Tayne’s Musings: Playing the Underdog by Graeme Nicholls

26 Nov

I like old armies. If I’ve achieved nothing else with my posts on this site, that much must be clear. I have written about Dark Angels and Tau, and just started that flavour-of-the-month army so frequently seen, Chaos Daemons. I thought it’s about time I shared what it is I enjoy so much about them.

Firstly, I like to be a little bit different. I could not stand to get to the club/arrive at a tournament/wherever and find my army is a copy/paste version of Joe Bloggs’ list. Dave frequently talks about the “current meta” on the show, and it’s that very trend I aim to buck where I can. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the appeal of the popular builds and I’m not saying I would get no enjoyment from using such a list, I’m saying I don’t want eighth Blood Angel/Grey Knight/latest-power-build-based-army player arrive anywhere.

Secondly, there’s the feel of the army. For me, the style an army uses plays a big part in my choice to play them. I know that this will not apply to every player, but I cannot, for example, bring myself to play orks. Their shoddy, ramshackle look is not something I enjoy looking at and I certainly don’t want to spend hours painting them. Mixed in with this is playstyle. I love my Tau, I love the firepower it can bring to bear on a foe and yet I have no desire to play Imperial Guard. Why not? Both armies win via shooting, but each army does it differently. I find Tau work best as a mobile force, and it’s those tactics that draw me back to the army consistently.

Thirdly, there are the tricks to discover for these guys. Each new codex changes the way 40k is played. Sure, they bring drastic revisions to the current army, but they also bring changes to the rest of the armies out there. As an example, Grey Knights can do superbly well with Dreadnought-spam lists, but with the new, AV-eating Necron scarab swarms out there, will such a mechanised army remain effective? Even the oldest codex can adapt to these changes, meaning that every codex has some spark to give.

Finally, there’s winning. Winning is always nice, whether it’s a final die roll that casts the game to you or it’s taking your opponent’s toys off the board before turn four, we all enjoy winning a game. But for me, that moment when you play a decent opponent and you use something that isn’t an “internet approved” power-house… that’s the moment that beats all others. I enjoy the challenge of these armies, and I love the rewards it can bring.

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