40K: Remembering Who We Are

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I see the armies on the tabletop and have a deep sense of dread come upon me. I feel we as players have lost our way…

I saw a thread on the interwebs a few days ago that had to deal with creativity and army list construction.  I’m not going to go into too much detail on the thread itself, but the gist of it is this:  Creativity is dead and everything these days looks like a copy and paste of each other.  I, for one, agree with this statement.  Just the other day I found myself nerd-raging in a thread about Razorback spam because I think they’re lame.  Wait a minute, something doesn’t add up here..

Before I go on, I’d like to mention that I run a competitive minis blog that covers a lot of armies.  A lot of these armies I own, but I also cover armies that I don’t own because I love being in the know.  I do a lot of codex/army book reviews and I normally get sneak peaks at a lot of new releases.  This brings up one of the more soul-searching questions I’ve asked myself lately:  How can a player that has a competitive gaming blog dedicated to min-maxing armies complain about Razorback spam?  Isn’t that in itself a paradox?  Yes, but let’s continue..

As much as I like min-maxing the living crap out of army books and telling players what the most point effective choices are, I love armies with themes.  To take this a little further, I love playing an army the way they’re designed; the way they’re meant to be played.  What do I mean by this?  I’ll provide some examples below to show off I mean (keep in mind this is a generalization):

How Space Wolves are meant to be played:

  • Courage, honor and a glorious death in the battlefield
  • Frost axe to the face, aggression, adrenaline-pumped melee
  • Prefer the crucible of melee with ranged support
  • Mighty warriors, epic sagas, tales of greatness and glory

How they are being played:

  • Max Long Fangs and Razorbacks
  • Min melee, max long-range firepower, are we playing Wolves or Tau?
  • Individually configed Thunderwolves for the purpose of wound allocation
  • Inexcusable and lazy bunker sitting pups, no epic sagas4u

I think this pic sums it up just fine:

How Blood Angels are meant to be played:

  • The Angels of Death, Descend from the Heavens, Rage Incarnate
  • Speed, ferocity and unmatched martial prowness
  • Close combat comparable to the World Eaters
  • Epic heroes leading a dying Chapter through the annals of history

How they are being played:

  • Max Preds, max Razorbacks, Fast tanks = happy shooting
  • Who cares about melee, let’s shoot them to death
  • Jump infantry is for suckers, let’s stay in our Razorbacks
  • Heroic acts on angelic wings?  Nah, I’m fine back here.

Something like this:

And then I guess we’ll close it off with IG:

  • Expendable, billions of men armed with lasguns
  • Commisars, unbreakable morale and faith, serious artillery support
  • Strength in numbers, the Hammer of the Emperor, a few good men
  • Combined arms, infantry, vehicles, artillery, the works

What actually happened:

  • You’re Steel Legion?  Me too!  Oh, and everyone’s a veteran.

Now I don’t know about you guys or when you started playing, but I started at the end of 3rd.  The armies I got into and the reasons why are quite obvious.  What really gets me confused is that the lore and fluff of all the armies I listed above support the way the army is designed to play.  Phil Kelly writes about how the glory of the wolves is to obtained the same way Mat Ward writes about the heroism of the Blood Angels.  Robin Cruddace does the same thing for the Imperial Guard and so on and so forth.  How it actually plays out on the tabletop is quite different from the fluff and the lore.  Is it a game design problem?  Or is it just the current edition of 5th Ed. mech?  Or is it.. (dramatic music) the internet telling players to play a certain way?

I’m as far away as a fluff bunny as you can get with all my rants about taking effective units.  However, if there’s one thing that irks me more than anything in this hobby are armies built without the the principalities that makes the army truly unique.  The army you build must have soul, theme, ideals and purpose.  I can’t tell you how to spend your cash and you can do whatever you want with it at the end of the day.  I just want to take a minute and remind you all who you really are and why you got the armies you have in the first place.  Some deep Last Samurai stuff right now.

Last pic, but also the most important:

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