Thursday, June 19, 2014

GT-Level Organized Play Army Construction Guidelines for Early 7th Edition - Joint NOVA Open / Bay Area Open Format Announcement

The NOVA Open (NOVA) and the Bay Area Open (BAO) spent the past several weeks in close communication over the challenges and nuances of how to structure Organized Play army list constructionin the setting of a newly-released 7th Edition (7th) of Warhammer 40,000 (40K). This article was jointly written by Mike Brandt and Reece Robbins – heads of the NOVA and BAO respectively.
Please note - the following discussion and rulings apply to the GT/Invitational at the NOVA Open 2014, and not to the Narrative or Trios events.

The basis for our shared discussion and conclusions began with the understanding that Unbound/Battle Forged list construction per the 40K Rulebook (BRB) is designed in a fashion that works best when players are able to discuss rough guidelines for what type of game they’d like to play prior to list construction (i.e., limitless detachments, unbound, lords of war, Forge World, etc.). In an Organized Play environment, event administrators must determine this for all players prior to registration.

The NOVA and BAO Grand Tournament (GT) formats are widely copied or emulated across the local tournament (RTT) and GT scene in the United States and abroad. By working together toward similar army list construction rules, we are able to provide a wide array of players who enjoy Organized Play with the ability to invest in lists with confidence they can be used at more than one or two events.
Several issues comprised the focus of our discussion.

First Issue – Detachment Construction Using Multiple Codices

BAO and NOVA both concluded that per the Rules as Written (RAW), a Detachment in 7th (either Combined Arms Detachment (CAD) or Allied)is built from a Faction, not a Codex. This is a substantial change from long-standing 40K tradition (BRB 118).

A CAD is built of units that are the same Faction (BRB 122)

A Codex and a Codex Supplement are considered the same Faction (BRB 118)

Therefore, a CAD may be built using units from both a Codex and a Codex Supplement.
Logical? Yes. RAW? Yes. Convoluted and confusing? Yes. When you create a “Blended CAD” (BCAD)using units from a Codex and Supplements (sometimes multiple Supplements) it creates bizarre rules situations, difficult modeling clarity issues for opponents, and – quite simply – confusion. This can result in unpleasant games and unwittingly illegal lists at the Organized Play level.

Second Issue –Impact of Faction vs Codex Differentiation on Allied Detachments

An Allied Detachment must be comprised of units in the same Faction. This must be a different Faction than the Primary Detachment (BRB 122).

A Codex and its Supplement are considered the same faction (BRB 118).

Therefore, you cannot ally a parent Codex with its Supplement.

Third Issue – Single CAD Restrictions and Consequences

Many tournaments (including Games Workshop’s own Throne of Skulls) are restricting army construction to a maximum of one CAD. Given the rules clarified above,players would consequently be unable to self-ally.Important changes were made by Games Workshop to the way Battle Brothers (BB) function within the new edition, however. By restricting the number of different Factions that are BB with each other to more fluff-related guidelines and simultaneously making all Factions BB with themselves, they send a clear message that they intend for every Faction be able to access additional BB-level HQ/Elite/Fast/Heavy/Troop choices beyond just a single CAD. By restricting army construction to a single CAD, however, in conjunction with the non-same-Faction base rule within Allied Detachments, Organizers create a potential problem not intended by the designers, and substantially different from the same restriction in 6th Edition. This merits an additional rule tweak.

Fourth Issue – Unclear Factions

Some Codices do not clearly belong to a Faction.

·         Example: Codex: MilitarumTempestus and Codex: Legion of the Damned.  These are presented as Imperial Factions, but the BRB Faction Listing (BRB 118) does not include either of them.

We contacted the Games Workshop Headquarters Event Organizer for additional input on how the parent company was dealing with some of these contradictions, especially how to construct a Detachment (limited to a single Codex, or Blended via Supplement / Legion / Tempestus inclusion?). The very nice and helpful gentlemen told us he interpreted this as such: consider Supplements, MilitarumTempestus, and Legion of the Damned as their own distinct, independent Factions.

While this directly contradicts the BRB, it makes sense and it alleviates Detachment confusion.

NOVA and BAO/LVO choose to follow the same conclusion as the above Organizer (though we do not consider GW Organized Events binding precedent, it doesn’t hurt to understand their choices). Further, we decided to correct the unintended consequence of single CAD by allowing all Allied Detachments to be selected from the same Faction as the Primary Detachment.

This achieves the Games Workshop intent for all Factions to be able to access additional detachments with BB-level characteristics while simultaneously addressing the broadly polled concern of the player community (at least presently) with allowing more than a single CAD. We therefore come to a compromise that gives all factions the same options for a CAD and Ally while avoiding the confusion of blended detachments.

NOVA and BAO/LVO Formats – Joint Army Construction Guidelines and Individual Event Variances
  1. Armies will not exceed 1850 Points across all Detachments.
  2. Armies may be constructed from a maximum of 2 Detachments (as defined in the 40K BRB), no more than one of which may be a CAD.
  3. Allied Detachments may be selected from the same Faction as the Primary Detachment.
    1. Formations are permitted as one of the 2 detachments, but not Apocalypse or Fortification Formations.
  4. 4) Detachments may be produced from a maximum of one Codex / Codex Supplement.
    1. Example - You may not selectively include units within one CAD from both Codex: Tau and Codex Supplement: Farsight Enclaves, despite them being within the same Faction per the Detachment creation rules in the 40KBRB.
    2. Exception - Units available to various Factions by means other than the primary or supplemental Codex are permitted (e.g., Dataslate Characters, Forgeworld 40K approved units where allowed).
  5. 0-1 Fortification chosen from the following list. All of the rules may be found in the Stronghold Assault supplement. Please note - the following is just the shared list; additional Fortifications are allowed within the event-specific variances listed below.
    1. Aegis Defense Line
    2. Imperial Bastion
    3. Skyshield Landing Platform
    4. Firestorm Redoubt
    5. Vengeance Weapons Battery
  6. 6) Conjured Units are considered to be under your control, but not part of any Detachment. As a result, benefits from your Warlord such as Conqueror of Cities and benefits granted by being a part of a given detachment do not apply to Conjured Units. Furthermore, as a RAW clarification,Conjured Models interact with other models as per the Allies Matrix, regardless of the Faction that summoned them.

Event-Specific Variances:

While the overarching intent of our shared construction rules is uniformity and investment security for our attendees, each event will still retain the independent flexibility and flavor that is so appealing in an Independent Tournament environment. To that end, the following variances apply between NOVA and BAO/LVO formats:

 - Forgeworld 40K Approved units are allowed following faction guidelines
 - Failed 2+ saves, when re-rolled, may never succeed on better than a 4+
 - The following additional Fortifications are permitted:
 - Promethium Relay Pipes; Fortress of Redemption; Void Shield Generator
- Lords of War are permitted, but only from the following restricted list (will include link):
    1. All of the Baneblade chassis vehicles except for the Hellhammer (and Traitor's Bane variant) and Stormsword, which are not allowed for the BAO 2014.
    2. Crassus Armored Assault Transport
    3. Gorgon Heavy Transporter
    4. Minotaur Artillery Tank
    5. All Macharius chassis vehicles.
    6. All Malcador chassis vehicles except the Malcador Infernus which is not allowed for the BAO 2014
    7. Valdor Tank Hunter
    8. Marauder Bomber (may not take Hellstorm bombs)
    9. Maurader Destroyer
    10. Fellblade
    11. Cereberus Heavy Tank Destroyer
    12. Thunderhawk Transporter
    13. Greater Brass Scorpion of Khorne
    14. Obelisk
    15. Stompa
    16. Gargantuan Squiggoth
    17. Kustom Battle Fortress
    18. Kill Krusha Tank
    19. Kill Blasta
    20. Cobra
    21. Scorpion
    22. Lynx with Pulsar (but not with Sonic Lance)
    23. Tiger Shark (Escalation version)
    24. Orca Dropship
    25. Barbed Hierodule
  1.  - The following additional Fortifications are permitted:
  2.  - Promethium Relay Pipes; Fortress of Redemption; Void Shield Generator


  1.  - Lords of War are not permitted at this time


  1. So you could still run Tau Empire primary and take an allied detachment of Farsight Enclaves, correct?

    1. I think you can do this regardless without the changes as each supplement bar Iyanden specifically states they can ally with their parent codex; same as multiple chapters within the Space Marine codex.

      The effect is the same though with your ruling.

  2. In comparing this article to the BAO article (, it looks like y'all do differ on what is and is not the same Faction.
    However, this article says you have the same view. That should be corrected.

    1. We do have the same view; that's an old article, that he needs to update. Check FLG's most recent article post of today, it's an exact duplicate of this one.

    2. And knowing is half the battle!

  3. I daresay I am disappointed by the NOVA rulings. I was hoping to play 7th edition not 6th.

    1. How many games of 7th have you actually played if you think army construction is the defining aspect of 7th vs 6th?

    2. Roughly 16+. Using everything as written in the rulebook, from unbound, to LOW, to escalation, to fortifications. The more we tried to limit 7th edition the more we realized it was best balanced when everything was included. LOW give players a hard counter to the 2+ re-rollable invulns, Fortifications such as the void shield help protect armies from being blown off the table turn one quite as easily. Allowing multiple CAD still leaves you restricted by the points. 40k approved units grant armies answers to problem they do not normally have in their codex ex: sabre defense platforms for AM to handle massed flying MC's. Army building may not be the only defining aspect but it is a huge part of what makes 40k the game it is and is one of the most important factors to "Balance".

    3. We're all forming opinions at this point, and we're trying not to rule by the opinion of any one person.

      Otherwise you get into situations such as ..

      AM do not struggle vs. FMC (especially now)

      2+ Re-roll stars are generally on the way out due to scoring unit changes, MSU is on the way in, solving the problem regardless of army construction

      Lords of War are fine, except for things like the C'Tran

      The CAD/AD rules above limit you by the points pretty quickly also, unless spamming as many possible Heavy Supports as you could or something was your plan ... having 0-4 in every FA/Elite/HS and having 3-8 Troops, and 2-3 HQ, is a pretty open FOC ... what are you trying to build that you feel that limits you?

    4. I don't feel limited by the rules other than the limit on 40k approved FW. (which keeps me from bringing a Vulture with a punisher to deal with FMC). I usually play to a single CAD of AM with a Knight titan for support. It just disheartens me to see people leaping towards restricting the rules or banning units in order to "balance" the game to their own views of how 40k should be played. When everyone has access to the exact same rules and options I don't see how anything is broken. People have the same choices and options as everyone else. If person 1 decides to take option Y while person 2 takes option X it's their own decision and who am I to tell them not to pick a certain model. if X happens to be "overpowered" compared to Y but they both had the option to take X where is the issue? I would think it as a matter of skill or knowledge of the game at that point.

  4. Mike, is Nova locked into there final descission yet ? I would like there to be more consideration into allowing the restricted LoW and Fort options. Having tested a number of tghese options out i feel they add additional options to the game without breaking them. A closer meshing of the formats is also welcome imho.

  5. How does this ruling work if the "Supplement" in question refers back to the main codex for unit selection, such as with the Iyanden supplement. If you strictly follow your rule as written, when playing an Iyanden army, you wouldn't be able to field anything because the units are drawn from a different codex.

  6. So forgeworld 40k approved units such as the sicaran are allowed in the gt correct?

  7. Yea I'll be going to Feast of Blades this year, did Nova last 3 years with one year VIP and each year the same people had the same weak reasons why 40K Forge World shouldn't be allowed and it wasn't allowed, so this year I'll be going to play 40K the way it was meant to be played...

  8. How about army construction for the NOVA Trios and Narrative campaigns? I've scoured the website but all that I can find appears to be unchanged from 6e. We have less than a month to go at this point, and I'm still not sure what I will be allowed to use in my army...

  9. Agreed. C'mon the forgeworld stuff should be legal now. It's the whole point of factions! All that 40k approved stuff slides right into factions. Let's play 7e!

  10. I second Colin's comment. Any guidance for narrative builds?