Friday, 12 February 2016

LVO Results - A chance to look at the 40k meta (Beware: Mild Number Crunching)

The LVO (Las Vegas Open) Results are out, and as it's one of (if not the) largest tournaments in the world it's always nice to crunch the numbers and see does the meta of that tournament follow our thinking of which armies are the top dog.

First some pretty huge caveats:

  • This is one tournament, and even if it is large it is still a small sample size as any statistician would tell you.
  • With most tournaments having comp that will always change slightly which armies are good, with some armies being able to adjust to the comp better than others.  For the comp in this tournament, please look up the ITC (Independent Tournament Circuit) Rules
  • Results can be skewed by several factors, eg. some people do not complete all their games leading to them having a lower placing than someone who does complete all their games, an army's primary detachment may be a very small portion of the overall army.
So while we should treat all such analysis with a pinch of salt, hopefully the above factors in some cases even themselves out with a large number of competitors.

The full results of the tournament can be found here.

So lets start off my with my predictions (honest I did these before the analysis):

  • All the analysis tables will be dominated by the top 4 Codexs (Eldar, Necrons, Marines for which I include Dark Angels & and finally Tau), ie. the recent codexs with Decurian type detachments (although in the case of Eldar I think their detachment is not their strength, which I think is the base unit cost of their units meaning a CAD with an allied Aspect Host(s) being very powerful for them.  Mainly the top 4 are the most recent codexs
  • They will be some placings for some armies, such as Daemons & Khorne Daemonkin, but the results will show the rest of the codexs are definitely chasing the top 4 in terms of performance, however good generals can get good results.
  • The last stat I like to do, which shows how widespread an armies results are, which to me shows how much a good or bad general can influence the army, I'm not to sure on what this will show.  People like to say that anyone can win with Eldar, but to me they are becoming (like Marines) an army that everyone knows because they are so powerful and becoming so popular.  When I'm playing my Necrons or Tau I feel I know the Eldar better than my opponents know Tau or Necrons and that I have less to fear if I'm playing a worse player.  However in general I still see Eldar smash average generals with average armies whoever they are piloted by.  I think Marines will still have a wide spread of results as they are a popular army and many beginners start with them.
Well onto the stats, and lets take a look at army popularity:
Well no surprises here with my view of the top armies dominated both the field and also the top 50 placings.  A shout out to Dark Angels which got 10% of the top 50 placings while being only 4% of the field.

A stat that starts to shows the power of a codex is to look at how much more they factor in the Top 50 compared to the overall field.  If we ignore the armies with less than 10 armies, we get the following table:
A bit of a surprise (for me anyway) with Dark Angels topping the list, I suppose I need to pay more attention to them.  Apart from that things were as expected apart from Marines, which had nearly the same percentage in the top 50 as they had in the entire field.  Cult Mech and Nids also did well (however the Nids sample is very small, eg. it could have been just 2 armies with loads of Flying Hive Tyrants making the top 50, which would say much for the rest of the codex).

Now lets look at the average placing:
Eldar still dominate along with Marines, Tau & Necrons, but Cult Mech gets a good showing.  I particularly like to look at the stats for the top 50, as this shows what a good general can get out of the army, and also gets rid of the newer players bringing marines.  This brings up a few things, first being the Necrons did very well in the top 50 along with Daemons (although a very small number, 3, made the top 50).  The Chaos Marines, Nids and Daemons armies indicate that is may have been a very specific build that made the top 50 as the overall performance of the three armies was very low.

And now we come to the last stat, which tries to represent the spread of the armies.  To calculate this I looked at each player and how far their position is away from the average for their army, and then divide this by the number of players.  Again just looking at the armies which had 10 or more entrants we get the following table:

At the top of the list we have the armies which had the narrowest spread in the army placings.  In the case of the top three I think it's because it's hard (not impossible) to place in such a competitive field regardless of how good a general you are.  Another view could be that people who take the weaker armies are there more to have fun and socialise, my counter is that even if you are there to have fun and socialise a good general should do better than a worse, and although this is true with these weaker armies it isn't as much as other armies.

Next we have Cult Mech and Eldar.  It may be controversial to some, but it can be hard to pick a weak list for Eldar once you don't pick silly choices, a complaint I've even heard from Eldar players trying to tone down their list when playing against some of the lower tier armies.

Next we have the middle of the road (in terms of spread), here we have Space Marines (being a very popular first army, so can have lots of newer players as well as experienced players), Daemons & Dark Angels.

Lastly we have a big surprise, in the bottom three we have both Tau and Necrons, which had bigger spread of performance than the average, only beaten by Nids.  The new Tau codex might have had an impact with people trying out the new toys and formations, and not having enough practice time with them, but the Necrons is definitely a surprise.  My only idea is that Necrons can be a win big or lose big army, in that they are very resistant to most shooting, but can be susceptible to some types of firepower and can get sweep easily in close combat.  Examples include a Cavalry and Beasts Space Wolf army could go throw a Necron force like a knife through butter, sprinkle in some allied firepower or a Knight and it could be very tough prospect for a Necron force.  Even though these two armies being low on the spread chart is surprising, and I'm sure the Tau will improve as people get used to the new options in the new codex, or maybe even realise that some of the old ones are still good (I'm doing well and i haven't built my Ghstkeel yet or even purchased a Stormsurge)..

So did anything surprise you ?  Why do you think Tau & Necrons had such a huge spread (I may expand on my thoughts in a future post) ?  Personally I'm going to have another look at the Cult Mech codex and the nasty formation that combined Cult Mech with Skitarii and Imperial Knights.

Lastly this was the meta at this one tournament, and is irrelevant for your local meta, and more importantly the group of mates you play with.  The meta in the UK will be different, the meta in the north US, the meta in the next tournament will be different, however I think it does give an indicator of what codexs are the most powerful, and wasn't toooo far out on my initial predictions, but even I will be doing a bit more research to be more familiar with Dark Angels and Cult Mech.



  1. I agree with you regarding spread, it's very interesting. I think it probably represents strength and internal balance of a codex pretty well though - taking Tau as an example there are definitely some stronger options than others, whilst marines and eldar are far better balanced internally, with most of their choices being effective.

    I've had mixed success with my Tau so far (I am still learning to use them definitely) with me often causing a lot of damage but that frequently being at the expense of picking up victory points (I now play almost exclusively maelstrom).

    1. I think it's also a case that Eldar & Marines effective units also tend to be faster and have more deployment options that Tau & Necrons.

      Also apart from a few units Tau & Necrons are poor in close combat and susceptible to being sweep.

      These two factors mean they can be pinned in, and give up board control and then don't have the mobility or deployment options to recover and get maelstrom points.

      It's something I've thought about a lot, and now think about it often in the list building phase. In my Tau, I have small or single model units of tetras, 2 units of 1 Piranha, and a monat crisis suit unit to deepstrike, as well a 2 units of objective secured kroot that are mainly for infiltrating and outflanking. These help me get maelstrom points.

      It gives the opponents a hard choice, kill the small cheap annoying units that are winning the maelstrom points, or kill the models that are killing him (fire warriors, broadsides, sniper drones & riptides).

      I think Tau and Necrons have to consciously think how their army is going to get across the field to grab/contest objectives, where it comes more naturally to Eldar/Marine armies.

      This is still partially theory hammer, but has been working well in my last dozen games with Tau and Necrons.



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