PDA

View Full Version : On Winning Tournaments...



Dranthar
18-01-2010, 07:37
How do you win a tournament?

No seriously... :D

I've been a semi-regular attendee of the local WHFB tournament scene for some years now, even running a few events myself. I tend to regularly place in the top 1/3rd but I can never seem to get the wins in against the top players to place much higher.

So this year, I thought I'd set myself the goal of actually winning a tournament, and amongst other things I thought I'd get a discussion going here about this, as well as possibly find some articles/podcasts etc on the subject.

So, to start with I thought I'd jot down some notes to get the ball rolling...

1. Know your rules, as well as the rules of every other army you might face.
Not knowing that a model might be immune to your flamming attacks, or what your opponents spells do could potentially lose you the game.

2. Make sure your army is as well painted as you can make it.
Not everyone is a golden-daemon quality painter, but making sure that you get all the points you can (such as for display bases, highlighting, centre pieces etc) can ensure your ranking isn't compromised by a half-arsed paint job.

3. Be able to math-hammer possible combats/shooting attacks etc relatively quickly.
Can your Goblins last a round of combat vs. those White Lions? Knowing things like this allows you to make smarter decisions in-game.

4. Play your army as much as you can.
Sort of an extension of 1 and 3 - this helps you understand exactly what your own army's capabilities are.

5. If things go badly, don't take it to heart, and don't just give up!
This is related to avoiding poor sportsmanship scores, but also if you start mentally just giving up, you're going to start making more mistakes that could turn a minor loss into a major one, or even deny you any chance of victory that you might have still had.

6. Each loss is a lesson to learn from.
It's true that you learn more from losing games than winning. Whenever you lose a game, make sure you know exactly WHY you lost. Did your opponent expose a weakness in your army or did you make a critical mistake yourself? Were certain units not performing their job, or perhaps your deployment was flawed to start with?

That's all that come to mind right now.

CaptScott
18-01-2010, 07:41
Take an army that causes fear and/or is unbreakable. They always seem to place well. As for better tips, well with my tourney record....

Razakel
18-01-2010, 07:41
The biggest thing in my mind is the army you play, while it is certainly possible to win against every army with every other army. There are certain builds against which you will have almost no chance. A few years ago I won a fairly big tournament in my local city (about 70 or so players) and I have no doubt that if I tried to recreate the experience I would be in for a serious surprise.

Dwarfs just aren't what they used to be with the new Daemons/Dark Elves/Vampire Counts, start one of these armies if you REALLY want to win a tournament. Though you'll have to design your army around WAAC which isn't really fun and detracts from the game in my opinion.

It saddens me that this is the biggest factor and I wish you the best of luck on winning your tournament.

Dranthar
18-01-2010, 08:02
Take an army that causes fear and/or is unbreakable. They always seem to place well.

The biggest thing in my mind is the army you play,

I certainly can't deny that some armies are going to have a much tougher time placing highly than others. However, I'm still going to be stubborn and try to win a tournament with my goblin army. :rolleyes: Last year I used my goblins in a smaller invite-only event (so the players were of a higher quality) and placed 6th out of 16 (~top 38%). The event used a 'tier system', where armies of equivalent power levels faced each other for the first half of the event (this system will likely be used in most/all other tournaments I attend this year).

Using goblins is definitely going to be an uphill battle, but my showing at last years tournament is encouraging. I'll also learn alot more from using my Goblins than my Vampire Counts, which should make me a much better player too.

BigbyWolf
18-01-2010, 08:53
However, I'm still going to be stubborn and try to win a tournament with my goblin army. :rolleyes:

Better take a BSB with the Bad Moon Banner then...;)

tw1386
18-01-2010, 09:02
I'm sorry but the armies thing is hogwash. Warseer is notoriously bad for whing about "broken" armies and constantly go on about the tiers,and how such and such tiers or army lists stand no chance. In the houston area scene most tournaments are won by a huge variety of armies, not just the top 3

In Comp scored tournaments everything is pretty much even. Anyways back on topic.

This one kind of ties in with number 4 but know your opponents, not just the armies but the players behind them. Every player his or her on unique style of play and how they strategize. In the local scene this isn't too hard to do, but once you start traveling it's impossible.

Next, wear your lucky talismans!

That's all I can really think of at the moment besides practice, practice, practice!

xragg
18-01-2010, 09:55
Three main things seperate a tourney winner from a someone who routinely finishes in the upper echelon.

#1 You cant just play to win. You must play to massacre (in a 3 round event, 5 rounds are far different). Even for a tourney of 20ish, the 3rd round will pair off at least 2 ppl who massacred both their first games. If you want to win, you need to take chances, be aggressive, and not settle for a minor/draw. I am not saying to play reckless, just not too conservative. If you just want to finish near the top, conservative play is acceptable.

#2 Bonus points. Dont forget them. So many people dont think about them until the game is over and they are tallying up points. Those few extra points are crucial for breaking ties and sometimes make up for just missing a massacre and getting a solid.

#3 Luck. You cant control this. Be it the dice gods, who you get paired against the first round, who the rock to your scissors gets matched up against the first round, some things you just cant control. If it was Averagehammer*, you could accurately predict the tourney winner, but then the game would also be pretty boring.

*A term my friend made up cause he swears his dice roll bad at inopportune times and roll good when it doesnt matter. He talks about playing the game without dice and just using what the dice result should be by average, hence averagehammer.

CaptScott
18-01-2010, 10:10
#1 You cant just play to win. You must play to massacre

Good point. Perhaps this is why fear causing armies tend to do better at tourneys. Being able to auto-break opponents quickly makes it easier to achieve a massacre. If it takes you a few turns to break an opponent then you won't have time to mop up the rest, and therefore getting lower battle points.

On this note I guess its important to use units that can break and destroy your opponent quickly. If its not fear and outnumbering then perhaps fast cav to sneak behind combats to make sure any fleeing units are destroyed.

kris.sherriff
18-01-2010, 11:59
On the other hand over a longer event being able to recognize a bad match up and ensuring that you get everything you can from it.
There is no point pushing a game if you are going to leave yourself in a bad position just because you may get lucky.

Kris

rtunian
18-01-2010, 14:14
#3 Luck.
amen. if you want to win tournaments, start rolling 6's and don't stop. ever! rabbit's feet, four leaf clovers, baby leprechaun ears, these and many more luck enhancing trinkets can really turn the tide in your favor! i also recommend using several of your level ups to increase your luck stat. but if you really want to seal the deal, think about mortgaging your soul

sure, "being prepared" is a good start, and "being a good general" will help you along the way, but ultimately, if you roll like crap, there's nothing that will save you.

alternatively, you can change your focus and instead of playing to win the top prize, you can play to win an enjoyable afternoon playing warhammer instead of doing chores for nagging spouse, working a job you hate, or fighting in a war.

:p

fubukii
18-01-2010, 19:53
having won a few tournaments myself, Preplanning is a big step towards winning each round with as many points as possible and doing well overal.

Read your mission at least twice, Figure out the best way to nap bonus points and how to deal with the enemies threat and how to use terrain to your advantage. Try to avoid unfavorable match ups.

Have a plan for whatever he can do before he does it, and a back up plan if that fails.

enygma7
18-01-2010, 21:45
Well, actual ability to play the game is very important :) I state this rather obvious point because what you mostly hear on internet forums are talk about lists and builds. I've beaten many people at tournis who thought a bent build would get them through but who lacked any actual understanding of good tactics - if you typically rely on extreme builds you won't develope a good playing style. So plenty of practice with "soft" armies and builds is recommended, preferably against good opponents who you can learn from. The truely dangerous tourniment players in my experience are those who combine a bent build with actual ability.

Also, I'd recommend playing a reliable army. Armies like skaven can be strong but also can be highly luck dependent. To win a tourni you need to be able to win consistently over a number of games. Similarly, as you need to win big I'd recommend an aggressive combat army as the best way to reliably achieve massacres.

Finally, don't get too invested in the result. You can't win them all and it is better to have fun losing and learn in order to come back another day than get into a WAAC mentality.

SilverWarlock
18-01-2010, 21:59
First of all I havent seen tourny play in a couple years so my advice does not apply to current armies. On the other hand I was a regular winner (especially best general if not overall, my painting isn't stellar).

1. Know every army in the very best detail, I tended to know the opposing army FAQ and rulebook better than the opponents (sadly it docks you sports sometimes because people dislike being taught about their own army :/ ).

2. If you have sports scored by the opponent, try to massacre "accidentally" rather than systematically destroying their hopes and dreams. This is especially important in the first round or two while kicking around softer players.

3. Don't take an extremely hard list if there is a comp score. The army can be hard, but not the FOTM silly list (say 2 hydras and dragon for DE). A hard list with decent comp can still get straight massacres.

4. Take a reliable army. Things with great potential and a 70% chance of failure will fail once per tournament. Most if not all armies can be made reliable, I would however avoid things like gateway lists, doomwheels, the dreaded 13th etc that are gambles.

5. The corollary of 1 is that if you have a rogue list (as in, far from the beaten paths) people might not realize what is happening until it is too late. For example I played a BoC list with mounted demonettes, a DP and 2 giants, people thought they could shoot it all up until they realized the army was so small it stayed hidden and they couldn't get LOS.

6. Take an army that massacres. If an enemy thinks he has no hope and tries to force a draw or save from a massacre you have to have the speed/range to hunt down those points.

7. Don't forget extra points, especially when they are tie breakers. I have had a scenario with "point for the unit closest to the center" and landed my 600+ point DP into a unit of MDs on the last turn from 20 inches off in opposite directions, turning a solid win into a complete massacre and great tie breakers.

What the poster above said about the practice is very true. Most good tournaments have played many different armies (and different types of armies, you need to be able to play a gunline to play well against a gunline). They also often have played soft armies. I would have one winning list and a rotating set of soft lists that I would show up with (knowing I was less likely to get best general) just to keep sharp.

enyoss
19-01-2010, 02:57
The players I see winning a lot all have one thing in common: they know the nuances of the rules.

I reckon I know the rules about as well as them, but when it really comes down to it I can't manipulate them or turn them to my advantage anywhere near as well. A simple example would be the angling of frontage to re-align a unit who charges you. Most people would realize it can be done and would do it on most occasions, but the best players probably never mess this up, and always make it play to their advantage.

Army strength aside (and I do think there is a certain amount of that in the mix as well), I think the best players get this kind of thing right for every rule, all the time.

CaptScott
19-01-2010, 03:12
+1 regarding knowing the rules well.

Recently I have lost a few games only to find out later that my opponents (experienced players no less) were doing things they shouldn't be able to do. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose (heck, I make mistakes as well) though if I had spotted it during the game it could of made the difference between a win and loss.

Brother Edwin
19-01-2010, 03:15
My best is 3rd at the UKGT in 40k. And I talk to/play a lot of top players.

Knowing the rules and playing perfect must be a given.

After that you have to second guess what armys you will fight and have a answer to them all.

And I would suggest taking demons. That will help a lot.


Also being a tad aggressive always helps. I am too much of a nice guy myself. But I find a lot of players always come gigh by pushing it to the limit so they verge on cheating. The smallest things they will push in their favour. If it moves 14 inches they move it 14.5 inches, if their is a dispute in how a certain piece of terrain should be played they argue in their own favour. Thats just the way it is in my experence. Which is why I can't be asked with it sometimes.

Thurizdan
19-01-2010, 03:21
You mentioned quick Mathhammering in your list, I've been using a graphics calculator recently when I play, I've written a program on it to give me the expected number of wounds caused on either side and the percentage chance of winning combat. Give it a try if you or a friend own one.

SilverWarlock
19-01-2010, 04:10
*snip
And I would suggest taking demons. That will help a lot.


Also being a tad aggressive always helps. I am too much of a nice guy myself. But I find a lot of players always come gigh by pushing it to the limit so they verge on cheating. The smallest things they will push in their favour. If it moves 14 inches they move it 14.5 inches, if their is a dispute in how a certain piece of terrain should be played they argue in their own favour. Thats just the way it is in my experence. Which is why I can't be asked with it sometimes.

This is valid at the UKGT but not at comped tournaments where demons get you docked enough comp to not be worth it and being too aggressive gets you destroyed on the soft scores as well.

I know that first hand (I did mention I got best general more than best overall, I learned how to get overall once I stopped gunning for just the general points and looked at my comp/sports scores).

Another bit of prep I am doing these days: checking the first 5-10 pages of most rules forums (Warseer, druchii, ogre stronghold, etc) to see what the debated rules are, what the abuse is (how to recognize it) and where the rules quotes to counter it are. Really helps when you can point to a section of the book in 2 seconds. It will also make you learn the more complicated and annoying pieces of the rules.

chaos0xomega
19-01-2010, 04:36
Another +1 for knowing the rules. And not just know them, breathe them. (this is a 40k example, but it still fits) I played a game the other day against a SM player who took a librarium with gate of infinity or whatever. I knew WHAT it did, but I didn't know how it did it, and it very nearly cost me the game when he performed that maneuver right out of close combat and exposed a certain element of my army that I thought safe to his machinations.

Brother Edwin
19-01-2010, 04:57
This is valid at the UKGT but not at comped tournaments where demons get you docked enough comp to not be worth it and being too aggressive gets you destroyed on the soft scores as well.

I know that first hand (I did mention I got best general more than best overall, I learned how to get overall once I stopped gunning for just the general points and looked at my comp/sports scores).

Another bit of prep I am doing these days: checking the first 5-10 pages of most rules forums (Warseer, druchii, ogre stronghold, etc) to see what the debated rules are, what the abuse is (how to recognize it) and where the rules quotes to counter it are. Really helps when you can point to a section of the book in 2 seconds. It will also make you learn the more complicated and annoying pieces of the rules.

Cool.

I guess its not that bad really. I think winning is not important anyway. I mainly go so I can pit my skill against new opponents.

chaospantz
19-01-2010, 06:13
I would defenately say dont forget about the extra points untill the end of the game. Keep a tally of each enemy standard you capture and make sure you go for those table quarters by turn 5.

RMHaggis
19-01-2010, 12:07
its really simple....BE made of win (this can involve selling your soul).

on a serious note, just playtest your army (whatever race is irrelevant) untill you know all its strong and weak points (editing accordingly).

then its all tactics and a little luck from then on