Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Warhammer 40,000 Skill vs.Codex Debate: The Myth Is Busted

"Anecdotal" is what people say when they don't wan’t to have to actually admit someone wins with the unorthodox.   It's a slap in the face.

What no one gets to do is pretend your wins did not happen.  Nor do they get to suggest that you could never in a million years win with a list you just won with.  That’s just spitting in the face of the most relevant data you have:  actual games.

In this game, the general matters more.  Not because you say so, but because the facts support you on that.

Here was a little noodling I did after I was challenged on the efficacy of Dark Eldar, but this study really speaks to a lot of factions.  I wrote this as an answer to someone’s arguments online and have expanded it here.  I hope you find it interesting and if you do, share it.

There were 4 Dark Eldar Generals in the Independent Tournament Circuit (ITC) that scored in the 400 point club.  That refers to those whose points total for the 2016 ITC season in their best five events was 400+.  I am further talking about those who did it within a specific faction.  Obviously these are the most relevant scores, the top representatives of their faction much like a Gold Glove Third Baseman is the best fielder at his position or the team MVP is the most valuable player to his team.  These are the best at what they play and they show how the position can be played.

Only four Dark Eldar generals did this out of 157 who attempted it .  That's only  2.5% of Dark Eldar who could live up to that level of play using that Codex.  Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?  I was wisely told to believe things for good sound reasons instead of reasons that sound good.  So i looked at the rest.  Do you know what I found?  

28 attained it as Eldar; but it took them 714 Generals to do it.  True story!   3.9%, which means it’s not even happening 2% more often!  Not such a jump as you might have been led to believe by the all-knowing Internet is it?  If someone had told you when you were buying your army "hey you’re only going to have a 4% chance of reaching the 400+ club with that army” would you play it?  Would you even buy it, once shown proof that few ever do?  Of course you would have.  Right?

Chaos Space Marines had just 3 Generals in the 400+ Club out of 370 Generals who tried.  0.81%.  yet you cannot ignore that three did it.  The actual frequency is worse, but still we see it happening.  It sounds worse than 3.9% but to be honest...  neither sounds particularly high when faced with the reality of the number either way.

When you look at competitiveness, you have to ask yourself the following question if you want the answer to mean anything:  of those attempting to compete in the ITC, who are demonstrably the best players as proven by their points, using a certain army, can the Codex compete to reach that elite sort of 400+ club standing everyone wants to be in?  Those are generally your local heroes at Warhammer.  They are the ones you expect to win a lot of the time.  They are the bellwethers for the codex, not the rest.  They have somehow grasped that which the codex offered when it was put out there while the others have not (yet).

In that context, it’s quite surprising how far apart those percentages aren’t!  As they are relevant and considered "power armies", here's a few more for you to chew on:

Cult Mechanicus only had four players make it to the 400+ club out of 211, and no one is screaming about how bad War Convocations are.  That’s 1.89% and worse than Dark Eldar!

Adepta Astartes armies, despite their Battle Companies, boasted only twelve out of 1107 Generals making it to the 400 club.  About 1.1%.  Easily the most surprising number of them all.  Still want to argue that the general doesn’t matter?  Still want to argue that Codex’s win?  It would seem that Dark Eldar give you the better chance!

These are objectively true numbers, proven in actual games, with no less than an entire YEAR of results comprising an enormous number of games played at tournament only levels!

How did Dark Angels do, who won some really big events this year?    Just four made the 400+ club, out of 326 who tried.  Just 1.2% could do it, yet people give all kinds of praise to the Codex and none for Dark Eldar who produced the same number of stars in far less attempts.  Why?  Someone good won something with it, that's why.  Not because the Codex was so much better.  It had lots of chances to prove otherwise 

Another shocker:  nine Tau Generals made it...but there were 601 of them trying.  Here again:  1.5%.  Yet we hear claims of their cheddar echoing across the Web.  Those are the facts, folks.  Not my facts.  The facts.

I can go on.  The take away is obvious.  Consider this as well:

Player scores that went much higher were included in this, and those were people willing to travel the country in pursuit of as many major events as they could afford to (and for that matter couldn't truly afford to).  The guy who took first place in the ITC went to 50% more events than the guy who took second, and thus had far more chances to get "best five" results.

Matt Root, the ultimate winner, won mostly with Cult Mechanicus…you know… the force only 1.89% of the players could even reach the 400 club with!  Do the math.

Skill matters most.  If Matt Root committed the same energy to another force, it’s quite likely he’d be right up there again vying for the finals.  Before you say no, I'll give you proof.  Matt Root was in the top 1% in 2015 as well (not a surprise).  Would you like to know what he racked up those points playing?

He was in the 400+ Club that year too, in the top 1%...playing Orks.  Enough said, I think.