Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WOTR: Suggested tournament guidelines.

WOTR is a lot of fun but is also distinctly '1st Edition' and there are some crazy kinks in the balance. In a competitive environment, people tend to hone in on these and this can really unbalance games. The most glaring issues are 'cherry picking' of certain under-costed heroes, some lists bringing an overwhelming amount of magic and other lists bringing along so many killer duelers that normal heroes don't stand a chance. One other issue this format addresses is the potential for certain battlehosts (I'm thinking Gorogorth Orc Horde) to be a little much.

At it's core, WOTR is pretty well designed and balanced and I think the amount of necessary changes to get it to 'work' in a competitive (not the antithesis of fun btw) environment are small - definitely a lot smaller than writing detailed 'theme lists' for everyone. I've had a look at the better ways some events manage the issue and here is what I propose:

WOTR 1000-1500pt draft competition guidelines. 
Rules: 'Will of iron' works on a 3+ OR (Organiser's choice) 'Will of iron' is free as long as a hero has one might remaining. 

Lists: There is a list of all the Epic heroes in the game, below. There are three categories for each faction: 'Restricted', 'Limited' and 'Unrestricted'.
Your army may only contain one hero from the 'restricted' list. At 1000pts, it may also have one hero from the 'limited' list (or two, if there is no 'restricted' hero) and at 1500pts it may have two heroes from the limited list (or three, if there is no restricted hero.)

You may take as many other heroes or legendary formations as points permit. You may not take any allied Heroes or Monsters from either the 'restricted' or limited' lists, though Good lists may use Epic Heroes from the Forgotten Kingdoms list ('The Shadow of the Nazgul' fulfils the same role for Evil).  You may take anything other than heroes or monsters as allies for your army but these need to all come from one other list and conform to the 'decree of rarity' between themselves. For example, a formation of allied Mordor Siege Bows (Rare) would require another Mordor Common formation, with at lest as many companies. So to take two allied siege bows as an allied formation, you would also have to include a formation of two companies of Orc Archers.
Battlehosts may be fielded but the restrictions on Epic Heroes remains. The sole exception to this are Battlehosts which require more than one Epic Hero from the restricted list, in that case they may take the minimum necessary. Since the restrictions on Epic heroes remain in place, you may not take one restricted hero in the battlehost and another for the rest of the army.


Restricted: Aragorn, Boromir, Elendil
Limited: Faramir, Imrahil, Isildur
Not Restricted: Peregrin,

Restricted: Eomer, 
Limited: Eorl, Theoden, Deorwine
Not Restricted: Eowyn, Erkenbrand, Theodred

Elven Kingdoms
Restricted: Galadriel (Lady of Lothlorien), Thranduil,
Limited: Elladan & Elrohir (pair counts as one choice), Haldir, Galadriel (Protectress of Lothlorien), Legolas
Not restricted: Celeborn, Elrond, Cirdan, Gil-Galad, Arwen, 
The Dwarf Holds
Restricted: Dain, Gimli
Limited: Balin
Not Restricted: Floi

Forgotten Kingdoms (may be allies for any Good list)
Restricted: Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown
Not Restricted: Gandalf the White


Restricted: Ringwraiths (except Witch King of Angmar), Gothmog
Limited:  Mouth of Sauron, Kardush, Witch King of Angmar
Not Restricted: Gollum

The Fortress of Isengard
Restricted: Thrydan, Saruman, 
Limited: Lurtz
Not restricted: Grima Wormtongue

The Misty Mountains
Restricted:  Stone Giant, Dragon, Druzhag.
Limited: Balrog, Durburz

Fallen Realms
Restricted: Ringwraiths (Shadow of the Nazgul), Suladan
Limited: Amdur, Queen Beruthiel, War Mumak, Dalamyr

Restricted: Ringwraiths (Shadow of the Nazgul)
Limited: Buhrdur, Witch-King of Angmar

I've considered the combos that I've seen out there (though perhaps not the Ringwraith flying circus - those are legendary Wraiths afterall) and I think the above is a good balance between keeping things in bounds and allowing players some flexibility. I definitely think it is a more helpful approach than simply asking players to 'theme' their list - that is the worst of both worlds, in my opinion. Some players end up having to defend their list choices vs (often not particularly knowledgeable) people with strong ideas of what a list should look like AND the sneakier players find effective ways of combining 'theme' with some pretty horrible and unbalanced lists. I've seen people get pretty worked up about theme, when it was clear that what was driving the angst was concern over other players having some unfair advantage. When balance is taken care of on it's own people then approach the issue of theme much more positively.

I hope this helps others when thinking through how to run their WOTR events.

Thanks for reading.


  1. I'm still wondering when we'll see a 'v1.5' rule book...

  2. Hi Scott - word is that there will be a combined SBG/WOTR book this year.

    We'll see.


  3. The only commentary I have is that I can't really get why Durburz is only limited, not restricted. 4 might and Epic Strike for 75 (IRC) points is too good a deal to pass on, especially comboed with Druzhag.

    For the MRA (Mordor Royal Airforce) I'd say, make legendary wraiths limited. That way you can still have 2/3 of them, and I can't see anyone wanting to field more than that in a non-MRA list.

  4. Hi Annatar,

    He - along with the issue of Stonegiants and Overlord - skates through because they need to have a legal army commander. So if it were done any other way, they couldn't ever take Stone Giants or Dragons!

    I have to admit, I am a little skeptical of how unbeatable that MRA list is. To me, it looks good but a bit vulnerable to shooting/spells given how much movement freedom there is. So nothing like how stupid a stacked up Gorgoroth Horde is. However, if more examples of it dominating were brought to my attention.... :)

  5. That makes sense, I see.

    For the MRA, there are so many complaints, that I suppose it will be quite OP. And com to think of it: 5x Strength for Corruption +5 Swoop Attacks (+1 dice per attack, for at total of 15D3 casualties) is quite OP, and gets you behind the enemy, so he can't shoot/charge.

  6. It is priority dependent though, right?

    Still it would be no great loss to the game if some Battlehosts were just taken out for event. They do seem to make existing problems worse. I really only see bad things written about those two (they all ignore the Dunlendings, the fools!) so maybe just ban the two outright and be done with it?