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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Internet Meta Lists vs. Play Tested Lists

This article is rated very competitive.

It just seems nowadays everybody who is competitive either just:

- watches the video battle reports and copies those lists, or

- waits until someone wins a major GT and copies that list if they play the same race

Of course this is a gross over-simplification but there is a lot of truth to it. There is a great divide developing between casual and competitive players and this gulf is growing wider than ever before.

I ran a GT this summer - here are the top three competitive armies by race and rank:

Eldar (3x Wraithknight + jetbike spam)
Tyranids (5x Flyrant)
Grey Knights (pure)

I received many emails, messages and texts asking me about the Grey Knight army but no one ever contacted me about the eldar or Tyranid army.

I studied the Grey Knight army very closely to learn and understand why it did so well... A lot of people really wanted to know. I happen to know the Grey Knight player well - he is very tactically sound and a great guy that gets along well with just about everyone. He had some games at the GT that seemed like impossible match ups such as Daemonkin with a Greater Brass Scorpion and a heavy jetbike eldar army but he won those games.

The Grey Knight army did so well for several reasons:

- The army had an answer to everything... For example Nemesis Dreadknights are a natural counter to super heavies and gargantuan creatures.

- The Nemesis Strike Force detachment is a natural alpha strike army.

- Grey Knights have a lot of warp charge which is one of the most competitive things in seventh edition. For example versus a Flyrant spam army the level 2 Santic power Cleansing Flame is a powerful counter.

- The player is very tactical and good at decision making under stressful gaming conditions.

I also noticed this player never complained about anything such as not receiving enough prize support or having to play against anything such as Lords of War... He was literally a breath of fresh air. I attribute this to having a general positive attitude. He did lose one game but that was it and you can't argue with success.

So just based upon this result I truly believe it is still possible to be a top competitive player and not have to rely upon internet meta lists to win big. Play testing requires a lot of time to develop a strong list that is not based upon gimmicks. I think this is very rewarding. You will note that while I play a lot of Space Marine biker armies I do not play armies such as Thunderdome. I also try to avoid units such Librarius Conclave.

I have noticed that video battle reports are starting to lose some popularity. It's only interesting to see a specific type of army win so many times and it's no surprise when a Necron Decurion army wins. You almost never see any eldar battle reports... They are so universally hated and I can see the same thing happening for Tau.

A true student of the game wants to truly learn their tactics and is willing to invest the time. This seems to be quite rare now. Developing your own unique army also gives you the element of surprise which can be a huge deal at the competitive level.

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