Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting Ready for a Doubles Tourney: Building a Power Couple!

Old School here to talk about doubles tournaments, so grab your buddy, snuggle up and take a walk with me as we look at what goes into a successful doubles team and let's have some fun while we do it ...

Heading into a doubles tourney, the first thing we need to look at is what format the tournament will use for it's missions. This is important as the differences between Nova format, Adepticon Team format, traditional GW book missions, Battle Missions, Comp and random FLGS missions will influence the way you select your mate and how you will build your army together.

Now, if the tourney has random partners, then prayers to the emperor or the dark gods are all you have, but if you have the ability to pick your partner, then you have the opportunity to develop a great team list regardless of the missions. Sometimes two people with a team from a separate codices do well, sometimes they don't. The same can be said about teams drawn from the same book.

Now any two folks can put together two lists, but can they make it work?
There are three types of teams at any doubles tournament and they are as follows:

 Whitney and Bobby: this team is likely made up of a couple of friends who each came up with a list they thought was nasty and decided that if they stick their lists together, then they will be unstoppable! They also probably didn't take any time to play test games against likely opponents or really attempt to synergise their list beyond the "You take that really awesome unit from your dex and I'll take this one from mine RAWR!"

The problem is that Whitney and Bobby teams lack not only the synergy needed in their army lists, but they also lack the synergy needed as two generals on the same side of the table. This team is characterized by indecision at best, bickering at worst and sometimes plays literally like two separate lists with two separate goals. Whitney and Bobby armies are doomed at doubles tourneys!

- As a side note, into this category also fall the Ike and Tina or Chris and Rihanna lists where one team member is clearly dominant and one just kind of hanging out. Sometimes that kind of stuff works out for a game, but it usually falls apart over the course of the tourney.

 Next up the ladder is Bennifer. Bennifer is a team that came together with a little bit more planning than Whitney and Bobby and it shows. They come together and talk about their intentions on the table when they hook up. They may have been burnt by bad doubles partners in the past ... (alright, that part was just an excuse to make a Gigli reference), but seriously, they built their lists together with the idea of supporting each other and they have a good plan and vision for what their team can do on the table top.

This team also likely got some table time in together as a team OR they are extremely familiar with each other from playing a lot of games together. In any case, you'll not likely see any of the drama you'd see from the Whitney and Bobby teams. Bennifer teams are good and will likely place well, maybe even win, but there is one other kind of team that takes doubles tourneys to the next level:

That's right folks, Brangelina. The Brangelina teams are gamers who took in mind the points level and the tourney format, then went in search of the best possible mate. They came together not just with lists that compliment each other, but with codices that synergize well. They then build a list that can dominate in 75% or more of the phases of the game. With a single, focused list, that just happens to be made from two armies, they take to the table against other competent players to test and refine the list until they have a diamond of a list and a perfect working relationship on the table.

Not every pair of codices can make a brangelina just as not every pair of players can make one, but they are out there and it will take all the effort the Bennifers have to take them down.

A good example of a Brangelina was Old Dark Eldar with Chaos. Mixing lance spam, Oblit spam, lash and a bucket of Dizzies made for a good alpha strike, followed by strong anti-infantry fire supported by lash, followed by VERY solid assault. Add to that the target priority frag the opponents feel, the contesting possibilities  and the ability to keep the momentum in their favor and you had a real Brangelina list. Barring the horrid CSM movement, they weren't bad in the movement phase as well. The key though is still in the practice and preparation.

So let's ditch all the silly monikers. The real meat and potatoes here is that you and your partner need to make a list that works together as a single army - any two armies can pull this off, even Nids and Necrons. Then you need to playtest to get the list refined but MOST importantly, to get a good mental connection so you really work like a team on game day. Take the lessons of the power couples seriously and if you are really find that special team mate with the right army, you might just be the next Brangelina.

What do you guys think? What are the power couples you have seen out there? Captain Obvious and I have been looking for a new Brangelina for us to run and we have looked into Bloodcrushers and Thunderwolves or shooty deamons and nids, but we just haven't seen anything that works like our old DE and CSM. I would love to hear your thoughts on codices that work well together, team tourney experience and even other funny power couple references!


  1. I would start with something that works very well, say Tau Gunline.

    I would then try and work out where they lack, and try to help them out.
    Tau suffer with assaulty Armies and having to throw points at bubble wrap.

    So, we can take an army that does shooting and bubble wrap and add them to the pile... IG or say, Orks. This means we end up with a few Railguns, some Suits, Lootas, and about 100 boys with KFF cover. Sounds good to me :)

  2. Well as a guard player I try to look for what I can not have so it resolves down to two things. I have very little deep strike, and I have very little assault.

    Usually I like to have one or the other on my side. So a good Space Wolves player is my favorite, as they can do both really well.

  3. I imagine the right tyranid list could work very well with a shoot army as well whether it he guard, tau, wolves or vanilla.

  4. ELdar and Dark Eldar. A power couple from hell. They compliment and work very well together.

  5. Pair 'Nids with whatever you think the best anti-tank game in the game is. Win!

  6. Since we have a lot of folks in the comments here, let me ask what y'all think of doubles tourneys and how often do you play in them. I think we do like two or three at our flgs with significantly more around the state. I personally like them a lot, but also feel the need to bust out and play straight up games as well.

  7. I haven't ever had one run in my city for me to play in. We came close a few years back, but support fell through, so to answer your question:
    What do I think: interesting, but no way fair.
    How often?: Never.

  8. Xerohack and I have played in several several team tournaments together. And one thing always holds true, our stratagies rock, our lists are good, my dice SUCK. I've failed to glace a rhino from 1 inch with a melta, killed my runepriest with Perils and had 3 squads of Wolf Guard run off the table due to rolling box cars.

    That was in 1 game. The good news is we still usually land a top 5. And we have great stories to tell.

    I would reccomend the Toledo Game Room Doubles tournies as they are 1) Adapticon Primers and 2)Usually very large events with 20 teams.


  9. I have played in a couple and I have had a Tau player and an Imperial guard player, Vogirn, as a partner. I have to say the later tournament went well. they can be fun. the synergy of two different armies can be surprising.

  10. Im just happy OST and i can both say Our Brangelnia will never get beat nor did it ever get beat. Bunch of wins 0 Losses then retired.