An Overview of Competitive Warhammer Age of Sigmar in Australia
AOS in Australia is in an amazingly good place right now. There is huge energy and excitement for events - see last week's Call to Glory launch where 220 tickets sold out in less than an hour! We also have Bush Bash, Rune Axe, Southern Smash and Lost Legion GT all coming up over the next month, with this weekend hosting both Hobert Hammer & MOAB 2022. Wow, so many great events, not enough family leave passes!
Beyond individual events though is building a community around the competitive game format, requires various mechanisms to "recognize and celebrate competitive success". The goal is to build a wider community by fuelling competitive spirit and rivalry (in a friendly & respectful manner of course!), while providing a pathway to aspire to and watch your own (and your mates) development and growth within a wider community.
This article is aims to be an overview how competitive play in Australia currently works at a the whole of community level. There is a Path to Glory in Australian Competitive AOS and this articles' goal helps provide players a reference guide to that pathway!
The Path to Glory in AOS Australia: the short guide!
The Path to Glory in AOS starts with playing in local 1-dayer club and store events - event which are occurring almost every week somewhere!
After crushing your clubmates locally, the natural progression is then to test your skills in larger Grand Tournaments - those amazing high energy 2-day events that attract people from all across your state and often even further afield.
Results from your events then feed into the Masters League Ladder system, providing a system for comparability of player rankings across events and over time across Australia. Successfully rising through the Ladders then sees you fighting out for various Awards (such as Faction Master)..... and potentially competing for an invitation to the prestigious Masters final series event, where you compete to be crowned Australian Master - the highest individual achievement possible in competitive AOS in Australia.
Consistently strong competitive success in Australia may also see you develop an appetite and interest to test your skill by competing against the very best in the world..... and so the final step in the Path to Glory is to apply for Team Australia and represent your country in the green-and-gold at the World Championships!
Going Deeper: The World Championships (International peak event)
To go a bit deeper into each of these steps lets start over from the top. The international peak event for competitive Warhammer is the AOS Team World Championships, held in Europe each year. Team Australia sends an elite rep squad to this event, chosen from amongst our best available players at the national level (more below).
Being chosen to represent your nation and wearing the green-and-gold Australia jersey at the World Championships is the highest honour that a competitive player in Australia can aspire to!
Team Australia 2022 in Prague:
The National League and The Masters
Back at the National level, the competitive scene is anchored by the Australian Masters League.
The core of the Masters League is a network of independent Tournament Organisers that run the events we love - from GoldCon to CanCon then across Sydney GT, VicGT & SAGT and many many others! These TO's then support the growth of an Australia-wide community via endorsing and contributing the results from their events into the central Masters League Ladders.
From the individual event results, the Masters Committee is responsible to determine a points system and calculate & publicly maintain various player rankings ladders. The Masters Committee then concludes each Season via organizing a ‘finals event’ - the invitational only event for the very best performing players in the regular season known as “The Masters”
At present, the different Ladders that recognize competitive success are:
· National Ladder
· State Ladders
· Faction Ladders
· All-Time Ladder (based on results going back to 2016)
Every participating event that a player plays in will contribute ladder points to a National, State and Faction season ranking, as well as an all-time ranking.
At the conclusion of each Season, an invitation-only event is held, known as The Masters. This event is essentially the “grand final” for the season and is participation is limited to only the top performing players each year. The winner of The Masters is known as “The Master”, and this is the highest possible individual achievement to aspire towards & achieve within Australian AOS. More about the Masters can be found over at www.ozsigmar.com.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Overview of Governance within competitive AOS community in Australia
To support the growth of the sport, there is a set of existing ‘governance bodies’ (for lack of better term, apologies that this makes it sound a bit more pompous and official than it really is.....). Look, overall someone has to make decisions on various things and do some actual work (the ranking ladders don’t just magically appear out of thin air…..). And, well, this is how it currently works at the moment.
First off, at present, the absolute core heartland of the sport is an independent Tournament Organizer (“TO”) network. The TO’s are the legends of our sport, sacrificing their weekends to arrange events for all of us to play at. The TO’s host and run all the events we know and love, all with full autonomy and discretion that best suits the demands of their local or state player groups. The TO’s can then choose whether to support the wider League and Community via submission and endorsement of their event results for inclusion into the Ladders. Thank-you to the TO’s for everything you do for us as players!
The Masters League is ‘managed’ by a volunteer committee, consisting of representatives from each state. The mission of Masters League is to “Recognise and Celebrate Competitive Success in Age of Sigmar Australia”. This mission is accomplished by the Committee working with the Tournament Organiser network to collate results data across events and assemble the National Ladder, State Ladders and Faction Master Ladders based on a transparent and consistent methodology. The Masters Committee itself only makes a limited set of decisions – mostly around consistent standards / parameters to becoming a qualifying ranked event, how ladder points are to be calculated and each seasons start and end date.
At the end of each season, The Masters League committee then consults with the top performing players in the ladders and convenes National Invitation-Only Finals Series event – known as The Masters – for the most competitively successful players across the country, to play off and determine and crown Australia’s next Master!
Another decision making body of note that exists within our sport is the Selectors Committee for Team Australia. This body is totally independent of Masters Committee and the TO Network, though may include overlapping individuals from time to time. The Selectors Committee only has a single very important job each year -> pick the players that will represent Team Australia on the World stage!
The Selectors Committee itself is convened by the previous Captain of Team Australia and consists of high profile players and/or TO’s from across Australia who have expressed they will not themselves be applying for the Team this cycle (to preserve independence and probity). The Committee will then arrange for the current team to be “spilled" and for an open and public expression of interest that allows any player in Australia to apply for the team. The Selectors Committee will determine criteria for selection each year, but in general it will involve a review of each applicants competitive performance with reference to the League results, as well as experience in Teams events, availability of armies, team playstyle & composition factors and players reputation for sportsmanship.
A more formal overview of the Team Australia decision processes can be found in the publicly available and transparent “Charter” here: https://www.ozsigmar.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Team-Australia-Team-Charter.pdf
So that is how it stands today …. What about the future?
This article is already pretty long and likely somewhat boring & dry: who really cares about that boring “governance stuff" right….. so its time to wrap it up!
The main purpose for me has been to put some “pen on paper” thoughts about how things actually currently work in the ‘backend’ of Australian Age of Sigmar competitive scene…. there is lots of new players to which all this is essentially unknown and there is no where else where it is actually written down and explained with any sort of transparency!
I personally also believe there is scope formalize these various semi-formal elements that have grown up ad-hoc over time, perhaps in the form of various written Charters or Constitutions or similar. Team Australia has began this formalisation process with a publicly transparent Charter that describes governance and decision making mechanisms. The benefit of greater transparency is to create an enduring ‘institutional structure’ to increases buy-in and legitimacy to build off and grow into as a properly recognized amateur sports community - leading to ever more & bigger events, more games, more friends and an amazing competitive spirit fuelling more fun!
Overall it’s an exciting time to be part of competitive Age of Sigmar in Australia and if this inspires even one person to get more involved in the sport either as a player aspiring to climb the Path to Glory or get involved in various 'backend' organisational matters, then it will have done its job!
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