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ITC 2020 Mission Updates

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I know Ordo isn't necessarily the place for ITC talk, but I thought I'd give anyone who's dabbled with it (or avoided it thusfar) a heads up that the Beta rules for 2020 have been released.

I'm not going to bore you with a point-by-point compare and contrast, but I'll offer up the broadstrokes.

I agreed to get involved in the competitive ITC team in Bellingham because there's a core of serious players here that are tired of getting stomped by damn dirty Canadians. I'm not personally invested in ITC (or competitive 40k in general), but if I can help others be successful, I'm in. Plus, I'm tired of feeling perpetually rusty at 40k, and reliable games with good players will sharpen the edge.

Enough rambling. 

All that is to say, I was pretty tired of 2019's rules and the way that the space marine codex interacted with it.

The goal was to have each mission be equal parts about killing and grabbing objectives. The problem was, a super-efficient gunline could happily give up board control by killing everything their opponent had in about 3 turns. You max your killing based secondaries (how the game is won and lost, because primaries are often a wash) and eliminate their army at the same time--thus limiting their ability to continue to control the board and score their secondaries as the game goes on.

Attempting to control the board was inherently a losing strategy, because no matter how well you did it, you couldn't score more points than your opponent who was just focused on blowing your army to bits. You could at best, try to keep pace, but while you're losing your army faster than your opponent is.

In an attempt to fix that, the 2020 packet rebalances things. Here are the top 3 important changes:

1) There is a single roll to determine attacker and defender.

-Attacker sets up first and goes first. No Seize the Initiative!!!

-Defender rolls for deployment style, can re-roll the result (I love this), deploys second, and goes second.

What this means: Limits alpha strike power, prevents Seize from skewing tournament results.

2) Secondaries are split into two categories: Seek and Destroy (killing), and Maneuver (board control). Each player still chooses 3 secondaries, but at least one of each type must be chosen. In addition, many of the Maneuver secondaries can be maxed in 2 turns, so a game lasting only 3 turns doesn't cap their scoring ability.

What this means: gone are the days of your opponent saying "I'm gonna kill your vehicles, your characters, and those 4 particular units", do exactly that, and max out their secondaries. They can score a max of 8 points in a game via killing, and must compete for the other 4 by remembering they have a movement phase too.

3) All of the mission specific bonus points are based on grabbing objectives, and are fairly easy to score.

What this means: with secondary objectives being easier to score in general, many close games will be decided by the bonus points.



To put all of the above in practical terms, here's how the scoring breaks down:

Primary objectives:

-Kill something: 1 point/kill more units than your opponent: 1 point.

-Hold an objective: 1 point/hold more objectives than your opponent: 1 point.

Secondary objectives:

-Choose 3, each can be scored 4 times for a max of 12.

Bonus Point:

-Can be score 1 point per turn.


With games fixed at 6 turns, the max that can be scored is 42.

(4 primary+1 bonus)6 turns+12 secondary=42

Of that, 2 primary per turn, and 8 total can be achieved by killing stuff. 20 total.

20 out 42 max means sitting in your deployment zone and obliterating things is no longer a winning strategy. This is a good thing for competitive 40k.


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5 hours ago, InfestedKerrigan said:

I hope Saturday's tourney reflects this. When do these go live?

The beta has been live for about a week now, they're gathering feedback and results up through this weekend, I believe, and then finalize some things. Not sure when the final draft is slated to release but it should be soon.

I've only played one game so far, but I'll have a practice game this week and a tournament on Saturday. So that should give me a better perspective on how good it is, but I like the changes I've seen.

One of the things it immediately changed is I feel less constrained on list building in two ways.

1) Since first and second player are established with the first die roll, there's no punishment for having MSU type lists and you don't feel compelled to have one transport to hold a bucket of HQs to minimize your drops in hopes to get that +1 to go first.

2) Since your opponent can only be awarded 8 secondary points for killing your things instead of 12, there's less incentive to counter-build to minimize secondary scoring opportunities. Previously you'd have to cut good pieces out of your list just to make it harder for your opponent to score. Now, you've pretty much just got to accept the fact that your opponent will find a combination of 2 secondaries that will give them a shot at 8 points, so don't worry about building to stop it.

My main issue with ITC in general is way too much of the decision making is done at the list-building step and not enough done during the playing-the-game step. Anything that shifts the decisions from list construction into gameplay, I'm all for.



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To counter, isn't most of the decision making made at list building for competitive play regardless of ITC?  This is why tournament packs are released, so you can build your armies around the missions.


I do like that ITC has recognized the 'kill theme' and adjusted secondaries.


I also like that 1st and 2nd is set at deployment.  When i play my Orks, a list that's meant to go second, and i steal the initiative it's not good for my opponents.

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15 hours ago, InfestedKerrigan said:

Well, snap.  Gotta rethink the list a lil.  Can you link the beta rules?

Here ya go

15 hours ago, MexicanNinja said:


To counter, isn't most of the decision making made at list building for competitive play regardless of ITC?  This is why tournament packs are released, so you can build your armies around the missions.

That's a fair point, I definitely could've been more clear. Yes, in competitive play, list building inherently involves making harder decisions. You just don't have the freedom to insert units you love but are sub-optimal. 

What I don't like, is the reactive list building. Knowing the scenarios and the secondaries that you'll likely choose from and building a list to suit that makes sense to me. What I don't like, is feeling compelled to remove efficient things because including them makes your opponent more likely to win.

As an example, Drukhari Ravagers. Ravagers are probably the most efficient gun platform in the army, yet it got to the point where I couldn't justify taking them. They have no real finesse, they just shoot stuff and hope to survive long enough to keep doing it. The problem is you can't get into a gun duel with space marines. They will win that without any effort at all. So all including Ravagers would do is offer my opponent 3 targets suitable to score Big Game Hunter or Marked for Death off of.

Well now it's a bit different. Sure, they can kill the ravagers, but if not them, they'll kill my characters, or 2 units in a turn, or anything that costs 100 points or more. They have enough options to to max out their 8 killing based secondary points, but anything beyond that doesn't continue to put distance between their total and mine.

It gives me the freedom to include what works, because it puts a lower cap on the amount of winning potential my opponent can bag by continuing to kill my army.

I used to build lists thinking, "how can I build a list that's effective AND limits my opponents' ability to score?" Now I ask "how can I build a list that maximizes my ability to score?"

That just feels like a healthier approach to the game to me.

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played a 2v2 game using the new rules and this ITC Battles app.

i have to say it was super easy to figure out. had some help deciding on what secondaries to pick. otherwise, very straightforward compared to my previous experiences.

made for a real close game and good times.

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I played a practice game last night. Since I run a pretty MSU style Drukhari list, he took Butcher's Bill (kill 2+ units in a turn to score 1 point). In hindsight, this was a mistake.

The main problem with Butcher's Bill is you can only score 1 point per turn no matter how many units you kill. So to max it, you MUST have a 4 turn game. It is the ONLY Seek and Destroy secondary that can only be scored once per turn.

The second problem is if you ever don't kill 2 units in a turn--either from your opponent deploying 2nd and hiding well, or because you killed so much early in the game that finding 2 units to kill later in the game is hard--then you need a 5 turn game to max it out.

The clock is not your friend with this one.

I would recommend avoiding Butcher's Bill unless you have an army that is small and fast enough that you consistently manage 5 turns in 2.5 hour rounds. Anything less than that and you're stacking the odds against yourself.

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Yeah, the real issue with it is the fixed attacker/defender roles. With how much LoS blocking there is in ITC, hiding an army is certainly doable. Particularly with defensive stratagems employed liberally on the first turn on whatever elements can't hide (flyers, monsters, etc).

I personally think it should be "2+ units killed per phase" which would allow it to be scored multiple times a turn by a well-rounded army.

Because, as an MSU player, neutering BB and removing the +1 to go first, the only remaining check to MSU tactics is the Counter-Offensive stratagem (the close combat interrupt). I charge 1 unit with 5 units, swing with only 1, he interrupts and swings at my 4 who haven't gone yet. But that risk has been there since day 1 of 8th Ed, so I'm pretty used to planning for it and playing around it as best as I can. 

This rule set looks like a good time to be a soul-sucking pointy-eared space jerk!



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Okay. After playing in a tournament tonight, Butcher's Bill is not as bad as I thought. You can score it once per player turn. So you can theoretically score it during your opponent's turn if you manage to kill 2 units in CC or have some whacky timing interaction. Still not great, but doable.

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