Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Comp Onions Revisited

The early days of a new edition, amidst a busy army release schedule, is tumultuous time indeed. While loop-holes and unseen power combos percolate around the first waves of competitive events, many are the calls of "filth!", "cheese!", "power gamer!", and yes, even worse epithets than these, if you can imagine such a thing.

Welcome to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar 2nd Edition, readers, where Comp Onions grow in fertile soil. 

The article below did the rounds years back, but has now been lost to the ravages of cache wipes. Luckily for you, it has been preserved here in full. The original author is long forgotten, so if you know who wrote it, let me know so I can credit them.

I wanted to share it because 1) I think it is very relevant these days, and 2) I want to refer to it in a future post. At the time I read this initially - 2009-ish - the New Zealand tournament scene had some very zealous tournament packs aimed at achieving someone's notion of 'balance', at the expense of some of our favourite models. I really hope this kind of thing doesn't come back.

It was written  in 2002, so bear in mind the context of the examples. 

Read, reflect, and enjoy.


Comp Onions

Author Unknown

You must be wondering 3 things:

1) What is a Comp Onion,
2) How did the first Comp Onion come about, and
3) Am I a Comp Onion?

Read on, you warm, friendly but ultimately deluded little scamp, and I shall answer not one, not two, but quite literally all of those questions.

First off – Part 1 – What is a Comp Onion?

Source – The Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictonary.
Main Entry – Comp Onion.
Pronounciation – Kom-p On-ien.
Function – To annoy.
Inflected Form (s) – Comp Onion-esque, Comp Onioned, Comped By The Onions.
Etymology – Middle English, from the old English word ‘Spaz’ meaning annoying fool, and the ancient Greek word ‘Ounien’ meaning to be wrong but not have the will to see that you are.
Date – 2002.

A Comp Onion is someone who completely disregards the rules of the game, in regards to what is and is not legal, and replaces them with a set of rules they quite simply ‘made up’, usually whilst in the company of friends, who tend to also be Comp Onions. Once these ‘rules’ have been made up by the Onion, he then immediately forgets that the old rules ever existed, and expects everyone else to follow his new Onion friendly rules set. People who refuse to follow the Onion, are normally called ‘Cheesy’ or some other word, which can be roughly translated to ‘Person who will not do what I tell him’.

Several outdated and less funny alternatives are still in use, by the less up-to-date members of the gaming community, the main two being ‘Comp Nazi’ and ‘Comp Tzar’.

Why Onion?

Onion was chosen for 3 reasons:

1) Its funny, without being insulting, and therefore better than Comp Nazi \ Tzar.
2) Comp Onions make you cry.
3) A Comp Onions favorite cry is ‘CHEESE!’, Cheese and Onion go together rather well.

Where are the Onions?

Comp Onions can live anywhere there are other wargamers gullible enough to listen to them. However, they are more common in the US, where the tournament scene is still Onion friendly.

How do I recognize an Onion \ Am I an Onion?

Take the test below to glean the answer to both.

Part 2 – How Did The First Comp Onion Come About?

Allow me to explain step-by-step.

Step 1 – ‘The Incident’.

Little Johnny is playing a game of 40k with his bestest friend in the whole wide world (Tiny Peter) and is struggling to find a way to adequately shut down Tiny Peter’s two Whirlwinds. Surely there must be something in the rules to prevent Tiny Peter from using something which might actually be effective? This is crazy! Little Johnny loses, and gets mad. Poor Little Johnny.

Step 2 – ‘The Bright Idea’.

That night, while getting ready for bed, Little Johnny has a fantastic idea… instead of using his brains and countering aforementioned Whirlwinds, why not just moan about it until tiny Peter is forced to stop using them?! If Tiny Peter complains, he can be called a ‘Power Gamer’, ‘Cheesy’, ‘Beardy’ or something equally original. The perfect plan, and nothing can go wrong!

Step 3 – ‘A Few Days Later’.

Tiny Peter doesn’t use two Whirlwinds anymore… he knows the rules say that he can, but he doesn’t want to be called a Power Gamer by Little Johnny. Problem is, he can’t use his Chaplain now either; Minute Fred has decided that it’s cheesy; nor his Assassin, as Rather Small Dave started moaning about that when it (shock! horror!) killed something in his army! Tiny Peter does want to use his two Dreadnoughts in the next game he plays, but what if they can’t be easily countered without any form of effort? Microscopic Keith would immediately label them "cheesy", and they could never be used again! What is Tiny Peter going to do?

Step 4 – ‘The Flood Gates Open’.

Word of Little Johnny’s breakthrough spread fast… from Shanghai to Small Heath every single unit in every single army, fielded by every single player, in every single way could not be used. ‘Cheesy!’, ‘Beardy!’, ‘Power Gamer!’. The endless chants of the Comp Onions reverberated around the world. 

“But what about the rules?” shouted Massive Tom. 

“What have the rules got to do with anything, we can just moan until you ignore the rules in favour of our randomly formed opinions!” shouted the Comp Onions in unison. 

Massive Tom broke down and cried… his beloved Warhammer had been transformed by a group of ‘I know what’s best for you’ Comp Onions, and was now little more than a platform for these people to show everyone else how they should be playing.

“But why can’t you just pick your list, and allow me to pick mine!” inquired massive Tom. 

“Allow you to pick your own list without telling you how you should be doing it!? What a ridiculous thought!” said the Comp Onions. 

Then the Comp Onions started to laugh; they had a fool-proof plan to stop people following the rules, and could label anyone who dared ignore them a 'second class gamer'. Massive Tom was defeated.

Step 5 – ‘The Onions Are In Bloom’.

It’s now several years on from Little Johnny’s superb idea. Massive Tom does still play Warhammer, but he doesn’t really enjoy it anymore. Even worse, every forum on the Internet is now infested with Comp Onions! By the time Bitsy Bob, Diminutive Derek, Itty-bitty Ian, Lilliputian Lenny, Midget Mark, Miniature Martin, Minikin Mike, Peewee Paul, Pint-size Pierre, Teensy Tim, Weensy William and Dwarfish Donald have finished with his list, he is down to the bare-bones. He would love to use that second Wraithlord he brought with his pocket money last week, but if he does, will Infinitesimal Igor ever play him again?

Step 6 – ‘Oh How They Laughed’.

That’s torn it! Massive Tom tried to use his lovingly painted second Wraithlord in a game against Puny Pedro… everything was going well until puny Pedro failed to kill the Wraithlord with his first shot! 

“Who said you could use that?” inquired the Comp Onions. 

“Well, erm…. I, I… I looked in the rule book”, said Massive Tom, his voice barely a quiver. The laughter from the Comp Onions was deafening. Massive Tom was driven from the store, his rule book thrown out after him, dismissed as a useless pamphlet, and the door bolted shut.

Massive Tom picked up his rule book and placed it lovingly in his bag, as he turned his back on the store for the last time, he could still hear the laughter of the Comp Onions, and they set up their Onion-friendly models for another safe game of 40k. Oh how they laughed and laughed and laughed… and if you listen very carefully, you can still hear them today, on this very forum. 

Part 3 – Am I a Comp Onion?!

Take this simple test and we will find out.

Question 1) In your opinion, what should Gamer X (your average Joe) use as the primary template for his army construction?

Is it:

A) The restrictions laid out in relevant Codex \ Army Book, as provided by Games Workshop.
B) The random opinions of you and your friends, because ‘you know best’.

Question 2) You are due to play a game of Warhammer \ 40K against Gamer X at the local Games Workshop store. He rings you the night before, you get talking, and his tells you what he will be using when you play. Included in his army is something which you have randomly decided is ‘Cheesy’.

Do you:

A) Re-work your list \ tactics and general outlook on the game in an attempt to think your way around the potential problems the ‘Cheesy’ unit may cause you, relishing the challenge that lies ahead.
B) Moan about how Cheesy the offending unit \ model is until Gamer X agrees not to use it, and then tell your friends how cheesy it is, so no-one ever dares use it again.

Question 3) You are attending the local ‘Big Boys’ tournament in a weeks time, and you find out that (Shock! Horror!) there will be an award for Best General.

Do you:

A) Get in a few practise games with your chosen list, make sure you will have a fighting chance, and then give it your best shot upon arriving at aforementioned tournament.
B) Immediately buckle under the pressure, phone the organisers to ask if they realise the having a best General award could lead to the hideous situation of Gamers trying to win when they play; and then decide to play another safe game of ‘Onion friendly’ Warhammer at your local store.

Question 4) Someone posts a 2000pt list for critique on the boards, and you are the first to view it.

Do you:

A) Give an honest opinion on the tactical viability, chances of doing well Vs various opponents in a friendly and Tournament environment, offer what help you can and wish the player the best of luck.
B) Making sure you have a copy of ‘Never Take 2 Whirlwinds – The unofficial Warhammer 40K rules’ handy, scan the list for any units you have decided are Cheesy, and point it out.

Question 5) You are working away on your computer, knocking up your latest list with Army Builder. 

While doing so are you…

A) Trying to get a close as possible to the force you would most like to field, staying within the rules of the game.
B) Obsessed with what the Comp Onions are going to think, and basing your choices around their (predictable) responses. Avoiding things such as two Hellblasters for fear of being tagged.

Question 6) Do you think the term ‘Comp Onion’ is…

A) Long over-due. For a long time players who dared deviate from the opinions of the Comp Onions have had to put up with the constant attachment of the ‘Cheesy’ or ‘Beardy’ tag, so it’s about time we started ‘tagging’ back.
B) Highly offensive. How dare you stereo-type me for playing Warhammer a certain way, I should be able to express my opinion and play the game the way I want without being labelled as inferior by a group of people just for having a different perspective.

Question 7) If you answered ‘B’ to the last question, and have at any time in the past used the terms ‘Cheesy’, ‘Beardy’ or ‘Power Gamer’, are you being even slightly Hypocritical?

A) Of course.
B) No way, I’m right because I say I’m right. What are you, some sort of Power Gamer or something?

Mostly \ All A’s – Congratulations. You are prepared to think your way out of a tricky situation, and don’t take the easy way out when presented with the chance. You realise that the rule book is infinitely more important than the randomly formed opinions of little Johnny and his friends, and you have the decency to let people play how they want to play.

Mostly \ All B’s – You’re a Comp Onion, and no mistake. Repeat after me – CHEESY! BEARDY! POWER GAMER!

Well, that's all folks. If you know of a Comp Onion, operating in the local area, I suggest you ignore everything he says, refuse to play against him, and treat him the same way he treats the rules of the game.