If I had a choice, my choice of the ultimate “competitive” event, it would be a doubles tournament or team tournament for me. I love the social aspects of wargaming, and such events combine the best of both for me- playing and winning with a teammate friend against other teams.
The strategies we have outlines so far also apply to team and double tournaments only with a slight addendum.
That said, if you are still on the fence about jumping into competitive play then a team tournament is a great way to start! It can be a bit intimidating for your first tournament experience to go at it alone, so if you can bring a friend and play with a friend even better. So what are some things to keep in mind to layer over everything else we have just looked at?
Often with such a format each player will have half the amount of points or battle values to build their list and then will play together as a team. So if the tournament is a 2000 point event, each player will have 1000 points to build a list, and often they must be different army factions over just taking one 2000 point army and cutting it in half to 1000 points each.
The key is to take and build two complimentary lists. Based on the models/units that you and your friend have, and your playstyles you each are going to assume one of two roles. One will be the “attacker” in the tournament, and other the “defender”.
The attacker builds their list with one goal in mind- total aggressive destruction. They select units that can kill opposing models and cause as much chaos as possible. The attacker on your team doesn’t worry about winning the mission or stopping the other side- they go out and keep the other side busy by destroying them and forcing both players on the other team to deal with their models.
If done correctly, most likely by the end of the game the attacker on your team won’t have a single model left as they were all expended and aggressive interaction with the opposite side.
The idea is to keep both opposing players so busy dealing with what the attacker has, that it takes up all of their focus and game resources and they CAN’T play to the mission. The hard part as an attacker is the EGO- can they stick to their assigned role and mission plan and go out and get wiped out off the table, while their partner hangs back and does nothing.
Three can be no deviation from the plan. On the opposite side the DEFENDER on the team builds a list that focuses on winning the mission while supporting the ATTACKING team members advance. They are there to stay alive and be in the right place to win the mission objective when the game ends- not to engage the enemy, while at the same time support and help with shooting or other long range stuff which allows them to stay safe. The DEFENDER has to control their desire to help their team-mate out, and stick to the plan of being in place when the game ends. An example?
My best Warhammer 40,000 doubles team mate is my gaming buddy Brother Captain James. It’s without bragging that we have placed at least 3rd place in every doubles event we have played in.
Besides being good friends, and controlling out egos enough, James enjoys playing an aggressive all-out attack game, while I tend to prefer a more sneaky/indirect playstyle. He builds his Space Marine army with terminators and drop pods full of veterans and sternguard marines.
Right away on turn one the pods land in our opponent’s deployment zones and get out blasting away as the terminators move across the table putting pressure on and engaging. If you are facing that kind of aggression you have to deal with it, and often James doesn’t survive past the fourth round. While that is happening my Saim-Hann Eldar of jetbikes and vypers are hanging far back adding some long range shooting in support, weaving and zipping around to stay safe, only to break just before the game ends to hold objective points on the table or claim table quarters.
Why does this work so well and win games?
Well, for starters it allows each team member a known assigned roll ahead of time, and it has allowed them to optimize their list to do that- all of their 1000 or whatever points/battle values are put into doing just that and are not scattered over different tactical options.
Its power also comes from coordinating the team as one- rather than two spate armies both trying to mesh together in the moment, with both players trying to attack, defend, win the mission, and figure all that out in the moment- as the opposition will be doing rather than staying focused and ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE