Preparing Yourself for Tournament Play: Competitive 40k 101 Part 1

Tournaments are a great way to test your 40k skills for a variety of reasons.  They let you get out of your normal comfort zone playing solely against members of your club, allow you to meet new people, and face off against armies you have probably never seen before.  They can also be demoralizing experiences for the unprepared.  If you're planning on going to a 40k tournament for the first time, or just deciding to get into the competitive scene, here are some tips that can help you prepare yourself. 

Know the Meta

Meta is a term in table top gaming used to define the large group of competitive play.  In Magic the Gathering the "meta" is defined as the types of decks that dominate the game on a broad scale.  In 40k, "the meta" means the same thing; armies that tend to dominate major competitive events.  It's important to know what the meta is for the event you plan on attending.  And if you're just not sure, you must plan for what we refer to as the overall meta; that is army builds/units/lists that are universally good and those of which you are likely to face off against.

In 7th edition 40k, the overall meta is particularly dominated by Eldar, Space Marines, Daemons, Necrons, and a little Tau thrown in.  That is not to say that these armies win tournaments all the time.  It is simply that the field of play is dominated by these armies.  That is "the meta." 

Once you've defined the meta, you have to consider, is your list a part of the meta? Are you running Eldar jetbikes, warp spiders, and a wraightknight?  Or are you running a Space Marine Battle Company?   Or is your list something outside of the meta?

To fully understand this we must ask ourselves, why are these armies so prevalent in competitive 40k events?  The answer is simple; they are very good armies.  Most of them offer a variety of tools which help them win any matchup.  They are versatile enough to handle any mission, and have the capability to provide devastating results to the opponent.

If you're heading to a major GT then you probably need to be aware of the overall meta.  Read over rules, watch batreps, play a lot (more on this later) and get an understanding on what makes these armies tick.  If you're going to a smaller RTT at your local shop, you might not encounter these things.  For example, do you really need to read over Eldar rules if no one attending the RTT plays Eldar? Probably not.  Prepare for the meta you are going to face.

Know the Missions

40k 7th edition is unique in that it really doesn't matter how much killing power your army has for the most part.  What really matters is your ability to win the missions.  Prior to attending a tournament, ask the organizer what missions will be used.  Missions for competitive play vary widely.  Most tournaments use ITC for their rules and guidelines and sometimes even their missions.  Many, however, create and utilize their own missions.  Understanding these missions and how they work is your primary goal as you move toward your tournament date. 

It is important to know the meta, yes, but it is more important to know the missions.  Understand how the missions function and design your list to win them.  Are most of the missions objective based? It might be wise to run a lot of objective secured units then.  Do all the secondary missions have some form of accumulated kill points?  Might want to bring at least one or two units capable of throwing down some casualties.  Practice the missions and master them.

Know Your Weaknesses

If your army is designed to crush Eldar exclusively, you might not need much practice against them (unless you know going in every single player will field them).  Perhaps your army is great against Eldar but not so good against Daemons.  You need to play most of your practice games against armies that can expose your weaknesses.  Why?  Because you need to figure out how to pull out the win against these armies even when they are stomping you in the ground.  To do that you need to play against them.  Approach every game as a learning experience when you are practicing.  Think of your practice games as sparring matches.  If you practice against armies that you feel might give you problems at the tournament you're likely going to do better against them when it counts.

Know Your Army

This should go without saying, but always have your army's rules handy when questions are asked, and more importantly, know the rules yourself.  Yes that 1 extra attack from your sergeant matters.  Yes knowing if you have that extra point of leadership matters.  All of these things matter.  Know your army and be prepared to answer questions about their rules by showing your opponent when he asks.  Always have them on hand.

In addition to this, know your army's strengths and weaknesses, as discussed earlier.  What is your army capable of? How can it win the missions? 

A lot goes into preparing for a tournament.  These are just some general guidelines to help you get a basic understanding on how to get ready for a competitive event.  Later this week I'll discuss list preparation and things to consider when building your army.

Preparing Yourself for Tournament Play: Competitive 40k 101 Part 1 Preparing Yourself for Tournament Play: Competitive 40k 101 Part 1 Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 10:36:00 AM Rating: 5

Post AD