Friday, September 23, 2011

Inbox: Ardboyz Results

From Evan:

"I've been following your blog for a bit and I wanted to get your thoughts on the results for the 'Ard boyz semi-finals. From whats been reports, roughly 60% of stores or so, Grey knights have 25 armies that place in the top 3 with guard getting 13 and space wolves getting 9. From most of the talk its seems Grey knights are winning either through the strong lists or that the codex is still new enough that not enough players haven developed effective counters to them. unless I'm mistaken one of your own local stores had a semi final location and I wanted to get your opinion on the following:

What do you think about the Grey Knights dominating the field?

Do you think the power has shifted to Grey knights from space wolves and guard?

How did your local tourney turn out, if you were there? I've heard you have a few solid players with Grey knights so I assume they made a showing at the top 3.

Based off what happened at the semi's, would you say it was skilled/cunning players or those with the most powerful armies that got to the top, as I can guess from your battle reports there are some very strong armies in your area ( Nasty Drop dread BA, Lash+oblit Chaos, Mech Guard). I know you have several big names in the area with 2 ETC members, maybe you could give a rundown of what kind of players won your locations placing, such as what kind of skill level they are, were they playing broken lists, did they get lucky dice/match up, what their semi finals mass/major/minor records were etc.

P.S. I know you're busy prepping for a GT, so if you wanted to make a blog update based on this subject that might make decent filler content.

Thanks, Look forward to hearing your thoughts"

Here's my thoughts.

I didn't qualify at the prelims this year (I did last year with Nids).  We have 3 local stores that hosted the prelims and I know the most competitive players spread out so they didn't have to all compete for qualifying spots.  The store I played at for the prelims had 12 players; 2 BA, 2 CSM, 2 SW, 1 DE, 1 Nids.  That's all I can remember, maybe there was an IG or two, definitely no GK.  Top 3 from out location were DE, BA, and CSM.  The second location's top 3 were: Orks (Shaun from ETC), GK (Jay from ETC), and SW.  I think their field was 16 players.

I was working the day of the semi's, but I made it to the shop to watch the final round.  26 players showed up and I saw 1 GK (Jay), 1 Ork (Shaun), 2 Nids, a couple SW, several IG, a couple BA, 1 Daemon player, one BT, and a couple SM.  The top 3 for the semi's were SW, IG, and Orks (Shaun).  Jay's GK were on the top table for the final round against a long fang/gh list with a couple lone wolves.  The SW player blocked almost every psychic power Jay attempted, and his lone wolves scored multiple KP's each.  At one point, I saw two lone wolves annihilate two full strike squads, making all their invulns.  The next turn, the lone wolves made a ridiculous amount of armor saves and the player rolled six 6's at one point for FnP.

It's hard to say how things went across the country.  My general feeling is that all things being equal (skill, dice, terrain), more players representing an army will mean more chances to see them in the top 3.  Relating to your question about GK dominating the field, it's my belief that it's a numbers thing.  New codex, new mechanics, new models, lots of interest.  It's generally the same with each new codex, but more so with marine books.

I don't think power has shifted at all, just player representation.  GK are a balanced book despite what people say.  Generally speaking, the guys that take interest in a new army and play with it regularly will learn it quickly.  The guys playing against them will generally take longer to learn how to combat the new units and mechanics.

Altogether, this creates an interesting effect on our gaming environment which is why I wrote THIS ARTICLE.  When a new codex is released, we see a swell in army representation followed by players learning the new army quickly and altering the tournament scene.  My first tournament in March 2010 featured 6 Nid players out of 32.  This swell will be followed by growing complaints about new units and mechanics.  Then people eventually figure out how to beat the new stuff, the gaming environment changes and adapts, and people stop complaining.

All of these variables will be different from city to city.  For instance, Nids were viewed as overpowered in my city for a good part of last year.  Granted, we have some of the best players in the country using them.  Things like hundreds of points worth of free units (4 tervigon lists), FnP anywhere you want it, portable cover/defensive grenades/dangerous terrain, and trygons and hive guard in general were viewed as "broken".  Nowadays, people laugh at you if you bring Nids to a tournament.  The codex is definitely not written on the same level as others, but I think the pattern remains the same, if not just on a different time line.

I remember a discussion about Wargamescon last year where they received 20+ requests alone for people to use "counts-as space wolves" armies.  We saw a similar swelling of IG armies and tournament sweeps last year.  BA and DE had smaller showings, but the pattern is still there.  
I'm willing to bet Necrons will be a big deal at the end of this year and into next.  Unlike others, I believe almost all the rumors floating around.  The rumors were nearly 100% accurate before BA, DE, and GK releases so I have no reason to doubt them now.  They will change the gaming environment just like the previous codexes did.  Entropic strike in particular has the potential to take a lot of steam out of the mech trend.  Scarabs (rumored to be beast swarms) with a 24" threat range and 3+ cover (stealth) will nearly be able to auto-kill any vehicle that isn't fast moving.  Take an environment full of loyalist mech players, introduce a xeno codex that melts tanks with little effort, and you'll have forums and blogs flooded with complaints before 2012 arrives.

My advice is this:

Don't get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of new armies and the perceptions of a vocal minority.  Learn the new armies when they come out by playing with them or against them as often as possible.  Don't expect a list built before GK (or necrons or whatever) to be as effective after the tournament scene is flooded.  Be the first to adapt and you will be amongst the first to reap the rewards.

Hope all this helps!  Thanks for the email.


  1. GK are very strong. I rank them SW and IG as the top three. GK is a very unique codex. SW can kick them in the balls so can IG - it's not always a walk in the park.


  2. Excellent article hyv3mynd. You're getting my hopes up that I will see less mech next year. I just hope that the new Necrons will be able to put the hurt on DE Venomspam, so we see less of them too.