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 A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types

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Warmonger

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PostSubject: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:04 pm

original post by sir biscuit


I want to talk a bit more about how and why a restriction should happen.

First, let's go over the three factors that it's important to consider when making any restriction or ban:

1.The ban or restriction must be warranted. This seems pretty clear cut, but can actually be quite complex to figure out in practice. Everyone has a different definition of overpowered, and many go off of a “gut feeling” about how powerful many units and combinations are. Unfortunately, even with guidelines power balance is often a murky and difficult area.The obvious candidate for restriction/banning is one that severely effects the power balance of the game. If there is an item in a book that makes half the armies in the game unplayable against it when they would normally be on more-or-less equal footing, then yeah, that's probably something that should get tossed out.
But some things aren't as obvious- units that are clearly powerful, but may not be “overpowered” in that they don't actively narrow the list of viable competitive armies. Trying to eliminate all strong units from the game is a fool's exercise, for as soon as you bring down the hammer something equally overpowering in the context of the new set springs forward. What is important is to identify and eliminate the problem combinations that make entire choices and armies nonviable for tournament play, while leaving most of the rest of the game more-or-less intact.

The trick, then, is figuring out which units and combinations to effectively remove. Interestingly, in my first post about this, I did not list the units that were under consideration for 0-1 status, but most players were able to guess, and even send me messages asking me to limit or not limit them. Ask yourself, if someone says “units are going to be restricted” and you instantly know which ones, is that not some sort of indication?Ultimately, which units/combos get restricted is something that has to happen slowly, with careful consideration of the ultimate effect on the meta. It's not something to spring into when a codex drops, but rather something that has to be decided after long observations of the exact effects.

2.The ban or restriction must be discrete. As easy as it is to say “no unfair unfun lists”, as a rule it's absolutely terrible. Who decides? Where's the line? What does that even mean? The rules must be clearly defined- there's not point in murky definitions that may-or-may not allow things based on individual judgment. This is also a big part of number 3, which is:

3.A ban or restriction must be enforceable. Did you know that GW's legal page about their IP says “This also means that we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the “service.”” Basically, if you have a Warhammer tattoo, beware the legal department. But, of course, not really, because such a threat is completely unenforceable, and thus, pointless. What are they going to do, demand that the population occasionally strip to prove they have no such tattoos, and then rip the skin off if they do? Keep dreaming GW legal. Bans and restrictions are pointless if they are not able to be enforced. This is why most of these take place in the list building stage: as every list for a tournament is checked, and the people doing the checking are aware of the rules, it is impossible for someone to game the system and play with something defined to be illegal.
Mid-game (rules changes) and end-game (missions/victory parameters) are much more difficult, because they can be very, very difficult to enforce. Take, for instance, the idea of changing a rule, like changing the way that units deep strike. (Theoretically, we're not at all thinking of doing that.) If you ban the wargear, powers, or units that make deep striking possible, then you have a very enforceable ban. If you decide to change the rules for it instead, it becomes much more difficult, as players may not know, or even test their opponent to see if they know before ignoring the change entirely. A judge can't watch every game, so you can open yourself up to abuse. (Of course, it is possible to still deal with this situation, if you have an overwhelming information policy for those who take lists with the potential for abuse, coupled with a zero-tolerance policy for abusers.)


In addition to these criteria, many events will run multiple formats. Magic: the Gathering is an excellent example of this, with different types of formats available that all have their own restrictions and banned lists. Many 40k events are currently looking at doing just that as well. I think it's pretty easy to separate events into different types based on these restrictions:

1.Type 1 events include everything GW produces for Warhammer 40k. That means all core books, codices, expansion content (escalation, stronghold assault), as well as 40k approved Forge World units. No restrictions, just the game as it is. Currently I don't believe that there are any events that use this format. The Feast of Blades Spoils of War tournament next year will, however, and may be the first tournament to do so.

2.Type 2 events play with restrictions. Common restrictions are on expansion content books (either all or part of Stronghold Assault and Escalation, for instance) and the banning of Forge World units is also extremely common. While many events are lumped together in a single category here, their individual restrictions can vary quite significantly.To be clear, every event in America (and all the ones I know of overseas) runs at least a type 2 format. What people have grown used to in the past as unrestricted type 1 (everything except no Forge World) is now type 2 (especially if there's a ban on Stronghold Assault and Escalation). There are no unrestricted tournaments anymore. While tournaments may vary in what they want to restrict, there aren't any tournament organizers who are seriously considering running their event as Type 1.
Both the Feast of Blades Invitational and Open events will be Type 2 events.This is the trickiest format to manage, as it's the one with the greatest number of dissenting opinions. I also think the idea that there is one “right” set of rules, that it's some puzzle or school question that has a right answer, to be extremely naive. Many events will have many different restrictions, and at the end of they day they will each be fun and exciting in their own way.

3.Type 3 is a final, catch-all term for other events whose purpose is not necessarily to create a strict environment so that a winner can be determined, but rather to simply game for the sake of gaming. They actively don't follow many of the rules of 40k, or greatly adjust them.This includes most apocalypse and narrative events, games that actively make up their own rules as they progress in addition to vast and powerful changes made to the core game and army construction rules. The Feast of Blades Narrative is an excellent example of a type 3 event.

I don't think that any of these format types are necessarily superior to each other. Type 1 is an excellent format for theory and maximization fun, type 2 is a superior play format, and type 3 is great for players just looking to blow off steam and play some crazy games. That being said, events will still have to choose what kind of event they want to run. On the opposite end of the exchange, of course, is you: what kind of event do you like? What kind of player are you?

This weekend the ban and restrictions list for Feast of Blades will be available in the form of a living document. After that, stay tuned for a post detailing the rational and intent of the decisions. Suffice to say, for the moment, that Feast will be running most of it's events in a type 2 format, with at least one type 1 and at least one type 3.

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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:20 pm

I commented on actual post from website.
Needs consideration.

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Makari

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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:30 pm

Here is a tourney that I think has gone way overboard on teh restrictions and this is not what I want to see happen to 40K.

http://www.cruxofwar.com/
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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:10 am

Agreed, I wouldn't attend a tourney like that either  Rolling Eyes pretty extreme in my opinion but I don't think anyone (around here at least) is suggesting anything like that.

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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:39 pm

I know but there are tournies in this area that do extremes like that unfortunately. Its also why they can't get a tourney turn out of more than their 6 buddies.
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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Is there a strong backing of players stating that if you didn't utilize STA and Esc in your tourney that they wouldn't attend? Or is it just from players who said if you do utilize it they won't attend?

If so, then it seems that the most obvious choice would to be not include it for a better turnout.

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PostSubject: Re: A Brief Discussion of Bans and Tournament Types   Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:59 pm

Around 1/3 ro 1/4 thus far...

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