Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. Sharing my approach to re-tooling for a new meta.
Throughout most of 8th edition its been smooth sailings. I’ve felt little need to make any kind of radical changes in my approach to the game. I’m a die-hard Aeldari player and have never dabbled outside of the pointy-ears since back in the day. Asuryani is my flavor of choice. They are in a rough spot right now outside of a number builds I have no interest in pursuing and thus have decided to shift gears.
Back in 5th edition I found myself in a similar place. Asuryani were holding on for dear life with a 4th edition codex until about a 1/4 of the way through 6th edition and I had no interest in trying to make it compete. So I made the decision to get into the workshop and hammer out exactly what I wanted to do.
Hit the Breaks on Games
For me simply acknowledging that I’m frustrated and taking time figure out a new approach is always the most difficult step. A non-gaming example of how I roll is, In the past I was the guy in the gym grinding away with a hundred nagging injuries when I should be recuperating so I can get back to business-as-usual. I’ve long since learned better and when it comes to gaming, its best to take a break from actual games and formulate a plan as to what you need to do get back in the ring in fighting form.
Identify Your Issues
Figuring out exactly what is frustrating you on the tabletop is the next key. With my Asuryani its that they feel like just a random assortment of odds and end. Also jumping through a thousand hoops to get my core units to do what other armies do naturally is a game of mental gymnastics I’m just tired of playing at this point. So I’m shifting focus to my Drukhari. They’ve been a stalwart for me all edition and are still going strong. They have a coherent, streamlined playstyle, modern self-sufficient units and a variety of competitive options on the tabletop that keep things from getting boring.
Make and Execute Your Plan
The next most important lesson I’ve learned over the years, is when you need to do a drastically different approach to Warhammer, is you need a plan. My method of planning is very simple. Create a Take-All-Comers list and dont stop hobbying till its 100% done. The first step in that is identify your foundational building blocks that you think will carry you forward regardless of shifts in the meta and hammer out those first. Its impossible to predict everything, so lock down in your mind the core of your army that you are not going to change for love nor money. For me that is Venoms. Venoms to me are the workhorse of the army and I dont foresee that changing anytime soon. For awhile I was rocking only 3 (in support of my allied Asuryani), but I want to get 6 now bare minimum as I’m designing a pure Drukhari army.
Secondarily, I’ll identify the other tools I think that will help me deal. One of my goals is to have an army that functions in all phases of the game. Its a toss-up between to ideas- Drazhar and Incubi in Venoms (to keep the Venom theme rolling), or a Prophets of the Flesh detachment with a Vexator mask Haemonculus and Grotesques. One is just an accent piece (the Incubi) while the Coven detachment is a major investment. The way I handle these areas of indecision is to put them on the back burner while I churn through the foundation of my army (the Kabal core), study the meta, dip into games occasionally and get a feel first hand, but treat it purely as an experimental phase.
My final bit of advice is no half-measures. Take the project from start to completion. For myself this means painting the units to the standard of the rest of my army and not skimping out on the paint jobs or modelling as I know I’ll be kicking myself for not doing it when I had set aside the time to focus on a rebuild project. The painting aspect is something that is very important to me, so taking those paint jobs, kitbashes etc. all the way will give me a great sense of satisfaction even if the list in the end doesnt perform the way I want to.
In regards to tabletop action, dont judge the list till you’ve fully assembled, painted and played the list as you conceived it against multiple factions with a decent amount of reps against each of those factions. It can take a lot of time to get the hang of a new list, especially if you are missing pieces testing the list at various stages of incompletion.
In totality I’ve found that when both myself and my friends have abandoned a rebuild project before its been taken to completion have almost always regretted it.
I find these period of workshopping a new army or a new list incredibly refreshing. Its nice to take a break from grinding to victories on the tabletop with a list you dont enjoy anymore, to sit back do some studying on the meta while I focus on hobbying up a spiffy new army/list to unleash upon the world. It allows you to stay in touch with the game, without being frustrated by a list or codex you dont enjoy anymore.
If you are interested in Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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