Friday, 13 August 2010

It can be done

You know that guy at your local gaming club/shop/underground lair who keeps beating everyone? The guy who is seemingly invincible. With a rock hard list that you may or may not understand why is so damn good? I’m that guy.

Seriously. It’s gotten to the point where it’s just embarrassing. About half of the 30 or so active 40k players at my club, I don’t even play against because, frankly, there’s not much point.

Now, where am I going with this? Besides from turning into a prettier and more lovable version of Stelek, of course, and setting myself up for some severely embarrassing defeats when I’m moving to the Bay Area next week. Well, I’m not unbeatable. Far from it (well, down the street from it at least). My main opponent (you know who you are!) gives me a great deal of trouble on the tables. He even made the games against my Mechdar interesting with his Deathwing. Yes, the ones from the Dark Angels codex. And now that he’s started Nids (the cheesy git) it’s closer than ever. After all the games we’ve had against each other with these armies, it’s pretty much a dead heat, with me slightly on top after some seriously heroic dice rolling on my part and his chronic inability to damage anything with a holo-field.

So, what’s the deal? How am I tabling other Nid players in tournaments and at the club? Other Nid players who have played Nids for years and, after all, do reasonably well against other people?

It’s not very complicated at all, actually. It has to do with prejudice and being honest with yourself about what actually happens when you play and what you want from a game of 40k. In short, my friend and I have no prejudices and if something does not work, it gets binned. The other guys do pretty much the opposite. Also, we’re pretty clear on what we want from a game of 40k. Others, most of them at least, seem pretty schizophrenic* about all that jazz.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. About prejudices. As I’ve mentioned before I’m one of those Warseer types, but I’m also quite fond of using examples as tools of explaining my line of reasoning. So, I’m going to combine the two and use an example from Warseer. I started on my journey to become a competitive 40k player about a year and a half ago as I began building my Mechdar army. Knocking about forums I came across a lot of “established wisdom” as one is wont to do in forum-land. Specifically; Vypers suck pope balls**. Obviously, me being fucking brilliant, I wasn’t buying it. So I set out on a path that led to a rather long MS Word document detailing how awesomesauce Vypers really are (and in that I didn’t even touch on their greatest use of all; blocking).

This is a lot of what I see in the Nid players at my club (except my friend, of course, ‘cause he’s awesome and will be driving me to the airport on Tuesday, right? Right?). “Established wisdom” states that T-fexes are horribad. And even their own playtesting proves this; they’re plonking away at Land Raiders all game and nothing happens. Awful, awful unit! And overpriced! Goddamn Cruddace! What does my friend say? “Hey, hang on. Here’s a unit with long ranged fire power, outside of Elites, that’s good at taking out transports and it’s impossible to kill. Include this fella and my fire base increases its durability greatly, I gain some serious range, it’s another MC for when CC inevitably hits and along with other units in my army I get some serious T6 target saturation. Brilliant!”

So he’s at the club, doing his thing, and one of the Nid prodigies comes up and advises him to drop some of his six Hive Guards because “they die too quickly and are over-rated.” Fuck me.

And then there’s the mental health aspect of it all. What do you want from 40k? Do you want silly, fluff-bunny themed armies? Good for you, go for it, have a ball. But you won’t be winning many games unless the guys you play against are singing the same song. Do you want a competitive army that will give the likes of me a real run for their money? Good for you, go for it, have a ball. But you are going to have to accept the fact that you then have to build your army list accordingly. You can’t slap together an army that you utterly adore, but completely devoid of anti-tank and then whine when my Mechdar shits all over your face. You’re gonna have to go with one or the other. Hell, if you want a fluff-bunny lolfest of a game, just let me know and I’ll bring a list so bad it would give Stelek a seizure. But it won’t work unless you’re honest with yourself. Seriously, I’ll do it. But I’ve only been asked that once, and it was one hell of a great game***, and you going against my standard all-comers list, getting pasted, then whining about won’t do anyone any good.

If you by now think it’s obvious what I choose, think again. I choose both. Yeah, that’s right. But not at the same time. I have my competitive Mechdar army, and I have the army with twenty Wraithguard (and not much else) in 1500 points. But when my “I did it for teh lulz” army can keep up with your “competitive” army, you might want to reconsider just how good that army of yours really is. Just sayin’.

Anyway, I have a bad feeling this is turning into a bit of a rant, which it wasn’t really supposed to be, so I’m wrapping it up. Just try to be more open-minded if you keep getting trashed by that guy with the Mechdar. Analyze your army, find out what’s working and try to be honest with yourself in considering whether or not you are actually using your units to their fullest potential.

*Yes, I know schizophrenic isn’t what I actually mean here, but you try making an adjective out of multiple personality disorder.

**Taking the piss out of the pope. This is not sectarian, because I’m a die-hard Celtic fan and TKE, as I understand, is one of those Norn Iron types who insist on calling themselves British (if I’m wrong about this, I certainly won’t be opening my post for the next two years, so I hope I’m right). See how taking the piss makes us all come together in joyful harmony? It’s beautiful!

***It ended up being a draw, if you’re wondering.
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