Faced with a new edition, many tournament organisers will be looking at the new rules and wondering how best to get the most out of the system in place for 6th. Should allies be allowed? Should fortifications? How should terrain be generated? What points limit to play at? Should we use comp scores? These are the questions that will be plaguing them. However, there is one way to give the power to players to find there own solutions to most problems that potentially could occur in 6th edition and that is by introducing a sideboard into 40k.
The concept of a sideboard should be familiar with any Magic the gathering players. Essentially in Magic you have your 60 card magic deck and to all intents and purposes this is you army list. Magic is a diverse game though with a huge possibility of match-ups many of which may be unfavourable to you. For instance if you are playing a mill deck and your opponent is playing a burn deck then your probably going to lose before you've even played any cards because it is usually such an effective counter. So in an effort to stop one-sided curbstomps from occuring magic tournaments started allowing players to have a smaller collection of cards (15-20) they could place in a "sideboard". A player could choose any 60 cards before the match from a now extended pool of 75 to 80 cards, allowing the decks much greater flexibility in covering up potentially bad match-ups by taking out inefficient options and adding in more effective ones for that specific match.
Why 40K 6th needs this.
40k 6th edition opens the doorway to more extreme army lists that will be very difficult to play against unless you have a prepared list to fight back against them. Zooming fliers are hard for many lists to fight against due to there immunities to assault and blasts combined with the rarity of skyfire weapons, however including many of the counters to fliers in your list could leave you glaringly weak in other match-ups. Likewise, you can now take many potent combinations of allies that require highly specific thought out ways of fighting against (like Fateweaver in Chaos marine lists). Furthermore, at 2k+ you get double force organisation slots now, allowing for players to field truly extreme army lists with 6 heavy support choices or 250+ scoring Orks.
In essence in an all comers format, the game risks falling into a rock paper scissors match-up at the army list creation stage before any dice have even been rolled or decisions by the player have been taken.
A tough list to face if your not highly prepared for itImhotekh
- Storm Tek, voltaic staff
Placing the Sideboard into 40k
In a standard 1,500 point tournament format let players choose there 1,500 points list as usual but then also allow them to select an additional 500 points. This "500" is your sideboard and can be comprised of any 500 points worth of new units or upgrades/different weapon options to existing units.
10-15 minutes before the start of any game the players swap army lists showing the main 1,500 point list and the 500 point sideboard. Players then have that time to make any changes to there list (in secret) they would like to make after seeing there opponents lists. Once they are ready, they remove the 500 points of units they have decided to not field and begin the game. In essence, your bringing a 2,000 point list and selecting 1,500 points worth of stuff depending on what you think your opponent is fielding. Too much of 40k is won or lost around army list selection and trying too cover to many bases at once. 6th edition is only going to compound this problem by having even harder lists to prepare counters for.
With a sideboard you can make profound players choices before the game that will make for closer better balanced games.
- Facing all fliers? Lucky you brought those allied hydras in your sideboard, swap your close combat troops for them.
- Facing all landraiders? Lucky you brought those melta gun upgrades in your sideboard, swap your autocannon for them.
- Facing a horde of Orks? Lucky you have some whirlwinds on the side to replace your predator annihilators.
- Facing an entrenched guard infantry batte line with an aegis? Lucky you have those assault troops you can swap in for your anti-tank.
Lets make 40k less about trying to make the most extreme gimmick army possible, and more about your actual battlefield decisions.
Make tournament formats 1,500 points with an optional 500 points worth of potential changes after you have seen your opponents list. This reduces the extreme variance in bad match-ups we can see in 40k, eliminating much of the luck factor in who you are drawn against.