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Monday, September 19, 2011

40k gaming myths debunked

I'd like to talk about common 40k gaming myths and urban legends I often see propogated on the interwebs. This is my opinion based upon my experience as a competitive tournament gamer.

Here are some definitions to help out players newer to the game:

Meta lists - These are the lists such as IG leaf blower that are constantly posted over and over again on the Internet. You can play these army lists and do well versus most all comers. Meta lists are the most popular on the Internet for tourney play because they most often produce the best results overall. They are hated but they are very good and you can't argue with lots of success. On the flip side an esoteric army list developed through lots of play testing can thrash meta lists as they can be more balanced overall. Meta lists tend to be more forgiving as you can make some mistakes and still win. Meta lists tend to be gimmicky and may depend on certain certain conditions such as going first to win.

W/L (Win|Loss) system - This tournament system is fairly new. You have to win every game to take home the award for Best General. If your strategy is to win by a small margin and avoid the best players this system won't work for you. I have a personal bias in favor of this system. Consider a large tournament with only three rounds - you will end up with several undefeated players at the end of the tournament and it can easily come down to soft scores to decide who wins the top awards.

P/S/T (Primary|Secondary|Tertiary) system - This system has been around for a long time. If you win the primary win condition then you win the game but you can still lose a game and still win the award for Best General. The primary objective is worth the most battle points per game followed by the secondary win condition and finally the third (tertiary) win condition. This system can favor rock-paper-scissor armies if the primary win conditions are in their favor. On the other hand if the three objectives are equally weighted (W/L) then it's harder to suffer from a bad matchup as you can play to two out of three objectives. Often at a large tournament there is less terrain on the tables as there is less to go around and this can play directly into the favor of meta lists as they are inherently designed to take advantage of these specific conditions.

So let's get onto the subject matter !

1) Tournaments don't prove which army lists are the best

To me this is a double edged sword. If you can't win a big tourney or place in the top five to ten on a fairly consistent basis don't tell me how great is your army. You have to have the ability to go into a highly competitive environment and take names. It is what it is. That said I eschew the use of meta lists because they don't appeal to me but we have to be honest and give credit to those army lists that win big on a consistent basis. We can whine all day long about IG, SW and GK but the bottom line is these three armies are just brutal and their codices offer lots of inherent advantages for competive play. On the flip side I like to take on the top meta lists and beat them with more exotic lists that don't see a lot of press. It can be a real challenge because often if I'm not winning big I won't earn the chance to play against them.

2) W/L vs P/S/T

A lot of people tend to say that the P/S/T system is better than the the W/l system. I think that the pure W/L system is more competive versus the P/S/T system. The pure W/L system is less forgiving - if you lose a game then it's over in regards to winning the award for Best General... I don't have any problems with that though. The W/L system if run very well will result in the best players facing off against each other in the final rounds. It's more exciting for me and the rock-paper-scissors armies can be neutralized by offering a system that doesn't cater towards unbalanced missions. On the flip side if a P/S/T system has enough rounds then I believe it can produce the same results as a pure W/L system. It is up to the TOs to fairly match up players against each other, especially in the early rounds. If you have a large pool of players from across the country and the TOs intentionally pit top players against each other in the early rounds then it's inherently unfair and will not produce the best|truest results.

So at this point I could go into the discussion of other similar topics but I'll let it stand for now.


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