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Category: Rankings

Rankings HQ: Bait and Switch

Today, I was not very surprised to hear that Rankings HQ are switching to a fee-based system. I won’t replicate the entire letter here but it runs some like “case for sympathy, blah, blah, if you don’t find a sponsor for your national rankings, then each player must pay a $12 fee, blah, blah, hard regrettable decision”. It’s the classic bait and switch gambit that, let’s be honest, we were warned would happen when the decision was made to go with Rankings HQ.

I’m curious as to whether an alternative Irish rankings system will be created, some poor sucker convinced to sponsor the Irish page or whether it’ll mark the death-knell of the rankings system. I’m leaning towards the latter. It was originally intended to be a fair method of ETC team selection (despite claims otherwise) in a charged atmosphere. It’s fair to say that a lot of the heat has gone out of the selection process over time and this year, some captains are more likely to be troubled by a lack of potential players rather than an abundance of volunteers.

There is the possibility of a retailer taking the hit and sponsoring the page but I suspect that it will be hard to justify the cost as it’s not exactly going to boost their profile or sales. I’ve seen several other ranking systems sputter and die which suggests that a home-grown system might not succeed.

Personally, I’m now a staunch convert to the “rankings are evil” camp and will be hoping that this will prove a badly needed death-blow which will end the era of the rankings and let us all return to happy, simpler times.

The War on Two Fronts

So the North Down Gamer’s Hub up in Northern Ireland has run a couple of ranking tournaments recently for both Warhammer 40,000 and WHFB. We decided to catch up with Tom O’Reilly from Unite All Action to see what makes the North Down Gamers tick. Below we’ve included a few shots from last weekend’s tournament as well where Chris Britton (Warheads) grabbed first place and David McHugh (Warheads) nabbed third with their Grey Knights and Orks respectively.

3rd Place David ‘Jiggy’ McHugh (on the right) with Team Northern Ireland Captain Jonny Fisher (left).

Tournament winner Chris’ Grey Knights dominated the day.


We caught up with tournament organiser and NDGH member Tom O’Reilly for a few questions after the event and interspersed it with some pretty pictures:

War Altar: Hi Tom, hope you’re not too exhausted after the weekend?

Tom O’Reilly: No still plenty of energy 😉

WA: This is the 2nd ranking event you (The North Down Gamer’s Hub) have run this year, will we be seeing more in the future?

TO’R: I think for us we are still trying to find our feet, but yes we hope to do regular events on a monthly basis.

#David Attenborough voice: “The…wild Ork stalks a Rhino as its prey. A feast of this magnitude will surely get his Ork mistress off his back for at least an hour and a half.”

WA: This was a real club effort to get these events off the ground but some good advertising and smoothly run events seem to draw a returning crowd, what made your club want to get into running ranking events?

TO’R: Well that’s just that were not a gaming club as such, it’s mainly just a couple of guys that were inspired by other local events that we attended. And we thought we could do something very similar, and for me it was just an extension of my hobby.

The nibbles

WA: Once you start hitting numbers are the events going to become more than just one day or are one-day events what make running tournaments so plausible in quick succession?

TO’R: Ultimately you have to get the feeling on what gamers want, that’s first and foremost so 2 day tournaments is probably the way we will go at some stage, but like anything you can not take it for granted that you will be guaranteed to get people back.

North Down’s Michael Brough, a tough opponent with a great eye for painting. You may remember the name from his Sisters of Battle taking on my Imperial Guard way back during Round 1 of Q-Con last year.
 The trophies 

WA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Tom and congratulations on another well run event.
TO’R: That’s not a problem and we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that has made it so worthwhile to date, we certainly do the easy bit by organising the day to be as much fun as physically possible. But it’s the gamers out there locally that really do make it so worthwhile when you see them travelling as far as Dublin and Derry, to have a good day out, meeting new people and rolling some dice, after all that’s the number one rule; it’s all about having fun. So once again a big thank you to everyone.

“Hey can you guys tell me what way to the objective?”

 “Over there!”

Congratulations to Recent Warheads addition Pat came 5th with his Tyranids!

That’s all for this time folks thanks again to Tom for the brief interview and the photos and congratulations once again to everyone who attended especially tournament winner Chris (Warheads), 2nd place Jonny (NW) and 3rd place David (Warheads). Do take the time to visit the NDGH’s Facebook page and, if you haven’t already, the War Altar’s Facebook page =D

– Joey

All photos courtesy of NDGH, used with permission.

Irish Warmahordes Faction Rankings

While we wait for the Retcon/Moofool results to wind their way onto Ranking HQ, we briefly consider the newly founded Warmahorde rankings. To those weaned on Ranking HQ, this system is very different. The various factions and casters are ranked, no details on individual players are available. The Warmahordes players have consciously avoided a player-centred ranking system, largely based on their unease at its impact on Warhammer 40k and Fantasy tournament scene.

The system is very much in the teething stages with less than a handful of tournaments submitted. Each new event will cause some major shifts but, for now, let’s just examine the state of play. We disregard the Mercenary faction as they have yet to be played.

1st Place

The barbaric and backwards Trollbloods finish top of the faction rankings with a win ratio of 87.5%. Their casters all perform well. Prime Grissel leads them with a 3 for 3 record. Borka has the dubious honour of being the only Troll caster to lose a game, going 2 for 3. With a total of eight games played, they are the least used faction in this ranking period.

2nd Place

Lagging well behind the leaders, the twisted Legion of Everblight have a solid win ratio of 71.43%. Everblight’s draconian rage should be focused on Epic Lylyth and her shoddy 0 for 2 record. The blighted poster-children are Bethanye and Kallus, each on 3 for 3. Their position is impressive as they are joint fifth, with Skorne, in popularity. Fourteen games played in the period.

3rd Place

The righteous, just and godly Protectorate of Menoth have a respectable 60% win ratio. The perfectly rounded number reflects Menoth’s divine influence. That it is not 100% is clearly due to a lack of faith on the part of the Menite players. Thyra leads the congretion with a 2 for 2 record. The ever popular Prime Kroess is the shakiest caster on 2 for 4. They are still an uncommon faction, sixth favourite with ten games played.

Not On The Podium

Those desert rats, Skorne, are close behind on a win ratio of 57.14%. Rasheth and Epic Makeda are the two main casters with a combined record of 7 for 10. They find themselves tied with Legion as the fifth most popular faction, on fourteen games.

Poxy Druids, what have they ever done for us? They ruin the roads, block the drains,burn your schools and warp our cattle. For all their efforts, Circle has a 55.56% win ratio. Morvahna is, by far, the most popular choice running 3 for 5 in her games. A rare faction, joint seventh on nine games.

Those genocidal, sectarian fascists, Cygnar sit on a 47.62% win ratio. May it slump further. Epic Caine is their only strong performer, going 2 for 2. His struggles can’t compensate for Siege, who goes 2 for 7. Despite their reputation as under-powered in tournament play, they are the second most popular faction with 21 games played.

The humble and gentle animal faction, Minions, have a symetrical win ratio of 44.44%. Most of their casters are winning half their games with Sturm and Drang dragging the average down on 0 for 2. Another rarity, joint seventh in popularity on 9 games

The Retribution of Scyrah. They may be a doomed race but they’re determined to get a few hits in as they’re dragged towards the door. They’re just not hitting hard enough, a win ratio of 41.18%. Even their most popular caster, Rahn, is running 4 for 9. Another common choice, Ossyan is doing terribly on 0 for 4. Third in popularity with seventeen games played.

This is a surprise as Cryx is seen as one of the strongest factions. But they slump to a 34.78% win ratio. Some of the strongest casters, in theory, come in very low. Epic Skarre is 0 for 1, Epic Deneghra is 1 for 3. They can take some consolation from the fact that they are the most popular faction with 23 games played in total.

Regrettably, Khador appear to have replaced Cygnar as the whipping boys of the Iron Kingdom with a win ration of 26.67%. Strakhov fights bravely and manages to go 2 for 2. But some of the remaining casters are starting to look like traitors. Karchev, Prime Butcher, Prime Irusk, Prime Sorcha and Epic Sorcha have a combined record of 0 for 9. The fourth most popular faction with 15 games played.

For more detail on all casters and factions, the full rankings are available here.

The 40k Ranking Vote

Hey all,

as many of you are aware there is a pretty important vote currently on how Ranking events should be ranked, i.e. what criteria should they match.
Jonny Fisher in another thread summed up his views on why the voting has become so geographical between the three proposals and I think this view represents a view possibly held by more than just Mr. Fisher in the 40k scene here in Ireland:

People might also notice that the voting is pretty much following lines of geography, with players from Dublin and further north voting for Bristolscale7, and players from the south and west voting for Floody. Why might this be?
Well here’s my theory:
The tournaments in NI and Dublin, are generally cheaper and better organised than those in the south and west, which get higher attendances. Go to any event and you’ll find a bunch of Dubs and Nordies, as for the Cork, Galway and Limerick crowd, not so much.
Currently you’re pretty much forced to go to the big events if you want to do well in the rankings. I think that players in the south and west are worried that if Bristolscale7’s proposal wins, that the greater number of fully ranked events will have a detrimental effect on attendances at their own events. If players had a greater choice in which fully pointed events to attend, there’s a risk that they might choose to go to the better organised ones, and not just the ones that have been traditionally bigger.

So vote for Bristolscale7 and a level playing field (with adequate terrain of course)!

– Jonny Fisher

To see this view in context and the subsequent rebuttles from those with differing views see the original thread here.

Astute readers may notice the strange title to this thread:

named so because of what Padraic O’Confhaola claims is misleading canvassing on behalf of one of the proposals creators, Richard Flood of the Warheads and ETC Warhammer 40,000 Captain 2011 for Ireland.

It should be noted that this is a time of change for the 40k ranking scene (still relatively young in Ireland) so while it may look like all parties disagree, most agree on the broader points of each proposed ranking system and differ only slightly in their views of ranking events.

Rankings Updated

And the Irish tournament season draws to a close with Retcon in UCD this weekend. Here are the final standings on RHQ hot off the presses.

Many congratulations to the top 20 players! It was the hardest fought year since 40k started being played competitively in Ireland and it’s great to see such close competitive play!

What does this mean for the ETC team selection? Well, the Captain (Richard Flood of Cork) now offers places to the players and they state if they want to be on the team. So watch closely and we should hear whom they are soon.


Regarding the Current Irish Meta…

So bit of a Friday night post here on the eve when Ireland has ousted its current government in favour of another crowd of gobsheens.

But our attention is on much more important things; The Irish Wargaming Meta.

Ireland is unique from other countries in its wargaming meta. Our players tend to be well researched, coordinated in small clubs, scattered throughout the country and, with very few wargaming only events in the country, tend only to meet at University conventions or independent conventions that have wargames tournaments. Quite unlike Ireland’s competitors at the ETC and Home Nations events who’s countries tend to be characterised by massive wargaming events, Games Workshop Games Days, GTs, Independent Wargames Events and national retailers of wargames that are internationally known.

So then it is no surprise that these aspects impact on the Irish Wargaming Meta.

Having so few members in clubs, as seen in the figure below of the current clubs in Ireland that are on the 40k rankings table on Rankings HQ., tends to result in a wide spread of codexes being used with some clubs (WAC and Warheads notably) sharing member’s armies between themselves.

This has its good points of course, learning your own army and sticking to it leads to a familiarity of what you, as a player, can achieve with the tools at your disposal. You know your models’ capabilities and their ranges on a 6’x4′ table to near perfection.

The drawbacks are less obvious to those who may not play in tournaments frequently. Not using other codexes and trying new things can lead to stagnation of the playing environment. It can also result in unfavourable results at tournaments due to not understanding your opponent’s potential with the tools at his/her (Hi Rachael) disposal.

But this is what Ireland has to take to the International field with. Highly experienced, motivated players who are knowledgeable not only in the rules of the game, but their competency as a player and their army.

Now onto our meta.

The armies most typically seen at the top tables are similar to those in other countries;

Imperial Guard

Space Wolves


After which the spread varies somewhat from the typical, Tyranids, Storm Raven Blood Angels, Eldar, Witch Hunters, Dark Eldar etc. (interesting to note that Daemons are the top army in the United Kingdom and are barely represented in our top 20…).

The Imperial Guard list (the top general for this codex being Tristram Hills of the Warheads) tends to feature all of the typical ‘Leafblower’ elements most Imperial Guard lists have:

Command Squad in Chimera, 4xPlasmas, additional officers

A wing of Vendettas

Veterans in Chimeras or mounted in Vendettas

LR Executioner, sponsons


Hydra Squadron

An effective mixture which has lead Hills to victory in two of the smaller Irish tournaments and high placings in other Irish tournaments.

This list will surely see a place on the Irish ETC Team in the coming 6 months (last year it saw use by Kildare’s finest, Cian O’Dowd of the Naas Wargames Fraternity).

The Space Wolves have their best general in the form of Mervyn Murphy (who’s blog you can catch here) of the Wargames Association of Cork. Again we see the international wargames scene’s effect with these top lists in their similarity to tournament winning lists using the same codex the world over.

A Rune Priest with Jaws and Lightning/Storm Caller/Tempest’s Wrath and a Chooser of the Slain

Grey Hunters in rhinos/razorbacks with a wolf guard

Space Wolf Scouts

Long Fangs

Thunderwolf Cavalry
(not all of these units appear in Mervyn’s lists but these are the units commonly seen sported by other Wolf players on the Irish scene, John Stowe [Dublin Games Guild], Philip (sexy gypsie) Johnston [Dublin Games Guild], Ken Chambers [Unaffiliated to this author’s knowledge], James Jennings [Lisburn Gaming Club])

This is a strong list which, due to its auto trumping of some lists (Tyranids) and ability to hold a draw against tough lists (Imperial Guard) will probably have a likely spot on the ETC Team for Ireland also although it was not represented on last year’s team.

Next up, Orks. Brian McKenzie (Warheads) leads the Waaaaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhhh!!!!! for the Orks this year as their top general in Ireland and a well earned title it is. Brian is (ironically) the prototypical Irish Wargamer; he knows his army well and understands his limits, he is the only Ork player in his club and is well versed in tournament play. Even with the small number of showings at tournaments these traits shine through as McKenzie’s record is impressive with this codex. His prototypical Ork list tends to revolve around a theme of:

Big Mek, KFF











and a squadron of Warbuggies just to give him that edge when turn 5 flat out contesting is required.

This is a strong list and was represented last year by the Wargames Association of Cork’s Jimmy Murphy, and should see a place on this year’s team.

The less typical lists tend to revolve around similar principles to the above lists, hard hitting shooting combined with codex specific nifty tricks or survivable close combat elements that harass and intimidate the enemy from early in the game.

Tyranids for instance revolve around survivability, massive attritional capability with Tervigon spawning and effective shooting against mechanised armies.

Witch Hunters combine high strength, low ap shooting to deal with mech, and template weapons and massed potentially AP1 bolter fire to deal with enemy scoring units along with some nifty tricks for regrouping while falling back from close combat using faith points. In the hands of a good general these ladies can do damage and I have good ideas for them for the ETC so hopefully they’ll have a place like the one they earned under Darragh Cullen of the Dublin Games Guild who brought the ladies to Cardiff last year and also to Germany for the ETC.

Barra MacNiocaill (Warheads) and Pearce Condren (Dublin Games Guild) are both in the top 20 in Ireland using a Storm Raven based Blood Angel list. The list tends to revolve around hard hitting assault units, fast, delicate delivery systems and fast moving scoring units to win its games and it’s an effective combination. Seemingly only hampered by its inability to deliver killing blows early on the game when not going first.

Eldar are up there, and so they should be since their generals is one of the most dangerous players on the island, Michael Tangney of the Dublin Games Guild. If any one man could be given the credit for Ireland Home Nations Victory last year in Cardiff it would have to be Mike for his impossible victories and steadfast draws under the most difficult conditions against some of the toughest matchups possible. His list features all the typical gypsie units required to completely brainmelt your opponent, minimum troops bikes, council in transport, AT, epic survivability and last minute contention to seal crucial victory points.

Chaos Space Marines are still on the scene, and strong too with five Chaos players in the top 30 of the Irish rankings. Each of these lists tends to have a recurring theme of OBLITS OBLITS OBLITS.

There are many aspects of the Irish Gaming community which are closely knit together also, recently a Black Templar ‘Crusade’ has been launched on Ireland by quite a few players high up in the rankings from different clubs. I personally have had a great time being helped along the way by those greats I’ve met from other clubs who shared their experience and knowledge with me to help me improve my game.

The major clubs communicate regularly and a great sense of camaraderie has developed between players (especially after Ireland’s entry into the national circuit as a team). Ironic then that this post is being made at a time when Irish Warhammer Fantasy seems to be suffering a schism of sorts after the 2010/2011 tournament season.

Let’s hope our prosperity continues well into the future and that Ireland can improve its international reputation on the wargaming front this year by hosting the Home Nations and by attending the ETC in Switzerland.

I hope this letter has shown those new to our scene some of its nuances and to those veterans, brought back some good memories of the past 12 months.

Bua nó bás,


Irish Rankings Updated

Well the rankings have been updated since Warpcon last month, read more below to find out exactly how.

Click for full-sized image.

Some movement among the top 20, notably Oisín McCormack dropping ten places to 18th by missing the biggest 40k tournament in the country. Oisín moved to Spain a while back and will be unable to make 40k events much in the forseeable future, a real shame considering what a talent he was.

Also dropping a few spots is ETC Captain, Mr. Richard Flood who is guaranteed a spot on the ETC Irish Team. Although guaranteed a spot on the team this hasn’t stopped ‘Floody’ from competitively attending every tournament he can (including next weekend’s Dominion Day in Northern Ireland), this time however he dropped some places due to his participation as a judge for Warpcon wargames.

Up a whopping 21 places to 17th is Northern Ireland’s 40K ETC Captain, Jonny Fisher with his newfound love for Imperial Guard, while always good to see a fellow Ulsterman do well it’s a shame he’s given up on that beautiful Chaos list of his. It’s also impressive to see the massive effort made by the Northern Wasters to come to Cork to support their Munster brethren, it’s a seriously long trip they had to make by Karl Windle, Darrell Dobbin, Jonny and the rest of the crew.

Up 14 places is Pearce Condren, a young man I met back in the days when I played Deathwing (ironic) and who has come on as a very talented player recently, apparently gypsied by John Stowe at the last hurdle. Is that right John? 😉

Amongst the top ten there was a little shuffling but nothing major apart from Mike Tangney’s jump up 5 places to 6th, the only new entrant into the top ten with the update of this tournament.

It’s looking to be an interesting table with lots of potential as we go into the 2nd half of the Irish gaming season.

Next up, Dominion Day, and tea and coffee 🙂


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