Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Australian Masters 2017 - Part 1


On 3rd December I took part in Australian Masters 2017 tournament. It is one of a kind event where the highest ranking players after the full season are invited to play against each other for the title of a supreme Master. 

Qualifying for that event was a huge achievement for me as at the beginning of the year I didn't even think about such a possibility. I was very happy when I got the invitation and wondered if I have what it gets to compete with the best players in Australia.

However, in the following series of blog posts I would like to cover not only my games I played both to get ready for the event and battles I played during the tournament. But also the event itself as I think it deserves more advertisement and publicity. I would like to try and describe the experience one gets from attending it and the unique way it is organized. By doing so I hope I will make it more interesting to all Kings of War players so that the event that is a culmination of the season would become something to aspire to attend and to follow by wider group of people. 

In the first part I would like to focus on the specific way the tournament is organized and discuss a few important things from the players pack.

1. Who can qualify?

The first player to qualify is the winner of the Masters from the previous year. Then the winners of four selected tournaments during the season also get automatic invitations to the event. The rest of the players are invited based on their final ranking standing at the end of the season. You can check the ladder at the end of season 2017 here:

It is also quite a commitment to participate as many players need to fly interstate. This year the players represented Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and ACT. Personally, I think this is great because it means that the interest in Kings of War grows in many places at the same time.

2. Tournament organization

If you are interested in all the details about the tournament here is the link to the player's pack:

I am going to cover a few important elements now, that in my opinion make this event event unique and special.

During the tournament 4 games are played. In the first round first ranked player is paired with twelfth ranked player, second with eleventh and so on. What is more, the players swap the armies and play with their opponent forces! I talked about each pair in the blog post about Armies of Australian Masters 2017:

The scenarios were selected each round based on the following table:

In the first round we played Token Based Scenario (Loot), then in the second Objective Based Scenario (Scavenge), in the third Unit Strength Based Scenario (Invade) and in the last, fourth round it was Pillage Based Scenario (Pillage). That system aimed to ensure that while the scenarios are randomized they do not fall into the same category. 

Another important element was the scoring system. It is based on 15-10-5 scoring system for Win-Draw-Loss respectively but the modification of that score was done based on the following:

What is the most crucial, in my opinion, is that this is asymmetric scoring system. If you study the brackets you will notice that, for example, you modify the score differently depending if you win, draw or lose the scenario and whether you claimed the objectives with a positive or negative attrition.

I will discuss my own perspective and point of view about this scoring system in the last part of the series when I am going to summarize the experiences. However, I think it is important to highlight this scoring system as it may have affected the composition of the armies as well as tactical decisions during the games.

3. Goals and Expectations

To qualify and have the chance to play against the best players in the country was for me a great privilege and a fantastic opportunity to test myself like never before. I knew I would be playing against players who are often more experienced than myself and know the game of Kings of War much better than I do. 

Hence, my goals were to provide them with challenging and interesting games, to see if I can put up a proper fight (I believed I could!) and learn as much as possible in the process.

I expected to play in tough but fair environment too, meaning, that I would expect my opponents to exploit any mistakes I would make to the fullest. At the same time I knew I can count on them being respectful. What is more, the experience and knowledge of the rules and the game would ensure smooth but intense games!

In the next parts I am going to cover different aspects of the event. I will start with the preparation phase where I managed to play three games. I hoped to play more but as usual time is the luxury and I am very grateful to my sparring partners for finding time to help me prepare. Then I will write about first game I played and will follow with the separate post about the results of the round 1 games as that was very intriguing round for sure. In the next parts I will talk about my three other games in the tournament and will conclude with the final post about experiences, observations and summary of everything that contributed to such an unique event as Australian Masters 2017.

Stay tuned!


  1. Hi Swordmaster!

    Sorry it’s been a while since I checked in. Work has been hectic recently! I’m looking forward to reading the reports about the games and the events as well. I’m sure it was a great time and an even better learning experience even if the results weren’t what you were hoping for. You are very good at objectively looking at your games and growing from that experience. Given the nature of your opponents, I bet you will grow in leaps and bounds after playing such a tough crowd!

    I’m curious if you have considered altering your list at all after playing against the top tier? Were any units underperforming for you or not fitting in with your plan?

    Also, as much as I like the idea of switching armies, I’m not sure I like it at the Masters. I think it is a very neat idea and I’d like to go to an event that had that but personally I’d prefer running my own list if I ever made it to Masters. Having said that, it does show great skill to be able to use someone else’s list! Curious on what you and others think about the list switch format.

    Thanks for the write up!

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks a lot for your comment! It is always greatly appreciated!

      I am very happy I could attend such an event. There is no doubt about it. I think that the fact that it was so prestigious meant that I wanted to perform even better than usual. Which was, of course, quite ambitious considering I was about to play against the best players in the season. One of the goals was also to learn from them and that I had plenty of to analyze.

      In general, the main issue I had was that I simply made too many mistakes. It was embarrassing because as a Master player I should have not made them or at least not that many. I had a lot of time to think about them after the tournament and all the way back home. :)

      The main conclusion at this stage is that this was the main contributing factor to the results I obtained at the tournament. I also came to the conclusion that the fact I made mistakes does not take away from my opponents skills at all. Quite the contrary as they were ready to exploit them and achieve necessary advantage whenever they could. Being able to spot such openings is also a mark of a great player.

      My approach is to analyze the games first and see what exactly happened and if the alternative deployments/decisions could have changed the outcome of the games. Almost always that is the case. And this is also the best way I can learn - it has worked so far and this is how I managed to qualify in the first place.

      I do not reject the option of making changes to the army list either but I expect I may rather do so after CoK2018 than because of the experiences I gained at Masters. However, I have not yet written all the reports and that will also be quite a journey!

      Switching armies seems to be a tradition from the previous system and somehow it is considered worthy continuing. It certainly adds to the uniqueness of the event. Personally, I don't mind but at the same time I would not mind if all the games were played with my own force.

      In general, however, I think it is widely accepted that the Master player should be able to win with any army :)