21 April 2014

Tournament Talk: New Tournament Rules v 1.5.2

As mentioned last week, there are some fairly significant changes lurking within the new Tournament Rules. Let's go down the list and see what jumps out at us, ok?

Intro (untitled lead-in section)
Reference to two different tournament types- competitive and premier.

Component Interpretation and Rules
The TO has the ability to overrule the FAQ when in the TO's opinion, "a mistake or error is discovered." I'll be honest, I'm not nuts about that little tidbit. I understand what they're going for there, but I worry that too many TOs will use that entry to justify bad rulings and/ or rulings where they didn't consult the FAQ. Maybe I'm paranoid or looking for something that isn't there, but this just smacks of something that's going to be abused by stores that don't have a strong X-Wing presence where most everyone knows the rules. Hope I'm wrong about it.

Tournament Organizer Participation
TOs can only play in casual level events or competitive level events if there is a second TO. TOs cannot play in premier level events and cannot participate in their own Regionals, National, or World event.

This decision may not be the most popular, but I think it's a good idea. While I realize it's no fun to organize as opposed to play, I think overall it's poor form to play in a tournament that you're also organizing. I remember reading a post on the FFG boards back in the day where this guy kinda felt like he'd been screwed over by a playing TO. Long story short, he kinda had really, but it wasn't necessarily because the TO was a playing TO, it just made things worse because he was a playing TO and the way in which he'd screwed up kinda favored him and not the guy who felt like he'd been screwed. Had the TO not been playing, the outcome wouldn't have changed really, but the guy's perception of the tournament would have. Know what I'm sayin'?

Component Modifications
3rd part tokens are now acceptable (surprised they weren't before, but they're marked pink so I guess they weren't) so long as it's clear what they represent. It's also now acceptable to use modified ship pegs, but bases still need to be stock though you can add weights. No change to the ruling on painting and modification to the ship models themselves- acceptable and unacceptable, respectively.

Asteroids and obstacles still can't be modified either and you can't use "setup templates" during your deployment, though it's perfectly acceptable to use your range ruler and stuff to precisely position your ships.

Players can't use their own playmats, though TOs can ask players to bring mats ahead of time and randomize their use amongst the participants.

Squad Building
After the first round (in which everyone is randomly paired up barring two family members playing each other or people who traveled together), the players are seeded by their tournament points where the TO is expected to pair people by their point totals as closely as possible. Also if there are an odd number of players, the bye goes to one of the lowest ranked participants and counts as a match win.

Squad Deployment
I don't think this is any different, but you can fully deploy everything before the TO says you can start playing.

Lowest squad total determines Initiative, if there's a tie, flip a coin.

EDIT: I should have spent a little more time on this when I wrote it. Lowest squad total still determines Initiative, but now, the player with the lowest total points gets to pick if he wants the initiative or not rather than just automatically getting it.

End of Match
If you destroy all of your opponents ships and have at least one ship of your own left, you automatically score a Match Win and your opponent scores a Match Loss. If neither have ships remaining, it's a Draw.

If your match is called for time, finish the current round then add up the points on the ships that you destroyed including upgrades. The person who scored more receives a Modified Match Win unless they outscore their opponent by more than 12 in which case they earn a Match Win.

EDIT: Some of the commenters on this article thought I should have called more attention to this points differential. It used to be 33, which I'm sure many of you know as I've mentioned it on here a bunch of times in various articles, now it is only 12. So there ya go- attention called.

Match Win- 5 Tournament Points
Modified Match Win- 3 Tournament Points
Draw- 1 Tournament Point
Match Loss- 0 Tournament Points

Tie Breaker
If two participants end up on the same point total, the tie is broken by adding up the match points earned by their opponents in the opponents other matches which FFG refers to as calculating the "Strength of Schedule." Long story short, the guy who had the tougher set of opponents (e.g. higher match points total) wins the tie.

Ok, so this is a new one on everybody. Long story short, the Dogfight rules still apply most of the time, but there are a few exceptions with regard to squad building.

Escalation Tournaments have four rounds and in each of the rounds, players are given more points to field their squad as well as more time to play their games.

I'm cutting out some verbiage and throwing the times and points at you in a condensed form, but basically it goes like this-

Round 1- 50 minutes, 60 point squadrons
Round 2- 70 minutes, 90 point squadrons
Round 3- 90 minutes, 120 point squadrons
Round 4- 120 minutes, 150 point squadrons

TOs can adjust those times up or down by 10 minutes. As you'd expect, you don't have to field the full amount of points; you can field less, but cannot field more.

Escalation Squad Building
Players can't field more than 8 small ships or 4 large ships in their squadron at any points level. EDIT: Worded this one poorly too. You can't field more than 8 small ships of the same type or 4 large ships of the same type in your lists.

In other words, you can't field 10 Academy TIEs for your Round 3 Imperial Escalation squadron.

Round 2, 3, and 4 Squadrons must include the full contents and upgrades of the previous squadrons and the upgrades must stay on the same ships that previously used them though new upgrades may be added.

Additional Tournament Rules
Score Piles
Basically, when your stuff gets killed, you're asked to put the pilot card and any upgrades into what is effectively a discard pile rather than back into your pilot card deck or whatever. Long story short, if your game ends on time, you add up the contents of your "score pile" and that's what is used to calculate your match outcome.

Only thing to watch here is you don't put in "discard this card to..." type cards (torpedoes, missiles, bombs, etc., for example) until the owning ship is destroyed.

Tournament Squad Pool
Legal Products
Gone is the list of ships that can be used in tournaments. Long story short, anything not sporting the epic icon is good to go for tournament play.

Tiers of Tournament Play
Casual- "Have fun" type games, leagues, etc. May include variants.
Competitive- Consistent rules, events like Store Championships and Kessel Run/ Imdaar Alpha type things
Premier- Regionals, National, and World type events. Interestingly, this is the only level mentioned where players are expected to play by the Tournament Rules and FAQ.

So there ya go. What do you make of all that?

Escalation seems fun though not having built an Imperial 150 point list that caps at 8 TIEs and 4 large ships, I wonder if some of y'all might want to debate me on that point.