Thursday, April 04, 2013

Wheel of Chaos

The FumBBL admin team run a series of big tournaments that they call 'majors' for each of the different style of teams. There's one starting up next week (April 10 is the due date for entry) and it's open only to teams in the 'BlackBox' division. This is the blind matchmaking group and happens to be pretty much the only place I've played which is very convenient for me. The tournament this time around is the Wheel of Chaos, which is a crazy single elimination tournament broken down into 8 initial groups. Each coach can only send one team in, and they have to pick which of the groups they want to go through. So it feels like there's some opportunity for gaming the system by trying to find the softest point of entry. I wanted to take a look at last year's event to see how entry broke down to see if I could figure out if gaming entry would make sense in any way.

The first thing to look at is the way the groups are formed. There are 4 chaos gods, and you sign up by picking one of the gods. Then the admins roll dice for each of the gods. If they roll a 1 then the 4 highest TV teams for that god form a group. On a 2, 3, or 4 the 8 highest TV teams form a group. Otherwise the 16 highest TV teams form a group. This gets us 4 very highly rated groups. After doing that the next 16 highest TV teams for each god form a group, which gets us 4 more groups with highly rated teams that aren't the highest. Maybe these groups will have teams 5-20. Maybe they'll have teams 17-32!

Why do you care which group you enter? Well, if you win the whole thing (the winners of each of the 8 groups play down in a single elimination bracket) you get given a bonus mutation based on the god you chose to put on any player you want, and then either 1 or 2 extra random mutations which appear on someone at random. You get 1 mutation if you won a top rated group, and 2 if you came through the lower tier.

Getting to choose a specific mutation and put it on whoever you want is really, really powerful. It doesn't consume a level so it'll let a player get more skills than they otherwise could. On top of that most teams can't get mutations by leveling up so this is the one and only way to get one of these things on a team! So it feels like if a specific mutation is really good then lots of teams would want to enter via that god, and if one is terrible then maybe not as many people join up. How did last year work?

- gave frenzy as the free skill (which isn't a mutation at all!)
- rolled 8 teams in the top bracket, TVs ranged from 2410-1840
- lower bracket went from 1820-1480

- gave extra arms
- rolled 8 teams in the top bracket, TVs from 2420-1900
- lower bracket went from 1840-1190

- gave two heads
- rolled 16 teams in the top bracket, TVs from 2430-1810
- lower bracket went from 1730-1170, but only had 11 teams total (only 27 teams applied to Nurgle)

- gave prehensile tail
- rolled 16 teams in the top bracket, TVs from 2410-1950
- lower bracket went from 1930-1770

Reading a forum thread about it from last year it seems that a lot of people intentionally picked the god with the worst reward which explains why prehensile tail (which is worthless for/against many teams) actually had 32 teams with 1770+ sign up while only 27 applied for the very useful (for dodgy teams) two heads.

As far as easier path to qualification, you either want to be in the top 4 or top 8 in a group that only admits 4 or 8 to the top bracket, or you likely want to slot into the bottom bracket. Either you want fewer games or more rewards at the end of the line. Getting stuck in a top 16 group is the worst of both worlds. Finding the soft spot and getting into a bottom bracket with fewer than 16 teams like Nurgle last year would be awesome.

But since the group sizes are determined randomly after you pick which one to join you can't really make logical decisions here. And since it sounds like people were gung-ho about joining the worst group looking for an easier time of things I don't know that you can even game the system that way either. It's great for one or two people to work on it, but when lots of people start doing it the gain falls off. I feel like the right plan is probably to just level up into the 1600-1800 range and pick the group with the reward I want. Possibly build a team to beat dodgy teams and pick the dodgy reward group to feed off them! (It looks like Nurgle last year had a high proportion of elves relative to the other groups.)

Last year the 8 teams that won their groups were...

Skaven - 1830TV, top bracket
Wood Elves - 1510TV, bottom bracket
Chaos Pact - 1870TV, bottom bracket
Nurgle - 2410TV, top bracket
Nurgle - 2110TV, top bracket
Chaos Dwarves - 1820TV, bottom bracket
Skaven - 1660TV, bottom bracket
Chaos - 2270TV, top bracket

It makes me sad that 7 of the 8 teams already had mutation access. Skaven ended up winning, and unfortunately no longer have the extra mutations on the team. A lineman won the random one, got very long legs, and got fired immediately. (It still adds 20k to TV and that one in particular would have no game effect.) A gutter runner got the bonus two heads, but he has since been killed.

Anyway... This year the bonuses are horns, extra arms, very long legs, and two heads. Horns are useful for pretty much everyone, except maybe chaos I guess since they start with horns on anyone apt to be blitzing anyway. Extra arms is awesome for anyone who wants to ever pick up the ball. Even bashy teams want some guy to pick up the ball! I guess elf teams really don't want it since they're already at 2+ to pick up the ball unless it's in a tackle zone. Very long legs is terrible. A wardancer without +AG wants it, but it's pretty sketchy on everyone else. I guess getting it opens up the option to take leap later. Two heads is great for anyone who dodges around, which is most finesse teams and even some bashy teams want one dodgy guy. It works well with break tackle, so high level strong guys are happy to get it too.

I really don't want very long legs, and I suspect it's going to see a lot of people trying to sneak into the smallest qualifier. My hope is that will backfire on them. My human team is up to 1800TV so I have a reasonable team to enter into probably any qualifier. Two heads was the smallest entry qualifier last time, will it stay small or will people hope to abuse the fact that it was small last time? My ogre really wants horns, extra arms, and two heads. Maybe in the spirit of chaos I'll roll a die to decide between those three! Weighted a bit towards two heads since it was small last time.


Duncan said...

The tournament admin on FumBBL posted about applications for this year's WoC. Probably want to check it out:

Nick Page said...

Indeed, but it was sufficiently cryptic. My guess is the Very Long Legs one is the 25 he mentions, and that people are in fact trying to game the system by picking the worst reward. The reward useful to all is probably extra arms at 12. I'd then guess two heads is at 26 and horns is at 20.

I suspect a lot of people looked at two heads as being under populated last year and have jumped on board that train. That said, even 26 isn't too many people. Despite having two of my better players die my human team still has a fairly high TV and I should get into any group I think.

It definitely feels like I should sign up for extra arms, but I think his post may swing things around by the time entries close on Wednesday.