Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gaming Behavior, Sportmanship and 40k raging.

Greetings gentlemen,

 today I would like to discuss a part of the game that plays a major role in the way people enjoy their gaming experience. And that is the attitude , sportmanship and behavior during a game , regardless if it is a tabletop game or an online one.

 First of all , perhaps I may not be the most suited person to talk about sportmanship.... because it is true that I often hear from people complaints about the way I behave during games. Some people say that I am over-competitive , quarrelsome or even obnoxious during the game. Even a friend of mine got offended recently after we had a game during a local tournament..

  Regardless of my behavior , I will state the obvious: that when you are playing a game , you ought to respect your opponent and make sure he enjoys the game as much as you do. When someone plays in a friendly environment , he will rarely come across someone who will play in an improper manner. However , when you step forward into more competitive gaming events and tournaments , it is almost certain that you will encounter someone who will cause frustration.  In such occasions , many people want to give their best to show their skill and claim a top place ( and prize ) that they will usually forget the whole "game " idea. It is not something nice or acceptable to do , but a tournament is a place where you could expect people to  demand strict precision during model movements and application of rules.

 Furthermore , there is another category of  " frustrating " people , those who are not only rule-nazis , but those who will shout and argue furiously during the game when a assault move can't be made or when a dice roll goes very bad.. 

   To begin with , not all people can be calm , and well , some of them are a little too excitable and perhaps more likely to shout or argue. Personally , I find it hard to restrain myself when a very bad dice roll occurs ( rolling 1,1 and 2 for a Ravener's assault move is not pretty when you have those str8 GK autocannons in your face ) and I believe that others share this weakness. Other people can be irritated when confronted by the rule-nazis mentioned above or when they realize that the opponent may cheat or otherwise attemt to "bend" the game rules.

 Also , several people get carried away when playing a game. 40k is  a game who has many thousand fans , most of which find the game not only attractive , but they have fervor and passion too! And if you consider that the game board is the place where 40k comes to life , I guess it makes sense to hear people shouting " For the Emperor!" or "Waaaagh! " when they play , or doing other silly things...

     Furthermore , many people spend several hours , weeks or even years to fully assemble and paint their army to the maximum quality they can achieve. When you spend so much of your time preparing your army with love and care for each model , this procedure creates some sort of bonding. For the artist , his works are much more than just a manifestation of painting skills , patient and talent. It is an exquisite expression of one's soul and feelings. Of course , the downside about being connected with the models is that you may get a grumpy face when that beautiful Voidraven that you converted and painted with full detail explodes before even touching the table!

  Also , the age of gamers does play an important role. In fact , it is more likely to encounter young frustrating players than old. I am not really sure how adolescence plays a role here , but I assume that all this accumulation of hormones do play their part. Furthermore , young players are usually more ambitious and energetic while lacking the patience of older players and are not familiar with the concept of  "losing a game ". These hothead individuals will react intensely to a situation that will perhaps , annoy them.

 And finally , there comes the part of personal rivalries and the social part of the game. It is true that most gaming communities number a rather small number of people , who are likely to know each other , more or less.  It is also common to have a friend or acquaintance with whom they play regularly and thus it is acceptable to develop some sort of rivalry ( for the fun of it , of course! ) to add a little flavor to these games. Other people may not find certain players to be endearing , for whatever reason they do. Playing a game against a player that you don't like can cause some sparkle and even cause troubles for both players and those around them.

  When  playing an online game, things become even more severe. The lack of personal contact allows people to express their anger or frustration in the most insulting and raw form , through the game chat or even pm’s and mails. Although this has little to do with 40k , it is an example of the way a game can affect people’s behavior. Thankfully , when insulting someone from the internet , it has little or no effect to their personal life.

All things considered , 40k is a game meant to be played purely for our personal enjoyment , and to  have some fun with friends when playing or painting. The competitive part of the game sometimes scares me , because a player can easily forget the way the game is  meant to be played , when he is struggling for victory. Regardless of the level of competition , our game is played by people , and people have their weaknesses. Some people may be mad about something irrelevant to the game that happened to them , others might get  upset when their dice rolls dont match the statistics and some people might get upset  just because they care about ranking and a gaming “status”. Regardless of the way each and every one of us plays this game , we should make sure to make it a pleasant experience for both players , and to suppress those innate feelings of wrath that we might feel. After playing competitively for a long time , after experiencing ETC , I can tell you for sure that I miss those old days when I would arrange a game with a friend from the school and we would bring some fun , mediocre lists made by models and equipment we found cool. No spamming , no rage. Those games where true , distilled fun!  Trying to outclass everyone else in a tabletop game is meaningless and tiring for those who attempt to do it. So please , play this game in the way you enjoy the most. Perhaps the “ Most Important Rule “ that many of us forget so often , is indeed the most important….

Thank you for your time. I know that some people will definitely be surprised to see an article for behavior written by me , but be assured , I also categorize myself in the examples mentioned above.  Please let me know what you think. Until next time , Guzzler , out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vanilla Marines in the current Space Marines metagame

        Since the release of the Vanilla Marines codex back in the beginning of the 5th edition, we have seen some huge updates according the Space Marines in general. At first, there was the release of the new Space Wolves codex, which rapidly developed to one of the most competitive codices in the 40k scene, due the large amount of quality choices it contains. Then we had the release of the Blood Angels codex. The philosophy of this codex defers to the typical marine play-style. Here we see some really fast and mobile units supported by a very decent assault punch. Then we also made the first acquaintances with the FAQ concerning the Black Templars and the Dark Angels codices, which brought them dynamically, back in the competition. At last, we had the Grey Knights Codex, which develops a unique and more “elitist” play-style, which finds itself in favorable position against the other Space Marines armies. Suddenly the Vanilla Marines codex seems weakened and pretty much out of date after the releases of the other Space Marines codices, not only because of all the options of the new codices, but also because its tactics are by now “well-known” to each player. The critical question therefore is: “Are the Vanilla Marines able to compete in such a hard Space Marines metagame?”

First of all, I would like to point out the main difference between the Vanilla Codex and the other Space Marines codices is the fact, that the HQ choice in the Vanilla Codex plays a huge rule according the muster of your entire army. Thing is, that the special characters of the codex in most cases  come along  with a “combat tactics” rule that influences your whole gameplay and consequently the decisions you will make for your army list. For example, if you choose Pedro Kantor as an HQ then you will most likely play around Sternguards, in order to enhance them with his “combat tactics” ability. Same goes also with Vulkan, Khorsarro Khan and Kayvaan Shrike. However, maximizing certain units, in order to get full benefit of your HQ’s ability, leads in my opinion to focused, but also very inflexible and fragile army lists. Additionally, those play-styles are pretty straight forward with no surprise elements to count on. As a result of this, the list you will create will be very "HQ-oriented" and also very one-sided, because it will be built around a single ability. This means that you will only have good matchups against certain lists that are not tooled out to face your specific play-style. However, you will have to make ends meet against each other possible matchup, because you will not have enough variety of units, who can distinguish in different roles, others than the one they are destined for.

If you don’t choose a special character like those stated above, you will probably create a balanced army list, but also a mediocre one. Fact is that the choices of the Vanilla Space Marine codex have nothing special from their own. They are just balanced units, that don’t have notable highlights in order to make your army list competitive enough for the current metagame. By adapting to this balanced play-style, you are adapting to the typical Vanilla philosophy. You will not have large weaknesses against each possible opponent, but at the same time you will not have a certain special element to rely on. Many units, that in the Vanilla Codex count as “solid” are inferior to the same units of the other Space Marines codices regarding both their points cost and their performance on the table. For example the Rifleman Dreadnought is inferior to the Psyfleman Dreadnought of the Grey Knights, the Typhoon Speeders are inferior to the Typhoon Speeders of the Black Templars, the Devastators are inferior to the Long Fangs of the Space Wolves, The Predators and the Vindicators are inferior to the Predators and the Vindicators of the Blood Angels and finally the Tactical Marines are inferior to all the respective Marines of the other codices. Therefore the latter play-style is very disputable, due to the lack of efficiency in your units.

Finally, I believe that the solution for a decent army list lies somewhere in the middle between the above stated play-styles. One the one hand, you will need a special character, who can improve your units in order to make them more capable and give them certain advantages, in which only the Vanilla Marines codex has access. On the other hand, you must also look after variety in your units in order to be flexible and don’t lack in any aspect whatsoever. The current Space Marines metagame is undoubtedly really tough for the Vanilla Marines, but having a balanced army combined with specific elements as well as a good grasp of its capabilities, can still ensure you notable efforts in the competitive environment.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A few words about the Tyranid Codex. Part2


 First of all , I  apologize for taking so long to write this. I experienced certain “ technical  malfunctions “  that caused the loss of many hours of writing work.  From now on , I will use Word to write my text…..

Anyway , in this second part of the Tyranid tactica , I will attempt to give an analysis of the –not so many – ways that the tyranid units can be used to make a competitive list. I wanted to give a detailed analysis of each and every unit in our codex , but this is a task that has already been achieved with great success by many people before me. So , I will just recommend everyone to take a look at Loate’s Unit Tactica which helped me a lot when I started playing tyranids.  So , if you haven’t  read it yet , I would advice you to take a look before continuing with this article.


First of all , I need to point out the fact that the Tyranid codex can’t really produce many  competitive lists. Most of the units  are useless or overpriced and yet,  other units seem to be a bit  “ broken “  for the gaming standards. In fact , when I go to tournaments , I rarely encounter other tyranid generals , but when I do , most of them ( if not all ) use a list that is inspired by the list deployed by the player of Team Poland during the tournament of ETC 2011. The use of this list is pretty straightforward , and utilizes the Genestealer spam , with the FNP buff to overwhelm your enemy  with some good quality close combat goodness. A very good list with great potential  and one that certainly contains the best elements of the tyranid codex.

 However,  I have to admit that my experience with this list is quite limited and thus , I am not the most suitable person to write a tactica about that. In this article , I intend to focus on the tactics that I use and my personal philosophy around it , if you will.

The  “Cell Structure “ List

It is said by many people that the tyranid codex makes a “Synergic “ army. Such a force includes units that can’t  perform well on their own,  but they rely on the mutual support of your other units to achieve their maximum efficiency.
   The tyranid army is composed by 3 distinct classes of units:
-          -The small size class , which includes all the little critters such as hormagants and termagants
-          -The middle size class which includes units such as warriors and hive guards 
      - The  monstrous size class which of course is composed by the big beasts:  Tyrants ,Trygons and the like.

A tyranid general tactics should include all 3 types of models , in a way that each one supports the other. Furthermore , each unit has its own , specific  characteristics and excels at a specific role. The swarm is performing well when it is used as a single “ organism “ , that uses its physical bulk and force of numbers to  overwhelm it’s enemy.
 Thus , the Cell Structure idea , as I like to call it ,  describes an army that functions like a a living cell.
 Each cell contains a number of tiny organs that all contribute to its survival  and defensive properties.  A cell is also protected by a membrane , that prevents  all hostile factors from causing any harm to it’s more vulnerable content.
This is how I thought that a tyranid army should work. Thus , my list is based on this specific picture and tries to  fuction much like a white cell that exercises  “ phagocytosis “ to consume germs and  debris alike.
In my list , the role of the “ membrane “ is performed by Gargoyles. I use two units of gargoyles to provide cover for the rest of my swarm. Since gargoyles are pretty cheap , they become  a rather charming meatshield.  I also equip them with Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs and for a rather small point investment , I allow them to have satisfying lethality.

From this point , I fill the “ balloon “ created by the gargoyle curtain , with units that play the role of the  cell “ organisms”.

-          Hive Guards and Zoanthropes for anti-tank.
-          Tervigons for their FNP buff and a steady production of termagants
-          Flyrant for offensive support and Pref. Enemy buff.
-          Raveners for an extra forward  push

I also use genestealers , but their function is never specific , but is rather based on the way the enemy deploys , the needs of the mission and the terrain arrangement.
Furthermore , I always make sure that every wave of my units moved at  - about- the same speed. For example , the tyrant follows the gargoyles for a fast moving offensive wave , while the raveners are held back to take care of anything that resists the assault.

The hive guards are the major anti-vehicle power here , while the zoanthropes  primary role is to destroy Land Raiders and other high- AV vehicles.

Tervigons are used in a much more defensive manner .  In the beginning of every game , their sole role is bestowing  FNP to certain units. At this point , I prefer not to risk spawning termagants. This is a strategy kept for late game, when the swarm numbers are thinned down , and a fresh wave of  termagants , with the Tervigon buffs will achieve to overtake any pockets of resistance that the opponent may still have.

And that is , more or less, how  I use Tyranids. I hope that my guide was comprehensive and helpful.  Please feel free to comment and offer your criticism in the comments below.  May the Hive mind watches over us all.