forgeworld [yet] in the GT and Invitational, so the list of available models was by necessity somewhat shortened (Escalation). It was further shortened and modified by instilling restrictions (i.e, the C'Tran, which is a serious problem in all games ... one of those ones where more average players are playing against average uses of it and thinking "no big deal," but where top tier players are making life more miserable than even the vaunted 2+ stars for their opponents).

Discretion became the better part of valor as a result for this year. Many Lords of War were not meaningfully nerfed by the D changes, and the prevailing popular opinion is still heavily against their inclusion in organized play.

1850 Points - 
This is a pretty well-established standard, casual players who don't feel like changing their army much for 7th / NOVA this year don't have to, and it fits well within our new 3-hour round time.

Detachments by Faction
The Rulebook is exceedingly clear about how Detachments are built. They clarify that older publications than the Rulebook that are supplemental codices should be considered part of their parent codex for FACTION purposes (so a Farsight Detachment is also a Tau Empire Detachment, and is not separate as indicated by the prior supplement's publication statements). They further state that Detachments are restricted to FACTION, not Codex, for construction. All supplement/codex-specific army construction rules, restrictions, guidelines, etc., must be followed still.

If you build a Detachment or army in general out of multiple detachments fielding the same core unit entry but under different core rules, you MUST MAKE DISTINCTIONS CRYSTAL CLEAR FOR YOUR OPPONENT ON THE TABLETOP. Fielding, for instance, a Tau Detachment that is both a Tau Empire and Farsight Enclaves detachment, with models selected within the CAD that abide by each codex's restrictions upon unit selection and equipment, the distinct models must be noted and painted to match on the army list.

This seems a little wonky at first, but is actually no different than was the case just a month ago, with players able to ally the two together. The only difference is there are fewer FOC slots to work with. A need for clarity, and for following inclusion rules for any given units or equipment, is exactly the same as it was before.

Conjured Models as Not Part of a Detachment
The Rulebook makes it clear that nay units SELECTED for your army within the Battle Forged Rules must fall within a detachment. You may only select models not within a detachment if you are using Unbound.

Conjured models are not selected for your army, however, and thus are not included as part of a detachment. It is important for army construction purposes to know, therefore, that summoned Daemons will follow a few rules clarifications:

 - Since they are not part of a detachment, and are simply units under your control, summoned Troops do not gain "Objective Secured"
 - Since they are not part of a detachment, and are therefore not part of the army selection process, they do not benefit from warlord traits / etc. that apply to your "army" or rules that apply to a given "detachment."
 - Please note carefully that the Allies Matrix has *nothing* to do with detachment, codex, or unit. It explicitly refers to how to treat models from different factions. Thus, even though Daemons summoned by, say, an Eldar player are not part of a Chaos Daemons detachment, they are still models from the Chaos Daemons faction, and thus treat Eldar models in their army as "Come the Apocalypse" allies.

Any final feedback welcome here or at mvbrandt@gmail

Again, we'll be finalizing and taking final gut checks on these, but these should be considered the unofficial rulings for army construction. What did we miss, so we can polish it into the formal?

Next posts -

Frontline Gaming Mats for Presale to Pickup at NOVA - Save 17% off ordering them direct, and pick them up in person from their creators at NOVA!

Mission Catalog Revisions and Finalized FAQ by July 1


  1. "Finally, we are not restricting or modifying the Allied Detachment rules in any respect, which means you can neither select an Allied Detachment from the same faction as your Primary Detachment, nor "

    seems to contradict

    "To remedy this in simplicity, we're removing the same-Faction restriction on Allies. This creates a more normalized environment from a fun/build perspective for non-Imperials without introducing the full on crazy represented by mass spam of Combined Arms Detachments, "

  2. So do formations count as "primary" detachments or are they still in that limbo like knights or inquisition? Could I have a CAD from the Scion codex and then take a Scion formation? Or maybe have a Scion formation with an ally detachment?

    1. You could have a Scion formation with an ally detachment; the only thing prohibited from being your Primary Detachment AFAIK is an Allied Detachment, which explicitly is not permitted to be Primary.

  3. So, can Space Marine chapters ally with themselves? E.g. a Smurf CAD AND a Smurf allied detachment?

  4. If conjured demons are not part of your army, what army are they? Does this mean I can essential get more grimores/portalglyphs?

  5. While I agree with the whole faction/detachment chosing unit thing, I guess I just want to clarify. At least for tau I see no point, sure I can pick from both, but I cannot benefit from both. If it is a farsight detachment, the faq says the farsight rules apply to a farsight detachment, and they prohibit using Empire detachment rules. So I could pick a commander from Empire, but farsight detachment rules specifically state he cannot use Empire relics if he is in the detachment, regardless of if he is from farsight or not.
    The faction ruling for them do ensure that markerlights and such work cross suppliment now. Which is a nice clarification.

  6. I don't have the relevant language in front of me, so I will ask. Do spawned Termagaunts fall under the conjured rules, or are they part of the same detachment as the spawning Tervigon?

    1. That rule only applies to conjured units.

    2. Why would summoned daemons not count yet spawned termagaunt do? That doesn't make any sense.

      What about summoned daemons from a portylglyph?

  7. I really don't see why lords of war should, or should not be allowed based upon whether or not the Ork Codex has one. That's just letting GW have it's way -- they are writing rules specifically to push models, and there's no reason to go along with it.

    Same as I don't see any reason to allow Knight Titans ... I'm not really swayed by them being a codex, and that somehow matters.

    1. It's a feasibility argument. I don't think there's a broad advocacy that Superheavies, for instance, are a problem. There IS a broad and (IMO) accurate advocacy that there are numerous individual Superheavies or Gargantuans that are MAJOR problems (i.e., the C'Tran).

      Selectively targeting certain items within a subset of units and creating complex ban and allow lists is something you want to do as little as possible (i.e., fortifications), so rather than selectively say "XYZ units from Escalation are OK and ABC aren't" ... we just said basically no Escalation.

      The Knights are not really problematic within the framework of the game, in the same way that a Baneblade or similar isn't, but whereas the Baneblade comes from a unit selection spread that includes numerous problems, the Knights do not.

      We see Lords of War and Knights as Apples and Oranges.

      With regard to the Ork Codex issue, we are unlikely to change our position based upon that, just sharing that we're not going to be head in the sand about the changing climes of the game either. I foresee even these org structure rulings changing over the next year, and the next post should clarify that - these are early 7th rules, not "forever rules." They reflect a manner for organizers to address the game as it stands today, primarily out-dated form a codex:edition perspective, and not necessarily fully ready for the full monty of the edition; that may not still be the case a year from now (or we may be looking at yet another new edition, at which point I think a riot would be in order).

    2. When is the game NOT outdated from codex perspective, when are we in the "full swing" of an edition?

      6th edition didn't even quite make it 2 years! More like 18 months, if you ask me, as everything was completely different come the "December to remember"

  8. I boo this Lords of War decision. They are largely no more broken than 900 points in other slots.

    1. And I accept your boo with great regret that GW left us with no clear way to effectively satisfy every single possible attendee. We'll continue to do our best, however!

    2. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going and I'm still going to have a good time.

  9. Any clue what your rulings on fortifications will be Mike?