Sunday, April 5, 2015

Has the ITC FAQ overstepped itself?

The ITC FAQ (used for international play as well as here in the States at certain events) was released after some polling of attendees to their events. Frontline Gaming, who are as most know, the organizers for one of the biggest and certainly one of the most visible tournaments contributed heavily. In part the tournament success is due to the enterprise of Reece.

You can find the document by clicking this link: ITC FAQ

I recently attempted to make my way through the enormous document and I had to admit that I had to ask myself whether this FAQ over reached itself like the INAT did before it. We go through these cycles of FAQ's that "everyone is using" and local tournaments, in some unfortunate attempt to legitimize their events, adopt the document wholesale instead of using it as a starting point.

I chose a few excerpts that sort of illustrate the problem so that you don't have to scan the whole thing for examples. No matter your opinion on the rulings themselves, I think the real issue here is not whether you agree on the ruling, but rather whether they should have rules on these at all. These aren't just interpretations, they are in most cases flat out intentional core and codex rules changes!

Example 1:

Template and Blast weapons, and any other attacks or special rules that don’t roll To Hit, or hit
automatically (e.g. Imothek’s Lord of the Storm special rule), have no effect on Zooming Flyers
and Swooping Flying Monstrous Creatures. This is true even if the attacking unit has the Skyfire special rule.

Whuuuut? That really makes no sense at all since the actual rules on this are really clear. The Hard to Hit rule for Flyers is different than that for Flying Monstrous Creatures (very different). What was the point of this ruling? And why the frak can't lightning hit any of them? Its WAY faster than any of them! Lol. Editorializing aside, they are actively reversing a rule as written that isn't unclear.

Example 2 and 3:

For ease of tournament play, at this event, if a Blast or Template weapon would hit models on
more than one level of a ruin, the player making the attack must choose only one of the levels to hit.

This also is an absolute contradiction of the rules as written and no one would argue that it isn't! Its a For "ease of play"? No its not! All you have to do is count and roll. This is a stubborn throwback to 6th edition. I don't support an FAQ when it's a revisionist attempt and not just a "hey you're right, that rule could be a lot clearer" type of thing. Explosions go off in three dimensions and the fallout does as much damage as the blast does sometimes! Excluding multiple levels, especially when those higher levels could be smaller than the levels below (and thus have people totally non-obscured down below)... Seems a bad call.

Look at it through this lens, another FAQ:

If the Mawloc’s attacks destroy a Transport vehicle with embarked passengers, the passengers
disembark normally before attempting to place the Mawloc. This may cause the passengers to
be hit by the second blast marker or force the Mawloc to roll on the Deep Strike Mishap table.

Now here they are letting you attack essentially multiple "levels". First the tasty bottom of the vehicle and then the poor sods inside. Ease of play? Not so much. This also has some poor wording because it tells you that the models inside are placed before you place the Mawloc? and its effectively letting the Mawloc hit TWICE. Does this seem wrong to anyone? It does me.

Example 4:

Force weapons cannot cause Instant Death to Kharn the Betrayer even if their strength is double or more than his Toughness value (e.g. a Nemesis Daemonhammer).

Basically adding Eternal Warrior to a model that doesn't have it! Arbitrary as all get out. I know what they were going for, but rewriting the codex's entries isn't what I expect when I go to an FAQ... Applications of rules or interpreting them is one thing but this is actually rewriting the codex entry and just adding things!

Example 5:

Here's another one I scratched my head about and again because it singles one model out and not others like it

O’Vesa may join units like a normal Independent Character. However, other Independent
Characters cannot be joined to a unit containing O’Vesa. If a unit already contains another
Independent Character, this effectively prevents O’vesa from joining that unit.

Since I have never opted to use O'Vesa I suppose my rooting interest here is minimal. This one looks like someone got butt hurt and just said "not on my lawn!". But then if all it takes to get an FAQ like that is someones indignation over a trouncing, then we will be in for a veritable blizzard of these kinds of rulings in the future from the ITC FAQ. I can find a hundred thousand disgruntled gamers with a horror story at the ready.

The FAQ has a huge amount of good things to say so I am not dismissing it all as tripe nor encouraging a mass rebellion over the issue. Far from it. But I have to say, these were unwelcome finds.

They did the same thing on Invisibility. I suppose I do like the changes there and in a lot of places, which goes to show you that I don't find myself in disagreement that some changes were welcome. I just wonder if it has overreached itself in trying to add and subtract rules that don't need it. I know the FAQ has influenced me to think more about how I write my own FAQ's for the tournaments I run. Cut and pasting isn't going to be a part of the program moving forward, I think. I encourage others to use the ITC FAQ as a springboard, but do not slavishly follow all of it just to gain a little legitimacy. Selling out on something you don't 100% believe in isn't ever a winning strategy.


  1. The ITC FAQ is a set of guidelines (as defined by Reece and Frankie themselves), rather than rules that an organizer may pick and choose to their personal content. Many are counters to Forgeworld units and rules, while others attempt to diminish power (or perceived power) of a particular dataslate or formation. A perfect example is the denial of first turn assault to the Augur Triangulation formation, Blood Angels.

    Participating in an ITC event, I would contact the Tournament Organizer ahead and determine how closely they plan to follow the FAQ. If you want to use it for your event, making changes available to participants ahead of time.

    Remember, it isn't perfect, but, is a necessary bi-product due to Games Workshop rules.

    1. let us also remember that tournaments are also a product of their organizers, not a by-product of Games Workshop. I thin it's rather self-entitled for people to rewrite rules never really intended for tourney play so they can be compatible with the neckbeards' expectations.

      TL; DR: it's a game, chill out.

  2. The triangulation thing was obvious, as we've discussed (you don't agree and that's okay). I know you like to lay this all at the feet of GW, Even if it were so, you can't possibly condone the arbitrary addition of Eternal Warrior to a model or giving a Mawloc effectively two attacks and so on! It's absurd. It is naive for anyone to think that these events are going to do anything but adopt it wholesale because they want their event to be SEEN as "ITC official" and in the cool kids club or whatever. As one who regularly attends, RUNS and follows tournaments, I can tell you that they take the whole thing and apply it. I've yet to hear any T.O. tell me (to date) that they are going to ignore certain of those ITC FAQ's. But I do encourage T.O.'s to look at this critically and ask yourself: is this just someone who is but hurt over the way something works or is this an actually necessary thing. Because changing core things about the game is the T.O.'s prerogative and i support THAT 100%. But I don't support the decisions of the ITC in several places and were I to adopt it, those would be omitted. I encourage other TO's not to adopt the ITC FAQ in its entirety. As for the Forge World stuff I dont have the willingness to spend the money to keep up on IMperial Armour which is effectively a whole other set of codex's you'd have to learn. Thats an unreasoable expense for the avergae player and I think its bad for the hobby. Having said that, the FAQ section on Forge World crap is so large that it illustrates how much over complication it represents to even add it to normal 40K. I really don't see the attraction for allowing it but whatevs. to each his own.

    1. Re: Forgeworld- you are a minority in the fact that it is gaining traction in larger, more competitive venues (see Nova Open). The AT special rule was not obvious by your definition, and, you did nothing to logically support your opinion or to change mine.

      If Games Workshop supplied rules for free, I wouldn't bitch- but they don't. Games Workshop charges a hefty premium, and now, appear to begin an update cycle of 1-2 years for codices. The rules are not tight, or competitively written which provide a breeding ground for rulesets such as the ITC.

      Optional rules are optional /shrug. I don't have an opinion about FW other than 90% overpriced, 10% overpowered. People like to field pretty models.

    2. Well Andrew, to be fair, I obviously convinced someone of AT. The ITC, it would seem, and the vast army of its believers too to name a few. I did logically support my argument and you didn't accept it. No biggee. We agree to disagree.

      As for Forge World, Whether I am in the minority or not is up for debate but my reasons are sound even if I were. My empathy is for the newest and/or casual players who might have wanted into this game until they realize they can't possibly financially compete once you start throwing Forge Worlds crazy stuff in the mix and its more crazy price tag. So if I'm the Unorthodox one on the subject, I'll happily stay that way with no regret. Even if you have no opinion, you can be sure that others do and in lieu of your lack of opinion, perhaps empathy for those players would fill that void.

  3. The Mawloc does get two blast marker attempts, and that is how White Scars hit and run is applied (it says that models in units containing Terminators or Centurions do not get it). Not overreach, just you not knowing the rules it seems...

  4. The point being made on the Mawloc is that this is more complicated than the artillery hitting what is below it (the only skill required for that is counting). It was an example to show that this artillery ruling was unnecessary and certainly was not an attempt to simplify things. It flat out invalidates the correct way to handle artillery.

    The Whits Scars ability is written oddly and uses two different sentences, one telling you they get it and another. I can see looking over it again how it might need the explanation. So I will concede that point, Aventine. I note that Khan does not independently have Hit and Run himself.

  5. I agree with Bones on this one. As a regular tournament attendee, I hope that the ITC events I am attending this year do not adopt these rule suggestions en masse, and take a gradient approach to them. I also hope that the publishers of these rulings continue in the spirit of the game and do not marginalize or punish organizers for not adopting these wholesale.

  6. Example 4: I agree with the interpretation of Khans "Blessing of the Blood god Rule" No extra rules are added. Its something he had already!

    At the end of day these Rules FAQ's are built by committee so will have a few strange things to it. But its better than haveing issues the day of the Tournament!

    1. Nothing in his rules say he's immune to STR 10.

  7. I basically agree with the ITC and their rulings. I think there should be an organization like this to keep GW in check. The only thing is that there should be a transparent way to initiate a review/overturn of any particular FAQ "ruling"

    1. Well two problemsd: one is that the way they ask questions is poor at times. As I've said, not everything they have decided has been poor. What I dislike is the seemingly stilted way questions are asked. I disliked their recent decision to allow a 50.01% majority to be good enough to even rule! I think if its that close, you need another vote and you let players work it out until there is a strong enough wave. I have advocated a super majority be required before making changes and rewrites.

  8. As a follow up I have just ben made aware of this steaming pile being added to the FAQ:

    Models in the Piranha Firestream Wing formation may not leave the table using the Rearm and Refuel special rule the same turn that they arrive from Reserves or Ongoing Reserves.
    When returning to the table using the Rearm and Refuel special rule, the Piranha unit does so at full strength, including regaining Piranhas that have been destroyed earlier in the game. However, models that have formed their own unit due to being immobilized are not replaced.

    All Ghostkeels in a unit activate their Holophoton Countermeasures at the same time.

    If a Stormsurge that has deployed its Stabilising Anchors is Tank Shocked, it must Death or Glory in response. If it fails to stop the Tank Shocking vehicle, it suffers D3 wounds and the tank is left in base to base contact with the Stormsurge at the point it made contact with it.

    Any shooting attack or rule that requires a hit on a unit that is protected by a Void Shield hits the shield instead. Example: Psychic Witchfires, Marker Lights, etc. This will often nullify these attacks.

    I mean... WTF. They are literally CREATING rules out of thin air! These aren't how its's written and they obviously invented rules to help AND hinder the Tau in this case, out of thin air.

    This is absurd.

  9. The void shield and Stormsurge are exactly how it's written. The void shield literally says any hit in a unit protected by the void shield hits the void shield instead. How do you read that any other way is beyond me. I'm not saying the void shield rules are complete crap. They are but that's how it's written.

  10. You're wrong about that. this isn't how the StormSurge is written. RAW, a StormSurge with its Pylons down is going to be dead if tank shocked. That is RAW. Also, since when does a tank shocking tank remain in base contact? It's wrong on two counts. Now I play a Stormsurge and it scares the willies out of me to think a Rhino can just move up and kill it. But that's the rule. I can even see the need to moderate this as it is so absurd. But claimig that it "should" take wounds instead isn't true. That's an ITC Rewrite.

  11. The rules for tank shock says it is removed from play... The rules for GC says any effect that removes it from play INSTEAD does d3 wounds... As much as I dislike ITC I think they actually got this right.

    1. I dislike the process of the ITC. I like the guys behind it. I hate that I have to on one hand say how disappointing its been and yet on the other, say "I wishe them the best" because I do. But I got told on Facebook last night be a very irate person that essentially I was crazy for suggesting people have any self interest when voting. Has this guy even met a HUMAN before?


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