Musings on Running a Tournament – A Guest Article by Martin Collins

Michael and Freya have kindly given me the chance to witter away about the tournament I just ran at the Outpost in Steel City on Sunday 4th August 2019. I was originally hoping to play myself in the tournament but because we had odd numbers I dropped so that no one had to have a bye and gave me a chance to type this! 

We had 12 people playing in the end and the final score was 50% Season 1 Warbands and 50% Season 2 warbands. The most popular warband was Skaven with three players and I think it was a bit of a shock for David as he was the original poster of the Hungering and Festering deck. He said losing one of his games to a deck he designed was one he hopes not to repeat! (I can very much appreciate that sentiment – Mike)

The winner was Dan Smedley from Ready 4 Action who was the only player to go undefeated all the day with Ylthari’s Guardians. After him Dan Haslam came 2nd with Magore’s Fiends, Michael Carlin came 3rd with Spiteclaws Swarm and 4th was Richard Wilkinson with the Thorns of the Briar Queen, so the 50% split between seasons continued. 

The positive things from this are that the warband meta is still fluid and you cannot guarantee what you will be up against, I was surprised to see no Mollogs. I believe the meta is influenced by social media trends, whether that is people sharing effective decks or the fact that there are regular statements online, such as Season 1 warbands not being competitive, which is encouraging people to prove them wrong.

I agree with Martin but I think there is another factor at play here, namely the BAR. The most recent update squeezed a bit of power from the top tier meta decks and this has left a bunch of room for other warbands to compete. Shadespire warbands were never that far behind their Nightvault counterparts and the BAR specifically targeted what Nightvault warbands do best, magic and ranged attacks. It’s still early days to properly judge the current meta but seeing Reavers win gencon – I honestly think the game is in a great place and I think the recent BAR list has a lot to do with that – Mike.

One of the great things about being able to attend regular tournaments is that you can get a real sense of community as you see people again. It was great to see both Steel City Underworlds blog and Ready 4 Action Podcast members among the players (although it can also bring on the fear when you get your pairings and realise how good an opponent you are up against!). It is also awesome to see people coming to their first or second tournament and getting a lot of seeing how their deck performs, meeting new people and being able to get new ideas from outside their normal gaming group.

Something that not everyone may be aware of is that for season 2 prize kits, Games Workshop now charge the independent stores for each Quarter pack. So bear in mind that charging £10 a head based on what GW is charging for a kit is very reasonable but if you are playing somewhere where you are paying less (i.e. £5) then the odds are they are not making any money on it. I know Trev at Impact Wargaming does this because he wants people to come in and enjoy playing games, so I try and buy some stuff while I’m there to help support him.

A rare picture of my sexy ass in the wild – Mike

If you are running a tournament yourself then my strongest advice is to make sure to use the two main Facebook groups, as these are the main places people go looking for tournaments. Also once you have created your event, be sure to post reminders or updates so that people don’t forget they are happening or to build interest. A great example is Impact Wargaming again as they show pictures of the prizes you can win every couples of weeks, which is really effective. 

When it comes to rulings, I recommend using the FAQ and just respond to queries with something along the lines of “based on the information or a similar situation in the FAQ, I’m ruling that this is the decision we are taking for the day”. You can ask other players for their opinion if you are unsure but be wary of all decisions becoming collective affairs. 

I didn’t do full deck checks for everyone but I took a list of everyone’s restricted cards in case there were any challenges. Having had a quick look through the restricted cards people took – Ready for Action was taken by everyone and Escalation wasn’t taken by two people but that was only because one of them didn’t own the card! So regardless of your opinion on whether it is ok, they seem to still be considered the best restricted cards. The closest after that was change of tactics (6) and Superior Taction (5). Calculated Risk has taken a big hit since being restricted with only four people running it today, when at Grand Clash it seemed as though everyone who wasn’t playing Nighthaunt had it. I was most interested in the fact that three people took Spiritbond as I’ve heard it said that restricting an upgrade makes it a dead card. Tome of Offerings was understandably popular at 4 but the only others were Deathly Fortitude and Well of Power at one a piece.

There are multiple methods of running the scoring for Tournaments, Best Coast Pairing is very popular, I opted to do the maths myself with Excel. With first deciding factor being number of games won, then number of games lost and final total glory. Across four rounds this seemed to work out well, as you can see below. I completely understand the argument for strength of schedule though and don’t have a particular opinion as yet, just that organisers should be clear at the start how they are running and not switch the conditions part way through.

I’ll get you next time Ready4Action (shakes fist in air) – Mike

I hope this was of some interest to you and please feel free to comment if you want more information about anything out of me.

I just wanted to say thanks to Martin for pretty much carrying the Sheffield scene on his shoulders. Not only does he organise tournaments like this but he also gets a bunch of us practicing every week and its led to a very strong practice environment which helps all of us. If anyone is in or around the Sheffield area and is interested in practicing with us lot then drop us a line and we’ll let you know the time and place – Mike.

For anyone interested here is a write up of how the tournament went from one of the players – Mike.

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