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The Middle Sixty #3: Abandoning the Fluff

Guest Column by Jason Byrd

Today we are going to cover fluff. This is one of the most important topics in this series of articles. I don’t know about the rest of you, but epic battles between armies of elves and undead were what got me into Warhammer Fantasy twenty years ago. I liked the stories. I liked the color schemes. I named all my characters. From there it was an easy transition to 40k. Space elves and space zombies? Hell yeah!

Fluff is important. It is the reason most of us got into this hobby in the first place. What I’m about to say is difficult for some people to hear: Fluff has no place in competitive play. I’ve heard a whole host of arguments for keeping to the fluff. I’ve heard players complain about the ITC format allowing too many detachments or about allies being allowed because it doesn’t make sense in the fluff.

Stop. First, the ITC format is great. It’s not perfect, but it’s far more good than bad. More to the point, it’s not going away so accept that you’ll be playing in it. The same can be said for the other competitive formats around the world. Second, we are talking about competitive play here. Come to compete. You have to have a win at all costs (WAAC) mindset. You have to be absolutely brutal with your own composition. If a unit isn’t consistently performing it’s time to replace it, even if you have to take a riptide wing with your space marines.

It starts as far back as choosing your force. Pick an army because it feels right to play, because you understand how it moves and how to use it effectively. Don’t pick an army because you like the color scheme or the background.
Now, within the above statements are two places for fluff. First, if you’re playing Eldar anyway, and you like the colors of Yme-Loc over Saim-Hann, paint Yme-Loc. Second, you can take a break from the competitive mindset and play narrative games.

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The Middle Sixty #2: Defining Victory

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This is Jason again from Military Gamer Supply. I’m going to jump into my second article geared towards the middle 60 percent of Warhammer 40k players.

This week we’re going to cover the first step in competitive play: defining victory. This article is geared for a fairly wide variety on the competitive spectrum. Some of you are pretty good players, winning the occasional local Rogue Trader Tournament (RTT) or finishing in the top 25% at major events. Others lose 8 out of 10 games or can’t make it to big events.

At this point, I’m going to ask a question: Where do you want to be? Seriously think about it for a little while. Do you want to just win more games? Do you want to smash at every local RTT? Do you want a best in faction for all ITC? Winning locally and winning nationally are two very different roads.  If you want to win locally you only have to worry about your game; list composition, strategy, local meta, etc. Playing on a national level brings a whole host of new concerns. Can you make it to enough events? Can you afford to travel? How much does your local meta differ from the national meta?

Until next week, consider where you are now, where you want to go, and how hard of a road you’re willing to travel. If you want to be a competitive player, you’re going to have to think about 40k as more than a game. You’ll have to put real effort into it and not just one day on the weekend.

On a side note, some of my readers asked for threads on strategy and list building. We’ll get there. There are several other considerations to address before list building.

Thanks for reading and let me know if there is anything you want me to cover.