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ETC 2015 – Army Comp and Restrictions

feb 26, 15 ETC 2015 – Army Comp and Restrictions

On The Road AgainIt’s been a while since we posted something on the blog, but with some of the new ETC restrictions for this year in place, and lots of inbound changes due to how 7th edition has been rapidly growing in terms of selection criteria and options out there, there’s enough food for discussion so let’s get things going again shall we?



battleforged2It has been a very, very hectic year so far. With GW’s frantic release schedule, I get the feeling everyone, for the most part, is still playing catchup with the
rules, and the implications that came with so many of these new releases. Through all the formations, campaign books and dataslates the company have released, there’s so many new things to learn about the game and the possibilities it offers, that I believe the gaming community as a whole is only just starting to scratch the surface. And that fact very recently was reflected in the ETC army restrictions votes. A lot of the stuff we took for granted over the years had to be revisited. In the past, the ETC Captains have had a penchant for voting very conservatively, so I was very surprised with how some of the votes came out as it seems the majority among the captains also have a different view on how the game has evolved than say roughly a year ago or so. Where in the past we ruled against things like special characters, the inclusion of IKs and such, it seems most of the gaming community have embraced the changes that came with GWs latest slew of releases and have decided to open up the game in terms of armies that can be taken, which will do a lot of good towards ensuring a lot of variety and different builds at the worlds 40k premier event.


So let’s take a look at the ETC Restrictions that are in place this year and what this means for army comp. A lot of tournaments around the globe follow these restrictions so as to give their players and community a good chance of excelling at the ETC proper when they train all year through, and pick up a couple of tournaments that have rules and restrictions that lie very close to the ETC ones, so if you’re a regular tournament attendee you’re probably bound to get in touch with them. In order to explain all the new options and possibilities though, we have to make a few distinctions so it is clear and everyone is up to speed with some of the new key features in 7th edition tournament play:

Faction: A faction is defined as any allowed codex book at the ETC including all its associated supplements, formations, and unit entries, whether they be released
through supplemental books or campaign books, printed in White Dwarf, or released as datasheets. This means Codex Tau, Farsight Enclave Supplement, and the Tau
Fireblade Cadre are all from the same faction, for example.

Detachments:  There is still a lot of confusion regarding this one. So let’s list it up. Formations are a special kind of detachment, so are not to be treated as
separate items. In essence, there are actually quite a few types of detachments.

Combined Arms Detachment

Allied Detachment

Special Detachments: Inquisition detachment, LOTD detachment, Imperial Knights detachment (no longer the case since the new Black Library FAQ as the ETC no longer
allow Inquisition and LOTD as a ‘tertiary’ type of detachment at the ETC following the update of the Imperial Knight FAQ from Black Library. So Special Detachments no
longer apply at the ETC).

Unique Detachments: Any and all detachments appearing in codex books or via dataslates, e.g. Officio Assassinorum, Wolves Unleashed, Covenant Coterie, Realspace
Raiders, Nemesis Strike Force, Great Waaagh, Ork Horde, Company Of the Great Wolf, …

Formations: Any and all formations (three skull symbol) belonging to a regular faction like Cypher’s Fallen Champions, Grey Knights Brotherhood, Kabalite Raiding
Party, Space Wolves Great Company, just to give a few examples.

Source: A Source in this instance refers to any book or release, being datasheet, codex, codex supplement, campaign book, … etc.

The ETC have ruled to open up the format by quite a fair margin this year, and this so that not only the imperial side have access to having alliances that make the army builds stronger. Instead the format now allows you to field an ETC Primary Detachment and an ETC Secondary Detachment. These names were introduced to cypher out any confusion with existing detachment names commonly used in the background rulebook as this is something unique to the ETC format and needs to be clarified as such. Primary and allied as they were called in the past are just that, relics of the past, and are completely obsolete in a game where CAD and Unbound kind of armylist design in combinations with a slew of other detachments and formations are supposed to rule the day. Lots of combinations that can be made with this new format wont be legal in most tournaments or during most cases of organised play though of course our hopes are that the format will spread.

ETC logo



ETC Army Comp and Restrictions:


1. Each ETC army will consist out of a single-source “ETC Primary Detachment” and an optional single-source “ETC Secondary Detachment”
This means every army is basically maximally a two-source army. Meaning you can take any two books or releases and combine them into an army (barring some ingrained

2. The ETC Primary Detachment can be any Detachment that your warlord can legally come from (so not an Allied Detachment), and must consist of a single faction. The
ETC Primary Detachment can be a regular rulebook CAD, any Unique Detachment or Formation as long as it meets all the requirements.
This means we follow the CAD-style build of the primary detachment, not following the 7th edition style build of ‘just take what you want and slap it together to form an army’. Each Detachment needs to be a single faction, meaning you cannot mix and match in your primary detachment. It also needs to be a single Detachment so you could not for instance combine two formations into your primary detachment. It does not necessarily need to be a CAD though, it can be any kind of Detachment (except the allied detachment as it needs to contain your warlord-barring if you’re playing Inquisition as an ally of course-), be it a CAD, Unique Detachment, or Formation. What this basically does is open up the armylist design as there are now a plethora of combos and armylists to think of and use in your Team comp. Let’s not forget that the ETC is a Team event, where a specific pairing mechanism will decide if you loose or win as a team, so having options in team comp is very important, and the changes to the Detachments that can be taken makes a huge difference, an dopens up the whole thing in terms of what teams can do.

3. The optional single-source ETC Secondary Detachment can be any type of detachment other than a CAD, and must be another faction than the ETC Primary Detachment
unless one of them is a formation or unless explicit permission for this is given (like for SM and FE).
An important one here. One cannot take a CAD+CAD type of build at the ETC but one can take a CAD+formation, a CAD+allied detachment, CAD+Unique Detachment, … Or
even Unique Detachment+Formation, Formation+Formation, Formation+Allied Detachment, Unique Detachment+Allied Detachment. The options here are legio, just remember you can only build your army with two detachments using a single source if one of them is a formation or unless you are specifically told you can do so in your source- reference.

4. Army entry datasheets can be used in a list as if they were a genuine part of the parent book.
Belakor would count as faction CSM if taken in a CSM Detachment for instance, and any of the new Tyranid dataslates would count as being part of the regular codex when included in an army list as far as sources go. Again, clearing some confusion regarding sources, and opening up the possibilities for creating armies that can go the mile.

5. Codex Supplements, Formations, Dataslates and Unique type of Detachments can be used, regardless of where they were published (Campaign Book Detachments, White Dwarf Supplements and Supplement Book Formations are all legal to be used for instance).
It made no sense restricting these books or releases when the game is so open. The ETC already is a different beast than normal tournaments so playing an open game where its no-holds-barred regarding army creation and a different, limited restrictive kind of game at the ETC makes no sense. I hope it’s a tred a lot of tournaments will follow as 7th edition really doesn’t lend itself well to being all too restrictive in regards to army design. It weakens the gaming experience as a whole.

6. Come the apocalypse allies are allowed in list construction, so are Lords Of War, but none of the superheavy/gargantuan kind.
A balancing act, as some of these superheavies and gargantuans are just too good. Some problems have already been toned down, but a restriction that needs to be put into place in a highly competitive gaming environment as the ETC imo. I do hope some tournament organisers open this up for the wider public though. It would be nice to see those stompas on the table once in a while.

For those interested we will list the other restrictions in place for armylist design at the ETC:
1. Each LOW can only be present once in Team Composition
2. Total amount of sources in any players armylist may not exceed two.
3. Mirror combos are not allowed at the faction level between players. It is OK to play SM|SM (using up all SM slots within the Team for one armylist) but not to play SM|Tau and Tau|SM within a given Team.
4. Each Faction can only be used once in an ETC Primary and ETC Secondary Detachment. Which means if you build a Tau primary CAD with the Tau Firecadre Formation as an ETC Secondary Detachment for the Team, the Team just ran out of slots to use the Tau Faction for other armylists.
5. Each Formation can only feature once in a Team’s composition (no double hive fleet detachments or adamantine lance for instance)


Unto the Anvil, Into The Fire!

As a closer I want to say that in all this, the responsibility of Tournament Organisers has risen by quite a margin since the rapid release schedule GW has started and maintained. Tournament attendance has been in steady decline the past few months, as it has become very hard to sustain this hobby. In terms of commitment both timewise and moneywise. It is hard to stay in the loop with all the new rules and releases, let alone buy new models and get them painted to a decent quality standard in time before the meta shifts and you have to start all over again. Plus, I get the personal impression a lot of people are still struggling with some of the basic concepts of how to compose an army, which in turn alienates people from the hobby. A lot of old-timers haven’t shied away from the hobby at all, but grab back to skirmish type games like Malifaux, Bushido, Infinity and even X-Wing to account for all that was mentioned before. it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay invested into the hobby, especially when you have families and kids added into the mix.

It doesn’t help then when more and more people get alienated because of Tournaments and rulespacks that are not in check with the current state of the game. To give an example, The Saints Tournaments, a long-standing group of people organising the premier events in Holland for a whole number of years by now, made a gross misjudgment with their rulespack for the Grand Tournament for 40K last year. Instead of opening up the rulespack a little, they went down with some restrictions that weighed heavily on army composition. Despite numerous calls for change from some dedicated and renowned Dutch players, the Saints stood by their guns (as they are wont to do for some years now, and is their right as a TO after all), but it resulted in an all-time low in attendance. A measly 24 players signed up in the end, turning the Dutch GT from the premier mass-visited event in Holland to a standard-sized tournament. Such is the impact the rulespack has on tournament attendance. The advice i have for any TO out there is to listen to your audience, inform yourself of all the possibilities out there, and check for yourself what an impact some of your decisions might have. In my humble opinion, fear of the unknown and restricting things because of it, makes no sense in a game and setting that hasn’t been this open and ‘free for all’ since probably it’s early days. Remember that a good rulespack is the base for a good tournament, both in terms of attendance but also in terms of enjoyment people will get out of it. My vote goes wholeheartedly to advocating any tournament pack stay as open as possible with the things it is allowing, and that includes Forgeworld stuff. it goes a long way to balance things out, and ultimately it levels the playing field. The argument that it is difficult to grasp the rules from an alternative source stopped applying a long time ago as I can hardly imagine anyone among us knows every source that has been released in the last year or so to that extent that it doesn’t offer some surprises here and there still. Adding Forgeworld to the mix seems to be a small step up from there. As a TO of course, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get to terms with the amount of sourcebooks you need in terms of checking lists and stuff, so I also advocate the fact that this should be a community’s job, self-regulating itself by posting the lists online before the event somewhat after list submission deadline. There are ways as a TO to make your life easier, if only you go looking for them.

Me, I haven’t had this much fun with the game in ages, and I hope to see you at some sort of tournament really really soon.

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