Tuesday, 12 November 2013

ETC Comp Draft 1 and the rise of RafHammer

I love the ETC.

I mean it. I love it in much the same way as communism, military intervention and diving in football (‘soccer’ to our dear cousins). It gives you something to argue about.

As am sure a lot of you know, the first draft for the 2014 ETC (to be based in Spain Serbia… nothing fishy to see here…) was recently published.

And you have to say “well done” to the authors for getting it done.

Sure, plenty of more interesting concepts for this year’s comp were suggested. Some extremely detailed and involving far less comp overall, some based on a ‘tree’ system where every option in any book was open, but it limited what else you could take. Heck, Swedish comp (and something pseudo Swedish) was also suggested. Impassioned pleas for special characters to be allowed and thus increase list variety were made, and broadly agreed with. Unlike last year there was plenty of time to do something completely rather than yet again just build on last year’s comp.

Alas, the comp panel had already started work on the old system, and people being people the decision was made to change nothing, probably with vague “maybe next year” type comments as they typed. Inertia rules supreme.

I read this first draft with that feigned enthusiasm normally reserved for elderly relatives giving you yet another itchy and badly knitted pair of socks for Christmas.

And then a strange thing happened as I went over the pack for Lizardmen, Vampires and the rest of the new books. I sort of liked the comp.

OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s  unimaginative and a suspiciously camel-looking horse designed by committee, but in the context of yet another year of adapting last year’s comp, a surprisingly good effort (individual niggles here and there notwithstanding).

And then I got to the Wood Elves and Beastmen (no, I did not read it alphabetically, so pipe down you know it all)…

- Wood Elves (2600)
• Glade Guard models (excluding scouts), max 70
• Points achieved against Wood Elves (excluding bonus for Underdog Challenge, Banners, BSB and General) are decreased by 10%
All elves in the army have ASF (Wild Riders are considered Elves. This does not affect any Elven mount or steed)
• Casters may choose spells from any of the 8 Common Lores
• Forest Spirit's Ward Save is not negated by Magical Attacks

- Beastmen (2700)
• Maximum unit point cost is increased to 550
• Points achieved against Beastmen (excluding bonus for Underdog Challenge, Banners, BSB and General) are decreased by 10%
Monsters cost 100 points less each one


Let’s start off with giving the writers a break.

Barely anyone took Beastmen last year, and the only people crazy enough to take Wood Elves tend to be the People’s Champions – Australia, and they are clearly awesome and thereby outside of statistical trends. The feeling was clearly that something needed to be done.

A suggestion by a shockingly-not-as-old-as-you-would-think-former-Welsh-captain that they should look at allowing those books to play completely uncomped went ignored.

Instead they decided to…. Re-write the books.

I am all for wacky comp packs, but this is the ETC, seen by its attendants as the pinnacle of GW-inspired hobby. The best* players from each country duelling it out. It’s serious stuff – cheating, chariot throwing and, over in Round-base land, someone making their opponent remove their entire army because their bases weren’t quite right. Seriously.
 *opinions may vary

Some comp is needed if purely to bridge the gap between the different playing styles of the different countries. This is always the case when bringing people together from different communities – just look at our American brothers and the ever-so highbrow arguments surrounding the design of their pack for the US Masters.

Re-writing rules though is a slippery slope. The things most often seen in comp are slight adjustments to prevent non-games – be it overwhelming magical domination, death stars, character sniping or whatever. Changing point costs and adding a whole raft of rules is… dangerous. Don’t get me wrong. I do think that Beastmen are better than they were when they can take 2 Ghorgons and 2 Giants in their rare allowance, as are Wood Elves with Death magic (yay, more death magic!). My issue, I will admit, is purely ideological.

 If we open the door to rewriting rules… Where does this end?

RafHammer - re-writing rules from the safety of the internet

Inspired by the Shakespearean efforts of the comp’s authors, where they manfully cast down rules because they did not like them and replaced them with better ones RafHammer Comp Draft 1 would probably end up looking something like this:

- Bretonnia
All Knightly characters must issue challenges*
Knight units cannot benefit from leadership based bonuses from Prophetesses and Damsels (this includes Stubborn etc)**
Questing knights may ride Demigriffs***

*It’s what they would do.
**A stubborn damsel would not make her surrounding knights stubborn.
***It fits their fluff better than it does Empire Knights

- Beastmen
All Beastmen models cost reduced by 1/3 (rounding up)*
Minotaurs and Minotaur-class characters get Primal Fury as well as Bloodgreed**
Ambushing units can include characters***

*Beastmen are horde army, they need the numbers
**Being greedy for blood should not make you any less furious. Could make these guys decent
***Just makes sense.

- Chaos Dwarfs
Not a real book, so it doesn’t matter*

*It’s true. Deal with it.

- Dark Elves
Warlock units increased in cost by 5points*
Hero-level wizards increased in cost by 5 points**
Cauldrons re-roll wounds ability only works for close combat attacks***
A unit’s front rank may not be entirely composed of a Cauldron of Blood or a Shrine****
You must have 10 Corsairs for every character-worn Sea Dragon Cloak in the army*****

*Token really
**Make them the same as the HEs
***Appears to be the intent
****Stops those congas
*****They are, after all, the clothing of a corsair

- Daemons of Chaos
‘Daemon of Nurgle’ no longer grants -1 to hit, but rather provides a 4+ regen*
‘Daemon of Khorne’ strength bonus first round of combat regardless of who charged**
‘Daemon of Slaanesh’ grants Swiftstride***
Keeper of Secrets has the ‘Battle of Wills’ rule from the Vampire Counts book****
Two magical weapons may not be taken by the same model*****

*-1 to hit is an overpowered mechanic that encourages anti-hammer
**They need some help
***One thing the fluff always says is they are fast. Would encourage their use.
****Seems to fit their fluff, would provide them some protection
*****If you think they should be allowed, punch yourself you should be ashamed.

- Dwarfs
Hatred Everyone*
Anvil with 4 bound spells – a Buff, a Hex, a Direct Damage and a Magic Missile**
Slayers have Killing Blow and a 6+ ward***
Daemon Slayers have Heroic Killing blow and a 5+ ward****
Ironbreakers have a 2+ armour save*****
1 magical Artillery piece per unit in the army******

*Ancestral grudges. If anyone has a reason to hate people, it’s the Dwarfs
**Fits the game mechanics more
***It simply makes sense
****As above
*****Greatest armourers in the world, toughest infantry, this should be representative
******Magical artillery are clan heirlooms, they are not mass produced.

- Empire
Demigriff Knights and Inner Circle Knights may only be included in the army if the army is led by a Grandmaster*
Armies led by a General of the Empire must spend at least 50% of their Core allowance on State Troops**
If a General of the Empire carries a Runefang, Greatswords become Core***
If your army is led by a Witch Hunter Flagellants become Core****
Each artillery piece must be accompanies by a unit of Handgunners or an Engineer*****
Grandmasters may ride Demigriffs******

*Those are the elite of specific Knightly Orders, they should not be in every list.
**These are the true core of Empire armies
***They are an Elector Count’s personal guard
****It fits
*****Artillery trains have guards and chaps running them
******Makes sense. 

- High Elves
All units in the army may have magical banners*
Sisters of Averlorn may take full command options**

- Lizardmen
Slann Generations brought back*
Carnosaurs have a 3+ scaly skin and have the Predatory Fighter rule**
Troglodon is just completely changed***
Carnosaur may be taken as a rare option****
Razordons auto hit with their shooting attacks*****
Regular Stegadons cost reduced by 50 points******

*You should be able to take a seriously powerful Slann. 2nd Generation should cost circa 600pts and be epic.
**They need to survive to be able to bite people, and the ultimate predator should have the Predatory Fighter rule.
***This thing is a mess. Start again.
****Just makes sense
*****Almost make them useful
******The regular Stegadons are too expensive compared to the Ancients ones.

- Ogre Kingdoms
You must have more units of Ogres than there are units of Ironguts*
Gnoblars cause panic in Gnoblars**

*Ironguts are the elite after all
**Not doing so is just silly

- Orcs and Goblins
Orcs units cost 1/3 less (rounding up)*
Orc Weapon Skill improved to 4**
When a Waaagh is called all units in the O&G army gain Swifstride***
Goblin Toughness reduced to 2****
Characters can only be included if at least one unit of their ‘type’ is in the army*****
The Lore of the Big Waaagh re-written. Signature should be reroll failed to-hit rolls in combat, other spells should include: reroll wounds, +1S, Armour Piercing****** 

*This is ‘the’ Horde army, need to be able to bring bodies in. The major threat of this racer should be the Orcs
**Orcs are known for fighting, this would make them slightly better at it
***Thematically fits, helps them get into combat
****These are weedy little runt and should have a notable weakness
*****Just makes sense
******Current lore is not conducive to supporting a combat army at all. This would help change that.

- Skaven
Hellpit Abomination does not come back to life *
Skaven Slave units only add their ranks to their leadership is the unit has more than 30 models**
You can only have one unit of Skaven Slaves per unit of Clanrats***
Shooting and spells at units in combat with slaves must allocate half their hits to the slave unit****
You can have one Engineer in your army for each Clan Skyre unit it contains*****

**Strength in numbers is a thing
***Not enough Clanrats around
****Just makes sense
*****Thematically right – otherwise why are they there (no, “carrying this huge rocket” is not an acceptable reason)

- Tomb Kings
Any unit within 6” of a Tomb King, or containing a Tomb Prince may march*
Archers may choose a stand and shoot charge reaction if they pass a leadership test**
Construct units can heal one wound per spell***
Ushabiti have their base Strength increased to 6 and lose great weapon. Their cost is reduced to 40points per model****

*Encourages Tomb Kings, and provides more flexibility
**They are the reanimated remnants of a highly disciplined fighting force, it sort of makes sense
***Encourages them, in keeping with Vampires Counts
****Allow them to benefit more from magical buffs etc.

- Vampire Counts
Re-introduce Bloodlines*
Allow Wight Kings to lead an army**
Replace current crumbling rules with a leadership-based system***
Ghouls reduced to 8 points per model****
Units containing a wizard can march if they pass a leadership test*****
Blood Knights gain Plate armour and 2 wounds per model******

*An epically missed opportunity not having this
**Allows something different
***Crumbling mechanics are a bit too devastating
****They are simply overcosted right now – I think they should be about 6 points, but 8 seems a compromise
*****Allows greater movement, and makes sense
******They are meant to be the ultimate knights. They need something to justify their cost.

- Warriors of Chaos
Chaos Lord Attack profile increased to 7*
Every mark of Chaos must have at least as many points in units as characters**
Units within 6” of units in the same army aligned to opposing gods suffer -1ld***
Mark of Nurgle does not provide -1 to hit****
Dragon Ogres armour save improved considerably*****
Daemon Princes lose Unbreakable and gain standard Daemon rules******

*They are Chaos Lords dammit! They should smash stuff!
**Thematic sense
***Thematic sense
****Silly rule
*****Would make them somewhat more viable
******Its a Daemon. Right there in the name. Its true. Sorry.

- Wood Elves
Waywatchers may infiltrate within 12” of opposition if out of line of sight*
Dryads follow rules for Daemons (such as instability)**
All Elves gain ASF***
Non-Core units reduced in cost by 1/3 (rounding up)****
All wizards gain access to Beasts, Life and Shadow*****
Wild Rider unit on Giant Stags in the Rare allowance******

*Cool rule really
**It’s what they are
***Gonna happen
****Encourage diversity
*****They have gone rogue, so have access to the more ‘foresty’ of the lores

Sure, he spells his name wrong, and doesn't have a hammer, but this will do...

As you can see, it’s hard to know when to stop, there are not parameters on this road to madness… Beware all who enter here!
That being said, whatever craziness our European brothers come up with, it is far far better than playing Warhammer at 2000points…..

But more on that next time.

Until then



  1. All seems fun and worth a shot buddy! Maybe its time for there to be a Raffazza Time Tournament......#RafHammer

  2. Wardancers get a HKB dance with a single attack and always have a 4+ ward.. well you started it...

  3. I like almost all of your changes (all bar one really, doesn't matter which one). Warhammer played with these changes in mind would be a better game I reckon, both because your changes fit the army themes better and because they address some of the worse imbalances in the game.

    But don't stop there, what about changes to the BRB....? Tell us, inquiring wants want to know.

  4. I sense just a LITTLE love for VC up there....wait, whose favorite army were they? ;)
    Anyway, just for the fun, I will add my 2 cents on WoC:
    Wizards do not have eye of the gods.
    New EotG chart: depends on your mark, khorne +1S, slaan +1A, nurgle +1 T, tzeench +1 ward save first time, then rerolls d3 dice that turn. If no mark, you choose one at random.
    Dragonogres have t5 and heavy armor, 60 points including weapons.
    Knight 33 points naked.
    Chosens 16 points including weapon, get bonus from EotG according to mark.
    Warshrine has bound spell, target unit gets a EotG bonus according to warshrine mark.
    Ogres 35 points with chaos armor and weapon.
    Mutalith spell has a 24" range. Rewrite the effect.
    Slaughterbrute gets master's WS and initiative, regen 5+, extra attacks have S7, if goes berserk just gets random movement.
    Demon prince is fine as he is ;)

  5. lol - I haven't event started wish-listing for VC, that may be a whole other blog in itself! :)