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40k Teams Tournament @ the Games Nook
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Gaaah! I am sick and tired of competitive players/games!



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!

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Excellent write up and I definitely think you touched on a lot of solid points. A lot of people think it's the army and while certain armies definitely have edges it's a lot to do with decisions during the game. Unless you're playing at the highest level like an LVO or big GT almost every army has a chance generally at the very least to finish top 3-5.

I really enjoyed reading your article as it echos the similar thoughts I tend to have. In regards to WAAC, I have to admit i've been on that side of the coin in certain occasions (spamming 5 commanders comes to mind) but it's also the mindset you go into the tournament/event with. I knew for that event I wanted to run something stupid like 5 commanders because it was a tourney, I had never tried it before and frankly if it did good or bad I was happy to get the shot to play it - I would even go as far as to say similar to 180 gretchin? @Capt. Thunderfawks lol.. A regular game I would never bring anything like that unless I cleared it with my opponent first though, it's just good manners haha.

I think for me, right in hte middle is where I like to play, the most competitive I can be (im not just gonna let you kill a unit to kill a unit for instance) with the given parameters/event type. I am probably not gonna bring gargoyles and lictors to an ITC event but i'd bring them to a local tourney for sure.

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Great blog post Kevin!

There's a space for competitive gaming and winning with crazy OP lists. In fact, I think that going into an event knowing that other people there will be in that same mindset can result in a number of truly amazing games. Seeing people playing at their "A" game, and trusting that both lists are of about the same strength is a sight to behold. Having two people go at each other with "well rounded" lists, especially in unfamiliar settings like out of town tournaments where what is "well rounded" can wildly vary, can result in lists that are not at all close in power level, in which case it always leaves the doubt in your head that the person with the better list won, rather than the better person.

For myself, I do prefer the well rounded list games as well, as opposed to the super high level competitive games, and I always feel that the best way to achieve that is to communicate. I also think that 8th edition does a much better job in balancing the games that the differences between you standard list and high-end list aren't quite as bad as they were back in 7th madness. I think the key to this is that 8th edition 40k has more focus on basic infantry than previously, even if that's just because it gives you access to amazing Stratagems, it still makes the battles look and feel like what I enjoy most about 40k.

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