Posted by Jawaballs at 8:30 AM
What is the secret? If you want to win tournaments, you generally need to consider 4 factors. It is the combination of them all that helps you win:
You need to come rock hard. If you want to compete at a tournament, you need to forget those fluffy lists. Leave the thunder cannons home. You need to put together a list that optimizes efficiency, strength and flexibility. Every army has a certain combination of models that is MOST efficient, that is... gets you the most bang for the buck. I believe I have found it with my Blood Angels. This is not an instant occurance though, my Blood Angels have arrived at their current point through a LOT of modifications. I have been playing them exclusively for 20 months! But this post is not about which army is better. Certainly some armies can make a more efficient list... but do the best you can do within your chosen army. Go on the forums. Bolter and Chainsword is a great wealth of knowledge for Space Marines. Seek out blogs that focus on particular armies like Black Matt's Chaos Blog or Way of Saim-Hann. Find out what lists are winning, and play them. If you have to pick a new army, then do it. Some armies just cannot compete in the tournament scene. Accept it, adjust, move on.
So you have your rock hard list. Taking that list to a tournament with no idea how to play it is like giving a loaded gun to a 5 year old. Bad things will happen, mostly to you. In the short time I have been playing 40k, the only list I have encountered that a Pigeon could win with was the 4th edition 60 Genestealer list. At the first Gamesday 40k tournament I went to, 8 of the top 10 armies were virtual clones of that list.
Having said that... learn how to play your army. Develop tactics, and stick with them. Trust your tactics. I have won games when all was apparently lost, only because I stuck with my tactics. Just this weekend, it appeared I was getting rolled, but I stuck to my guns, and turned the game around into a total victory.
But tactics extend beyond the game table. One of the biggest secrets the major tournament winners have been employing is selective winning of bonus points. In the first round, the temptation is to destroy your opponent and get all the bonus points. In my last two tournament wins, I did not do this! In one example, I eeked out a draw and ended up winning the whole thing. In another though, I chose not to scoop up the 3 bonus points in round one when I easily could have. This placed me back in the pack of winners... but most importantly, kept me off the top tables where I would have been up against the blood thirsty nooby crushers. In round two, those guys either crushed each other, or self destructed, placing them selves out of contention... or in place to play yet another top army in round three. Meanwhile I enjoyed a round two game against a weaker army and opponent, where I was able to dictate how many points I scored. I went into round three with the opponent that was best for me. The point is I avoided a round two game against a tougher opponent simply by not killing my first round opponent's HQ and highest points total squad when I had the chance.
In the last two tournaments that I won, painting points were awarded per game. So, I got max painting points each game, for a total of 15 extra points. This made the difference both times! In more and more tournaments, they are including painting points as part of your overall score. You must get your army painted. The minimum standard is a base coat, a wash, and a highlight. GW has made this easy for you. You must do it! Get your army painted to this standard, then pick out some details like purity seals and guns etc. and you are good to go. My friend Charly was upset at a recent tournament because he was playing an unpainted ork army. He was amongst the top players there, but had no real chance of winning because he scored zero painting points. Get your armies painted.
This is the final kicker. Be a good sport. In most tournaments, there is some sort of sportsmanship points awarded by your opponent. These points are simple to earn. Be friendly, dont argue, and dont be a jerk. If you object to something your opponent does, politely raise your concern and suggest it be looked up in a book. If you cannot resolve it with a book, and he insists on doing it, suggest a die roll. If he still refuses, simply say ok, and let him have it. He is a douche and nail HIM on sportsmanship. There is however a distinction between being a good sport, and playing a cheezy list. A lot of guys find the line to be quite blurry, and will try to nail you on sportsmanship for playing a list they feel is cheeze. This happened just last weekend, and is probably what gave me the over all win! My friend Dan pulled a tyranid player as his round 3 opponent. They were 1 and 2 coming into the final round. Dan's Salamander army is a little cheezy... but it wins and is legal! Dan himself is a friendly, polite, considerate and all around great guy. The nid player docked him sportsmanship points... probably just because Dan crushed him. Dont be that guy!
Here is a list of things you can do to ensure good sportsmanship points:
Smile, be on time, do not stall, do not take phone calls, compliment your opponents army, compliment your opponents tactics. It is real easy to say "That was a nice decision." And that works wonders on how your opponent feels about you. Ask specific questions about models that your opponent obviously spent a lot of time on. Ask your opponent for input on your stuff. Dont argue every little thing. Dont nit pick measurements. I can go on and on, but you get the point. I go out of my way to be as good a sport as possible in tournament games. I will always give my opponent the benefit of the doubt, even if it is obvious that he is trying to squeek out some advantage. In the end, if you have covered parts one and two of this article, you will probably beat him any way. :)
Enjoy playing the game! If you have fun, your opponent will. If he is a douche, accept it, do the best you can, and get it done.
Hope that help!
Labels: How to Win Warhammer 40k