¥ Terminus Est Search Engine ¥

Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

40k Interview with Gabe Dobkin - 2011 NOVA Open Renaissance Man

I have known Gabe for several years since I moved to Florida and met him at the first Necro in Orlando, Florida to host 40k. Gabe is one of those very rare individuals that are both a top gamer and a top hobbyist. His win at NOVA is a credit to Mike Brandt's system. If you ever have the chance to see Gabe's Cobra themed Imperial Guard army you are in for a real treat. I have never had the opportunity to play Gabe but we have talked about it and I look forward to the day we roll some dice.

So let's move onto the interview!!

1) Tell us about why you picked Cobra for the theme of your army. I am interested to learn how you made changes to the army over the course of 4th edition to 5th edition.

I was a huge fan of the toys, cartoon series, and comic books as a kid. I think the army represents an attempt to get back my collection of GI Joe toys that I unfortunately donated to charity when I was about 15 years old! I started the army when the previous IG Codex released as a doctrine themed elite force of all high point cost veteran grenadiers. With the release of the current codex, I have moved away from that build.

2) I know your list is not a meta Imperial Guard list - how did you go about designing the army to give it the character you wanted to reflect for the Cobra theme? Note that I am interested to hear how you decided to put together an army that is both unique and also is competitive.

I think that I am still refining my so-called “Cobra Ambush” tactics and tweaking the exact build of the IG, but incorporating Captain Al’rahem (Zartan) into the list represented a huge shift in how the army plays on the table. I am primarily an Eldar player and am basically attempting to apply tricky Eldar tactics (i.e. – reserves, outflank, disruption, etc) to Imperial Guard. It is not the most effective thing to do with IG, but it certainly throws opponents off their game. It also of course encapsulates the first combat sequence of almost every episode of the GI Joe cartoon, where the Joes are suddenly attacked without provocation by a large Cobra force.

3) You travel a lot to play in big tourneys. What were your strategies and tactics you developed for the NOVA Open? Did you play test a lot for NOVA? If so how did you go about play testing? For example I am a competitive tourney player and typically only play games outside of tourneys versus good friends who always give me a big challenge. Do you try to schedule games versus the top meta lists? I asked these same questions to Blackmoor so I'm very interested to hear your response!

That is a good question. Believe it or not, my preparation for tournaments is generally limited to painting. I am a well travelled tournament player and I have been playing for a very long time. I generally travel to 2-4 GT level events per year and play in another 3-5 local level RTTs. I very rarely play any games outside of these tournaments. I have a completely bad ass, over the top game room but literally only play 2-4 games a year outside of tournaments due to a hectic work schedule and family commitments. The NOVA trip was only planned about a month or two in advance. I did play one practice game with a friend who I was going to NOVA with (Devin Schafer – who finished 3rdin the Generalship track) and he pummeled me with his Cortez Henchmen army. This game resulted in a tweak to the list – the addition of a second Commisar led blob squad – but I didn’t actually get to try out the new list until Round 1 at the NOVA.

4) As far as I know this is your first appearance at NOVA. What about this tournament made you decide to attend? How would you compare it to other big tourneys you have attended?

This was indeed my first NOVA. The biggest influence on attending the NOVA was a good friend of mine who lives in North Carolina was going (Charlie Lowry). Charlie talked it up so much that three of our mutual gaming buddies that live over in West Florida had decided to attend. We hadn’t all been in one place to hang out since GW stopped running the Baltimore Grand Tournament and I didn’t want to be left out! I kept it a secret from all of them that I was planning on showing up. I grabbed two friends, drove through a hurricane, and surprised them on Saturday morning!  I can honestly say that the NOVA surpassed all of my expectations. I enjoyed the event more than any tournament that I have ever attended.  My previous favorite had been the GW Dallas GT in 2002, but the NOVA experience even surpassed that event. I hope to make it an annual trek.

5) I know that you are also a big fan of eldar. What changes to the codex would like to see in 6th edition?

Eldar are by far my favorite. I think close combat aspect warriors deserve a bump to initiative so that they are in line with their dark cousins. War Walkers should be moved to fast attack. They don’t fit the heavy support role and this limits army construction. I would love to see Haywire Grenades returned to Striking Scorpions and Swooping Hawks given a gun that can actually hurt something as well as an exarch option for a high strength anti-tank weapon. Plastic Wraithguard would be the icing on the cake. Vypers, and to a lesser extent Wave Serpents, could use a reduction in points cost.

6) What drew you to play both Imperial Guard and eldar?

I love Citadel miniatures! I actually have fully painted Eldar, Imperial Guard, Necrons, and Tau and am painting Blood Angels at the moment. Dark Eldar are next in line. I like having different armies that play differently as it keeps the game interesting.

7) What armies (and why obviously) give you the toughest match ups for your Cobra army? What have you done to better prepare for those particular armies?

Ravenwing or Khan Marine Bike lists and so-called Fatecrusher lists are a nightmare! When you only wound on a 6 with shooting and assault attacks, it is going to be a rough day at the office!!! I have added more special weapons to my squads in order to try and combat T5 models, but they still give me fits as I do not really like to run heavy weapons due to the lack of mobility they entail. I also finally added a Manticore.

8) Tell us about what originally drew you to 40k and how you learned to be such a great artist.

I enjoyed building WWII models as a kid and initially bought a box of RTB-01 Space Marines because they looked cool and I wanted to build and paint them. I had grown up playing Milton Bradley games like Axis & Allies and Conquest of the Empire and was a fan of Avalon Hill strategy games. When the 2nd Edition 40k boxed set released I picked it up more for the models than the game, but soon became very addicted to playing. It appealed to me because it combined my enjoyment of modeling with my enjoyment of gaming. For that reason, it has held my interest for nearly 20 years!!! As far as “great artist”, that is too generous a description, but I would have to say primarily through years and years of practice. I had won a lot of best painted model and best painted army awards at gaming conventions and RTTs over the years and finally won a Golden Daemon at an Atlanta Games Day several years ago, so I had a good established foundation of skills. A couple years back, I had the good fortune of meeting up with multiple Golden Daemon winner and former Staff Slayer Sword winner Fred Reed when he moved here to Florida. We quickly became good friends and gaming buddies. He paints miniatures for a living and it’s all he does. Having the opportunity to regularly hang out painting side by side with him and receiving one on one instruction has really taken my skill set to the next level and I owe him a great deal of gratitude.

Congratulations on your big win! It is not a surprise to me at all.

No comments: