Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ETC Missions (Some Ideas)

Hey guys,
one complete month has passed without me writing anything for the blog (shame on me!). But I wasn’t only lazy during that time. I build my new Dark Eldar army and was able to make quite a number of test games with these. What I’ve realized by these is that I’m still undecided whether Raider-Rush or Portal-Rush should be the way to go. I’m not even sure, if I prefer Ravager over Taloi or not, so you see there is quite a lot to think about for me. At least I got my brother into building the first pair of Razorwing Flocks for the army so I’ll be able to post some quite interesting photos in the future. But the Dark Eldar aren’t supposed to be today’s topic at all. There is something far more interesting going on in the near future:
The ETC 2k11 is up and coming towards us. This year I won’t be able to make it to the location, so there will sadly be no photos by me. Nonetheless the ETC is once again a huge tournament with players from all over the world attending and playing in teams of 8 players against each other. Many rules from last year’s rules pack have been kept unchanged, never change a running system. But there are as well some quite huge changes especially concerning mission objectives and the scoring system.
Like last year every singleplayer game is worth up to 20 points for the teamrating, but the way these 20 points can be achieved changed dramatically. A year ago every game one rulebook mission was played and the winner received 15-5 points or 10-10 if it was a draw. The remaining 5 points for a 20-0 could be achieved by scoring a large number of victory points against the opposing player via a victory point matrix.
This year the deal is completely different. In every game there are two(!!) rulebook missions played and one of them is the primary mission and the other one the secondary mission. The winner of the primary mission gets 8-0 points (4-4 for a draw) and the winner of the secondary mission receives another 4-0 points (2-2 for a draw). The remaining 8 points can then once again be scored via a victory point matrix.
First of all the new mission objectives seem to be far more complicated than last year’s. This may be correct in some cases. Players don’t just have to look for one mission objective, but for the secondary objectives as well. But what does this mean in certain? First of all we have to see that there are three different rulebook missions and whenever you put two of these together to form a new mission you get a set of exactly six new missions (the exact number played at the ETC). In order to receive six different missions you have of course to switch primary and secondary objective in three of the missions, otherwise there are only three new missions. In practice this means one really important point: Killpoints are played far more often. Last year the ETC featured two killpoint missions out of the six missions played. Otherwise killpoints were more or less only important for the tiebreaker (namely the victory point matrix) which was worth up to five points.
This year there are once again two killpoint missions (both of them different secondary missions) but in addition to this there are another two missions featuring killpoints as their secondary mission. Further the victory point matrix can produce up to eight points rather than five. What does all that mean for this year’s players and armies? Obviously, it isn’t enough to accomplish the primary mission in order to win a game, because you can still lose 8-12 by winning the primary mission. Otherwise it means that only drawing on the primary mission doesn’t cost you complete five but only four points and there is still a secondary mission you can win in order to get another four points for your side.
Players are therefore forced to think in new dimensions and cannot sacrifice large parts of their army to win 1-0 in marker missions, because this way they will for sure lose the secondary mission and lots of points in the victory point matrix. Are therefore more aggressive armies the way to go this year, in order to force the opponent to make mistakes? We will certainly see. This question directly brings us to this year’s army lists:
First of all some things are obvious. Necrons have been dead last year and are even more so this year. You can NEVER put Necrons forward, because they will always be slammed 0-20 away by the right army and as a counter … well let’s say there are better armies for this task. Dark Eldar are far stronger than last year. The community seems uncertain whether DE are strong or not. Every that decided to feature DE in their setup went towards are really strong Venom spam-shooty kind of army. Obviously these are designed against hordes like Orks or Nids. In this point pairing is very important, because Orks and Nids will seldom be put forward as these are typical IG counters.
This year’s real loser are, of course, Daemons. Only a couple of countries decided to field this army and one of the main reasons for this is, for sure, the release of the GK codex. In a team tournament you just cannot play an army that will always be countered 0-20 by another army (at least not if you can’t foresee the pairing). Other armies that are played seldom are as in the last year Tau. Tau typically suffer from the same problem as Necrons that you can always counter them by ease. But at least are Tau able to achieve high wins, if set up against the right opponent and played by a strong player. The French once again go this way this year. Witch Hunters seem to experience some kind of a renaissance this year, especially some of the “stronger” teams (like Poland and Germany) count on these in order to act as a second shooty IG list.
This year’s (not really surprising) winner of the armies are GK. The codex is really strong, GK always win 20-0 against Daemons and even other armies struggle against Psyfle-Dreads, I6 force weapons and all stuff of gimmicks like psychic powers or strange working grenades. There is nearly no country that did not jump onto the GK train to ride it to victory, main builds seem either to be Purifiers with Dreads, LR Spam or Termis with Dreads.
In addition to GK there are no real surprises in the main choice of armies. IG, Vanilla Marines, BA, Wolves, Eldar, 2/9 and Orks made their way into nearly any team in any combination. Nids, WH and DE are often used to fill up the team.
Which of these combinations will be the strongest can’t be said at all. It always depends on the players behind the armies and especially on the pairings, as this is a team tournament.
I’m waiting for the results of this year’s ETC and can’t really say who will win it this year (but I wouldn’t bet my money on the German team).

Cheers Cleutin