Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gothmog's thoughts on Proxy and Counts As

So I know it has been going around the webzones and interblogs for sometime now, but I thought I would chip in my 2 cents on the whole “Counts As” debate. I am a middle grounder and in my own humble opinion, I believe I have the ideal answer to counts as armies and proxies.
First off let me say proxies have only FIVE instances for their use, and then only for fun games.
1- You left the model at home. I once left a single terminator at home. The squad is 5 terminators. If you aren’t going to let me use a suitable replacement for the game, you are a poor sportsmen.
2- The actual model broke and you haven’t managed to fix it yet. This should only be temporary. Same reasons and number one apply though. They can’t legitimately use the unit, but they have it, so be cool.
You know that kid that annoys you that seems to break everything
3- The model is unfinished. EXACT same as above, just a slightly different circumstance
4- You are play testing a new character/unit/army before buying it. Everyone should be able to experiment with a codex without having to invest $$$. It costs enough as it is, some people can’t afford to toss away $50 just because they are curious on whether something fits their play style or not.
5- You are learning the game. Same as playtesting really.

So there are the five, but some are so close it is really like 2 and a half, but what evs.

Now that you know WHEN you can proxy, I will tell you what proxying is. It is using an equivalent sized model to fill in for another model, whether wysiwyg or not. Base and height are the most important factors. Bulk to some extent as well. It does not have to fit your paint scheme, your army, anything.

Remember, a suitable model
See, Suitable
NOTE I said model. DO NOT use a Dr. Pepper bottle as a Mr. Carnifex.  That isn’t proxying. Okay, so it is, but it is very poor and unsporting. So no!
My sentiments exactly
Proxying is NOT so you can show up today and play SW, tomorrow and use CSM, the next day use BA. Just because they are all in power armour, it does not give you the right to use every codex under the sun. You do that, you are unsporting and I will not play you. It tells me you are just tailoring your list to beat me, are a power player, and probably aren’t a fair sportsman in other aspects of the game.

Now for Counts As. This is not the same as proxying. To me counts as is very much a part of the hobby and it is truly the definition that matters.

What counts as is building an army where the fluff and appearance do not match the established fluff and appearance of the codex they are to use. As a rule of thumb as well, a counts as army should be unable to be used as anything other than 2 codices, and in most cases only 1.

Now what I mean by this is you choose a theme to establish. In this case I am going to go with Night Lords CSM. As we know, you can’t really represent a Night Lord Army utilizing the CSM codex. So I am going to counts as Blood Angels. What I then do is proceed to meticulously model my unit to conform to the rule of the Blood Angel codex whilst maintaining the appearance of the Night Lords legion. When I am done, this army should ONLY be playable as Blood Angels. Now, since it is Night Lords, I most likely will be able to use the CSM codex as well, but I should have units to represent the units from the CSM book. I should not run my Assault Squad “Raptors” as Chosen on foot. I should have models to fit that. My Terminators are not Obliterators. Etc. Etc. That is proxying. I should not also be able to switch to another Power Armour based codex. I picked Blood Angels for the list, and CSM for the theme. Those are my limitations.
Now if I make something like Adeptus Mechanicus and decide to use the SW codex, I should only ever use the SW codex for this army, as it was built with that in mind and has no actual game equivalent.

The thing you must do as the Counts As player though is making sure you are making the choices that fit your fluff. DON’T ABUSE YOUR NEW CODEX. If you decide to play Ultramarines 8th company and you want to use the BA codex, that is fine. What is not fine is then proceeding to take furioso/librarian dreads, sanguinary guard, storm ravens, and Baal Preds. The Ultramarines do not have these, so you should not be choosing them, no matter how much you like them. If you like them, make your own BA army, or invent a new Blue SM chapter that if second founding of the BA. No Ultramarines markings. This does not mean to not be creative though. Note, I didn’t take out Death Company. They could be a great representation of Tyrannic War Veterans IMO. Convert and paint them properly and it is really convincing. You can even use the fancy Ultramarine chaplain model and the “Character” name in your army, though based on BA chaplain rules.

You basically need to think of Count As as an army of conversions rather than someone abusing the system.

If you are still on the fence, let me put this forward to you. My Genswick Guard that I am doing. They are not guard models. They are really converted Brettonian models, and I will be using some ork stuff as well. Would you complain about them? This is technically a counts as army. However they will clearly be Guard, despite that I am using non-IG models, and I will make it absolutely clear what everything is and answer every question you have.

There is also something called the “Rule of Cool.” If some one took the time to make a themed army and modeled everything and really thought it out, don’t be the person to discourage such fine hobby work by not playing with them. What they did is cool, so be cool about it and let them play.

SO to recap, showing up with a force you can use the same models for X different armies depending on how you feel isn’t count as. That is just large scale proxying and is wrong. Actually taking the time to think about a list and how to make a themed army to fit the constraints of a codex but match your desires in appearance and fluff is Counts As. The first is wrong. The second is good. Be creative. DC Tyrannic War vets, Sanguinary Guard Raptor Chosen, Deamon Prince Dreadnought etc. etc. Convert, be cool, and be a fair sportsmen. Remember, your army is just one army, not many.

For everyone not Counts As, remember the rules for proxying. Enforce them, and you may see a culture change in the game that will make everyone happy.
Multiple Proxy Disorder.