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Ethics in army lists and tactics 
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Noble
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:34 pm
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Time for a small amount of Devil's Advocate here.

Actually, the FAQ seems a little misleading/ambiguous regarding the BDE and KB/AP/etc...

It states that the model's special rules are never applied to the breath attack, but what about a "outside" source like the Cauldron or Banner of Murder? Those aren't the model's bonuses but a bonus conferred on the attacks the model makes.

*Yes, I know it's sophistry. However, the FAQ doesn't actually say anthing to cover this so what do we say as a general rule of thumb to such occurences? I know I've stopped making combos that bring that as a possible rule conflict during my games, but what about others who enjoy it for the competitive edge it gives among their like-minded peers?

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Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:18 pm
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Dragon Lord
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The CoB (or other sources) grant a Special Rule to the model.

Who has the Special Rule? it doesn't just hover in the air above them. The model receives the Special Rule for the duration of the blessing/as long as they hold the magic item.

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8th Edition army book W/D/L:
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Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:01 am
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Slave on the Altar

Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:48 am
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I'm not trying to start a rules dispute or anything. Even if we're playing it wrong I can settle it in the rules forum instead of hijacking.

What I was trying to say is there are ethics involved with being intolerant of player's understanding and interpretation of rules. There is a local game store that makes house rules and enforces them in all games - I find this to be an ethical gray zone, and much more aggravating than double Slann or other in game combinations.


Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:27 am
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Trainee Warrior

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:23 pm
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My personal, gut feeling on this, is a general 'It's in the book, you should be able to take it', not so much from a sense that people are entitled to take whatever models they want, (and really, i'm not going to have the heart to tell the person that his beautifully converted and painted dragon-lord is too much to have to face), it's more a feeling that once you start down that slope, it's very difficult to stop.

The goal post of what becomes 'overpowered' just moves.

I have run into occasions where I was heavily criticised just for wanting to play my daemon army, that I had had since Storm of Chaos, because 'Daemons are just overpowered'. Not the particular daemon list, or models, but the whole thing.

If anything, I would say that certain unit choices or tactics, does not an un-ethical list make. Dual Hydras does not make something unbalanced. A dragonlord does not make something unbalanced. Conga lines will raise my eyebrows, but are not, themselves, unbalanced. What does, is what surrounds them, and is largely to do with the idea of 'Balanced Army' vs 'Focused Army'. The philosophy of a balanced army, is to have some amount of game against everyone and everything the enemy can throw, to interract with your opponent, and for things to generally play a bit differently each time, which helps to create variety. The Focused Army's plan is to, more or less, have one game plan it uses no matter what, conceeding the fact there will be some things it truely can do nothing against, and is by and large a non-interactive force with the opponent; it seeks to do it's own thing, regardless of what the opponent does. It is that non-interractive component especially, that makes people feel 'bad' post game, much more likely to feel they stood no chance, and also is the reason why a lot of people favour it for tournament lists; it's predicatble, does what it does, and doesn't worry what the opponent has.

There are always going to be hard models, tactics, armies, and so forth. What they are will change as editions go by, metagame tactics evolve, and so forth; there will always be some things that are harsh. I prefer to think of it as a challenge to beat the things, rather than imediatly labeling it as broken, and the only way my opponent won.

That all said... bringing a special character, dual hydras, what have you on occasion, is fun and exciting. When Malekith is always present, no matter what, then it is less so. The first person to discover / use the conga-line, make it work, and such, it was probably rather fun, wacky, and exciting. The 10th time it turns up...not so much. Especially if that 10th time was in succession.


On a final note, (oh god, this really has become a bit of a rant...), I would say I view that sportsmanship is something completely seperate from army selection and use. You can be a nice guy, great person, and behave sportingly whilst still fielding one of the most tournament-biased armies out there; much as you can wield a balanced, 'underpowered' list and still be a complete twit. Just because someone has a strong list, doesn't make them a bad sportsman, nor should you seek to penalise them in said category for it.


Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:56 am
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Malekith's Personal Guard

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:50 pm
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I agree with that final note wholeheartedly.

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Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:16 pm
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Executioner
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I usually play dual Hydra and i agree that they are autoplay. The problem is that despite being overpowered, underpriced and autoplayed, they still struggle to face many armies: WoC, Dwarves, Lizardmen, HE.

I am really willing to remove the second Hydra but...is there any special/rare CC unit really worth it for a similar points cost? I've tried 2 CoC and 5 CoK...but they are just no match for Chaos Warriors with Halberds, Stegadons, Swordmasters, etc...>.<

So yes, dual Hydra is shameful, but how else do you plan to beat the other top tier armies?


Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:42 pm
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Executioner
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Well I'm actually contemplating on dual Hydras now in 8th, though I've yet to purchase my second one yet. More often than not, my lone Hydra won't make it to combat if it's a form of shooting army I'm up against. WMs just got so much more accurate and forests, our most common piece of terrain, doesn't block LoS anymore so magic missiles like FB and lore of metal will smoke our poor creature.

It does raise an eyebrow, might be a little overpowered still, especially against armies that struggle to kill one, and I certainly won't enjoy fighting one let alone two with my DE. But it really does lean towards the notion of need if you want at least one to survive shooting to get into combat.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:46 am
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Black Guard

Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:49 pm
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My group are fairly open regarding builds. Nothing wrong in trying out the nastiest combinations, but then most of us likes a challenge, so if a build has proven too much, it will soon be retired. We generally go for balanced list to enjoy all aspects of the game.

Proxying/unpainted minis are a part of the game and accepted, as long as people are working on it. We're relatively busy people, and playing is a social event and excuse to get together :)

Rules can be abused, but we have quite different views upon this - generally its allowed to slide, as the less abusive are more in it for the game itself - though calling a Stubborn dreadlord abusive is a long stretch in our book. After all its at least 250+ points - and we've never seen one survive a battle :D

Attitude can be a bit tough, we do have a 'whiner', which can get quite tiresome - especially since this is also our most dedicated powergamer. But we're friends and as such many things can be forgiven. Rules lawyering was all but forgotten untill 8th came out, but its more of problem of getting the 'right' interpretation, while people will obviously be a bit biased when a question pops up. It'll pass when we get more familiar with the rules :)

And then we re-wrote the most important rule to: "The winner buys the first round at the pub" ;)


Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:32 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Caemdare wrote:
If anything, I would say that certain unit choices or tactics, does not an un-ethical list make. Dual Hydras does not make something unbalanced. A dragonlord does not make something unbalanced. Conga lines will raise my eyebrows, but are not, themselves, unbalanced. What does, is what surrounds them, and is largely to do with the idea of 'Balanced Army' vs 'Focused Army'. The philosophy of a balanced army, is to have some amount of game against everyone and everything the enemy can throw, to interract with your opponent, and for things to generally play a bit differently each time, which helps to create variety. The Focused Army's plan is to, more or less, have one game plan it uses no matter what, conceeding the fact there will be some things it truely can do nothing against, and is by and large a non-interactive force with the opponent; it seeks to do it's own thing, regardless of what the opponent does. It is that non-interractive component especially, that makes people feel 'bad' post game, much more likely to feel they stood no chance, and also is the reason why a lot of people favour it for tournament lists; it's predicatble, does what it does, and doesn't worry what the opponent has.


I applaud and agree with your entire post, but wanted to highlight this section as being a particularly strong point that I haven't seen brought up yet.

I think the idea of balanced versus power is a good point in determining how a player feels. If your army is meant to show up, follow the same approach in each and every game, and remove enemy models from the table using the same tried-and-true method, then I agree that this creates a negative experience for your opponent. I'm not saying that your magic users should feel bad about casting magic every game, or that your hydra should feel bad about attacking in combat; certain models were built for certain roles.

However, when you can apply the same approach to each opponent, without having to adapt a bit, it can create a very sterile game that doesn't allow for the sense of excitement and strategy that we all enjoy in a well-fought, hard played game.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:47 pm
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Dragon Lord
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Quote:
However, when you can apply the same approach to each opponent, without having to adapt a bit,


Then it means it's time for your opponents to learn and adapt to keep improving their strategies, not for you to step down so you're bored with not being able to use your abilities to the full.

It's only fine when you're helping them out to learn how to improve.

_________________
7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:40 pm
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Black Guard

Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:49 pm
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No, playing the focused list, is a signal to yourself that you should be more willing to take chances and get out of your comfort zone. Learn using tactics and improvise and react to your opponent.

There really is nothing funny about beating your opponent, just because they had no tools to beat your own. A challenging game, where you're kept on your toes is on the other hand a blast.


Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:05 am
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Trainee Warrior

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:23 pm
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Dalamar wrote:
Then it means it's time for your opponents to learn and adapt to keep improving their strategies, not for you to step down so you're bored with not being able to use your abilities to the full.

It's only fine when you're helping them out to learn how to improve.


Pretty much exactly this. There will always be some tactics or strategies that are better than others, just as there are some that are just plain terrible. You won't get far with your General of the Empire, in full mundane equipment, solo-charging a block of chaos warriors, for instance. Or being surprised if he is summarily cut down.

(Of course, if it's all part of some large scheme of mastermind-level cunning, then fair enough, but to other mere mortals it's a flat out mistake).

There are a number of strategies a play-group generally has to work out amongst itselves how to deal with, and may be thought of as overpowered until that dawning happens. The single, large, slow moving infantry unit of pain the enemy is employing full of characters and much sharp cutlery, that is overpowered, until people realise that sometimes / often, you can just choose not to engage it and wipe out everything else. Or learn how to redirect the charge. Sometimes it's an evolution in your army creation; not always picking the full magic item allowance for your characters, for instance. Or the discovery that, in the role you want to use it, unit A works much better with 25 models than 20.

Added to this is a certain ammount of 'playgroup metagaming', of which I am going to use 40K analogy, (So bear with me if not too familiar with 40K). If the playgroup predominantly uses Marine, or Marine-Esque armies, (Those with a certain-or-better armoursave, hitting on 3's at range, tend towards small numbers of models on the table, etc etc), then the value of weapons, tactics, and army make-ups that are favorable vs Marine armies, and the lessening of value of weapons that are more useful vs non-marines. Therefore, a wily person may decide to turn up with a mass-infantry guard army, daring people to try to kill it with their more marine-focused weaponry.

(For a more fantasy based analogy, the more horde units your playgroup uses, the more valuble abilities that drop templates of one form or another become. Ditto spells which hit every model in a unit).

Adapting is fine, part of the game, and part I do rather enjoy, (Especially with coming up with un-orthadox solutions to in-game problems that makes the opponent grin and go 'Wow, never saw that coming! Nice!' ). I suppose where it strays into the area of overpowered and / or percieved unbeatability, is when no reasonable ammount of adaptability can beat a single list: either the sheer quantity of Thing X (Monsters, War Machines, Magic etc) overpowers the natural counters, (or in somecases makes them irrelevant), or the opponent destroys the counters early on, leaving his army free to rampage for the rest of the game. The magic-overload VC army of 1-dice invocation from 6th fits into the former, the latter might be quickly dispatching the enemy's two cannons so the Dragons, Hydras etc can run rampant.

Then again, you might suddenly stumble upon the perfect plan, and suddenly everyone notices that the big nasty is quite defeatable, and the overpowered dwindles back to the 'just another option'.

With regards to Dalamar's comment; I see where you are coming from, and it is correct, but is not quite the same as the point I was making concerning the focused list. A highly focused, non-interactive list, does not care at all what the opponent is doing, it just does it's thing and hopes that said thing is stronger than an opponent trying to stop them. It could be, in a lot of ways, summarised as a clockwork army. Best example I can think of, is a 6th edition all-khorne 'Hordes of Chaos' army, where everything was frenzied, so you litterally slapped the army down on the table and then... relinquished control pretty much over it. It did it's trick; if the trick was good enough, you won. If it wasn't, you lost. There was no room for 'well, i could try doing this...'. That isn't to say that the highly-focused armies require no skill. It can be very skill-intensive to pull off a number of the strategies, setting up co-ordinated charges and the like. It does not change the fact that you are essentially doing it while ignoring what the opponent is doing, with little room in your game-plan for a 'Plan B'.


Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:32 am
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Black Guard

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One of my personal pet peeves is when I'm playing a game, and a third person will come in and basically start helping my opponent. It's ok if it's the persons first game of warhammer or if you made some type of minor suggestion, but if the guy has been playing for a year, it tends to grate on my nerves, if you start moving his army for him and then proceeding to give him specific instructions during the shooting and magic phases. Thankfully, the gamers that I hang out with seem to be pretty reasonable, and after politely explaining my personal pet peeve to them, they started to stop doing this.


Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:29 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Caemdare, I think gunlines operate in a similar fashion to the clockwork model you described. I deploy my guns, I shoot them at things, I hope nothings get across the table. Point and click, since the army doesn't even require you to move a single model past Turn 1, simply roll dice and see whether the results they generate are enough to beat your opponent or not.

Now, I don't fault those players, and I think that players can choose to do what they like, but I think they also have to understand that opponents will be critical of that sort of tactical sterility.

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:38 pm
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Trainee Warrior

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Tethlis wrote:
Caemdare, I think gunlines operate in a similar fashion to the clockwork model you described. I deploy my guns, I shoot them at things, I hope nothings get across the table. Point and click, since the army doesn't even require you to move a single model past Turn 1, simply roll dice and see whether the results they generate are enough to beat your opponent or not.


Yup, I agree: a pure gunline list's sole purpose is to keep shooting at the enemy until there is nothing left, regardless of what is brought to the table opposite. An overload in the shooting phase to again make things very un-interactive, and usually make the opponent not able to do anything, because his army is already dead before it makes it into combat. Is also usually characterised by the fact if the plan fails, and they do make it into combat, your line of guns don't make the world's best bludgeons, so you crumble. I tend to keep it seperate from the 'hard shooting back by nasty combat units for if you get close' lists, as that does get to have a plan B; they can always stride across the table to beat you up if you don't want to obligingly head towards them. It could very easily transition to a 'normal' army, using the shooting to weaken specific enemy units that your infantry then grind into the ground in close combat. (And yes, I am kind of having the Dwarf playstyle in my head; I am just increasingly seeing more people see 2 warmachines in the table and scream 'gunline! cheap!' at dwarf players, and it's starting to irk me...).

But yes, the pure gunline is indeed one of those really focused, almost clockwork armies. I just chose the Khornate one because it's even MORE clockwork, in that often, past a certain point, you didn't even get to make the decisions anymore! :)


Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:59 pm
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