The Illegal List Conundrum, An FTN Follow-Up.

May 9, 2016 ftnadmin 8 comments

Hello Gamers, it’s Adam, Forge The Narrative panelist and the guy behind Beyond The Brush Studios, here to address an important topic floating around the 40K Web Warp™ – that topic is cheating and how it effects our community and ultimately tournament gaming itself.

The article “The Illegal List Conundrum” was originally posted by our friends at Frontline Gaming. CaptainA did a fine job of detailing recent happenings at large-scale Grand Tournaments while also soliciting conversation from the community on how to solve these problems. He points out in his very first sentence that, “(We are) human beings, making mistakes are a part of life and there is no getting away from that. In 40k the chance of making a mistake with your lists has gotten quite large considering all the resources you need to check. You might need to consult the rulebook, codex, supplemental codex, and ITC FAQ all at once. A War Convocation with White Scars allies could be pulling from 4 different codices, 2 expansion resources, the rulebook, ITC FAQ, and the relevant GW FAQ’s. Its no wonder that some people make mistakes.”

I urge you to check out the article and following comments : HERE.

Below, you will read my opinions and suggestions to the topic at hand. In no-way mistake this as cannon, this is purely my attempt to broaden the conversation. I urge you to please comment but more importantly, raise the topic with your local club and keep the discussion going. It’s one thing to leave a comment behind an anonymous web avatar – but when we work together, we can bring about great, positive change for the betterment of our hobby.


With great list building comes great responsibility. After recent events at large-scale Grand Tournaments, the integrity of our game, the event promoters, organizers and ultimately players is at question. Recently, a winner of one of, if not, the world’s largest grand tournaments had a list that included two errors. When lists were posted online, gamers were quick to point out that the list was actually one-point over the required point limit of 1850. This was due to the Blood Angels Sanguinary Priest not paying the one-point tax for his extra Close Combat Weapon. The list also featured a formation detachment that included two Space Wolf Lone Wolves without any Space Wolf Troop options. In the Codex : Space Wolves, it is a requirement to have a Troop selection to unlock a Lone Wolf. Using the root cost of the least costed Troops selection from the Codex actually reveals that in theory this list may have been not just one-point over, but 121 points over – if not unplayable.

In a world where certain armies and combinations and formations and decurion style build options allow free Wargear, Transports or Special Rules and the like – this may not seem like much. It’s an easy issue to gloss over for some gamers. Though there are many homebrew and nationally developed FAQs and Erratas available, I would like to point out that Games Workshop, the ITC and local tournament organizers have largely abided by the Big Rule Book (BRB) and the notion that Codex trumps BRB. These books and FAQS, when combined, are the guiding light as to how we craft our lists and play this game.

I’d like to give this player the benefit of the doubt, that he made a simple mistake, one either of us can and do make on a daily basis. I’d also like to think that serious list designers and tournament players would have known about the 1 point rule.  There are a lot of pitfalls here and the game itself doesn’t make it easy for us.

I did reach out to the Tournament Organizer regarding this matter and this is what he said, “(The Player) was forced to remove a sniper rifle upgrade in one of his Scout Squads in order to make room for the Bolt Pistol on the Sang Priest, which was then swapped for an additional CCW.

This is a simple, and effective solution. One that, I don’t believe, changes the player’s overall list or tactics too much. It’s a shame this wasn’t caught before the event began but I credit the TO for making a firm decision to make the list legal.

Regarding the Lone Wolves, the TO had this to say, “Whether or not the Lone Wolf can be taken as a stand alone elite slot without the requisite units is debatable/vague. We made a ruling for the very similar Court of the Archon that that unit could act as the stand alone Force Org slot. We answered several emails that we would interpret the Lone Wolf the same way but we’re not able to publish the interpretation. But what we did is consistent with what we published and (the player) received explicit permission to do it before the event.

I’m not pleased with the way the event and organizers handled this other glaring allowance. I’m fine with TO’s making allowances but the entirety of the player base should have been made aware of it – which they were not until the lists were posted online. It’s as simple as an email, Facebook post or a 2-minute announcement prior to play. If there can’t be full transparency from the top – then who are we to believe? Without sounding like too much of a conspiracy theorist, the situation came across, to me at least and to many other gamers, like a good ol’ boy system. Which there should be no room for in this game. If explicit permissions are granted, they must be granted not only to those who ask but to those who would have presumed otherwise and tailored their lists a certain way based on my earlier commentary about the tools provided that dictate how we craft our lists. In game mistakes will happen, but we have the tools at our disposal to eliminate inaccurate list building.

Let the record show that I make mistakes all of the time. I am not without sin and I am not here to cast stones. This is my way of saying that I have terrible memory, I have not read every rule and that I’m bad at 40K (laugh it up). So when I do make a mistake, whether it’s a mistaken rule or if I played something wrong and remembered or was informed of it later – I’ll be the first to step up and apologize. I know that it doesn’t change matters a whole heckuva lot but it’s the right thing to do and I believe it’s the absolute least a player can do. In my opinion, this is the first step.

These issues were brought to the attention to the TO’s after Day One of the Grand Tournament had ended. The player in question was sitting squarely at the top table and went on to win the entire event where hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of prize support was awarded. When we all pay an entry fee, follow the rules of engagement and spend upwards of a few hundred dollars to travel to an event – in the effort of fairness, I believe that the same permissions and allowances that are made for some, should be clarified for all.

40K is a hobby and a game but when it enters into the tournament realms, especially with prizes on the line it is now a sport and competition. When we look at other competitions, there are clear lines of punishment for cheating. If a golfer is to accidentally write down the wrong score on his scorecard, he can be disqualified. If his opponent signs the scorecard, authorizing the scores, he is also open to punishment. In cycling, if someone is to box a rider into the fence in a dangerous manner, he can be relegated to last place, fined and potentially disqualified from the event depending on how serious or dangerous the offense. If a pitcher is caught using Vasoline or pine tar or (gasp) KY Jelly – he is ejected from the game, faces a fine and potential suspension.

When we enter into sport, or competition, we enter into an agreement to abide by all rules – to uphold the integrity of the game. People will always find a way to cheat if prizes are up for grabs. If it’s not Lance Armstrong using performance enhancing drugs, it’s a young rider from Belgium using a motor in her bike, or a deflated football, or a questionable pre-game inhaler, loaded dice or beneficial Rules As Interpreted interpretations. I do believe TO’s need to outline clear penalties for their events and those penalties can differ from event to event. While I do think that the TO and event organizers have to do everything in their power to level the playing field and provide as much information as possible to all participants – the responsibility does not lie firmly on their shoulders. The responsibility lies on the shoulders of the individuals, on the players – on OUR SHOULDERS – to do what’s right, to promote clean, fair play and police those who break the bonds of trust within the competition.

I don’t know what the punishments should be and that’s exactly what makes this topic so tricky because every broken rule is not so cut and dry, black or white.

In closing, what are measures that you believe we can put in place to affirm and uphold the integrity of this great game?