The ITC polls regarding the Tau Coordinated Firepower rule in the Hunter Contingent detachment are in. With only a 3% difference between the yeas and nays, the guys over at Frontline Gaming (the ones in charge of the ITC rulings) decided to rule with the majority and ban the sharing of special rules (codex or core rules) granted by the Rules As Written which I covered in my last post here. In a not-surprising sweeping majority people also showed they have little understanding of the English language by ruling against how Target Locks work (and other interactions including Gargantuan Creatures, etc) in conjunction with the Coordinated Firepower rule. So, what does this mean for YOU? Well the answer is not so simple...
If you're going to a tournament be it store-level or con-level that's using the ITC FAQ for consistency (it is too obvious how convenient it is to use such an in-depth document that is published online and freely and easily accessible), then you already know how this will affect you. If you've read up on this topic at all, you know that the overwhelming majority of ITC Tau players are not surprised but are outraged that a detachment's special rule was completely wiped out by between 487 and 719 ignorant and cowardly people. GASP, did I just use an ad hominem attack or point out the painful truth? I'd like to think it was the latter but I can't help but get a bit heated and childish when the same emotions and behavior were applied to presenting and ruling on this "issue".
What am I getting at? Well first, Reece wrote an article misrepresenting how the rules worked and made some broad, sweeping statements about how powerful and "game-breaking" this would be just mere weeks after its release. He said in that article, "People simply do not realize the implications, here. This is seriously bonkers" without providing proof of any of his own playtesting and analysis (which would ultimately be anecdotal). Assertion does not equal validity. He did poll colleagues and big names in the 40k tournament scene and three out of four of the people he mentioned in that article seemed to get how the rule works thus disagreeing with his stance, but only one shared his interpretation and so he ran with that. He then presented two "readings" of the rule. One is where no special rules are shared, and the other where he made up a rule interaction to validate his argument and further muddy the whole topic. Of course, if you were none the wiser you'd agree with his first reading and move on.
But then he wrote another article this time in response to an email supposedly received by a random Games Workshop employee validating the rules as written. Reece then goes on to mention how Target Locks and the Gargantuan Creature rules in fact do let models with those rules fire separately from their unit while obviously still being a part of their unit, but then by the end of the article we're back to square one with him saying "The only issue with that, is that it becomes hideously overpowering to run with that reading of the rule." again without showing any proof beyond his unsubstantiated opinion on how overpowering it supposedly is.
Ultimately I'm saying that the ITC and its attendees are a group-think where armies that are not the favored power-houses (Ad Mech, Marines, Eldar, Knights, Necrons, etc) get nerfed into the ground because people are scared to break the mold, try something different, and face new challenges (and learn to overcome them). A vocal minority have whined loud enough at another army's cheese that they have effectively reduced the amount of powerful armies to contend with their particular brand of cheese. If I were ever considering attending an event using the ITC FAQ this ruling would immediately make me skip it. Here's a list of recent changes that have been made to Tau by the ITC by the way:
- The KX139 Ta'unar Supremacy Armor is outright banned (they are classifying this Gargantuan Creature a "titan-class vehicle")
- KV128 Stormsurges can NOT be taken in units (this isn't even in contention, the unit entry is for 1-3 Stormsurges and they are far from points-efficient, but that doesn't matter simply because they say so, again not even based on in-depth playtesting and proof that a unit of them is game-breaking)
- Coordinated Firepower not only does not share special rules that affect a unit unlike the Rules As Written, but now they also don't spread to models within that unit that have Target Lock despite A) being a part of that unit per the rules and B) following the Target Lock rules as they've always worked like when you join a Buffmander to a Broadside unit
So how does this affect me? Well, it does and it doesn't. I'd say overall it doesn't because I won't be playing in any 40k tournaments in the foreseeable future (specifically ones using the new ITC rules), but that doesn't stop someone from walking into my FLGS, asking me for a pick-up game, and expecting the ITC rulings to be the law of the land. Of course I talk to my opponents about everything pertinent before a game begins so that expectations are managed, but I know I'm probably at some point going to hear the inevitable "but that's not how the ITC ruled it" argument and it certainly won't be the first time.
I do tend to remind people that the ITC FAQ is just a set of house rules that in no way represent the will or intent of Games Workshop, AND that we're not in an ITC tournament 24/7. I like to think the conversation goes something like this
So for me, the Irrelevant Tournament Circuit (yeah okay that was lame) will have no bearing on my casual games and the games of many other people who can think for themselves and don't flip directly the fuck out when a new crazy-sounding rule is printed. Remember when you heard how bat-shit crazy Knights were before they released? Remember how crazy they were in the first month or so that they were out? When's the last time you heard of a list of Knights or even a list with a single Knight in it winning any tournaments (let alone winning multiple)? Anyway, the guys I play with will continue discussing rules, play-testing, and finding what works for us, even if that means my opponents request that I use the toned-down (albeit incorrect) version of Coordinated Firepower. That's a reasonable request, just like it's equally reasonable that I can request that my opponent doesn't field Canoptek Wraiths, use Allies, or field models taller than 4". I don't ever make those requests, but I can, and we can discuss it just like I'm open to discussion on the rules as written. 40k never has to be a bad experience and I've had plenty of fun with 7th edition. Communicate with your friends and ensure everyone has an understanding of the rules before moving on. And when in doubt, playtest it out!