Revealing Missions in Event Packs: Yay or Nay?

This week on twitter we’ve seen some lively discussion around missions for events, and specifically whether they should be revealed in advance.

You can catch up on the conversation below:

I’m here today to chuck my 2 cents into the discussion, but the short version is, I’m all for knowing them in advance.

The Aussie scene

I’ve played my fair share of events in Australia, and we pretty much always reveal missions before the event takes place over here.

That has been entirely uncontroversial, and there is no lobby that I am aware of pushing to change tack and reveal them on the day. I believe that there are a few reasons for that:

  • It gives you an extra angle to think about. Coming up with a gameplan for each scenario, and a list that plays well into them, is a list builder’s dream. Living and breathing the event for weeks in advance adds a lot of depth to the hobby for those of us who focus heavily on tourneys.
  • A well-crafted mission pack can give smart players an angle to work, and curb the worst excesses of meta lists.
  • Putting the right scenarios at the right stage of the 5-game progression gives TOs a medium to express themselves, and curate an experience (if the alternative is a random roll).
  • It also helps players know in advance whether they are barking up the wrong tree with a specific list, and would have a better time if they looked in a different direction.

Counterpoint: Doesn’t it favour jank?

Hang on…if we do announce the missions ahead of time, won’t that give people the chance to tailor skewed lists and break the game?

In a word, no. In reality it will give people the chance to tailor skewed lists and fix the game.

What I mean by that is that the meta lists are meta because they are good on most missions against most opponents. There’s nothing particularly clever about double tapping Longstrikes, which is why it appeals to so many shitheads – you point at your opponent’s key pieces, they remove them, and shortly afterwards you shake hands.

If you keep your missions secret, that doesn’t magically level the playing field, and favour balanced lists – the playing field is already wildly skewed. All things being equal, balanced lists are simply lambs to the slaughter against meta lists, and keeping missions under wraps simply feeds that dynamic.

So that’s my fundamental position. Revealing Battleplans ahead of time gives your players the pleasure of planning and day dreaming in the build up to the event, and just as importantly, a real opportunity to strategise and figure out a path to victory against the meta lists.

All of this for a Bonesplitterz list? Are you fucking kidding me?

Bringing it all together, let’s take a look at the upcoming Vic GT event hosted by MeasuredGaming

My aim would be to go 4-1 with a Destruction army, which includes having some kind of chance against the on-meta Stormcast lists featuring some combination of Dragons, Dracoths and Longstrikes.

So this is what I came up with:

218 wounds of green delight

When in doubt, the arrow boys come out.

There are a few things I like about this list:

  • It can switch gears between aggression and control
  • Drown anyone without an elite armour save in a flurry of arrows (210 shots, count em!)
  • Can’t kill them? Jam up objectives with 32mm bases instead
  • Rend -1 against Monsters should chip away a dragon or two a turn
  • Their own version of “Bring it Down” gives Bonesplitterz an extra Battle Tactic they can score against dragon heavy lists:
Credit: Games Workshop

The Grand Strategy (keep a Battleline unit alive) should be a lock in all but the most extreme circumstances, especially with the 4++ ward turn – in fact, Bonesplitterz can regularly deny their opponents Broken Ranks even with minimum Battleline units on the Waaagh turn. So those 30 blocks should be grand.

31x 32mm bases blocking an objective
Credit: Shirtripper

I believe that most Shooting armies will struggle for the DPS to work through this army, and they’re not getting there any time soon in combat with the 4++ ward wasting a turn of output…and then you’ve got Big Bad Bundo kicking the objectives right underneath those big slabs of wounds.

If you get into a pillow fight with another wound spam army, you’ve got the 1 drop to get you on objectives first, and wherever possible you’ll remove models to get out of combat and Rally the fuck out of your 2 wound troops, then blast away again from a position of safety.

There’s a couple of things I’d like to experiment with – for example, maybe subbing out the second unit of Boarboys for a unit of Spider Riders and a strong Triumph bid. But I think the fundamentals are in place.

Bringing it together

This army has been designed to work with the well- crafted set of missions at Vic GT, so going through them in order:

Tectonic interference: 3 objectives down the centre, swamp 2 of them and kick the 3rd underneath da boyz with Bundo

Feral Foray: kick and burn with Bundalicious

First Blood: see Tectonic Interference

Veins of Ghur: outlast your opponent with your volume of wounds, and score max points late on

Savage Gains: kick em forward and break the game. If you find yourself poised at 4-0, you should not be on the back foot here

Ker Ching! Ker Ching! Ker Ching! Badda Bing!

Easy 5-0 here we come.

In all likelihood round 4 would be your toughest match, because you’re (hopefully, presumably) playing someone else who’s 3-0 overnight and is therefore no mug. You need to make sure you don’t time out, since you’re relying heavily on scoring late, but I’d be pretty confident of scoring a rare 4-1 for Bonesplitterz with this pack.

So hopefully that illustrates my point – the hard of thinking will bring Dragons ‘n’ Longstrikes regardless; that’s just happening, with or without prior knowledge. What revealing the missions does in practice is liberates the rest of us to run off-meta armies like Bonesplitter with confidence, instead of defaulting to the same old shit – and gives us an opportunity to dream.

Final thoughts: Praise Gork for TOs

Let’s just sign off by saying a big thank you to all the TOs who get off their arses and make our hobby happen.

What we do need is more of ’em; what we don’t need is reasons for them to say bugger it and walk away.

Hopefully this article will be taken in a constructive spirit, but regardless of whether I happen to agree with a specific aspect of a specific pack, the big thing here is honouring the work they do for the rest of us.

So send your next TO a “thank you” DM after their event, maybe buy them a beer on the day and never, ever take it for granted.

Vic GT 2022 is sold out, but you can join the waiting list here:

Credit for the cover image to Games Workshop

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