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Tournament Army Composition 
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Warmaster of Slaanesh
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I have seen a lot of "this is RT/GT/Tournament Army" ... so, I figured that I would offer an overall view of Tournament Army Comp. First, however, I want to offer excerpts from some other excellent tournament players' views on the subject:

From Poxous of WPS/Direwolf Fame:
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Building an army around several units is always a better idea than around one. The trick in a GT is to be ready for everything and not ride in on a one trick pony.

Think on these terms:

What will I do vs all Knight armies?
Can I survive 10+ powerdice?
Can I survive 40+ shoots + war machines?
Steam Tank?
TKs magic?
Can I catch WEs?
4-5 chaos chariots?
Fear/Terror?
Spirit Hosts?
Fanatics?

If you're going for the total win then you have to address each issue in your army comp. Some times the most stupid looking units can do wonders.


And from Warlord Merkit:
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I will say that you should consider how to deal with the following types of armies.
1) Large terror causing flyer and/or foot (esp. drakes)
2) Heavy (10+ power dice) magic
3) Lots of cavalry
4) lots of shooting
5) the horde

You will not encounter all of these in your tournament games, but I think these are classes of armies that will be pretty popular.


Both Poxous and Merkit know that a Tournament army must:
1) Be able to deal with a wide variety of opponents - although you will not see every possible piece of nastiness in a 4-6 game tournament, you will almost certainly see one or two of them. If you are not prepared to meet them, do be prepared to take the loss.
2) Not be overly slanted to one aspect of the game - Especially in the US, tournaments tend to use a variety of scenarios. These scenarios are most often conceived with the intent of penalizing a certain phase of the game, normally magic or shooting. If you depend on these too much, it's very difficult to win that game.

I would also like to add a couple more points ... a Tournament army must:
3) Not be overly dependent on dice rolls - The longer a tournament goes, the more likely it is that you will suffer from the law of averages in your dice rolling. You will have a great game or two, but you will also have a horrible one. If your army depends on ranks and banners to win games ... these aren't variables - you will have them every game. If the army depends on causing casualties to win, just be aware it won't always roll your way. This is actually where the Skaven horde army excels - they don't cause many wounds ... but they always have ranks and banner ... and usually a flank.
4) Be fun to play against - Sportsmanship scores win and lose tournaments. You can build the uber list of ultimate slayage ... but I doubt you'll win a tournament with it. Now, I am not saying to build in a weakness or to make a "fluffy" army. But remember that the folks you are playing against have dropped some money (sometimes quite a bit) to come and push little army men around a table for the day. Most folks want to get in some combats, and to feel that they actually played - so play them. Set up your army to confront them ... heck, even bring some sacrificial units that are meant to die. This is actually where Wood Elves have the most problem ... people hate chasing them around the board.

Anyway ... just my thoughts ...

Jeff


Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:49 pm
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Morathi's Favoured
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Good stuff there Jeff and some good words of wisdom from our peers.

When I sit down to put a tournament army together I first decide what style of play I want to use, whether offensive, tricky, magical, defensive etc and then I consider what that style of play will need in the way of composition to be able to deal with the things on your lists above.

To me that is the most logical way to go about it. In the past when I have been advised to major on one particular area, such as magic or shooting, I have always come unstuck against the better players because they know how to deal with 'one trick wonders'.


Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:41 pm
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Would you guys think taking two giants in a tournie army is cheap and gay? Is it like playing wood elves?

Just wonderin' that's all.

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Sat Jul 12, 2003 5:58 am
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The Beastman guy I faced on thursday, a friend of mine, is looking to take 2 giants to the UK GT qualifiers next month. You do see it.


Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:43 am
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Highborn
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I'm just saying, does it have a negative effect on your sportsmanship score usually?

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Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:27 am
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It may for some people, but it's just part of the game. The biggest problem that he will probably run into is that he'll start to depend a bit too much on them ... and they will fail him one game.

Like DA said - make a one-trick army ... and somebody will figure out the trick ...

J


Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:34 pm
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Giants are a real waste of points in my opinion. They are just too easy to kill. I have no fears over facing two.


Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:00 pm
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Elánduil wrote:
I'm just saying, does it have a negative effect on your sportsmanship score usually?


There's many more people who'll simply give you a bad score for making an army they lose to badly enough. Your best bet is to just soak some of it up and make the best of it.

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Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:46 pm
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I've given a lot of thought on how to make a balanced army with the Dark Elves, and there's always some of these opponents I just cannot create a decent chance against when using a balanced army.

To take them from the 'checklist':

jeffleong13 wrote:
What will I do vs all Knight armies?

Taking a lot of Reapers might work, but just isn't balanced. A lot of magic isn't balanced, and it is rather unreliable (especially in getting the spells you need).

jeffleong13 wrote:
Can I survive 10+ powerdice?

Depending on the spells they carry... But if they get multiple magic missiles, I have a problem (I would love a Magic Resistance banner for one of my main units... but that is the easy way ou).

jeffleong13 wrote:
Can I catch WEs?

To put it simple, I cannot, unless I tailor the army to them.

The other things seem survivable, except for too many bolt throwers, hellblasters and such.

So I am rather interested: what would you include in a balanced Dark Elf army to survive the threats mentioned above?


Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:14 pm
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Purple wrote:
jeffleong13 wrote:
What will I do vs all Knight armies?

Taking a lot of Reapers might work, but just isn't balanced. A lot of magic isn't balanced, and it is rather unreliable (especially in getting the spells you need).


Actually, I don't find Reapers as effective against all-mounted armies because the army is on you so quickly. In all honesty, that's why I have a noble on Dark Steed - in a unit of DR w/ Standard, I have a good chance of killing off the side Knight(s) in a flank charge and then beating them by 3 or so. In this case ... it's a question of manuever - make the knights charge so that you can flank them ... or get a charge on them with a ranked unit. Knights can't make the wounds without their lances ... so you will often win that combat rather handily - Banner of Murder on a good infantry block is perfect for this.

Purple wrote:
jeffleong13 wrote:
Can I survive 10+ powerdice?

Depending on the spells they carry... But if they get multiple magic missiles, I have a problem (I would love a Magic Resistance banner for one of my main units... but that is the easy way ou).


In general, 5 Dispel Dice and a Scroll will see you through the worst of it. Sometimes, you will get smacked, but you will usually be able to avert the worst of the damage. The real key is to decide what spell or spells that you absolutely have to stop ... and stop them. You will take some damage, but it is rarely overpowering if you play it right.

Purple wrote:
jeffleong13 wrote:
Can I catch WEs?

To put it simple, I cannot, unless I tailor the army to them.


To me, that's why I have some shooting and medium magic - you don't have to do much to really hurt some of the WE skirmish units, and a reasonable amount of shooting can quickly reduce the Glade Rider threat. The other way is to give them charge targets ... hold ... and then send in the chariots!! WE hate chariots ... especially on the War Dancers (since they can't flee the charge).

Purple wrote:
So I am rather interested: what would you include in a balanced Dark Elf army to survive the threats mentioned above?


To me ...
1) Medium Magic: 7 Power Dice, 5 Dispel Dice & 1 Scroll
2) 2+ Ranked units: Combat resolution does wonders ... especially against folks who depend on wounds to win combats.
3) 2+ Chariots: Lots of wounds in a compact package - supports infantry or takes small units on its own
4) 2+ Dark Rider units: Take advantage of your mobility. Shades also fall into this category.
5) Noble on Dark Steed: The ability to hit where and when you want ... can swing crucial battles
6) Moderate shooting: To me, 1 RBT almost always pays for itself ... 2 rarely do, and I won't bring more at less than 3000 points. I will also usually end up with 10-15 RXB, usually on DR and Shades.
7) Battle Standard: That reroll is critical ... especially in an infantry-heavy army. With good Ld, you need to have the chance to survive a crazy roll (like double 6's).

Jeff


Sun Jul 13, 2003 7:55 pm
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Some good stuff regarding composition. True it is very hard to have something for everything..you can always play the odds.
At the philly gt, I faced a Tk, OG, EMpire, Chaos(Tzeentch), Lizardman, OG.

The OG player had two giants and I took both down, he relied on them heavily. the Chaos guy had a tzeentch lord on dragon, basically for the scenario he charged in with his dragon and made mince meat of my army. he was very apologetic about what he was doing.......

The army I took had no less than 11 units in 2400pts.
shades, corsairs, spearman, rxb, dark riders, cold one knihgts, executioners, RBT,

it was designed with <MSU in mind, it was very friendly comp I believed, however htis tournament happened to be a powergamers dream come true..not many balanced armies, but many designed to crush you without a fun game...

all the situations that popped up, I was able to handle to certain point...

comp is tough, if you feel guilty about playing with a certain army than I am sure your opponent wont like it either.


Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:34 am
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nice thoughts... very enlightening...

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Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:15 am
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Compisition is just your list however, as somepeople just kill you on composition if you beat them soundly. I got crushed in my last tourney for compisition: 3000 pts Tourney I brought 7 Core, 3 Special, 1 Rare, and used all 6 heros. It cannot be explained by what compistion SHOULD be, but can be by what it is. Its very sad actually that some gamers out there just destroyed a nice balance guideline for army building.

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Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:03 am
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Surelian wrote:
Some good stuff regarding composition. True it is very hard to have something for everything..you can always play the odds.
At the philly gt, I faced a Tk, OG, EMpire, Chaos(Tzeentch), Lizardman, OG.


The Philly GT was a power gamer's paradise ... just about every nasty army combination in the book was there. I also faced off against the Tzeentch army from hell ... Lord on Dragon w/ Staff and Eye ... ouch. It may interest you to note, however, that he only went 4-2 ... and just barely at that. Moral of the story ... a one trick pony does get beat ...

J


Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:03 pm
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Drakken wrote:
Compisition is just your list however, as somepeople just kill you on composition if you beat them soundly. I got crushed in my last tourney for compisition: 3000 pts Tourney I brought 7 Core, 3 Special, 1 Rare, and used all 6 heros. It cannot be explained by what compistion SHOULD be, but can be by what it is. Its very sad actually that some gamers out there just destroyed a nice balance guideline for army building.


Yeah, I got chipmunked in the last game because the player (who plays about a very powered up list) didn't like fact that he didn't beat me. Cost me the overall prize. I do think that some sort of composition score is a good thing at a tournament, but I am opposed to player-judged comp scores for exactly the reason that you state. In all honesty, I am opposed to almost all player-judged scores, although there's no other way to do sportsmanship ...

J


Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:05 pm
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The problem (the way I see it) is the definition of sportsmanship, as an example Jeff's 4th rule suggests that in order to gain sportsmanship points I let my opponent destroy a few of my units. I understand that makes my opponent feel happy, but it doesn't mean I've been a good sport does it?

I'm a bit of a novice at tournaments having attended only 2 regional conflicts (about to change incidently, seems I've been bitten by the bug) but my 1st game this year was a fantastic game played in the correct spirit. My opponent outplayed me, luring my all cav army into some early charges and then proceeding to wipe the floor with me. He gained some 1800vp (in a 1500 point game) while I racked up 120 points (ish!) for 2 slave units.

My opponent was friendly, knew the rules well (not a single disagreement on rules or ranges between us), played a great game. What possible grounds could I have to give him anything but full sporsmanship?

At the opposite end of the scale my very 1st tournament game, I lost my cold ones to a failed stupity check and fanatics about 10" away :cry: . My opponent was then unhappy I spent the rest of the game retreating and firing with my remaining dark riders and scouts. (BTW he took 2 giants, 6 scouts tied them up all game, ven managing to kill 1 on the final round). Result he marked it down as a bad game. No arguments, no disagreements, just the fact I wasn't going to let him get into close combat with a light cav / scout army. (Solid victory to me in the end)

Do I have any suggestions, no I wish I did. But I do find it frustrating that a game played in the correct way can degenerate because 1 player is upset he is loosing


Rant mode off :oops:


Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:55 pm
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Lurker wrote:
The problem (the way I see it) is the definition of sportsmanship, as an example Jeff's 4th rule suggests that in order to gain sportsmanship points I let my opponent destroy a few of my units. I understand that makes my opponent feel happy, but it doesn't mean I've been a good sport does it?


I am not trying to say that you bring units to hand your opponent points, but rather to say that sacrificial units can be a boon to both game play (i.e., to set up charges for you) and in sportsmanship (makes people feel better about their army). The problem is that people want to play ... not chase the other army around the whole game while being magicked and shot to death - that's why Wood Elves usually suffer in Tournament Sportsmanship scores.

Lurker wrote:
Do I have any suggestions, no I wish I did. But I do find it frustrating that a game played in the correct way can degenerate because 1 player is upset he is loosing


I completely understand on the Sportsmanship issue. Another problem is that different folks have different "default" scores - for instance, on a scale of 1 (awful) to 5 (great), some people give a 3 to an average game. Other people give a 4 to an average game - this creates a significant difference in your sportsmanship based on who rather than how you play.

There are also always the a**holes who only give good sportsmanship scores when they win. I even had one guy tell me after the game that he marked me down in sportsmanship because I "had a superior army, and [he doesn't] like losing to a superior army. Now if [he] had won, he would have marked me higher, but [he] doesn't enjoy losing, so he dropped my score." To make this even funnier, it was a Tzeencth player complaining that I had too many power dice!!

J


Mon Jul 14, 2003 4:21 pm
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My take on sportsmanship hasn't been bad so far, as our fantasy tourneys aren't that huge and theres only a couple of @$$holes. I usually find that you can get a good to great sportsmanship score simply by taking it like a game. Laugh at your own misfortune and at your oppenants evenly, crack a decent joke or two, and just play a GAME, while having some fun. Thats worked for me in every tournament I've ever played in. And to point out that this has bearing, I've never had less than 4th in Sportmanship in tourneys. The only people who grill you when your act relaxed and have fun are people you usually don't want to play anyway.

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Mon Jul 14, 2003 5:57 pm
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I completely agree ... it is just a game. Unfortunately, there are plenty of folks who don't see it that way. There are several folks on the GT circuit who are very well known for giving out low sportsmanship scores if they don't win - regardless of who they play. I agree that sportsmanship needs to be a part of the game ... but there needs to be some way to guard against this type of unscrupulous player.

J


Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:03 pm
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Elánduil wrote:
Would you guys think taking two giants in a tournie army is cheap and gay? Is it like playing wood elves?

Just wonderin' that's all.


It is not cheap, but the two giants may be gay... :P

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Tue Jul 15, 2003 1:42 pm
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Personally, I've seen too much of the "Loser" slant to sportsmanship and comp. Frankly, I stopped caring. I'm always making jokes and puns during the game, and entertaining (or trying to :P) the table with reasons why a certain die roll went the way it did (dang, my noble forgot to take his sword out of its sheath AGAIN!).

Usually, if my opponent laughs, all is good. Of course, sometimes, my opponent gets so out-played that his ego kicks in. I now go to tourney's with the mindset of "compete in the game." That means that I don't care if I win or lose, I want a tactical challenge (bring on the chariot army! You have two giants? Great! Two dragons? Cool! ) and I want to make bad jokes.

With this ulterior motive, I find that I'm not so disappointed when I get chipmunked (and it DOES happen). Like I say to my friend about facing steam tank, "It doesn't matter."

So there's my ten cents (my two cents are free).

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Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:12 pm
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Quote:
With this ulterior motive, I find that I'm not so disappointed when I get chipmunked (and it DOES happen)


It does still burn me, however, that some poor sport can affect my score that way ...

J


Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:24 pm
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I've yet to attended a GT to see how bad sportmanship scores are there, I'll let you know come end of August. But in RTTs or In-House, I seem to notice that since its usually the same people killing Sportmanship, its been recognized, and they tend to get killed in the same category. I've yet to see someone who wasn't at least entertaining to play against win a tourney around here.

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Mon Jul 21, 2003 3:58 pm
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Drakken wrote:
I've yet to attended a GT to see how bad sportmanship scores are there, I'll let you know come end of August. But in RTTs or In-House, I seem to notice that since its usually the same people killing Sportmanship, its been recognized, and they tend to get killed in the same category. I've yet to see someone who wasn't at least entertaining to play against win a tourney around here.


A chipmunker will rarely win a tournament, because (as you mentioned) people know about it and he gets hit. However, he can keep you from winning a tournament as well ...

J


Mon Jul 21, 2003 4:02 pm
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Back on topic ...

What other things do people think need to be considered in a tournament (and therefore all-around) army?

J


Mon Jul 21, 2003 4:07 pm
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