Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Editorial: Character Restriction

So recently I've been reading a lot of chatter about the new SteamRoller 2012 tournament rules.  These rules have not been finalized yet, but they are certainly causing a stir for one big reason: character restriction as a standard.  What does this mean?  Well character restriction already exists in SR 2011, and what it means is that model that is FA:C can only appear in one list if there's a multiple list format.  This also means that you cannot use the same warcaster/warlock in multiple lists, but in the SR 2012 format, you can have a prime and epic version of a caster in two of your lists.  So if I wanted to run pBaldur and eBaldur, I'm totally allowed, but I can only take Megalith in one of the lists since he's FA: C

So why are people making such a big deal about this?  I think that the best arguments boil down to one main point: this "severely" limits some factions more than others.  It's true that Mercenaries are going to have a difficult time because they have so many character models as support pieces, and it effectively means you cannot run more than one Privateer or Four Star Syndicate contract, and this basically means that Mercenary players will have to run one of each of the three "subfactions" in a 3-list format.  As much as that kinda sucks and I think it's too bad, I don't think that there are all that many Mercenary players in tournaments to begin with.  Also, it's not that it really hurts Mercs, it's just that you need to have a lot of models to play in a 3-list format.  I just think that there's one particular set of faction players who are hiding behind the Mercs that are omnipresent at various tournaments: Cryx.

Oh look, it's Bane Lord Tartarus
and a full unit of Bane Thralls...
Yeah, that's right, I'm calling you guys out.  Now I'm not saying that Cryx is an overpowered faction - I don't think that at all.  What I do think, though, is that as a faction, they have some of the most powerful character models/units in the game.  It's actually quite sad because that means that we often see the same stupid models regardless of what list or caster they're playing.  Again, I don't think Cryx are overpowered, I just get really tired of seeing Bane Lord Tartarus/Deathjack/Withershadow Combine/Darragh Wraith in every single list.  Yes, I get it that they're great, but can we please be a little more creative here?  This is why I think that character restriction is great: the better general will win instead of the better list.

Are the Cryx players the only players for whom this is perceived as a negative change?  No, I don't think so.  I imagine that Protectorate of Menoth players will be similarly disappointed, and anyone who likes to take eEiryss (that means all of you), but I think that they are either taking it in stride or they're just as happy as I am that they won't be seeing the same models/units across the table every single game.

Seriously, this guy is a jerk
I have played with character restrictions at the New England Team Tournament, which I discussed yesterday, and it was not a big deal at all.  In fact, it was a little freeing because it forced me to take different lists and try out different units.  Fortunately, Hordes players don't have as big of an issue with meeting the character restriction, but I guess that's the only advantage of having only one character warbeast.  Besides, I'm sure everyone will be happy that they'll only be seeing one list that has the Lord of the Feast in it.

In the end, I disagree with most of the criticism against character restrictions for one big reason: results.  Like I said, at the NETT in July, the first place team won with Cygnar, Trolls, and Menoth - factions usually associated with relying upon repeated character use (in fact, most of the lists were even tier lists... GASP!).  Who won second place?  AN ALL CRYX TEAM.  The character restriction format is fine and the NETT showed that it forces the best players to come out on top instead of just the best lists.  This was even a 3-list tournament with everyone having to play each list once, so there was even more disparity between the lists.

Seriously, the world is not coming to an end, and I think we'll all be fine with character restrictions in SR 2012.  Besides, it's really only an "issue" when 2 or more lists are allowed.

Edit: I know this sounds rant-y and I know that not all Cryx lists are the same, but they are the vocal majority on this issue.  I have no problem with Cryx as a faction, or the people who play them - in fact some of my favorite gamers play Cryx a lot - but their complaints are no more valid than anyone else's.  Additionally, as a Privateer Mercenary player, I still strongly support character restriction even if it means me not playing them in a tournament.  Even though Mercenaries players probably took this change the hardest, I still have not heard many (if any) complain about it.
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