This year we have the opportunity to start a bit of tradition. We are inviting some of the top players from the previous Final to this year’s Final. Each year will still be dependent on the space available. I sent out a few questions to the current Finalists to get a glimpse of history, insight, perspective, and advise.
First we start with Raymond. Raymond won best Sportsmanship in the 2012 CAGE Match and took 5th place. He rounds out the invited 2012 Finalists to make 28 players.
When I was in High School, I used to travel to the game store in Chattanooga every weekend for my Collectible Card Game (CCG) fix. Lots of people in that area played 40K. I almost jumped into it so many times, especially with the 3rd Edition release of the Eldar Army in a Box. I actually picked it up in earnest in 2007 when a lot of my college buddies started playing and I had a regular group to get my game on with. I’ve been playing 40Kever since.
I still follow some of the old CCGs I played. A couple of years ago I dove back into Star Trek CCG for the tournament season. I did pretty well before I bombed out in the last few rounds of the World Championship. I also play D&D (primarily 4th Edition), Firestorm Armada, HeroClix, and Warhammer Fantasy, though most of my gaming time goes into 40k.
JBW: Do you have other armies? Would you mind giving us a quick list of them?
For 40k right now I have about 2500 points of Dark Eldar, 3000 points of Eldar, and somewhere between 10,000 & 12,000 points of Space Marines of all types. Most of that is in Dark Angels, but I have Thunderwolf Cavalry conversions for Space Wolves, some Baal Predators, a decent contingent of Grey Knights, etc. I also have an Infantry Platoon of Imperial Guard worked up for the new allied rules. Terminators are my favorite. Between Grey Knights and Deathwing, I’m probably sitting on about 75 terminators.
Knowledge of the rules and armies. It is very easy to make a mistake when you aren’t sure how something works or what are its practical capabilities. Playing a lot of games with and against a lot of armies and players is probably the best way to do this. Using an army gives you so much more insight in to how to defeat it than simply playing against. You are more easily able to pick out weaknesses in the army when you’ve had to worry about covering them yourself.
Precise application of rules is always a big thing for me. It’s not built into the GW culture because of the prevalence of sloppy rules writing in the past, but the game designers are getting much better with every release. Competition from other wargame manufacturers is helping, I think. It’s part of the rules knowledge I was talking about before. When you know how things interact, it’s easier to see where the problems are, and tournament organizers (T.O.s) should work with GW to fix issues via errata, amendments, and building new counter units. I think I’m a little spoiled after having worked with Score and Decipher on their games and having competitive feedback really help direct new game design mechanics.
Always assume your opponent knows more and is better than you when you show up to the table. It keeps you on your toes and your mind focuses, so you are less likely to make mistakes. Be courteous, and ask for verification when you aren’t sure about something in their list or special rules. Other than that, have fun.
We got to see how powerful Orks and Necrons are in general at the Redstone Rumble. Since we are not playing at 2,000 points, the CAGE Match won’t have to deal with Double Force Organization (DFOC), but I think large, durable infantry blocks will be an important thing for 6th Edition. Your whole army shouldn’t be built that way, but 1 or 2 large scoring units seem to really make lists work better.
I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to play many people outside the Huntsville circle this year. Inside our own circle, Clay Williams is known for being a tough player with tough lists. This year is no exception, most of the locals consider his list ‘cheesy’, and being an expert player makes it easy for him to capitalize on an opponent’s weaknesses. I helped Adrien work up a nice Space Marine list that has been rocking the practice tournaments too, so I expect both of them to be forces to be reckoned with.
Stay up-to-date with the power level of the edition. Last year I used a very dated Codex, but to good effect. However, it’s hard for inflexible armies to meet the demands of 4 mission goals at the same time. My first 2 games were only draws last year, resulting in a 5th place finish. I have been working with newer armies this year testing out larger toolboxes and more efficient units. I get a bonus that the army I used last year will have a new Codex in a couple of weeks, and my large Space Marine collection will let me use almost all of it without having to buy many new models.
Honestly, focus on one of the big 5 books unless you are really comfortable with your army in tight situations. Those would be: Necrons, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard, Chaos Daemons, and Orks. Most of these armies can get Allies of Convenience with each other and also have the best tools for the 6th Edition ruleset. Daemons are kind of the exception to this, but their new and updated units are ridiculously efficient when it comes to making your opponent remove models. Play against those armies the most, it is likely the majority of what you will face at the Final. Play-testing will prepare you, especially since you have the exact mission being used. Test out all the deployment types and Night Fighting, etc. With enough preparation, even inexperienced players will be able to go toe-to-toe with 40k veterans, and they are much less likely to have baggage from previous editions, giving a more consistent performance.
Thanks for having me!