Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rankings – Effect of Tournament Type

Following up on my previous post I've wondered what impact the type of
tournaments has on the rankings.  To start off I should outline what I
mean by tournament types.

From my perspective there are 3 distinct types of tournaments.  They
are all valid, but each plays to a different set of player strengths.
The first type of tournament is the Hard Core style tournament, think
'Ard Boyz or Adepticon.  It's all about the tough lists, rules as
written, generalship and scoring is all about the battle points.  I
won't disparage anyone by mentioning specific players that compete
well in this environment, but you know who you are!  J

The second type is the Hobby style tournament, think Whoops.  I've
never actually attended one of these tournaments so I'm only going by
what I've heard from the net.  They focus more on the narrative and
hobby side of Warhammer.  Players take them much less serious and they
may include significant rules changes, more random zaniness and
possibly non-Warhammer elements.  I genuinely don't have a clue what
would work at this type of tournament or be able to give an example of
someone that excels in that environment.  To that end though, I
imagine that this type of tournament wouldn't have much effect on
serious, competitive rankings.

Finally, there is a third tournament type that combines the best from
the previous two types which I dub the Holistic tournament style.
Think Brawler Bash.  It's about the sum of all the parts; battle
points, sportsmanship and painting all make up significant portions of
the scoring.  Hard armies, D-bags and unpainted armies are welcome but
are not in themselves an auto win button.  It's not uncommon for this
type of tournament to have a comp system or at the very least
incorporate some sort of banding system.  To win this style tournament
you have to be a genuine "Triple Threat".  Joe Rogers and Dave
Bednarek are two guys that come to mind.  They are excellent generals,
awesome painters and all around nice guys.

Now I'm not going to get into the age old debate which style
tournament is better.  I'm a firm believer to each his own and all
that.  But what I'm curious about is does the type of tournament a
player attends have any effect on the rankings?  At face value I would
say no since any differences are mitigated by having to convert the
scoring into the standard template found on Rankings HQ.

Not one to leave things alone we should dig a little deeper.  I think
we do have to consider whether a players strengths meshes well with
the type of tournament.  A prototypical alpha male, power gamer who
dislikes the hobby and social aspects of Warhammer would feel a little
out of place (didn't say unwelcomed) at an event like Mid West
Rampage.  As such he may not place as high as he potentially could at
a tournament like Adepticon which focuses more heavily on the game
results.

Next we should consider a players army composition.  The type of
tournament strongly dictates the army composition restrictions in
place.  This could range from no restrictions, all the way to the ETC
style composition so popular in Europe.  Comp restrictions can change
the very definition of what a legal army list is and in some cases
punish players that bring subjectively "hard" lists.  The net result
is that a player will have to consider the comp when selecting his
army and developing his list.   Ultimately this may help or hinder the
player's finish depending on the degree that either his list or play
style have to change to accommodate the comp restrictions.

Lastly consider that different types of tournaments attract different
types of players.  Is it possible for a tournament to attract the
"right" kind of opponents to make it more winnable for other players?
I realize that this gets more difficult as a tournament gets larger in
size do the normal randomness of initial match ups.  But I've seen
examples of how a real power gamer can do really well at reasonably
sized Holistic tournaments provided they can get past the comp mongers
and manage their soft scores.

Realizing that I've rambled on for far too long I will cut it here.
If for nothing else at least rankings gives us something to talk
about!

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