I’ve been chatting with Neil Kerr (he of http://skcuzzlebumm.blogspot.co.uk/) about the Swedish tournament scene and tbh i’m green with envy.
Check out the results from a major recent event over there. If you click on the names their lists come up. Try clicking on the top 3, yes thats the 3 podium positions. Notice anything about their lists?
If you have any experience of the UK tournament scene then you will quickly spot what is so ‘strange’. That isn’t a little event btw, it’s not a 20 man local club event. It’s got 108 players. It’s comparative to, for the sake of arguement, Caledonian Uprising.Can you imagine those lists in the Uprising?
I can. It would be brutal. Whoever was using them, unless they were very good players, would just be blown away by every Tom, Dick and Harry with his copy and paste spam army.
So why is the Swedish tournament scene so vibrant whilst the UK scene is as dull as dishwater?
Well its not the system. Which leads to the players. The guys winning that event are top players make no mistake. They could comfortably come to England, play a spam list (or even their vibrant and original lists) and take home plenty of silverware. Trust me when i say that the players in England are not, generally, up to the standard of some of the top european nations. Sorry!
Those players are brave enough, confident enough and frankly good enough to take choices which appear ‘non optimised’ and do exceptionally well with them.
They are supported by a comp system which I really like. You can check it out here: swedish comp
Would I want every event run with that comp in place?
Well yes, but realistically no.
My gripe/concern/observation is that it wouldn’t take much to make the UK scene as vibrant as the Swedish (and other) tournament scenes. In my opinion too many events just spam out the same old rulespack, sometimes with minor tweaks (like pts sizes – 1,750 or 1,850 some people would have you believe its a life changing amendment. The reality? people just throw in another razorback or min sized squad. Yawn) and the same old crowd just pay their £30 or even £40 and spend the weekend with their guys facing eachother across a bowling green table rolling dice at eachother.
If some tournament organisors took the view that they would run an event with hard comp such as the Swedish comp whilst others ran events with no comp and some had plentiful soft scores whilst others had the bare minimum then there would be a greater variety in the UK scene. This would probably filter down to club nights as well. Who regularly goes to their club niights only to end up playing spam lists that they would play in tournaments?
Sometimes someone may want to try out an exciting new idea which generally just involves spamming a different unit from the codex to the usual choice. Woohoo.
Could the top players take the lead in encouraging diverse lists?
Yeah they could. Several of the top players are comfortably good enough to win with lists which aren’t just spam. Would they risk it? I doubt it.
As 5th edition draws to a close I hear more and more players saying this edition is stale, it’s got boring and we need a new edition to freshen things up. However, I have my doubts that 6th edition will make much of a difference. Sure it may inject a bit of enthusiasm for a while but at the end of the day it will take what, 6 months for players to break it?
Then it will be back to copy and paste spam lists and the feeling of staleness. Its the lists and the mentality of the players that needs to change not the edition of the game. Unfortunately I just can’t see it happening and so while people who, when they get old, will look back and wonder why did they place so much importance on pieces of tacky tin for pushing little model dudes around continue to have their way the UK will continue to have a boring tournament scene.
The 40k player in me wishes I lived in Sweden.