Pimpcron: Don’t Be Yourself in 40k

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Pimpcron had a revelation about having better games of 40K. Let’s see if it makes any sense or not.

Booga booga booga! [waves arms in the air menacingly]. For those of you who are confused, I always say “hi”, or “hello”, or some other greeting. I decided to switch it up. You’re welcome.

Here’s How I Am

The way I always play is, throw a list together last minute with literally no thought put into it as far as synergy, or battlefield effectiveness, and then try to win with said list. The most common reasons why I choose a unit to put in my list are:

“Oh, I haven’t played this one in a while.”

“I love this unit, let’s put it in.”

“These guys look awesome, I’ll find a way to make them work.”

A 13-month-old chimp named Fumo leaps onto a “Christmas present” box, which contained food treats, during a Christmas-themed feeding session at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo, December 9, 2014. (Photo by Jason Reed/Reuters)

Me making a list, but more nudity when I do it. I REFUSE to buy a larger size of gym shorts.

This may explain my 100 Genestealers I owned during 6th and 7th edition when Genestealers were the laughing stock of the already-crappy Nid codex. It also explains my 40 metal Flayed Ones that I’ve had since 5th edition where they were so bad, nobody ever, ever took them. Possessed? I love Possessed! Too bad they’ve been terrible for a long time, but that didn’t stop me from bringing them.

So you see, my list building is not about the new hotness, or what is most points efficient, but more of a mix between inner child thinking something looks cool, and a penchant for pain. I always pride myself in not taking cheese, and just trying to rely on strategy to win a game. I have always felt like trying to make the most optimum list is taking the game way seriously. But I understand many people play that way. To each, their own.

Something Happened Recently

I grew my first big boy hair this morning. I don’t mean to brag, but I have to admit I’m pretty excited about it. But something, maybe more relevant to this article happened recently too.

Image result for man one hair

So I was playing with one of the best players in our gaming group (Andrew) the other day, and he brought Nids. I was playing Orks, and in my usual fashion said a variety of those phrases listed above while making a list. And for ease of use, I said that we should play Power Level. Then I picked a mission that wasn’t in my favor. Then the models I chose (such as Nobs) were not modeled with all Power Klaws like I’m sure they expect you to take for Power Level. So I said they had what they had on the model because proxying for Power Level is a no-no in my book.

And being that I rely on my tactics and strategy instead of anything outside of the game to win me battles, I didn’t for a second think that I was stacking all of the cards against me. And by the time I was wiped out on turn two, he said, “Were you trying to lose?”

Then I felt bad, because I too realized that I nearly did everything in my power to screw myself in this game, and by association, screw up his game too.  It was clear that I accidentally just made this game a waste of time and sapped the fun out of the game for him and me.

Image result for upset couple

This was me and him the rest of the night. I was wearing my nicest red shirt too.

Here’s What I Discovered

I always try to make sure my opponents have a fun game, and usually that means go easy and just have fun. But when you know you’re playing a game versus a player who likes a challenge, then you have to change your tactics if you’re able. Of course we are all on different skill levels, strategy-wise so not everybody can crank it up a notch (or down a notch). But we really should care about the kind of game our opponent is having, because this is a friendly and social game. If you want to be selfish or apathetic to the game experience you are having with your opponent, then go do something else.

So after so much hullabaloo over WAAC versus Fluff, I tend to feel like Fluffs are the “nice” way to play. But it really depends on your opponent. That is why this is so important to talk over the game with your opponent before the game to find out what kind of game you both are looking for.

Hopefully both of you grown-ass adults can come to terms about what kind of level of play you will use against each other, and big enough to change at least a little for each other. It’s really no different than any other relationship, no matter how fleeting. It takes compromise.

Is it your responsibility to give your opponent a good game?

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  • David

    Another artcle pimpcron missuses the term WAAC when he means competative.

    With a competative opponent you know where you stand. Your playing against a well built list designed to win – So it is easy to match and bring a similarly well designed list and you’ll have a good game.

    With a fluff playing opponent one day you will get a fluffy but competent list think battle company or War Con in 7th and you want a decent list. Next day you will get a list that isn’t in the right detatchment with no AV and any remotely thought about list will beat it so you almost have to work at being bad to have a good game. Worse yet is that fluff player that oscilates between the two so you never know where they stand.

    Moral of the story have at least a quick think about how your army will function and at minimum make sure it fits into detatchments to get you CP and you and tour opponent will have better games.

    • ZeeLobby

      Sound advice. And yeah, he’s always had a bend to his writings.

      • Pimpcron

        I do misuse it, but there is a fine line in my mind. They are quite similar.

        • ZeeLobby

          Is it really that fine though? I mean WAAC implies shadiness. I’ve played maybe 80 people I’d consider competitive and 2 I would consider WAAC, and the differences were pretty obvious. Some people also get offended when a judge is called. Or a rule is looked up. Etc. What’s funny is I mostly see this in 40K games over anything else. People go to competitive events but then try to pretend they’re playing it all casual and that you should have to too.

          It’s probably up to the individual though. I don’t consider my opponent asking me to double-check a measurement as an insult, but have been told off for doing that at an event before when a guy was basically using is ruler as more of a butt-scratcher than measuring device. “C’mon man, it’s just a game”, as he won the event and the prize. I was just a kid, lol.

          • dreamwarder

            All so-called “competitive” gamers are really WAAC gamers at heart. That’s why they get so touchy about being called out on it.

            The only difference is how much they worked on their social skills as a kid.

            *ducks for cover*

          • ZeeLobby

            I’m competitive, attend several events a year, and run weird lists like Highlander. My existence disproves your remark. But I guess you can choose to either believe that or not. I play to win, I just won’t do anything to do it, which is the definition of WAAC.

          • dreamwarder

            Bless you for rising to my flagrant trolling. I am somewhat ironically mocking the presumptions of fluffy gamers like myself, but I also partially mean it 😉

            There are definitely a lot of “competitive” gamers who are just WAAC a$$hats in disguise, just as there are quite a lot of fluffy a$$hats who like to tell everyone else they are having fun wrong.

          • ZeeLobby

            Damn. My mom told me to never feed a troll, and look what I did XD.

            Yeah. I mean in the end it’s like RPG alignment. You have a$$hat -> non-a$$hat, and then fluffy -> competitive. And everyone falls somewhere in that spectrum. WAACers are definitely a$$hat/competitive. I’m about 85% non-a$$hat/competitive. Hehe.

          • Muninwing

            yeah, this seems to be a joke written by someone whose social skills might not have gotten the full workout they needed.

            i know plenty of competitive players who are still good sports. many in fact who play their core army (and nothing else) and do so competitively without ever resorting to a netlist.

            this however rings faintly of “he who denied it supplied it” — which is not the greatest measure for determining much of anything…

          • HeadHunter

            You’re new to Pimpcron’s articles, aren’t you?
            The funnier joke is that you take his articles literally and seriously. 😀

          • Muninwing

            not his article… the “all competitive players are the same and they’re all terrible” sentiment above.

          • HeadHunter

            It doesn’t necessarily imply shady behavior, it can as easily be just a cut-throat attitude. It’s certainly beyond merely a competitive attitude, but someone who cares only to win and doesn’t care about whether his opponent is having fun (as in the above article) would deserve that label.

          • ZeeLobby

            But cutthroat attitude is so subjective. If an opponent won’t let me take back a move in the shooting phase is that cutthroat? Or is that just playing the rules? Depending on who you’d ask that response would be different.

          • Muninwing

            i would say that there are levels.

            on the first level, adhering to the rules like in chess — the “if you let go of the piece (or the unit finishes the move and you do something else” there’s no take backsies” is actually what i would expect from a competitive game, but that doesn’t make it WAAC.

            your opponent does not owe you the allowance of going outside the rules.


          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, I mean as with most things, there are tons of shades of grey. Maybe I just take the wording of “winning at all costs” too literally. I assume, and use it, to describe those who really will go above and beyond rules to win a game. If anyone else is just playing at a high competitive caliber within the rules, I would never apply it to them…

          • HeadHunter

            Well, when winning becomes more important than having fun, that’s cutthroat. Games are meant for fun – if it’s not fun, it’s “work”. If your winning is more important than both of you having fun, that’s cutthroat. Hence the topic at hand.

          • ZeeLobby

            What if winning is having fun for you and/or your opponent? I enjoy winning. I enjoy outsmarting my opponent. Does that make me cutthroat?

          • Muninwing

            winning is definitely more fun. and winning against a good player in a match with odds stacked against you is always a grand ole time.

            but it’s sportsmanship to be able to still have fun when the game doesn’t go your way.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, and I understand that a lot of people struggle with that. Personally I’ve lost too much to ever feel bad about it, lol. But personally I don’t think winning/having fun have to directly oppose each-other as some seem to imply.

          • Muninwing

            the only time it bothers me to lose is when it’s a fun game and i’ve played a good game and done everything well, my partner has been sloppy and made mistakes… and because they chose a cheez list and get weirdly competitive when it’s not been that kind of game, they still win.

          • David

            Most of the WAAC players I’ve met are fluff players i can only thing of one ive played against in a tournament.

          • ZeeLobby

            Man, isn’t that the truth. You can just tell that their the ones who constantly smash their local game clubs over the head with their “fluffy” Imperial soup army. Haha. I call them Closet WAACers and they’re by far the worst imo. They preface all their pretty blatant cheating with “its just a game man”

        • ZeeLobby

          The second time was when my friend was getting slow played by a guy whose team mates were literally telling him to slow play right in front of us… I was like wow, that’s messed up, lol. All judges did was try to speed him up.

          • marxlives

            Every time I hear about slow playing on purpose in a tournament setting I just facepalm and think…death clock would fix all these issues.

          • ZeeLobby

            right?! The problem is in the 40K community you’d get complaints from both WAAC players who slow play, and casual players who feel rushed. Maybe a completely unruly system is what 40K has to be, haha.

          • marxlives

            I feel that way too. Everyone complains about but when a simple solution is proposed you are right the process abusers don’t want change and the casuals who want to run horde armies but not practice the precision it takes to do so rail against it. Maybe it has to be a Wild West scenario and even though people will complain, they really don’t want a fix. “Don’t worry I just tripped down the stairs, you don’t see how nice the tournaments can be when no one is around”.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha, yeah. Who knows.

          • Muninwing

            i’m still of the mind that death clock is only feasible if tailored to the list… if i want to play my foot guard and you are playing custodes, i should get more time than you, because i will need it to get through my turns even if i play quickly.

          • marxlives

            I could see people get a block time by point size but once we tailor list by force size, we might be going into the weeds and you might be indicating a bigger problem with the way the game is played than clock or no clock or death clock versus timed turned.
            I know with death clock games if I want to build a horde I practice practice practice because my army has to work like a giant machine and I am planning everything on my opponent’s turn.
            Or if I am running an elite force I get more time so I am still practice and I plan on my opponent’s turn but I have more time to be more adaptable in my strategy and organic.
            But once we get into the territory of death clock by model count then there might be a bigger core issues going on with the game.
            The only reason why I say that is there are other systems out there that use death clock and there are still a variety of elite to horde lists and everyone is running on the same time. I could understand with the death clock running longer than in most games for example a 2000 point game both players gets a block of an 1 1/2 hours.
            I think ZeeLobby hit the nail on the head. As much as everyone brings up issues with the core mechanics or tournament issues I think the allure is the sort of informality of the game design and tournaments. As much as everyone says they want 8th and 40k tournaments to have strict painting/proxy requirements, behaviour consent forms, and a tight rule and tournament formats to make the games televised on ESPN Ocho, really, if such a thing was enforced tournament attendance would experience a sharp drop because those things are not the allure.

          • David

            Even then no matter how efficient you are there are limitations in model count

          • marxlives

            You need to watch more games with death clock. They are available on YT. I just feel like I am talking about stars as cosmic bodies with someone who insists they were painted on to the sky.

          • David

            Its just maths if I have 200 models and spend 5-10s deploying each model thats 17-33 minutes

            If i have 4 imperial knights and spend 5-10s deploying each model thats 20-40 seconds.

            Now multiply that across 5 turns of movement and multiply that difference by all the extra dice rolling.

            It’s clear that these armies require fundamentally different amounts of time to play on an even basis. Speed of play has nothing to do with it.

            Death clocks dont solve the problem they just punish the former army to the point it can’t be played on an equitable basis while the knights are unaffected. Which harms list diversity.

          • CannonBall


            Did someone mention a Dethklok….? I completely agree that it would fix many issues.

          • LankTank

            Dammit bet me to it!

          • marxlives

            Dude, the cartoon band whose album I actually listen to. Damn.

          • LankTank


          • marxlives

            Brutality…hey wait just I just pimp Pimpcorn’s game. That guy is really getting under my subconscious.

        • ZeeLobby

          Just to give my clear definition (and because I haven’t replied enough :P), I consider a WAAC player as someone who is willing to break rules in order to win games. They’re willing to to win even at the cost of getting disqualified. A competitive gamer, or power gamer, simply takes the best list, and plays it as best as he can, within the confine of the rules. If a rule is poorly written, and they take advantage of it, and it isn’t better defined at the event level, then so be it.

        • usGrant7977

          Waac to me also means a player that buys the new hotness every time it comes out, only plays cookie cutter net lists copied from the latest tournament winner or owns multiple army’s (the old hotness) and only plays the one that ALWAYS wins.

    • Drew

      It’s interesting that you accuse Pimpcron of misusing WAAC and then go on to misuse Fluff. It doesn’t mean incompetent or ignorant of the rules or force organization, as you suggest. It means caring more about theme, look, or using the models you like than about what’s most effective competitively.

      I agree with you, not all competitive players are WAAC, but Fluff players aren’t automatically incompetent either. Glass houses, and all that. No need to throw stones.

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah. I agree. To be honest most people I’ve met are simply in the middle.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Here I thought bipartinship was left enough at the door for politics, tsk tsk.

          • ZeeLobby

            hahaha. I know. You wouldn’t think the middle exists anymore these days.

          • Muninwing

            i’m pretty centrist, and i know that it doesn’t. everyone thinks i’m on the other side and treats me like i’m the enemy…

      • David

        I never said they were incompetant or ignorant your wording not mine.

        Not once anywhere do i suggest they lack the capacity to play decently. If you actually read what I have written – my complaint is often that there focus on looks and theme makes there performance vary wildly and therefore makes it difficult to predict.

        As to the units not being properly detatchmented. Ive never seen it in a tourney player ive seen it 4 times now in fluff players (but thats local experience).

  • Oscar de la Calle

    Moral of the history, 40k is a game first of list and second of play,if you try to make a list of things you like work and they are not competitive you are screwed.

    • ZeeLobby

      Friend of mine invested in and ran a Cyper+Chosen CSM army, tons of conversions, etc. before he ever put it on the table. Lost like 6 games in a row, and shelved it, lol. And he’s a casual gamer, but still smart on the table. There’s just no way that list would ever be workable. You’d like to think that points cost would indicate viability, but that’s usually not the case.

    • marxlives

      Well to be fair all games are that way but I think the basic issue is there is the “one list to beat them all mentality” and it is justified by the game design.

      There are plenty of systems where just taking anything will screw you but the difference is that each unit/model has a job. So you can say what do I want my force to do? Do I want to throw a bunch of armor up and put a lot of pressure in key areas and score points? Or do I want to throw up a bunch of bodies while more elite models support the masses and score points? Then you can build around that and every faction has the same tools.

      I see this ALOT in WMH, Infinity, and Malifaux (hopefully see this in Legion) where you can have people play the same faction but they can have drastically different builds. Because each list is viable because each one was built with a job in mind and each faction had the tools to do it.

      • Muninwing

        i think that some of this is untapped truth in 40k too…

        every unit should have a purpose, and a use, and a few ways that you can implement them in case of a plan b. and every army should have units that can do what is needed.

        and while i enjoy what the idea behind maelstrom games has done for the overall feel of play, i think it’s simply stalled out right now. there needs to be more focus on objectives, and more types of objectives.

        instead of “take objective #3 this turn for a point” we need something else.

        i’d like to see CP be generated from play, not from list or models. players start with a set number of CP and can either play with that or devote resources to gaining more.

        and points can come from other sources.

        • marxlives

          I think that would be a great idea to have your HQ give you a starting CP pool but you have to score primary and secondary objectives to generate and the points generated cannot go above your starting CP pool. This way everyone starts with a resource and then has to fight to replenish it. And the variation in CP means that on some armies, say one lead by Kharne, you don’t care if his CP is high because he is going to wreck face. And then the units need to be rewritten with keywords more limited rather than haphazardly thrown around so people can pick a faction and then see what models do what job within it. Now small armies like Harlequins or Custodes would operate almost like Mercenaries in that you might not take a whole force because they are mainly used to shore up weaknesses for your main army.

          • Muninwing

            (a) sounds like a heck of a lot of fun to play
            (b) sounds like how GW has described their intentions for the game.

  • orionburn III
  • m3g4tr0n

    I’m awesome in every other part of my life though.

    • Spacefrisian

      Good cause iam not, iam only GLORIOUS.

  • There are players that powergame / waac 24/7. There are players that make bad lists nearly all the time. Then there are the rest of us that sit in the middle and know how to adjust depending on who we are playing against.

    Against new players, I don’t powergame. I understand the difference between a tournament powered death guard waac list and a more casual one, and I bring the more casual one against new players. I dont’ fall into the philosophy of git gud or that people should just get annihilated in turn 1 so that they can learn from their mistakes and show up with a waac list, because not everyone wants that out of the game, and I’ve seen more players than I can count leave the hobby because they were subjected to unleashed powergaming that wouldn’t stop.

    Against players that I know, I will adjust accordingly to what I know they enjoy. I mostly do narrative campaign games so my death guard list is usually strong enough for campaign play to give good games, but would get stomped in a waac arena like the LVO or whatever.

    If I’m intentionally going to go to a tournament, I would never take my campaign list with me because I wouldn’t have fun getting piledriven every game and most opponents wouldn’t enjoy that either. In those instances I would take the tournament powered death guard.

    I typically don’t play power gamers that can’t dial it down anymore, but I know there is a time and place for everything. It doesn’t have to always be one way all the time or nothing.

    • ZeeLobby

      I must just be an idiot, cause I take highlander lists to non-highlander events and get pounded into dust XD. At least I expect it though.

  • benn grimm

    Yeah, pretty much. 40k takes a fair bit of money and effort, the least you can do is put a bit of effort in to make it a good game. I always communicate what I’m likely to be playing ahead of time, generally stick to similiar lists and if trying something new, make sure the other guy is aware and prepared.

    • ZeeLobby

      It definitely helps. I used to love pick up games, but they’ve only gotten more and more risky over the years, hehe.

    • marxlives

      True, I am pretty transparent with my opponent on what my can do and was built to do.

      • euansmith

        Was it built for comfort or speed?

        • marxlives

          Well all the ladies say I build my lists for speed AND comfort. OOhhhh ya.

          • euansmith

            I like to deploy on a broad frontage and have never been know to refuse a flank.

  • CannonBall

    I think it can be hard to gauge your list sometimes too. I’ve seen lists thrown together than have been absolute unintentional wrecking balls.

    Also, it can take some time to really understand who you’re playing against and what variety (competitive/relaxed) of gameplay they tend to favor. Those first couple matches can be quite interesting.

    One good practice I’ve seen from a member of the group I’m in is having two armies on hand with you and allowing your opponent to pick which they’d prefer facing that evening. Now, I know that’s not necessarily something everyone can do by all means, but it does work out to bring about a better environment.

    • Pimpcron

      Truth. I’ve ended many a game by apologizing that what i brought was accidentally straight ignorant. lol.

  • LordKrungharr

    I too love taking cool looking units sometimes and see what kinda awesome surprises I can deal to my enemy. But I do tend to shelf them if they just suck too bad. Like the time I took max plasma cannon and multimelta chaos dreadnoughts, they ended up killing two of themselves with craziness and one of my vindicators. Awesome by any standard except it cut the game short and we had to waitthree weeks to play again.

  • Kabal1te

    list building is an important facet of the game, neglecting it is neglecting the game. Also playing random units you think are cool isn’t playing a fluffy army. fluff armies take a lot of work and are very rarely done well.

  • Chris Hilliard

    So I should just give in and run Commander spam? Or perhaps should buy an entirely new army so I can run Cultist bomb soup? Because some of us don’t get many options for “good” units.

    Also, if you build a list with the intent of tabling an opponent by turn two, maybe the problem isn’t on the person getting steam rolled.

    • Koen Diepen Van

      As a counter point if your army is the definition of thrash. Maybe the problem isn’t whit the opponent. While I don’t think every game should be a cutthroat affair. I despise the whole culture that has grown in the community of hating on effective play. Sure one sided games are no fun at all. But terrible play on purpose is no fun either.

    • Pimpcron

      It really depends on your meta in your local area. Tau do seem a bit weak, but after years and years of being on top, it’ll be hard to get sympathy from most players.

      • Muninwing

        i think that Tau are not the bottom tier, but they feel weak due to their earlier relative place.

        i think that the squeakiest wheel, though, is the tau player who demands nothing less than their return to the top of the competitive slots…

  • Davis Centis

    Good article Pimpcron. You’re absolutely correct that sometimes people need to realize they’re playing a 2-person game, and that you need to be considerate of the kind of game your opponent is looking to play. Just because you want one kind of game doesn’t mean your opponent wants the same.

  • Lion ‘El Johnson Was Here

    Lion ‘El Johnson was here, and brought two knight titans with him, using the rules for chaos knights to get a power level advantage from their equipment

  • LankTank

    Well with your love of Possessed have you tried 1CP to deep strike 3 Feculant Gnarlmaws in a line, then take 20x Nurgle Renegade Possessed. They all get 1+ armour from shooting and can advance and charge. The possessed conga death train =)

    • Pimpcron

      No! I run Emp Children because I’ve always loved Slaanesh

      • LankTank

        Who doesn’t? My momma always said, Slaanesh is like a box of chocolates. When you get them under the sheets, you never know what you’re gonna get