Friday, April 29, 2011

40k: Adepticon Metagame Analysis Breakdown

Today we have a guest article, the first ever on Bringer of Victory.  The author is none other than Timmah, well known contributor at Yes the Truth Hurts.  He has done an excellent statistical analysis of the Adepticon 40k metagame and drawn some interesting conclusions.  I encourage you to check it out!

So Adepticon has finished and left us with a whole lot of data to look over.  I know, it looks like just your average 40k event, the finals ended up being Space Wolves versus Imperial Guard.  However there is a lot more to it than that.  Before we go thinking that Space Wolves and Imperial Guard still have a stranglehold on competitive 40k, let’s dive a bit deeper into the results.

First off we have percentage of the field playing each army.

There is definitely gravitation towards the 5th edition codices.  However even while all of those hovering around 15%, there is still a decent amount of players playing old codices, roughly 4% for each.  Nothing to new or interesting here.  People are picking up and enjoying the new codices while the die-hards stick it out with their older armies.

Personally, I believe this to be a pretty solid diversity in today’s metagame and it should even out even more as more armies get updated for 5th edition.  The best information this shows is that it looks like Games Workshop is learning how to write better, more enjoyable codices and things are only going to get better in the future.

Next we are going to look at how each of these armies is doing in comparison with one another.

Here we see the average battle points obtained by each of the given armies.  Outside of a few outliers (Tau and Daemon Hunters) we see a very balanced distribution and a relation that would insinuate that most codices are balanced well with one another.  The daemon hunter outlier is pretty obvious, they just got a new codex and I would guess no one really wanted to play with the old one.  The Tau one needs a bit more looking into since there were several Tau players.   

My initial conclusion is that because of the Adepticon mission format Tau were at a severe disadvantage.  Since each of the missions always had 1 point devoted to capturing a table quarter or objective with troops, an army with weak troops would generally have to fight an uphill battle all day and perform worse.  Likewise an army that is generally perceived as one of the best in objective grabbing (elder) would conversely do well even if the codex was slightly out of date and weaker.

Moving along, next let’s take a look at what lists ended up making day 2.

As you can see, the percentage of the field moved drastically in Orks and Space Marines favor going into day 2.  While only being about 12% of the field Orks managed to put 4 generals thru to the top 16.  Space Marines were also only 12% of the field and managed to put 3 through.  Imperial Guard, while also being around 12% of the field, only managed to see 1 player reach the top 16.  Of the other armies that made top 16 were balanced with their original day percentages.  This would again be a strong indication that the codices are balanced well with one another.

Generally, the assumptions we would make about the three outlying armies on this graph would be that something must be affecting these results.  One of the following would have a good chance of being true:
  1. These codices are actually stronger (Orks, Space Marines)/weaker (Imperial Guard) than the other codices.
  2. The playskill required to play these lists is much higher (IG) / Lower (Orks, SM) than the other codices.

Based on the fact that the Imperial Guard player placed 2nd overall, with guard we would lean towards the 2nd option.  It was shown in this tournament that Imperial Guard does have the ability to place high and fight against the other good armies.  As for the other 2 armies, things are a lot more unclear.  The only observation that can really be made is once these players were up against players of their same skill level (in the top 16) they didn’t do nearly as well.  With the highest of them being an Ork player finishing in (3rd/4th).  Again pushing the 2 option meaning once things started to come down to play skill at the top levels of competition, these players couldn’t quite compete.

Now remember, this is only a single tournament.   A variety of other things come into play during these things.  And these are just meant to be observations of Adepticon.  Missions and the Scoring format definitely come into play here.  At an event such as Nova with a different scoring format, we could see wildly different results.  The end result of this tournament and the data we can garner from it is that we currently have a very balanced Warhammer 40K environment and there is a lot of diversity in it.

Excellent stuff, Timmah!  I'll post my reactions in the comments.


  1. So my thoughts.

    1. The 5th Edition codices score all about equally. I'm sure some were stronger at objectives while others better at kill points, but overall they were balanced with each other rather well.

    2. The outliers, on either side of the spectrum, were older books. This means that these books are either terribly flawed at a particular aspect of the Adepticon mission scenarios, objective grabbing/holding being the likely culprit. Tau obviously suck at objective grabbing, Eldar are very good at it those are pretty obvious.

    3. Not so obvious is the success of Black Templars. I would love to see the lists that did well. Whether they were assaulty, shooty, or some kind of Hybrid. If they look anything like my recent 2k list, they will be exceptionally good at holding table quarters and at least their home objectives. If they were assaulty dual Raider lists, I expect them to be exceptional at kill point missions (from having a lot of points tied up in low kill point death stars) and in seizing objectives (nothing clears an objective like TH/SS termies assaulting out of a Crusader.) Without seeing the lists it's only speculation, but the BT results do raise an eye brow with no easy explanation.

    4. People might be puzzled by Guard's lack of success, on average. It's not really puzzling. The scenarios were so strongly biased to being able to take and hold objectives that the more static armies you typically see from Guard players would struggle. Even with one of the stronger 5th edition codex, I suspect most Guard generals faced an uphill battle when it came to table quarters and objectives. But there were enough Guard armies present to ensure that due to law of averages (and good generalship) they were well represented in top 16 in terms of absolute numbers.

    5. The biggest surprise for me was the lack of Dark Eldar in Day 2. The missions seem tailor made for an army that can both do late objective grabs and kill people quite good. Though they had good generals piloting them, my guess is that they had bad luck, and possibly some suboptimal lists.

  2. Very interesting analysis!

    With regard to your point 5, I think it may also be true that a lot of Dark Eldar players have not really settled their playstyle and lists with the new codex yet. At least, that is my impression from looking at YTTH and talking with folks on 3++.

  3. The strangest thing that I find about the Black Templars' placing is that, while they did quite well on Battle Points, they weren't measured in the second day.

    But as to them doing so well it could be that few players brought Black Templars but the ones who did are quite good generals.

  4. But then when you look at who played the best overall for ALL of Adeptacon, the orks came out on top.