Monday, 24 June 2013

A Swedish Comp

Convic is coming up on the 13-14 July, and looks like being the largest Warhammer tournament in Victoria again this year. I took a long time to decide whether I was going to enter, as I have been making a bit of a point of distancing myself from tournaments this year. In the end I decided to go because there will be a lot of people travelling from interstate for the event, and it will be a good chance to catch up with some familiar faces.

Having finally decided to enter, I then needed to sort out an army list. My original plan was to avoid fielding anything really competitive, however after fiddling with a lot of different concepts I hadn't come up with a single one that I actually found entertaining. I decided it was easiest just to give up and field whatever I felt like, ignoring its potential to win games. I have not yet submitted my list, but I think I have settled on what I am going to use.

One of the factors in choosing a list was that Convic is using Swedish Comp. It's been discussed a lot in the community, however this will be the first time that I've attended an event that actually uses it. I am generally a supporter of panel comp due to the flexibility that it offers, however I can see advantages to Swedish Comp, especially if you don't think you can get together a reliable panel of comp judges (which can be very difficult).
He may not be a member of the Swedish comp panel, but the Swedish Chef looks like he's about to come down pretty hard on that Demigryph... Err, I mean chicken.
For those not familiar with Swedish Comp, it's a long and elaborate document that looks at everything in the game and tries to score everything in a balanced manner. Obviously this is an incredibly difficult thing, especially when you consider that something rather weak can get very good when used in the right combination. The pack tries to identify and target these things as well, but obviously it's never going to be perfect. For the record, here is what I think of Swedish Comp:
  • It's a transparent system that allows all players to see how lists will be scored in advance, and eliminates the danger of dummy spits when comp scores are revealed and the player doesn't get what he feels he is entitled to (whether merited or not).
  • The system is more flexible than hard caps, allowing a player to make concessions in one area (eg weak magic) in order to field something tougher elsewhere.
  • The scoring system allows a TO to set lower and upper boundaries on lists (Convic lists must be between 9.5 and 16.5 on the scale), removing the need to assess potential resubmissions of lists as they arrive (although legality checks might still be in order).
  • The scoring system appears to have been rigorously tested - it's not just the product of some mad guy with too much time on his hands and little contact with reality.
  • Swedish Comp is a fiddly, potentially confusing way to assess a list. It will take players time to get used to scoring lists using the system, and it will take time to score the lists for the event itself (although I have heard of some intelligent methods of crowd-sourcing the effort using other entrants).
  • The system is not infallible. In its quest to avoid potentially nasty combinations, the scores can lean very heavily on something that might really not be all that good. For instance, it goes berserk if you try to field too many flying units, or start making quite large regiments.
  • The pack is ultimately defined by a group of gamers on the other side of the world, who will have been playing in an environment that is different from yours, and the scores will be weighted accordingly.
  • You're at the mercy of the pack's designers when new army books come out. In this case we saw the new High Elf book emerge, and it took quite a long time for them to digest the changes and publish a draft pack. This is unavoidable, but can still pose problems.
  • As carefully balanced as it is, the system only claims to work for armies around 2400 points (give or take 200 points). For armies smaller than 2200 or larger than 2600, the designers have put up their hands and stated "that is not what the pack was designed for". It is also based on the assumption that you're playing the Battleline scenario, as it's the most straightforward way to work these things out. Other scenarios are not discouraged, but this has been noted as a word of warning.

Ultimately no clearly defined system can ever be as flexible as assessing each list on its merits. I think Swedish Comp is far from the worst way of scoring armies, and does a good job of encouraging more diverse lists than hard caps can do. It's a good middle road between panel comp and hard restrictions, but there is a lot of effort required, both in the development and testing of the system, and in ensuring that all armies are scored correctly.

If you want to download the Swedish Comp pack and have a look for yourself, you can find it here.

Anyway, on the subject of my own list, I found that the Swedish Comp pack tended to come down pretty hard on some of my more eccentric concepts (like the Royal Airforce with 2 Griffons and a supporting cast of Pegasus riders, despite my entire Lord section being a terrible liability and having no magic). I don't really blame the system - I understand what they're trying to achieve, even if potentially silly lists suffer as a result. This probably affected my enthusiasm for doing something silly, and resulted in my relatively sensible list. I am going to enter the following:
  • Empire General on Griffon with Full Plate Armour, Shield, Great Weapon, Dragonhelm, Ironcurse Icon, Bloodroar
  • Wizard Lord (Level 4, Lore of Light)
  • Captain on Barded Steed with Battle Standard, Full Plate Armour, Shield, Sword of Might, Talisman of Endurance
  • Luthor Huss (fancy-pants mounted Warrior Priest)
  • Wizard (Level 1, Lore of Metal) with Dispel Scroll
  • 27 Swordsmen with Full Command
    • Detachment of 5 Archers
  • 12 Inner Circle Knights with Full Command, Steel Standard
  • 28 Flagellants
  • 4 Demigryphs with Standard, Musician, Banner of Swiftness
  • Steam Tank
Swedish Comp Score: 12.5 (assuming I got that right)

In related news, there will be 2 of us using elements of my Empire army at Convic. It looks like we'll both be using Flagellants, and at the moment there are not enough to go around. Guess I have some converting and painting to do...


  1. Don't you always have some painting and converting to do.....?

    On Swedish comp, I've not had the chance to use it, but look forward to doing so. I like the idea that anything can be taken, but that the best options are marked down. Anything that encourages more Slayers, Gorgers, Verminlords and Carnosaur Oldbloods should be applauded.

    1. I do always seem to have painting and converting to do. Clearly I am doing something wrong...