Thought it a good time to start explaining rough guidelines around how the composition scoring will work. It centres around 4 main areas: Theme, Variety, Effectiveness, and Cliche Selections.
Before I jump in to these main areas, a very important point to stipulate is these are all geared towards your opponents army. At no stage is your army mentioned. This is intentional, and I'll be stressing this on the day, at no stage should you be considering how this army stacks up against yours. Or how it will play against yours. Try and divorce yourself from your own army and how it could potentially do better or worse against the particular army you are facing, focus purely and solely on your opponents army.
Theme - It's own little area of comp, rather than letting it rule all decisions regarding your scoring. Essentially, with out looking at the physical army, do you see an inherent theme in the list. You may wish to read the players background/fluff to better understand the theme in the list as some army types (necrons, nids, dark eldar for example) are difficult to display a theme for. Is there anything that really jeopardises or contradicts the overall theme. Example: Speed Freak Biker army with a Basilisk.
Now, I admit this is quite subjective and we all have differing beliefs on strong themes for given army lists. This being the case I would err on the side of caution before truly marking them down. This will be a sliding scale between Strong and None.
Variety - I believe that an army with little variety can be a tad boring to play against. So, variety in your list is very much encouraged, it adds character to your leaders and units. Variety can come in many forms, unit selections, wargear options, unit sizes, vehicle upgrades, veteran skills, doctrines... the list goes on.
Every list, no matter how narrowly themed or restricted by their Codex can still have a decent amount of variety. Having a Deathwing army (old version) as an example, is no excuse. Variety can be injected via selecting tac and assault termie squads, mixing up the heavy weapons, dreadnoughts, landraiders... differing wargear options for sgts, differing unit sizes... get the drift of what I am saying?
Now, there will be times when variety may be dampened by theme requirements. Chaos sacred numbers are another good example, keeping to scared numbers is fine, btu if all the untis have the exact same options, that's when variety is suspect. Mix up the weapon/wargear/veteran skills options a bit.
Selecting 3 of the same special category (Heavy/Fast/Elite - 3 dreadnoughts as an example) borders on killing variety. Now, your theme may save you but if there was a decent option in the same category which has been overlooked then expect to get hammered. Yet again, it's a sliding scale between lots of variety and multiple carbon copies (minimal variety).
Effectiveness - What I want to see at Liber is balanced armies. What do I mean by balanced? An army that has a good mix of assault and shooty, static and manuervable units, hard hitters and those that require a tad more skill to get the value out of them. Granted, type of Codex would be taken in to consideration, some are more flexible than others.
A balltearer of an army with no weaknesses and purely tooled up to WAAC should be shunned. A balanced army is one that will test the skills of the player using it, not one that is necessarily underpowered and hamstrung, but one that has noticable strengths and more importantly, weaknesses.
So, the sliding scale for this is interesting... top marks for a well balanced army, moderate marks for a slightly unbalanced army and bugger all for tooled peices of shyte. Ask yourself the question, if I was using this army, would I find it a reasonable challenge to play/win with? Or would it be a no-brainer? We come to play at Liber Animus to test ourselves, as much as our opposition... I want you to be thinking about how you can win with your army, and this will happen if you have a balanced army. Ripping through your opponent without raising a sweat is no challenge at all, and isn't that enjoyable for either player.
Cliche Selections - One thing I loathe is rocking up to a tournament and seeing the same old combinations, the same power plays, the most efficient unit selection. Cliche selections sh!t me to tears, they really do. One is okay, but once they start mounting up I quickly lose interest in the game.
Space Wolves with Wolf Scouts are okay... but then add the pack leader to them, throw in a Ven Dread... Blood Claws packed to the gills with power weapons & fists, vindicator... it all gets a bit sad. Blood Angel armies with Jumppack Chaplain, naked Vet Sgts in minimal squads and it starts to smell a little.
And I guess that's what I'm getting at... it's when the cliches starting adding up that I get annoyed. I love seeing selections in an army list that I don't see that often... Space Marine Captains are scarce these days, eh? Space Wolves using an Exterminator... leaderless Death Company in a rhino... an ork battle wagon... ratlings... scourges... These types of options will help moderate my angst towards cliche selections.
Another thing to clarify is theme/army specific options, or signature choices. Options that are signature to a given army type (theme) is not a cliche selection. An EC lord having combat drugs and a doom siren is not cliche, that's a very much in theme selection. The cliche option would be to add a Dark Blade and Deamonic Strength as well... that is a cliche selection.
You've got 2,000 points at your disposal, why not grab a few units that you usually stear clear off. Sliding scale again between bugger all cliches and nothing but freakin' cliches!
Now, these are still in draft format, but I'm just throwing up my thoughts so far... please add comments. As you can see, this ties in very much with my Spirit of Liber Animus rant. I'm really trying to get across what I would like to see at LA4... and still thinking of adding more categories