The road to the Throne of Skulls is over and in a few weeks a winner will be crowned. With over 100 events between all the Games Workshop systems it is safe to say that GW has successfully passed the torch from its own Grand Tournament system to the wargamers themselves. It was not without many bumps and bruises and the system is FAR from perfect. Looking back it wasn’t so obvious a new GW was forming– one more hands off than ever before.
Here is the good and bad that was the first The Tournament Circuit of the new Games Workshop
The Power to Players
By far the biggest best change was the growth of independent events. Before the circuit was defined by the Regionals Games Workshop put on across North America; now it would be defined by Indy events from Adepticon to Astronomi-con, putting the spot light on all types of events that would could have gotten lost in the focused of official GW events. Tournaments sprouted up overnight to fill the void left by GW, everyone tried to get their event on the circuit in the hopes of boosting attendance and prize support.
Anyone could be a Winner
No longer was the circuit the personal playground of those who could afford to travel or happen to live close enough to a GW regional. We had events from Nova Scotia to Arizona giving every general a chance at glory. No one person or list would dominate the circuit (like Orks dominated with Nob Bikers in 2008).
Play whatever you Want
For the most part the circuit allowed players to convert or proxy any model to represent whatever they wanted. Gone was the time when GW forced you to only use GW models, this opened the floodgates for great looking armies using third-party parts and generally made battlefields look profoundly different from the ones found at a GW hosted event.
Because of Games Workshop hands off approach TOs were able to create whatever type of event they wanted. We had team tournaments, escalation, 1500-2000 point games, one to three day events, and as long as you could get people to attend you could do pretty much whatever you wanted.
Too Hands Off
While being completely hands off had it bonuses, it also had problems. Even with simple guidelines like point levels and no soft scores GW could have stopped a lot of headaches, taking potential poor decisions out of TOs hands. Without even the most minimal level of standards we had events that ended up with only 8 players to ridiculous convoluted methods of scoring.
Throne of Skulls
We all thought the idea of the circuit was to win and have the tickets we earned mean something. We expected a similar no comp simple system that the British had used for years, instead we got some seemly hackney Jervis monster that was intent on showcasing armies not generals at the Throne of Skulls. It was a feeble attempt to force parity and will end up having half of the winners skip the event and put a bad taste in the mouth of many hoping this was going to be great event.
Without GW interference TOs were able to charge whatever they wanted leaving players with events that ranged from $20-$100 bucks: wild price fluctuations based on the notion that because if you were on the circuit people would automatically show up events. This lead to many low attended events with TOs forced to eat much of the costs associated with events. Many players felted gouged when an event didn’t turn out as advertised.
With so many events there was bound to be cheating. The level at to which top tables had problems was jaw dropping. Many events had judges and systems that were not active enough to catch even the most basic of cheats leaving the Internet to pick up the pieces after the fact.
Many events had varying degrees of prize support due to GW financial or regional fluctuation. Some events would get great support while others seemed to get very little leaving many to wonder was GW playing favorites?
These were the major good and bad of the first year of Tournament Circuit, but going forward let us look at what we can expect…
It seemed GW had some plan after all when it came to setting guidelines for their events. The first year was an obvious experiment: by allowing anyone and their mother to hold event it gave GW the chance to see exactly who would sink or swim. This ended up leaving only the strongest events for year two of the circuit. It also allowed GW to see exactly what type of events people were running. So now GW has made some changes. No longer will Team events count and only the top finisher will get a ticket. Now we know what to expect as the Jervis ToS doesn’t look to be changing, but the biggest change is anyone can PAY to get into the event. This makes it more like a competitive Games-Day and less like the end all be all of 40k competition. As the Independent Tournament scene develops it becomes clear: being on the list is only good for minor publicity and the chance to pass out a free ticket for paid GW event and is by no means necessary for event success.
So how did numbers exactly stack by army for the first season of the Circuit? Here is the final breakdown…
Space Marines- 25
Orks – 17
Chaos Space Marines-14
Space Wolves – 11
Tyranids – 6
Dark Eldar – 5
Blood Angels – 2
Grey Knights – 1
Witch Hunters – 0
Dark Angels – 0
Necrons – 0
Black Templars – 0
As you can see Imperial Guard dominated along with Space Marines each for different reasons. Imperial Guard dominated because competitive players saw them as the best army to play where as Space Marines won because they happened to be the most played. Going forward we expect to see this change a lot with as fast the meta changes. Already Grey Knights are on the rise and with the potential for Necrons to break Imperial Guard expect the numbers to change dramatic from this first year. Oh yeah and there is little thing called 6th edition coming out next year that might have something to say about all this.
For anyone wanting to know if there a event close to you I have a website dedicated just for that. Check out the Blood of Kittens Events website for details…Tournament Calender
Here is the master list of all the winners from the Circuit up to the end of February.
|The Conflict GT||10-Jan||1st||Alexander||Fennell||Imperial Guard|
|The Conflict GT||10-Jan||2nd||Chris||Dubuque||Space Marines|
|ConQuest Seattle Slaughter||10-Jan||1st||Chase||Linbo||Chaos Space Marines|
|ConQuest Seattle Slaughter||10-Jan||2nd||Zen||Zheng||Space Marines|
|Broadside Bash||10-Feb||1st||Steve||Sisk||Space Marines|
|Broadside Bash||10-Feb||3rd||David||Fey||Chaos Space Marines|
|St Valetines Massacre||10-Feb||1st||Bradley||Nichols||Space Marines|
|St Valetines Massacre||10-Feb||2nd||Dameon||Green||Chaos Space Marines|
|Adepticon||10-Mar||2nd||Jason||Roy||Chaos Space Marines|
|Adepticon||10-Mar||2nd||Jonathon||Wolf||Chaos Space Marines|
|Warhammer Spectacular||10-Mar||2nd||Anthony||Dalla Lamma||Space Marines|
|Slaughter in Space||10-Apr||1st||David||Fay||Chaos Space Marines|
|Slaughter in Space||10-Apr||2nd||Justin||Hilderbrandt||Dark Eldar|
|The Alamo||10-May||1st||John||Brock||Imperial Guard|
|The Alamo||10-May||2nd||Thomas||Reidy||Space Marines|
|Bolter Beach||10-Jun||2nd||Mike||Walsh||Space Marines|
|Patriot Games||10-Jun||1st||Jeremy||Yates||Imperial Guard|
|Patriot Games||10-Jun||2nd||Matt||Harp||Space Marines|
|Battle for Blobs Park||10-Jun||1st||Justin||Cook||Imperial Guard|
|Battle for Blobs Park||10-Jun||2nd||Al||Edel||Imperial Guard|
|Game Summit||10-Jun||2nd||Marc||Page||Imperial Guard|
|Astronomi-con Dallas||10-Jun||2nd||Chris||Allen||Space Marines|
|ConQuest LA Invasion||10-Jun||1st||Brad||Townsend||Space Marines|
|ConQuest LA Invasion||10-Jun||2nd||Ryan||Shepard||Imperial Guard|
|The 14th Black Crusade||10-Jun||1st||Michael||Davy||Tyranids|
|The 14th Black Crusade||10-Jun||2nd||Thomas||Walker||Space Marines|
|Ard Boyz Chicago||10-Jul||1st||Cole||Markgraf||Imperial Guard|
|Ard Boyz Chicago||10-Jul||2nd||Alan||Bajramovic|
|Ard Boyz LA||10-Jul||1st||David||Rolstad|
|Ard Boyz LA||10-Jul||2nd||AJ||Van Valkenburg|
|Ard Boyz Showcase||10-Jul||1st||Clark||Welch|
|Ard Boyz Showcase||10-Jul||2nd||Ben||Mohlie|
|Buckeye Battles||10-Jul||1st||David||Talbot||Chaos Space Marines|
|ConQuest BC Annihilation||10-Jul||1st||Wesley||Codgal||Chaos Space Marines|
|ConQuest BC Annihilation||10-Jul||2nd||Dave||Walz||Eldar|
|Astronomi-con Winnipeg||10-Jul||1st||Brock||Jansen||Imperial Guard|
|The Big Show||10-Jul||1st||Al||Edel||Imperial Guard|
|The Big Show||10-Jul||2nd||Ragner||Arneson||Space Marines|
|The Big Show||10-Jul||3rd||Steven||McDaniel||Tyranids|
|SpoCon||10-Jul||1st||Bob||Kelley||Chaos Space Marines|
|War Games Con||10-Jul||1st||Ben||Mohlie||Space Marines|
|War Games Con||10-Jul||2nd||Paul||Murphy||Imperial Guard|
|GW Hobby Centers||10-Jul||1st||Tim||Fournier||Imperial Guard|
|GW Hobby Centers||10-Jul||2nd||Eric||Jahn||Space Marines|
|The NOVA Open||10-Aug||1st||Daniel||Matulich||Imperial Guard|
|The NOVA Open||10-Aug||2nd||Tony||Kopach||Space Marines|
|ConQuest Apocalypse||10-Aug||1st||Nakoa||Thompson||Space Marines|
|ConQuest Apocalypse||10-Aug||2nd||Mark||McDonald||Dark Eldar|
|Astronomi-con Vancouver||10-Aug||1st||Nick||Daniels||Imperial Guard|
|Astronomi-con Vancouver||10-Aug||2nd||Marshall||Reeves||Space Marines|
|SoCal Smackdown||10-Sep||2nd||Reece||Robbins||Space Marines|
|The Warmasters Challenge||10-Sep||1st||Ricky||Johnson||Tyranids|
|The Warmasters Challenge||10-Sep||2nd||Andrew||Tripple||Orks|
|Da Grand Waaagh||10-Oct||1st||Walter||Denlinger||Orks|
|Da Grand Waaagh||10-Oct||2nd||Casey||McNamara||Space Marines|
|Storm on the Coast||10-Oct||1st||Jeff||Sherwood||Chaos Space Marines|
|Storm on the Coast||10-Oct||2nd||Greg||Paradis||Tau|
|The Warmasters Finals||10-Oct||1st||Ridvan||Martinez||Dark Eldar|
|The Warmasters Finals||10-Oct||2nd||Ricky||Johnson||Tyranids|
|Slaughter on the Strip||10-Nov||1st||George||Mason||Space Marines|
|Slaughter on the Strip||10-Nov||2nd||John||Hermann||Tyranids|
|Battle for Supremacy||10-Nov||1st||Matthew||Rodgers||Space Marines|
|Battle for Supremacy||10-Nov||2nd||Jason||Sperka||Space Marines|
|The Conflict GT||11-Jan||1st||Andrew||Gonyo||Imperial Guard|
|The Conflict GT||11-Jan||2nd||Jorge||Ruiz||Space Marines|
|Ironman XVII||11-Jan||1st||Erik||Miller||Space Marines|
|Ironman XVII||11-Jan||2nd||Erik||Kurimoto||Imperial Guard|
|GottaCon||11-Feb||1st||Samantha||Foster||Daemons of Chaos|
|Broadside Bash||11-Feb||1st||Franklin||Giampapa||Chaos Space Marines|
|Broadside Bash||11-Feb||2nd||Dave||Fay||Chaos Space Marines|
|Broadside Bash||11-Feb||3rd||Charlie||Nichols||Space Marines|