Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Size Doesn't Matter.

Hello, Mahu here, new contributor to this Blog.

I want to address a disconcerting trend in recent discussions on the internet and all over, the matter of point costs.

Some argue that lower point games, specifically, 1500 to the 1850 range allows "tighter" army lists, and therefore require the player to be forced to think more tactically about their choices and actions within games.

The most famous posts advocating this has been Tastytaste's Blood of Kittens Website:

Others, more notable Stelek on his "Yes the Truth Hurts" Blog, advocated that games need to be around a minimum of 2000 points in order for the full potential of the game to be realized, and allow players access to all the "toys" their codex has to offer.

I think both arguments have merit, but I also think both arguments fail to grasp the simple concept of a restrictive points system.

You can't have everything.

There is always going to be that unit, that symmetry that you are looking for that will be hard to fit into any points cost. But the basics of list construction will always be the same.

1. Do you have decent anti-tank?
2. Do you have the ability to handle hordes?
3. Do you have proper scoring coverage?
4. How do you handle strong assault armies?
5. How do you handle strong shooty armies?
6. Does your list contain the four basic principals of good list design; Adaptability, Synergy, Redundancy, and Personal Preference? (More on this later).

The only thing that really changes at certain points levels are the units you use to accomplish those tasks.

For example, I am going to be playing in a 1500 point tournament this weekend with my Blood Angels. Here is the list I intend to bring:


Mephiston = 250


Furioso Dreadnought w/ Blood Talons, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armor in Drop Pod = 185


5-man Assault Squad w/ Flamer, Power Weapon in Razorback w/ Twin-linked Assault Cannon = 175

5-man Assault Squad w/ Flamer, Power Weapon in Razorback w/ Twin-linked Assault Cannon = 175

5-man Assault Squad w/ Meltagun, Power Weapon in Razorback w/ Twin-linked Heavy Flamer = 145

5-man Assault Squad w/ Meltagun, Power Weapon in Razorback w/ Twin-linked Heavy Flamer = 145

-Heavy Support-

Predator w/ Autocannon, 2 Lascannon Sponsons = 135

Predator w/ Autocannon, 2 Lascannon Sponsons = 135

Vindicator w/ Siege Shield = 155

I have a crap ton of shooting, plenty of scoring coverage, and two fairly decent assault elements. At this points level more "flavorful" units like Sanguinary Priests seem like a waste, especially when they are not adding anything much to the low model count of this list.

This is a competitive list to be sure.

Did the lower point level "force" me to not be as competitive? I really don't think so.

Did the lower point limit "weaken" my army? Again, I think not, it only changed my considerations in making my list.

If anything the lower point limit merely made my list a little more "one-dimensional", as the considerations and unit choices I had to make where almost made for me.

My preference is for the 1850 to 2000 point range. My feeling is that at the higher point level, you can be a little more liberal with how you create a balanced competitive list. For example, Sanguinary Guard and Dante feel much more at home in a higher point list then a small one.

Is there more room to spam in a higher points cost list? Sure, but as I showed you, no more so then in a lower point list.

So my end point is this, as to the argument of what point cost creates a higher test of skill, at what points cost creates a better "tighter" competition, I saw that ultimately it doesn't matter. A good player is a good player, and the fundamentals of list design does not change, no matter the points cost.

We can have our preferences, as I have shared mine, but at the end of the day that is all they are preference.

As our good Black Templar Player's remind us: "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds".

1 comment:

  1. A few other points:
    Game scale can also change which units are good. Sentinels and war-walkers, for instance. In a lower points scale game, these undervalued units shine because of their greater utility, lower points cost, and increased survivability.

    Also, a smaller points level allows for quicker games. I've been toying with a 1250-1500 point tourney that includes 4 games instead of the usual 3 in one day. With the right group and venue, it's entirely possible to complete.