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Category: Moocon

Tournament Clash 2012

Tonight….on Tournament Watch…. nah just kiddin’, cool music though eh?

This post is about the recent scheduling clashes that have been caused by the ever increasing number of tournaments in Ireland. The question is however; could they have been avoided?
Let’s see.
The focus, of course, has to fall first on the plight of Q-Con, in my opinion, one of the best run conventions of any sort in the gaming scene. I use the term, plight, simply because this is the second year running that this event has found itself clashing with events run elsewhere in Ireland.
It might be fairer to say that they have clashed with it, of course; it has run at the same time of the year for 18 years now whereas the events clashing with it have less history.
Last year, Q-Con 2011 was on the 25th and 26th of June, the same weekend as Conclave Summer Event.
Now, this year, it appears that Q-Con 2012 (22nd-24th June this time) will clash with the Irish Masters. That event, which has invited the top 16 players in the country to attend, means that when coupled with the two players helping organise the event, there will be a total of 18 of the best players in the country missing this well run competition.
Put on top of that, is the fact that MooFool, the latest in a series of new events in Cork, will run on the same weekend as Retcon, UCD’s Annual Gaming Event. Retcon, also in its 18th year of running, will be scratching its head as to why this new event has decided to run on the same weekend, just two hours away in the city of Cork.
So let’s have a look and see if this could have been avoided:

After the Irish gaming community starting participating more in the European scene and with the advent of the Rankings system for Ireland the number of tournaments in Ireland has increased significantly. However looking at the table above (courtesy of RankingsHQ) we can see that there are still more than a few months left in the gaming calendar with only one (October, June and December) or two events (July, August, September, November and January).
In fact, Q-Con was traditionally the only major event around June. Now it clashes with the Irish Masters. Equally, March has had only one other event apart from Retcon, Itzacon VIII.
From that evidence, it is indeed perplexing as to why newer events would clash with already established events.
Conspiracy theory?

Or is it more symptomatic of a gaming scene that doesn’t communicate and organise effectively within itself?

I can’t be sure myself since I’m not heavily involved in organising these events but I thought it interesting that it’s an increasing phenomenon rather than a decreasing one (which one might have thought since the gaming scene is becoming better known to all gamers.) and I wonder what our gaming public think?

EDIT: The most excellent organisers of the Irish Masters have moved it to the weekend of the 30th June/1st July. Hooray.

Moocon 4 vs Dominion Day 5

We look today at the shape of the Irish tournament scene at the 1000 point level. A recent development, it is heavily comped with most tournaments using the Highlander format. On a technical note, while only battle points are used for the D-Day tournament, it was not possible to strip out those details for Moocon.

We’ve got two largely distinct populations of players here, the first is Munster-based and the second is Ulster-based. Barring some travelling Leinster players, there is little overlap. Hopefully, the upcoming K-Con will provide similar data for the Leinster scene. It is interesting to see that random chat with my local gamers as to the army breakdown of the Ulster scene was unerringly accurate while similar chatter on the Munster scene proved only half-right.

Bear in mind as you read, that no judgements are being made (anymore) as to the strength of individual books. When we mention Necrons doing well, think of it as meaning Necron lists as they are currently being played. The player is always a factor but the exercise is still useful in highlighting the relative standing of each faction.

Now, on to the pictures.

Welcome to Cark. Reports from the front suggested that this was a Grey Knight-heavy tournament but the actual figures show that, while popular, their presence was lower than at previous tournaments. In fact, we see the widest range of codexes in any tournament since we started keeping careful tabs. With fourteen distinct army types, almost all factions are represented and the tournament is the most overtly diverse that this series has covered to date. That would be a good thing.
Five armies perform strongly at Moocon and they are a mix of old and new. The most modern books; Grey Knights, Dark Eldar and Necrons all do well. But a quick glance at the names involved will suggest that player skill is a factor. Amongst older armies, Tau and Chaos prove to be effective. The remainder must make do with less than their share. At a glance, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Eldar, Space Marines, Imperial Guard and Tyranids are down.
The Dark Eldar do very well again. In Ireland, this is clearly a great codex being played by great players. The codex itself has a great of variety within it which suits it to the Highlander format. We see the similar Grey Knights and Necrons codexes do well. And we also see a strong showing by the Tau and Chaos, both of which had been theory-hammered as having great potential within this format. The Eldar have an unhappy time of it and Space Wolves appear to have suffered something of a brain drain as top ranking players abandon the codex.
Dominion Day
Once more, Grey Knights are amongst the most popular choices but the Northern scene appears to be the true home of the 3+ save. Loyalist marines make up 61% of the army lists. The Orks also appear to breeding in the region with another strong showing. Aside from those features, we also have a decent mix of armies with eleven distinct codexes being played on the day.
After some shaky recent performances, Grey Knights do well again, suggesting they like the format. They are joined by Necrons, Orks, Space Wolves and Sisters of Battle. The biggest losers are the Space Marines, Eldar and Imperial Guard. But for actual averages, we turn to the big orange graph.
The Eldar come in solidly last, which is identical to the Moocon results. Space Marines also do poorly, as was the case in every tournament covered thus far. The high scoring Sisters of Battle are interesting, their first appearance at the level is strong but as it’s based on the score of a single player, it shouldn’t be considered a trend. We see that Space Wolves appear to be stronger in the Northern scene and Guard equally…. average in both areas.
In the next couple of weeks, we might break out a full review of the 2011 season focusing solely on the highest ranking lists to see whose year it really was.

The Highlander Format

The Highlander format, being used at Moocon, is familiar to Warmahordes players but new to 40k players. Players outside Cork are operating under a double disadvantage, being equally unfamiliar with the format but also with the points level. 1000 points is something of a strange beast. The points level appears quite popular with Cork-based gamers but is relatively uncommon elsewhere. But 40k is 40k and the previous tournament results show that better players still finish above the herd regardless.

There are positives and negatives to the format. It allows no duplication of units, even if they are differently equipped. The main positive would be that this reduces the possibility of losing by match-up. You won’t be caught off-guard by an all-Land Raider list and crushed under their treads. All lists involved will have a certain organic balance. The main negative would be that it increases the influence of luck on any particular game. With less redundancy, the possibility for a single miss to have a fatal impact increases.
The last Moocon’s results don’t tell us much now that the format has changed. The usual suspects win out in Dark Eldar and Space Wolves but there is an oddity in the performance of the Chaos Marine codex. It seems to have performed well above expectations and I suspect it could do so again. With a limited number of codexes on hand, I’ve thrown together some sample lists to try and get a feel for the system.

The Chaos Codex seems to have a certain edge in its troops section but FOC limitations make it difficult to fully utilise, without sacrificing your best units. The Fast Attack section, in particular is simply an annoyance. But I believe the Lash Daemon Prince becomes a real terror at this points level, this will be enhanced by the lack of vehicles.

HQ: Daemon Prince (Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission)
Elite: 3 Terminators (3 Combi-meltas w/Land Raider)
Troops: 5 Khorne Beserkers (Skull Champion, Powerfist)
Troops: 5 Plague Marines w/Rhino
Heavy Support: 3 Obliterators

Black Templars
I know, I know. Footsloggers are goosed. But you’re a BT player, all you have is hope and an abundance of storm shields. Why not play to those strengths? Play it fluff style.

HQ: Emperor’s Champion (Accept any challenge)
HQ: Marshall (Powerfist, Storm Shield, teleport homer)
Elites: 10 Assault Terminators
Troops: 10 Initiates (Meltagun)
Troops: 10 Initiates (Multimelta)
Here’s a strange one, using a quirk from the heavy support section. With smaller boards, the enemy has nowhere to run. One well placed Jaws will still ruin your day.

HQ: Tyranid Prime (Pair of Boneswords)
Elites: 2 Venomthropes
Troops: 12 Termagaunts
Troops: Tervigon (Catalyst, Toxin Sacs)
Heavy Support: 3 Carnifexes (Heavy Venom Cannon)

Space Wolves
And a staple of the tournament scene. The Highlander version is merely a mini-ETC list with the usual focus on shooting, a lot.

HQ: Rune Priest (Chooser, Hurricane, Lightning)
Elite: Dread (TL Autocannon x2)
Elite: Ven Dread (TL Autocannon x2)
Troops: 10 Grey Hunters (Melta x 2, Power Fist, Standard, Rhino)
Troops: 5 Blood Claws (TL Lasback)
Fast Attack: Land Speeder (Multi-melta, Heavy Flamer)
Heavy Support: 6 Long Fangs (4 Missiles, 1 Heavy Bolter)

Imperial Guard

This one is mostly stolen but awesome. Multiple vehicle types, spread over multiple FOC slots. The Guard are going to lay down some hurt.
HQ: Company Command Squad (3 Meltaguns)
Elites: Psyker Battle Squad (Chimera, 1 Extra Psyker)
Troops: Veteran Squad (3 Plasmaguns, Lascannon)
Troops: Penal Legion Squad
Fast Attack: Vendetta (Heavy Bolters)
Fast Attack: Banewolf
Heavy Support: 2 Hydras
Heavy Support: Manticore

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