So You Are Playing Against a 70% Win Rate Faction: Now What?

  The latest Drukhari codex has begun it’s real space raid on the competitive meta, and these angstier elves are showing no mercy.  According to the 40k stat keepers, Codex Drukhari came away from a weekend of events with over a 70% win rate. As you may have heard from various 40k talk shows, this win rate rivals the 8th Edition Broviathan Iron Hands lists.  Arguments can be made that this outstanding win percentage is due to the shifting meta, the newness of Codex Drukhari, or that the Codex is just in bad need of an FAQ, but arguing about why/if a new codex is too strong is a waste of brain power for the average tournament player.  The harsh reality is that if you are planning to attend a 40k tournament in the near future you are going to have to deal with the new hotness.  This isn’t a new phenomenon in the world of competitive 40k.  A few years ago it was the Space Marine Bark Star, then the Castellan list, and then 8th Edition Iron Hands 2.0.  Instead of worrying about things outside of our control let’s explore some strategies on how to deal with facing off against an “overpowered” faction during a tournament game. 

  Before any dice are rolled you need to be mentally prepared to play a game where you are at a disadvantage.  If you begin the game thinking you will lose, you will play the game thinking you will lose, and when an opportunity comes where you could turn the game in your favor it will not be enough to dig out of the hole you already dug for yourself.  Remember, this isn’t a game about killing your opponent’s army (although it sure helps), this is a game about scoring points.  Always be in the mindset to maximize the points you can score even if you don’t think it will be enough to win that game!  Crazy things can happen in a game based on dice.  

  Speaking of crazy dice rolls, this is a game where you will need to take more risks than would be a good idea for an evenly matched game.  You are fighting an uphill battle, and just playing a decent standard game of 40k is not going to get to W. In a more evenly matched game of 40k the player who takes big risks is at a disadvantage when those risks don’t pay off, leaving them in a bad situation on the tabletop. However, this is not an evenly matched game. Going into a bad match up the math is against you, and taking that risk on a long charge, or casting that Warp Charge 8 power, could be the swing you need to gain an advantage during the game.

Player skill comes into games where one army is mismatched against another even more than it does in an evenly matched game of 40k. If I were to take Codex Drukhari to a GT this weekend I wouldn’t put money on me winning that GT. Even if a player is running the new hotness codex they are still stuck with the skill level they bring to that codex. 40K is game about capitalizing on your opponent’s mistakes, and having the better army is not going to salvage a win for a player who makes various misplays throughout the game. This is why it is so important to play your game like you always have a chance to win. At some point you actually might have a chance to win due to an opponent’s error, and it will feel real bad if you are not in a spot (either points wise or positioning wise) to take advantage.

If you are less skilled then your opponent, and they have the “better” army, now is the time to learn. I have found better players will help their opponent’s out with things like army tips, game strategies, and correcting mistakes if they are asked. They won’t do anything that is going to push them from a win to a loss, but when the game is solidly in their hands they can be more then happy to talk about how they just beat you. Don’t waste the last half hour of a losing game! Get some advice for your next round from a good player!

  Most importantly, have fun!  This is just a game after all.  Some of the best games are those come from behind victories you didn’t think you could pull off.  You can’t have those come from behind wins if you don’t start from behind (just made this up, quotes to live by). Even games that I have played where I have lost to a better player, who was playing a more “meta” army, have been some of my most fun tournament games.

Finally, be a good sport even if none of the above advice works out for you. You may be getting absolutely smashed on the tabletop, but your opponent may be having the time of their lives (like not in a mean “I’m crushing you!” way hopefully). Don’t tell your opponent how “broken” their brand new Codex or models are.  You are both there to have a good game of 40k, and we all know 40k is best when both players take the game in stride and enjoy themselves.

Don’t touch other players (pandemic), but this is the mental energy you are going for

While some of this advice may seem extremely generic these are just the first building blocks to a winning mindset at the table. By going into every game with a winning mindset you can ensure you have the best chance to win that is possible. Things like knowing your army, or knowing how other armies interact with your army on the table, come with time and practice, but a positive winning mindset is for free!

About Eric Shifflett

If my wife ever makes good on her threat to do an inventory of the models in my garage I'd have a real problem on my hands. Until then, I enjoy playing GSC (along with some other armies located in the garage) at local tournaments and hope one day to prove my gaming group wrong about how terrible I am at this game I love.

12 Responses to “So You Are Playing Against a 70% Win Rate Faction: Now What?”

  1. Colinsherlow April 29, 2021 11:12 am #

    I do agree that the codex is very powerful, but it is also new and people tend to have that knee jerk freak out reaction to anything new. Give the codex some time before freaking out (I don’t mean the author of this article. Just people in general). Everyone is mostly teched to fight space marines or space marine equivalent armies, and super elite durable armies etc. Dark eldar are a very different army so people will have to re-think and rebuild their army builds for not just marine equivalents anymore. As other not marine codexs get released I think this will be more obvious I guess. You might have to start taking auto cannons now or something.

    • Reecius April 29, 2021 12:10 pm #

      Yeah, totally agree. They may end up being OP for sure but let’s give it a bit and get some actual data first after letting people adapt.

    • Zweischneid April 29, 2021 11:09 pm #

      Nobody is teching against Marines. Lol.

      The two main armies to beat with consistently the highest win-percentage for the past 6 months have been Marines and Sisters.

      Fast, punchy T3 bodies charging a gazillion inches out of transports (or doing fly-by shootings), with some choppy flying bikes and/or some Melta-shots at Dark Lance range, along with a Twilight Fang Troup Master or Beneficence Canoness as T3 characters chopping way above their weight.

      The meta already spend the past half year fine-tuning to beat exactly the kind of army Drukhari bring to the table. It can’t really improve in that direction.

  2. Zweischneid April 29, 2021 11:05 pm #

    Not sure why people keep bringing up the “shifting meta” or “Meta not prepared” stuff with Drukhari.

    The two main armies to build for over the last 6 months topping all the win-percentages have been Harlequins (fast T3, punchy ObSec in lots of flying boats, open-topped melta-drive-bys and Skyweavers instead of Hellions) and Sisters (Sisters (fast, T3, punchy trading-units out of Rhinos supported by 36″ Str. 8 high damage shots).

    Drukhari literally are the army-profile everyone has been gunning for already if you wanted to go better than 2-3 at an event (if you could go, of course).

    There is no shifting the meta. Every tournament list worth anything is already geared towards this style of army.

    • Shas’O May 1, 2021 2:08 am #

      You make an excellent point…

    • PrimoFederalist May 1, 2021 6:14 pm #

      Thank you! I am not asking for doom-and-gloom, but anyone who doesn’t acknowledge DE are OP is being silly. It’s not just a problem of rules, it’s lots and lots of amazing rules combined with everything being under-costed. So their stuff is really good and there’s a ton of it. “JuSt TeCh FoR dArK eLdAr”—LOL, sure. I will happily eat my hat if I’m wrong, but there are too many layer excesses in the DE codex to be easily smoothed over by other armies tweaking their lists.

    • Zweischneid May 2, 2021 12:56 am #

      Sure. Units may or may not be undercosted. But perhaps even more importantly, there’s no “figuring out” Dark Eldar.

      When things like Death Guard or Dark Angels arrived, there were some impressive stats and new abilities, but people didn’t yet know how to play it. How many terminator? Morty or not? There was (and still is) lots of experimenting. Arguably neither of those books is “solved”.

      Not so Dark Eldar. Everyone who had been doing the Sisters / Harlequins thing with trading up fast, punchy T3 units knows how Drukhari play. There is no mystery here. People have been practicing this play-style (and against this play style) for 6+ months now. It’s been proven to get the most consistent win-rates. And now it got overcharged with an army that simply does the same thing cheaper, better and more efficient.

      • Ohlmann May 2, 2021 5:23 am #

        You’re right. The edition have been entirely made about making alpha strike and being fast, making anybody who try to be slow silly, regardless of how resilient they are. Same for castling or trying long range gunnery.

        The stuff for DA and Death Guard seem to me to be a lot sillier than the Dark Eldars ; but Dark Eldars are strong in what is important in the edition, instead of being strong in less relevant areas.

        • Zweischneid May 2, 2021 5:52 am #

          Strawman argument is bad.

          I never said the “edition is entirely made ..” from that.

          I am saying that the two most consistently best-performing armies for the past 6 months were incredibly choppy T3 characters (Twilight-Fang-Troupe-Master/Beneficence-Canoness), fast-T3-trading units from transports (Repentia/Troupes) supported by 36″ Str. 8 shots and/or hyper-mobile bikes that trade incredibly efficiently and can contest the primary very well.

          The players that “build for the top table”, as opposed to building for the middle tables with perhaps more numerous gate keeper armies, have been tuning their lists to beat that kind of game-play for months.

          In that regard, this is different from Marines 2.0 in 8th, which dropped into a very different meta of “Jim-Vesal-Plaguebearers”, “Siegler-Tau” and “Muscle-Beach-GSC”, with an army that played very differently to what was winning tournaments.

          Drukhari play very similar to what has already been winning tournaments. Hence there is less space for a “meta-adjustment”.

          • Ohlmann May 2, 2021 10:09 am

            You probably shouldn’t call people that agree with you “strawman”. Maybe you’re *too* accustomated to people disagreeing I guess :p

            And I think the goal of GW of making the game based around units who are fast and hit hard is pretty clear. It’s also pretty clear they have gone a bit far on that side. The more interesting question is closer to “can a better mission pack swing the pendulum back a bit ?”

          • Zweischneid May 2, 2021 10:11 pm

            But you didn’t disagree with what I wrote.

            You disagreed with an argument you made up yourself and falsely claimed I made, i.e. quote “the edition being entirely made about making alpha strike and being fast”.

            That is the literal definition of a strawman argument.

            Using the wikipedia version: “a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted.”

          • Ohlmann May 3, 2021 6:54 am

            Yes, I did not disagree with you. I was saying you’re right. Litteraly. In the most basic sense of agreeing.

            I cannot do a strawman argument if I agree.

            The issue here is you thinking for some reason I disagree.

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