That is a phrase I hear all too often. People sharing their disdain for all things related to the word "competitive." It is true, some people just enjoy throwing their favorite looking or best painted models on the board and smashing dice together. Which that is awesome, playing Warhammer for the love of them game and models, all the power to them. I want to make the argument that you can enjoy the game just as much while focusing on being "competitive."
First of all, it might be appropriate to describe/define what I mean when I say "competitive." Often people equate competitive with WAAC (win at all costs). That means to win as a player I am willing to do anything, cheat, fast roll, slow play, heck evening paying my brother to steal your car and drive it to Timmins (like yuck who goes to Timmins?) just so you might get distracted. The image of WAAC is almost 100% of the time not the case, certainly there are players or games where this does exist, but in all the tournaments I have ever been to (probably north of 200 tournament games played) I have played against 2 people where in that game I would consider them WAAC players. They were also the 2 least enjoyable games of 40k I have ever played. Now are these players always like that? I would think it is safe to say probably not, they were probably just having a rough day and normally are much better to play against. So where do we draw the line of competitive and WAAC? I think the distinction is in the manners and etiquette of the players involved. When I say competitive I am generally referring to using the units available to me to the best of my ability, while trying to win the game in an enjoyable manner. Lets go all the way back to 7th edition (like what 1000 years ago?).
During the end of 7th edition when I was travelling to a lot of tournaments I was using an amazing Eldar list. When I say amazing I am not referring to it being a well rounded and awesomely painted list, I am referring to the fact that it was second to none strength wise. The list was the epitome of what was wrong with 7th edition, spamming units manipulating various key words to gain the maximum fire power and advantage over your opponent. By the end of 7th I wasn't even having fun playing it anymore. It was at this point where I realized that there has to be a line for myself. A line where while I wasn't portraying a WAAC attitude (at least I hope I wasn't) my list certainly left some people (eventually even myself) with a bad taste in their mouth. A line that took the joy out of Warhammer 40k for me, I was sacrificing my enjoyment of the game to gain an strategic advantage.
Here is where I want to discuss what competitive in 40k truly means to me. I never want to get to the point again, where for the sake of winning I use loop holes and key words to crush my opponents will to play. When you show up at table and see your opponents list and think "oh boy I don't even stand a chance, why even bother playing." It is that issue combined with the WAAC issue that gives competitive 40k a bad reputation. Don't get me wrong I still enjoy playing competitive 40k, even more so then just throwing dice in a casual game. But I feel that my perception of what constitutes "competitive" has changed. I now find myself focusing on making the best well rounded list I can, one that doesn't just leave a bad taste in my foes mouth. I want it to be my tactics and decisions that win me the game compared to my list automatically winning me game. To be able to bring a very strong list, play it masterfully, while keep your integrity as a player (avoiding being WAAC), and allowing your opponent a fun game with his toys is what the true definition of what competitive 40k is to me.
I will end this post by referring to the list @stankywizard brought to the Beer and Pretzel Open, which he used masterfully to win the event. The list has also since been posted HERE on RAGE. His list was an extremely good list, but it also didn't just spam all the good units, or spam as much smite as possible. He brought units he wanted to, even some that people would consider to be "bad" in the game. While no one would say for a second his list was a bad list, it wasn't his list that won him the tournament automatically. It was his ability to utilize the list and a meaningful way, controlling objectives and strategically making decisions. Heck he even beat my brother and I, whom some consider to be way too competitive, or even WAAC at times.
There you have it, my ramblings and thoughts and my first post into this blog examining Competitive 40k, what are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree or disagree with what I said. Be sure to let me know in the comments. Keep on Wargaming!