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Thoughts on Swedish Comp 
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Slave (off the Altar)

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So, I haven't yet played the comp but I have built a few lists with my three armies, and I'd like to play with my group. However, one of my group (the High Elf player, of course) says "Swedish comp is dumb because it's like someone saying 'oh I don't know how to play against it I'm bad so I'll make this comp to make it so if I lose I still win' so I won't play." I see where he is coming from, but I don't necessarily agree. My three armies are DE, VC, and beasts.

Now, he considers those armies to be upper tier, middle tier, and lower tier, respectively. So from his point of view if he is taking a BotWD deathstar with accompanying bolt throwers and a bunch of loremasters, dragons, and phoenixes, that my Beastmen should be able to beat it without doing the cookie cutter list, I just suck and that's why I can't win. However we all know (and he admitted that they are bottom tier) that the beasts will be hard pressed to pull through no matter how good the generalship, because they simply aren't as good as the cheese some lists bring to the table.

On the other hand, if I took a Witch Elf and Executioner star list with warlock spam and Pegasus lords, he claims that as long as he deploys right and gets flank charges that his list of the most overcosted, inefficient goblins (another army he claims to be bottom tier) will still just win because he got that deployment and flank charge, without Swedish comp.

So basically what he is saying is that anyone who plays Swedish comp sucks and that it adds nothing to the game, even though for people like me who like themed lists and like the idea of incentive to make the game fun it seems like the way to go. Thoughts on this? Is Swedish comp really that un-fun? Are the armies so far apart that they need Swedish comp? Is Swedish balanced? More balanced than vanilla at least? Id like to think so since I want to use fleemasters and corsair core without execs or witches and still have a fighting chance against the turbo cheese, but I don't really know what to think yet, and I'd like to see some opinions.


Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:10 pm
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Swedish comp is easily gamed by some armies (High Elves in particular) to build a strong army with a high comp score. Other armies (Dark Elves are a good example) can include a couple competitive choices and no matter how bad the rest of the army is, it will still comp as it's the best DE army in the world (try making a dark elf list with two units of 5 warlocks in it and get swedish comp better than 10. It's not possible.)

In my opinion Swedish comp doesn't achieve anything (and keep in mind the bonus VP are a suggestion, not every swedish comp event uses them.) but shuffles the power a little bit.

I wish one day people realize that Warhammer is not a game of perfect balance (even chess isn't perfectly balanced) and that some armies are weaker than others (Beastmen and Tomb Kings in particular) and accept those armies as a challenge to be had.

If he believes your beastmen can reliably win against his tooled up High Elves then he lives on another planet. Win? Yes. Reliably? Not a chance. Beastmen will have an uphill battle against high elves (well, most armies really) 90% of the time. It should be accepted as part of the challenge of playing the army in my opinion.

As for comp... try scenarios instead.

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Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:45 pm
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Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:06 am
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Slave (off the Altar)

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I completely agree that some armies shouldn't be expected to win reliably against others, but I do think that the comp makes it easier and opens up opportunity through said shifting of power to let someone use an army they want in a tourney instead of strongly recommending them to use a "strong" army. I don't expect warhammer to be balanced, but the difference between one army being a challenge to play well (TK) and one army just plain sucking (beastmen) should be remedied somehow, and by the looks Swedish at least tries to accomplish that.

And Dyvim, by all means, start :) this is a friendly discussion of opinions


Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:36 am
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Slave (off the Altar)

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And touching on the scenarios thing, "I have 3838593 fast cav units and a cannon so I take objective turn 2 and kill your stuff that can catch me." Or "I have a level 4 death mage snipe snipe there goes your banners and your fortitude bye."


Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:39 am
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I'd be OK with certain comp rules, but as was already said, Swedish fails in its objective, because some stuff is comped too much, other stuff not enough.

For the most part though, I have a saying in Warhammer, that there are two kinds of army lists - Legal, and Illegal. I insist on playing with and against the former, and not the latter. As long as you meet that basic requirement, let's put stuff down and have some fun.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:01 am
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I agree with Dalamar.

- GW attempts to provide a balance for its books by using a points system that involves models of different value costing different amounts, as well as percentage caps on lord, hero, core, special, and rare choices. They generally fail to get the balance right.
- Comp systems then try to provide their own balance by penalizing the fielding of particular models and units, or combinations thereof. They also generally fail to get the balance right.
- Warhammer is not balanced. Few good wargames are. Best just to go with the flow and celebrate when you beat a cheesy dark elf army with your beastmen and smile when your furry centaurs get roasted by a bunch of poison spitting she-maidens of frenzied death. There will always be a next time ;)

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:48 am
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Well, I am very divided by restriction systems. First and foremost, I do think its good that certain choices are restricted. Not necessarily how hard they are restricted, but take doomfire warlocks, and in particular an all-cav DE list that was proposed early on when our new AB came out. A steed dreadlord, lvl 4, and 4 cheap masters in the front of a 15 man strong warlock unit, supported by 4 RBTs and a pure dark rider core. I dare make the potentially dangerous claim that very few armies can claim a large victory over such a force. With movement 9 this lockstar will always get the charge, and they will be devastating when doing so. Such an army would easily be a top contender for a competitive event just by virtue of its traits. It would be very not-so-fun and frustrating to play against for a lot of opponent types, and the player fielding it would be loathed.

I think it is - in many ways - good that such plays are discouraged.

But when for example swedish comp puts warlocks at a ridiculously high value that an army including 2x5 can never ever ever ever be considered "soft", even if filling the entire rest of the army with MSU executioners and spearmen, I think thats a problem.

Perfect solution to you friend and your little disagreement. Build a beastmen army and challenge him. But swap armies before the game starts. Wipe your own beastman list, played by your friend, with his high elves. Then, once the dust settles and you've taken a major victory, tell him straight to his face how bad of a player he is. (Well actually dont. 'cos that would make you like him. Just beat him, and point out to him the places where a beastman army might have some difficulties in beating a 50 man strong phoenix guard unit with a high mage, and a loremaster in it... Or better yet, make a "soft" death bus :P )

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:09 am
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I have no issue with comping in general. Anyone can win with a cookie-cutter top-tier netlist. It's boring, it turns the game (and the hobby) into an arms race, and invariably it's these players who complain when you ask to play Watchtower or Blood & Glory. The biggest issue I have with comping is that people will inevitably game an inflexible system like Swedish or ETC comp, while generic comping is vulnerable to the judges' biases and lacks transparency (and therefore annoys people).

Warlocks deserve to be comped hard. They are fantastic on the table. They cost 25 points each for 2 poisoned S4 attacks, usually with rerolls to hit and rerolling 1s to wound, they're M9 Fast Cavalry, they have a 4+ ward, AND they have a decent magic missile and Soulblight. None of our other Rare choices offer that kind of power and flexibility, and few if any other races have a unit that can compete with them. Seriously, who *wouldn't* take Warlocks? However, as has been rightly pointed out, you can take a list full of second-rate Dark Elves, and taking 2 small units of Warlocks will utterly nuke your Swedish score in a way that even Fateweaver doesn't.

At the end of the day, Warhammer is a game. Games are supposed to be enjoyable. I'd rather play a thematic list than a WAAC army and have opponents enjoying our battles. For the same reason, part of me gets annoyed when I know exactly what to expect as soon as I see my opponent's army (IMHO, Epidemius lists are the worst offenders). Comping can occasionally push people to take silly, crazy, novel lists, and to extent that it does so, I believe it's a good thing. Comp shouldn't be seen as or relied upon to completely level the playing field between armies, because it can't, particularly in a tournament environment where it will be gamed like everything else.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:49 am
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Quote:
Seriously, who *wouldn't* take Warlocks?


Maybe the winner of this year's Buckeye Battles?.
They have some glaring weaknesses exploitable by any army. Against others they are utterly useless.

Quote:
I dare make the potentially dangerous claim that very few armies can claim a large victory over such a force.


And heres the other problem we see in the tournament scene. Did you know you only need to beat your opponent by 100 points to win? Some armies just don't win big, but often don't also lose big. The 20-0 scoring most tournaments use means thkse armies are highly unlikely to win... comp or no comp.

When was the last time beastmen won a manor swedish comp tournament?

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:18 pm
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Dalamar wrote:
Did you know you only need to beat your opponent by 100 points to win? Some armies just don't win big, but often don't also lose big. The 20-0 scoring most tournaments use means thkse armies are highly unlikely to win... comp or no comp.


I think that if tournaments stuck with the normal Warhammer victory conditions -- 100 points for a victory and twice as many VPs as opponent to get a crushing victory -- it would do more to encourage diversity in armies and play than the comp systems I see out there today.

5 gradations of results -- Crushing Victory, Victory, Draw, Defeat, Crushing Defeat -- are enough to determine a victor over the course of 5 games.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:17 pm
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PureSphinx wrote:
Id like to think so since I want to use fleemasters and corsair core without execs or witches and still have a fighting chance against the turbo cheese, but I don't really know what to think yet, and I'd like to see some opinions

Army building is an important part of game strategy. My issue with this is that you are essentially saying "I want to take units that I know are not very good and win with them." Okay, sure, you can do that, but your generalship needs to be a step up above your opponent's. Ultimately, a good general with a bad army may best a bad general with a good army, but a good general with a bad army will typically lose against a good general with a good army (luck and friction notwithstanding).

If you truly want to play with fluffy lists, then try to find an opponent who will agree to play with an equally fluffy list. Don't bemoan that fluffy lists can't beat cheesy lists - that's kind of the point of list building mattering.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:49 pm
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In what situation is a unit of 5 warlocks "utterly useless"? I'm sorry, I dont see it.

And yes. You need a 100 point score difference to "win". But I actually like the 20-0 system tournaments use, because the "get 100 vp more and you win" type of situations encourage 'boring' play (dont get me wrong here). Fill your list entirely with fast cav, pick up two of the opponents flak units, then hide for 6 turns. There, you've "won the game". Whereas in a tournament, this would give you 11-9 which is not a very satisfying result either.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:20 pm
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Slave (off the Altar)

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Red,
I knew what you said would come up; I am essentially an idiot for expecting an environment where "bad" units beat "good" units. What I meant is explained better by Thraundil: what if I want to play in a competitive environment with something I think is fun, and I don't think "good" units are fun? After all, it is a game, and when I have to either a) play a boring game just to say I win or b) convince my opponent to do the same (from "good" to fluffy) how does that take the spirit of a fun game into account. Like has been said, I cannot expect to win reliably with a bad army. But with some kind of comp I can expect to at least have an enjoyable game. And a "fighting chance" as I said is not equivalent to an "auto win" as was implied.


Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:54 pm
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Thraundil wrote:
In what situation is a unit of 5 warlocks "utterly useless"? I'm sorry, I dont see it.


Fighting an army full of Slaanesh stuff.

Ok, maybe not worthless, but they become much less valuable without their ward save.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:01 pm
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Dalamar wrote:

As for comp... try scenarios instead.


When I played 40k, that's what always made it better than WH as a competitive game - you had to be able to deal with a range of different missions to actually do well.

Comp just provides a different framework to abuse, I don't see the point.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:28 pm
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Slave (off the Altar)

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A little off topic but honest I take warlocks for soulblight first and foremost. The ward is nice, they are good flankers, and doombolt is cool to throw extra dice at, but soulblight is never, ever not good. And more importantly, it frees my sorc up to take lore of beasts for the Wyssan's/soulblight combo, which turns anything into a wrecking ball. And let's be real, when's the last time you saw a 100% Slaanesh army? ;)


Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:32 pm
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Quote:
In what situation is a unit of 5 warlocks "utterly useless"?


Facing wood elves, facing dwarfs, facing warriors of chaos with smart slaanesh marking, facing high elves. Facing any opponent who knows what warlocks are capable of. In my group i am forced to use a second unit for redundancy because the first one is bound to die by the end of turn 2. Or i can hide them and have them be useless.
People tend to forget they are still T3 elves and die to a stiff breeze 4++ or not.

As for running full avoidance and winning by 100 points... imagine you lose a single unit on turn 6 and now it's a draw... thats actually the only way for some armies to win against avoidance and 20-0 system takes that option away.

Comp will not make your game any more enjoyable. Sorry but getting your behind whooped and pulling ofc a draw because "my army sucks so i get free 1000 points at the end" is not fun bu any standards. It's like giving every contestant in a race a trophy for participation... wait a minute...

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:45 pm
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Thraundil wrote:
And yes. You need a 100 point score difference to "win". But I actually like the 20-0 system tournaments use, because the "get 100 vp more and you win" type of situations encourage 'boring' play (dont get me wrong here). Fill your list entirely with fast cav, pick up two of the opponents flak units, then hide for 6 turns. There, you've "won the game". Whereas in a tournament, this would give you 11-9 which is not a very satisfying result either.


No more boring than it is to fight an army with 2 big blocks of Plaguebearers, a big unit of Beasts of Nurgle and a Great Unclean One ...

Yes, 20-0 discourages avoidance lists. And if 20-0 goes away, you will probably (initially) see a fair number of them. But people will adapt and will build their armies to deal with avoidance lists. But this can be done in numerous ways. Bring some chaff of your own. Use magic, war machines and/or missile fire to deal damage at range. As a result, we will have more balanced and tactically interesting armies and games.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:23 pm
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PureSphinx wrote:
Red,
I knew what you said would come up; I am essentially an idiot for expecting an environment where "bad" units beat "good" units.

I'm versed enough with rhetoric to see what you did by rephrasing my assertion, but I definitely did not call you an idiot. Your words, not mine! !eek!

But beyond that, the problem you are facing is that there will always be imbalance in any gaming system. Comp systems just redirect the balance so that some combinations become weaker while others become stronger. In your case, you want the rules rigged (yes, that's effectively what comp does) to enable the models you want to play with to become stronger/cheaper/more readily available while the models that your opponent wants to play with become weaker/more expensive/less easily available. In that situation, if you win, you've not won because of superior generalship (demonstrated by saavy list building or by expert playing with a weaker/fluffy list) but because you've changed the rules to enable the models that you chose to become strong. I would argue that it is better to alter your army list choices, strategies, or both, than to alter the rules. Personally, I do wish that beastmen were stronger and that fleetmasters were viable choices, but I don't agree with changing the core rules to achieve that aspiration.

And, ultimately, as Rork says - all comp does is provide a new area for players to exploit. I taught this recently in one of my classes - the problem with realistic simulations is not, ironically enough, usually the simulations themselves, but the humans who play them. In comp systems, players will still find broken combos that are allowed (or even encouraged) by the new redrawing of the army building criteria and/or game rules. They will be different combos, sure, but just as broken. Obviously, that can't apply at tournament games, but for friendly games - why not do a new scenario instead? One of the most interesting that I ever saw was, in fact, featured in the first ever GW army book on high elves (4th edition). The scenario was that a column of high elves become ambushed as they are crossing a narrow bridge by a horde of goblins, who swarm down from either side of them. The game itself was rigged (as was soon to be the norm for most GW battle reports) so that the high elves won by miles, but the concept itself (a more expensive army in an unpleasant tactical position being assaulted by a less expensive army that occupies far superior positions) was very admirable. Recreating something like that would be far more fun and viable, imo, than trying to play a "balanced" head-to-head in which you expect to use externally generated and equally arbitrary comp rules that artificially inflate your fleetmaster into being as good as a dreadlord.

I'm not actually an advocate in favor of power gaming - indeed, I rarely do. But I believe that the best balancers for games are mutually agreed rules between two opponents, scenarios (both book based and originally created by one or both of the players), and other such mutually agreed to undertakings. That's far superior than moving from one supra-structure set of army building ones by GW to another entirely supra-structure set of army building rules by a Comp system.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:32 pm
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Slave (off the Altar)

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I didn't mean to accuse you of calling me an idiot, I only meant that would be my group's reaction to me showing up with 47284 ungor Raiders and a Doombull and expecting to win. Haha sorry :P

The rest of your post makes a lot more sense. It kind of reminded me of MTG where they ban cards in certain formats like modern so people just put it down and make another rediculous combo with other cards, or move to vintage. In essence the lesson I take from this is "get good scrub," a quote from the friend I mentioned in the original post (not accusing you of calling me a scrub ;) ). So I'll be scouring the forum for every scrap of tactical advice (oh wait I already do that) and will only play Swedish comp if that's what my opponents are playing, and learn to be an expert, comp or no.

You all had sound logic, thanks for the replies! I guess it comes down to player preference and learning to be good with what you have, and trying not to be so salty (guilty!).

P.S. It's good to see someone who appreciates rhetoric :)


Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:41 pm
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I have to say, though, that the gold medal goes to Dalamar for that race analogy. "Everyone's a winner" is something I am strongly against, and seeing that analogy put to this topic really takes the cake on orienting me the right way, which is that comp or no, the faster you run the more likely you are to win, no matter how long your legs are. Fleet master = short legs = move faster to keep up. Makes sense


Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:03 pm
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Comp isn't really that different than playing a homemade scenario, IMHO. You get kind of a different experience out of it, maybe see some less popular units on the table. It doesn't fix anything, but it's not destroying the fundamentals of Warhammer either. I have fun either way.

If you're lucky enough to have a decent players group, sometimes all it takes is a bit of discussion beforehand to garner a more balanced game. "Hey, I'm using Daemons. Leave BotWD at home, and I won't take Epedimius, OK?" Or, for that matter, "I want to try this tournament list. Bring the hurt!"

My group offers collective feedback on the lists people bring. If someone's going way over the top, particularly if it's against a newer player, they get called out. I had to calm everyone down when I showed up with the Hydra to a 500 point game, since folks didn't realize how drastically its rules had changed.

Sooner or later, I think reasonable gamers realize that how you win is far more important than how often.


Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:30 pm
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^ +1


Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:24 pm
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Comp systems do more than just boosting or hindering some units. In addition, they for example:

- provide rules clarifications. The basic rules and GW FAQ do not cover everything (or perhaps they do but you need a careful examination of the rules to get to the answer) and so the creators of some comp systems provide their own FAQ so the players can avoid all the discussions.
- simplify the rules for line of sight. When deciding what is in cover and such, you, under the simplyfied LOS, only care about bases and not about the models themselves. I think no one can argue with the claim that seeing if the majority of a base is obscured by another base is easier than seeing if the majority of a model is obscured by another model. In our tournament scene, true LOS was used for a time and abandoned without regret.
- explain what model is on which base. According to the rules, you should use the base your model was sent to you with but this might lead to confusion, see here for a classic example. ETC makes your life easier in this regard as you can just read it up.

In our tournament scene, we believe this saves so much hassle that often, those three points are used even in uncomped tournaments. The propositions are then something like: 2999 points, bring what you wish; ETC FAQ in use where it does not contradict the GW one; bases according to ETC; simplified line of sight. The question is, does this count as comp at all?

***

Comp systems are in addition often changing rules that "cripple the game". It is of course highly subjective what is counted among those and if such a change is worth it but there are players who appreciate this. For example, you are only allowed to generate a maximum number of dice during a magic phase. Below are some examples what can happen if you play according to the rules: Both occured in the previous armybook where dark elves were allowed to throw more than six dice on a spell and where each sorceress had the power of darkness spell: cast on 4+, generates D3 +1 power dice.

There was a game where a dark elf with lvl4 death and lvl4 shadow stood against a vampire counts army. He got first turn and good winds of magic. He rolled all his dice at a purple sun, got irresistible force and killed a terrorgheist together with a good portion of the undead army, generating 12 dice again. The miscast killed some insignificant stuff. Then he rolled 12 dice on pit of shades, killed the other terrorgheist and again, lost something he did not care about due to miscast. The vampire counts player lost some 1000 points or more in one turn. And what was he supposed to do, spread his deployment so he cannot march? And was the dark elf army really that weak against other foes or was forcing the miscasts that risky?

Another example comes from strategem from this site:
Quote:
I rolled snake eyes for winds of magic and then channelled 2 more PD. So I cast small purple sun (lvl4) with all 4 of my dice straight threw my opponents gutstar. I then went on to generate another 12 PD from the law attribute, while he still only had his 1 DD. the rest of the magic phase I ended up casting, searing doom (lvl2), ruby ring (lvl2), PoD (lvl2), so back up to 12 PD again while my opponent still had his 1. Next was final trans (lvl2), PoD (lvl4) so back up to 12 PD again. doom and darkness (lvl4), spirit leach (lvl4) and lastly the caress of laniph. with both the last 2 spells generating more PD. (every spell went off without any IF)

At the end of my magic phase I discarded 8 PD cause I ran out of spells and my opponent was still holding onto his 1 DD, and all this without sac dag.


Again, what was the ogre player supposed to do? Not playing a gutstar maybe but if the death magic is on a mobile caster, is it really that difficult to find an angle that hits several units? And note that this time, the dark elf player did nothing risky at all.

So while I understand the opinion that some comp systems take things too far I do not see the GW rules as a holy book that cannot be modified in any way, either.

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Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:29 am
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