Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yes, it Hurts (so bad it gets deleted).

As requested, special attention must be paid to terrain.
First, time for a tune, cause it’s how I feel after writing all of this. So click play, and enjoy. Or don’t. Whatever.
Second, a bit of amusement:
Nothing I’ve seen in any of your NOVA reports looks like more than 25% terrain with a mix of types including BLoS pieces, just like the rulebook recommends. Every table looked balanced to me and fun to play on.
Looking back, just about every report that shows your deployment shows 3 units of long fangs deployed right next to each other. This means if one unit can’t see what they want to shoot, none of them could. Is it the BLoS terrain’s fault that it’s blocking LoS, or the guy who deployed all his missile launchers in one place? That indeed seems to me like a playstyle issue and not a terrain issue.
Didn’t something like 93% of those surveyed respond favorably to the terrain?
Mike said:
Hyvmynd, that is accurate. 93% of respondents would like to play with the same amount of LOS blocking terrain again. This doesn’t INVALIDATE the 7%, but it tempers our analysis.
Aside from the fact you are wrong about what it looks like, which I will gladly explain in picture format so you can ‘understand’: You don’t see terrain like that in local stores, at GW stores, at most GT’s, or in most games.
Barring the playstyle issue, which it isn’t–it’s a terrain issue. Your understanding of good terrain placement is poor, at best. Which is understandable, most people think slapping terrain down is just fine.
Wow, 93%! Statistics are awesome. You can finesse them any way you want. How many people actually responded? Oh, was it 93% of 300, or 93% of 100? Ah, the latter? Then probably those who had a favorable view of your event, actually responded. You know that’s how surveys work, right? It’s very difficult to get negative feedback, because the very first feedback someone gives you is…that’s right, they don’t respond. Like I didn’t. What was the question? Was it a simple one? Did you like the terrain? Hey, I liked the terrain plenty. I thought there was too much of it and it was placed wrong, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the campaign terrain. Which is what that terrain is. Or was it, did you like the terrain in comparison to last year? Or was there a meaningful breakdown of questions? I don’t know the answers to any of these, but thinking your terrain was awesome because 93% of respondents played on good boards and 7% of respondents played on the shitty ones, isn’t actually worth a hill of beans. If everyone but me responded, then you have my apologies. I sincerely doubt they did, but hey I’m often wrong.
Time to add another comment, and see how factual it is, frankly I think it’s also not worth a hill of beans, but we’ll let the pictures do the talking:
Mike said:
Every board had 3 LOS blockers – 1 large one in center, 2 md-large ones in opposing corners. Then there were 2 large ruins/area pieces in the other 2 corners, that only partially blocked LOS as a general rule. Then there were 2 large ish area pieces in the middle along the long edges.
Let’s review those boards, shall we?
Note I did this quickly, but if you want more CONSTRUCTIVE and ACCURATE feedback, you let me know I’ll do the other half dozen.
What you THINK is very often NOT what actually happens.
So let’s take a look:

Hmmm, lots of space between terrain pieces. Sadly, with only one LOS blocking piece of terrain I can hide ONE razorback behind it. The rest of my army just has to take it on the chin. This is improperly deployed terrain. Don’t think so? Well, let’s see.

Hmmm. So, again, it’s a shooting field. I thought we weren’t going for shooty open fields here? Note the red arrows indicates places where either a Rhino won’t fit, or you can’t drive 2 abreast. In this case, even 2 speeders won’t fit in the gap on the right, and in the middle, not even a Rhino can pass.

What…the…? All of the terrain is in this 4 foot by 4 foot box. There’s a huge gap on the left side (the right too, but it’s out of the picture, so it’s a DAMN LIE). Again, lots of places vehicles cannot pass. Note the completely unplayable ‘house’ without a roof, and no LOS out of it’s lower floors. Sure I guess I could stick my Fangs up there so they can be boltered to death on turn 1, but I try to be a ‘great’ player and not merely a mediocre one.
Note that due to my range and how he deployed his Long Fangs, even if he krak missiled me out in the open, because the only place HE could deploy his fangs would be more than 2″ inside terrain, I’d get cover saves standing in front of him, mooning his troops. Because the big ass terrain piece is area terrain, and not just a hill. Btw, this was the game where less than 15 Marines survived on every match, my vehicles had constant cover but I still lost every last one of them. He also had cover, but I only managed to kill that one on top of the hill (and I fired meltas/missiles from everywhere) early. I killed another on turn 4. Not because of the shoddy terrain placement, but I couldn’t stop a Rhino with 4 meltas and 9 missiles. Hey, I suck, what can I say. =P Spearhead, absolutely horrible on terrain setup this way.

Hey my Fangs can actually see things (blue lines).
The yellow areas are unplayable to infantry. No, I’m not going to imagine my Fangs on top of the tower and then draw imaginary LOS to his carefully balanced tanks on top of the buildings across the way. This is not a very good shooting board as very little LOS is blocked, but what is blocked is completely blocked and you can’t go over it unless your army begins with an E. Yes, I know what the rules say, but I have zero interest in breaking my models or using hordes of dice to ‘represent’ where I say my shit is. Playable terrain please, not unplayable. So Kudos on using Warhammer Fantasy terrain. Again, mentioned last year, and used again this year. Do you hear me? STOP USING FANTASY TERRAIN, IT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR 40K. Note the ‘buildings’ are so far forward, I can either deploy my Fangs in the open, or I can deploy them in the middle. See hive, I can’t alter my ‘playstyle’ and ‘cheat’ by ‘deploying’ inside buildings (not allowed) or my favorite cheat, ‘outside of my deployment zone’. This is more bad terrain placement. Note that barring game 1 of friday/saturday/sunday, I had a judge verify the terrain was ok in every game I played. Why the hell is it placed so freaking randomly then? No?

So, I can’t deploy in the building on the right, because it’s not (A) a building, and (B) it’s not IN my deployment zone! So it’s the trees, or the hill on the left. Thankfully, my opponent decided to hide in the building on the far right, which is handy as it completely blocks LOS.
He could have easily hid himself behind the piece of terrain in the middle. I could barely see Belial standing 2 inches away from that building due to the middle piece. Note the terrain pieces in the middle are set too far forward, especially the one on my side. Why is the hill on the left so far from center? Again, a judge setup the terrain. This clusterf— of terrain being on top of each other is an assault armies favorite thing to see. You can literally bunny hop from terrain piece to terrain piece. Except the first couple of boards, where you can’t.
Here are the rest. No lines drawn, I’ll just comment on them:

Spearhead, again. With terrain not setup in any way that makes sense. The terrain piece in the upper left isn’t on an objective. The piece in the lower right is barely on it, on it’s left side. The piece in the bottom left is not centered on it. The piece in the upper right is. That big ass hill? Yeah, that’s two hills, and it’s too big. Look at how many vehicles I have hiding behind it. Dude, it’s my whole army. Ok 7 Razorbacks, all but one of which is getting 3+ cover. That’s NOT normal.

Hey my game against Blackmoor. How can I shoot those guys in the back left? How about the guys hiding behind Draigo? Yes, Draigo kills TWC, in case you were wondering. How can I shoot any of them? This is, again, Spearhead deployment. If it was a normal setup, where do I setup? On the left? So I can’t SEE anything? I can’t deploy on the hill on the right because it’s not IN my deployment zone. I can barely fit some guys in the little emplacement in the middle of the board. Again, the terrain is just setup so incredibly poorly. Note how the 3 hills make a line. If only mother nature could be so kind. Note I can’t see ANYTHING behind those hills. From anywhere in my deployment zone, in the upper right quarter I would have to get ass raped by Paladins to get shots, and in the bottom left there’s a narrow field of fire. Which I can’t setup in, because it’s SPEARHEAD.

Instead of offsetting the hills, they are in a straight line. Note how I have terrain that clogs my deployment zone (center, bottom) but my opponent has clear paths out and around. The center hill wasn’t g-d awful this time, as the yellow hills on my side of the board were tall enough I could get some shots off (but not past the other hills in upper left, which is fine).

This is the game of two games. I split my force, he split his, and I crushed his center while he fucked up my left and my fangs (bottom left corner, hiding from Venoms, in, you guessed it, spearhead) until I broke that part of his army too.
Note the huge ass terrain pieces. I have literally no place i can drive Rhinos 2 abreast. Except on the far left, because there is no terrain on the board edge (and there should be some on the sides). Do I need to go over how the terrain pieces, despite some uniformity, aren’t placed correctly? Look at the objectives. Look at how the terrain is one movement phase from the next. This isn’t a good thing to be able to hide behind a hill and then assault into the next terrain piece. That’s some 4th edition crap right there.

Hmmm. I see 3 LOS blocking pieces of terrain, and despite a judge ‘fixing’ the terrain, they aren’t placed properly. Note how far apart they are. So where did the Tyranid player aim? The center of my line, the only piece of terrain he could ‘cross the gap’ into in a single movement phase. Where could his MC’s even GET cover? Only behind the hill. This is a board improperly setup. Do I want assault (or skimmer) armies to be able to leap across terrain to the other side while completely hiding? No thanks. That big ass hill is a DE players dream (as you can see on the previous board, he hid everything with ease). This guy was almost able to completely hide Tervigons from me. Thankfully they were a little taller than the huge piece in the middle, but if that parapet had extended all the way across, trust me, I would have been unable to shoot him. And hey, I split my long fangs. Hurr, I’m bad, oh…is that a Mawloc? =|

Er, that’s 4 pieces of LOS blocking terrain. Sorry, one window for 1 tactical marine to stick his missile launcher out of is not worth a hill of beans. The hill on my right is OUTSIDE of my deployment zone. So I can deploy, again, where? Right, my TACTICS are being decided by BAD TERRAIN. Sorry, should I deploy in the building with 2 windows I can see out of with 1 guy? Clever. Note my TWC are deployed far forward, because by now I’ve figured out if I go first, I can run them to the other side of the hill and play hide-n-seek.
These boards look nice, but were not fun to play on. It has nothing to do with playing a shooting army, or a belief that assault is an effective method of destruction (it isn’t, compared to shooting, anyway). Terrain laid out wrong, on every single board. Forced to deploy foot elements in the same spot on every board, because half the LOS blocking terrain was unplayable (is there a roof on that building? No? oh, well, let me deploy infantry BEHIND my Razorbacks because that’s smart) and the other half you were either denied shots, or they had 3+ cover saves every day of the week.

3 Responses to “Special Attention: Terrain”

  1. Sorry, still don’t see a problem.
    Does the rulebook say somewhere that there should be clear driving paths for vehicles so they don’t have to roll dangerous terrain? I thought that’s why skimmers are good as long as they don’t end up in terrain, and why you have the option to buy dozer blades, siege shields, reinforced rams, etc.
    Only the 3rd picture looks like an issue with terrain placement. To me, that table looks like 1-2 previous players moved some terrain over so they could fit their display boards somewhere. I remember reading that space for display boards was an issue on Jawaball’s blog and others.
    Only the final picture has potentially more than 3 BLoS pieces depending on how you played them. Still, units don’t block LoS for other models in their own unit, so you could put one long fang in the window and line up the other 5 behind him for clear shots through one window.
    Nothing forces you to deploy long fangs in cover when you have 10 razorbacks. You can use your /\ formation to create a firing window for the missiles, still move the razorbacks <6" each turn to shift the window and create a new firing lane.
    Different spacing between terrain pieces isn't bad, it gives value to actually winning the initial roll and choosing a DZ that has some benefit to your army and build. If everything was static and perfectly symmetrical, winning the roll would only be valuable for alpha strike abilities.
    What's wrong with BLoS on a tervigon? The book doesn't say BLoS terrain should apply to infantry only, not MC's and vehicles. It just sounds like personal preferences that some units should be blocked and not others. God forbid you actually have to move one of your 3 long fang units and give up a round of firing for better shots next turn.
    Like I said, it all still looks like great terrain and placement to me and I'd be fine playing on it. It's some of the most true-to-book terrain I've seen from a large tournament and MVB should be praised for it IMO. Just like 93% of his responders said. 93% of 100 or 200 doesn't matter. Constructive criticism helps improve events and people shouldn't be afraid to offer it with the intent of improving a future event. If only 100 out of 200 responded with the other half afraid to because of negativity, the silent ones aren't helping improve next year at all. As it stands now, you are still a vocal minority Stelek.
    My opinions are just as subjective as yours, but nothing I've seen here has come close to looking like "bad tournament terrain".
  2. You’re an idiot.
  3. Ahh, now that’s what I was waiting for. I’m surprised you gave my comments so much time and attention before you came out with the insults. I take it as a compliment that that’s the best reply I get.


  1. What a baby. All the garbage I've read from this warham over the past few weeks on other peoples' blogs show how utterly out of touch this dude is.

  2. What a terrible analysis of terrain, he showed the first picture and made 1 comment and he was already incorrect. There are definitely 2 BLoS pieces. Then he complains about the impassable fantasy buildings....
    Terrain is something you should gear to adapt to, sorry you got tangled up in this immature whining.

  3. Yeah, Stelek is very... critical. If he says something, he will fight it to the very end, no matter how wrong he is.
    Oh, and he is never wrong and he never plays poorly.

    I mean, he makes some good points, and then he rages like this. His blog is one of the only tactics/rage-comedy blog I know of!

  4. I would just ignore Stelek, he is a cray baby and an attention hog. His analysis is inaccurate and he is whining due to his lack of understanding of basic tactics.

    Personally I love it when people put all their long fangs together. Its easier for my wyches to multi assault them :-)

  5. Yeah.

    I HATE drama. I came to 40k as a hobby to escape reality a bit and enjoy myself.

    This isn't an "I'm right, you're wrong" post. MVB is a one-of-a-kind TO and champion of the 40k hobby. He developed a GT concept and executed it, turning it from a pipe dream into a 200+ player event in 28 months.

    Our guys are also top-notch TO's and our GT brought in 88 (which is still impressive in my book) last year which was what, it's 5th year running?

    It kills me to see MVB put in so much time, effort, and money making this year's event twice as successful as last, just to have the loudest mouth in the blogosphere tell him he did a bad job when the overwhelming majority of attendees responded positively on their surveys.

    I feel my counter to Steleks assertion was valid. Here, you can read it and decide for yourself without the threat of restricted speech.

  6. 1) Stelek is a dishonest person.

    2) He is not a great player.

    3) He got his ass kicked at NOVA and he is trying to make more excuses.

    I will give him this - 93% on the survey does sound bogus to me.


  7. Wow... that's not necessary at all.

    I agree... I go there and read most of his articles, but sometimes I think he himself wrote the rules and has all of the answers.

    Sad really. So much potential.

    I'll add my 2c to the 'survey' debate. I think surveys tend to worth less than the paper they're written on. I'm not saying Mike's was, but a survey has to be extremely well written to be worth anything at all. Just look at debates regarding the worth of individual surveys/questionnaires in medicine.

  8. 147 of 204 40k GT players (after Irene drops, etc.) have responded.

    When asked this question:

    Would you look forward to playing with the same significant amount of LOS blocking terrain again?

    137 said "Yes" 8 said "No" and 2 did not respond to that particular question.

    Also known as 93.2% out of 72% 40k GT attendees.

    Also, for understanding why 72% response out of 204 surveyed (We're not counting non-40kGT respondents, which we also have a lot of), see:

    Fairly high in terms of response % and statistical confidence.

    Steve/BBF - I don't appreciate anyone accusing me of being a liar by claiming what I type is bogus ... much less appreciated from a fellow TO, who should inherently better understand how important honest and transparency are in plying your craft.

  9. I said it sounds bogus (a bit hard to believe) because I have heard several people who attended complain about the terrain... it does not match your results. I would love to see more terrain like you had personally... so often the tables at large events are shooting galleries so don't think that I don't appreciate what you did.


  10. People complain about terrain at every single tournament. You will always be able to find someone who didn't agree fundamentally with the size, placement, or how it affected their army.

    I didn't play at NOVA 2010, but I thought it was too sparse from the pics. DaBoyz GT features some of the most beautiful terrain in the country, yet we still had some complaints about too little or too much.

    I even wrote an article on terrain (page tab on the right) because of my frustration with "shooting galleries" at tournaments as they misrepresent (in my opinion) the spirit of 5th ed terrain.

    The difference is I based my criticisms on the book recommendations on terrain. Stelek's gripes are mostly about his long fangs not being able to shoot or his vehicles not being able to move without making rolls.

    The other issue at hand is that hobbyists with prolific blogs are a minority. Of the 204 open players, maybe 20-30 have blogs? IDK who BBF heard complaining about terrain besides Stelek, but here are some quotes from blogs I read:

    Roland @ 3++ : "Terrain - I just want to double tap Gramps here. All the tables had beautiful and plentiful terrain. Initially after NOVA some of the terrain on some of my tables left me miffed because it LoS blocked me out the ying yang. In hindsight though, even with the terrain what killed me in those games was horrible dice rolls coupled with some tactical errors on my end, not the terrain."

    Gramps @ 3++: "A common complaint that I heard was that the terrain was too close to the center of the table and often blocked too much line of sight. Having the quarter terrain pieces centered in the quarter would have been preferable. That being said, the quality of the terrain was good and it was consistent throughout. "

    Hulksmash: "Terrain: Excellent. If you haven't seen the photos they are all over the place right now. Mike and his crew slammed out a truly epic amount of good terrain designed for 5th edition. Large LoS blocking terrain and cover abounded. I feel like this is environment that some less seen lists can compete as it's not all planet bowling ball. Truly a great job done here by the Nova Staff."

    Dashofpepper said nothing about terrain (good or bad) in his review.

    Jawaballs wrote two VERY long reviews neither of which mentioned terrain, good or bad. He did say this: "Most of the blog posts I have read focus on the negative, making it sound like that is all that happened. Well, while I heard about it, I did not see any of it. The negative comments that make up the majority of some of the articles I have read account for a fraction of what was going on at The Nova. My overall experience was good. Good people, good fun."

    Dan O. from 10 in template had nothing good or bad to say about the terrain.

    Sandwyrm from the back 40k: "The LOS issues can be adapted to and planned for. So that's a one-time shock thing. The terrain spacing issues that tripped me up were, aside from a couple of bad tables that I didn't play on, due to player movement of terrain and a bad judge call. Those were apologized for and John made sure to discuss it with the other judges before the second day's games began. It wasn't nearly as much of an issue my 2nd day."

    That's all I could dig up in 20 minutes, but it's either positive, non-existant, or concession that play styles were at fault, not terrain.

    That was the whole point of me actually taking time to debate with Stelek before he deleted my comments. I don't think any of his gripes were valid about terrain. They were all subjective statements made by someone who wasn't accustomed to using true BLoS terrain and couldn't adapt.

  11. I agree his gripes were BS... he is trying to compensate for losing. I know quite a few people who went this year... most liked the terrain but enough to say 90 percent. Like I said I like the terrain for this year from what I saw.

  12. What surprises me is that Stelek has any credibility left with the Warhammer community.

    While I'd like to say that people shouldn't give a fuck what he thinks, I have to thank you for speaking out against his bullshit.

  13. I know that on B&C he slagged now on a daily basis whereas before posters were told such comments were off limits. His credibility has taken a huge nose dive it seems .

  14. Take the name out of the equation and consider this:

    1. A prolific blogger, unemployed for over a year, can't afford to travel to a big tournament but accepts enough donations from followers to make the trip.

    2. He performs above average, but not as well as he hypes himself to be.

    3. He then call his own list sub-optimal and unbalanced.

    4. He blames his losses on cheaters, dice rolls, terrain, and his own list.

    5. He criticizes every single list he played against, even the ones that beat him.

    6. Despite his 3 losses, he never admits to being out-played or praised those that beat him. Just more accusations of cheating, slow play, and bad dice rolls.

    Give that blogger any name you want and he will lose credibility.

  15. W00t I got a shout out :) I feel loved

    I still stand by my evaluation that hyv3mynd quoted. I talked to Mike about it today too and my overall opinion remains unchanged. What he had was good as it forces people to adapt their tactics and playstyle. Forcing people to overcome an unforeseen obstacle in my mind is where you can differentiate the "great" from the "above average" or merely "good". The terrain didn't bone people (outside of the few admitted mistakes of bumped or adjusted terrain); people's ability to adapt and overcome did.

  16. Did the players know ahead of time that the terrain would be like it was? I am guessing no, so perhaps that could be communicated ahead of time so the players could plan for it?

    That said, is terrain not something that should be planned for when you are designing your army list? If there is the possibility you are going to face tables that deny chunks of LOS-blocking terrain, shouldn't a good player design a list in such a way that terrain doesn't hamstring the army?

  17. The point I was making in defense of the terrain is that it represents what the main rulebook calls for. Multiple terrain types. Some that provide cover, some that block line of sight. Why would that hamstring an army if the rulebook suggests that mix?

    As far as knowing ahead, MVB made several terrain based posts on his blog open to the public. The information was there but it was up to the players to actually do the research.

    Here's some:

    This one is key:

    It was posted 3 months in advance of NOVA 2011 and described in detail the placement and expectations. Pair that with the photos of MVB's team building the hills and I don't know how anyone could be caught off guard (unless they just didn't do the research).

  18. Thanks for the links hyv3mynd. After reading them and seeing Stelek's comment: "If I had known you were going to make every piece of terrain LOS blocking on such a massive scale, I would have played my Blood Angels. Seriously, the impact of those massive walls is so big an army I’d normally not play (because it can’t usually hide from 75% of the board), I would have because it can." I can only assume he wasn't prepared for this tournament and his losses can't be blamed on just being outlucked and cheated.

  19. Stelek is such a sore loser, he lost not because of the terrain, he lost because he screws himself due to poor generalship.To be honest, among all the tournaments that you have in the US, this is the only tourney that has the sufficient number of terrain, so kudos to MVB for those wonderful terrain pieces and a job well done for the NOVA (I live in the Philippines so I just based my opinion over the blogs and forums I read).

    That is the reason why here on our country, a pure shooty or alpha strike army doesn't work, heck we even have terrain that can give cover to a warhound titan, making sure that each table has 25% terrain- mixed with BLoS and regular ones. Terrain balances everything, even my tyranids can beat the crap out of razor spam wolves or DE venom spam.

    If I'll be able to get a visa, I would love to play with those terrain and play in NOVA next year.

  20. I'd love to play with this amount and type of terrain, would give my Tyranids a chance against most lists. Great job done my MVB! I agree completely with hyv3mynds analysis of the terrain.
    As for Stelek, I followed his blog in spite of the vitriol, until he started to write about Fantasy and I realized that he didn't know what he was talking about, but when called on it he wouldn't admit it. I realized that a lot of his 40K knowledge too, is just hot air.
    But hey, less hate and more love.