My recent tournament performances have been less than stellar, as people in a certain Facebook group will undoubtedly point out. With a lot of the 40k contributors here on Frontline Gaming, and from TFG Radio, heading to San Jose this weekend for the Bay Area Open I needed to figure out my game and get back on track. Analyzing your game and what’s going on with it can be difficult, especially when you’ve been on as long of a losing streak as I was. I came to some basic conclusions on how to assess my game and try to whip myself back into shape.
These are the steps I came up with for identifying problems with your game.
1. Luck: The first thing you need to do is identify if you are on a bad luck streak. Nothing can be done about bad luck so if this is the case then you may not need to change your game at all. If you can eliminate luck as a factor then you know our trouble lies elsewhere.
2. New Game Factors: Are there new factors you are dealing with? This can be a new codex, FAQ, Errata. Currently we are dealing with a new edition and new FAQs. This one was my biggest hurdle to clear while prepping for the BAO.
3. Psychological: Are you burned out? Maybe it is time for a break from the game! Shocking I know, but we can’t always be playing, building, painting, blogging, thinking, eating, breathing, and sleeping this hobby. Sometimes we need a break to improve our game.
4. List selection: If you are a competitive player, odds are good you are because you are reading this, then you need to analyze your lists. Over time, especially as you wrack up wins, players can begin to feel invulnerable. This can lead to sub-optimal list building. Because you feel so confident in your game/army you may begin to experiment with new units that are less than the best. This isn’t a bad thing but it may cause list erosion over time.
5. New Fish: Some of us operate in small ponds, medium ponds, or large ponds. But no matter the size of your community a new fish can throw your game into a spiral, and the new fish doesn’t necessarily need to be “bigger” than you. The new fish or fishes can shake up the rest of the group enough to put you off your game.
Once you have identified which factor, or factors, that are affecting your game you can start to plug the wholes in your game. For me I realized that I needed to reign in my list selection and psychological factors; the new edition has caused me less stress game wise than I thought it would. What’s caused me stress though is my inability to properly build a list for 8th edition, I understand the new rules, but not the meta they’ve created. My best tool for analyzing the new meta was simply to play the game, which is a bit of a no brainer. The next best tool was discussion. I am on #REKT and we have a team chant on Facebook messenger that is very active. In there we have some great discussion, when not sharing memes, about the game and what is working and what isn’t. If you have access to a group of solid players to bounce ideas off of it can go a long way to helping you prep for an event. These tools have given me what I needed to step back, relax, and assess my game before settling on a list for BAO.
The second factor for me was list selection. I had become very comfortable with my Derath Guard Vectorium from the Traitors Legion book in 7th but that list did not transfer over well into 8th so I started to mix things up. There is nothing wrong with mixing it up, taking a unit or two that is sub optimal or new to you is a good thing; but with a new edition and short prep time for the BAO I really needed to start finding the best stuff and getting reps in. I played a few games with a list that was a similar build to what was working for me with CSM in 7th. That just didn’t work at all, I lost every game badly. I went back to the drawing board. First I decided that since shooting was so important, and I have a lot of Marines, I would try for a gunline. I went with the Spearhead detachment because of all the Heavy slots. I tried out a lot of different builds. A build with a Knight, a build with a lot of Forgeworld goodies, a build with a Land Raider, Sicaran, and Knight. Ultimately though what worked best was Havocs, and what worked even better was Ultramarines Devastators with Guilliman. So that’s what I switched over to.
I wanted to play CSM because I had started this ITC season with them. However with the meta being so crazy and the all flyer list, prior to the FAQ/Errata, likely to be prevalent at the BAO I wanted to bring something I knew I could win with. The Guilliman gunline is a solid list that allows for players to build slightly different versions with a simple core that puts the emphasis on target priority. It was a style of list I was both comfortable with and knew I could win games with. If you’re going to an event you want to win games, and in the end bringing a list I knew could perform well if I play well was the deciding factor.
Ultimately everyone needs to assess their game from time to time. My number one recommendation is to take a break. Breaks are good and necessary, plus you can look at your game in a new light and with clearer lenses once you’ve had chance to relax and get your mind off your game. Unfortunately for many of us a break was not what the doctor ordered for the BAO this year with the release of 8th only a little over a month ago! The next biggest factor in prepping is list selection, that was something many people have being working on dilligently for a while and will probably be the biggest factor in who wins the Bay Area Open this year.
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