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40k: Theorist vs Realist

4 Minute Read
May 18 2011

When online I see a lot of theorists about who find it easiest to say something is either uesless, or unstoppable without any deep consideration of the wider rules of the game. I’m a realist here at I.D and theorists really get my goat.

The Theorist

Doing theoryhammer in a vacuum is great, easy and simple and puts things into a false perspective when it is only based on net-wisdom. The reason I am saying it’s false is because it’s not accurate. Lets for example take the humble lascannon or meltagun both are excellent for cracking tanks. It’s quite easy to say against armour 12 these weapons being S9 and S8 2D6 armour pen AP1 can crack open that tank without issues. On one hand that is true, to a degree, but it’s not accurate. First you need to roll to hit then you need to see if you glance or penetrate the armour and then roll on the damage chart to see what you do. From a realist point of view there’s a lot more involved instead of going “oh, yo’ tank is dead homes”.

Another example is a psychic blast attack. It’s easy to say that the blast will cause some damage because it has high strength low AP but you need to consider you have to pass a psychic test, roll for scatter and roll for damage – that’s a lot of dice to rolls to make sure that blast happens. It’s easy to say that target will be gone but psykers don’t auto pass tests and you don’t auto hit and wound everything….

The Realist

The realist looks at everything from all angles. Instead of saying oh your tank will be smoked they take into consideration the chance to hit, chance to armour penetrate and chance to destroy that tank. For example I was playing a game with Orks against Tau I told the Tau player he has 50% chance to glance the front of my Battlewagons with railguns and I have 50% chance to save. My Battlewagons got destroyed so I probably looked arrogant about my Wagon not been taken out, though what I said is actually true from a gaming point of view. The problem with realists is they can be annoying by coming off as arrogant as I mentioned and cocky. For example I know lascannons don’t stand much chance of wrecking armour 14 and I always have a slight chuckle when my opponent does this and tell them the chances. It might appear cocky but from a gaming point of view it is actually correct, you do need 6+ to penetrate armour 14 with lascannons which is a tall order. You also tend to learn from this knowledge.

The World is a Better Place…

Ok so I am biased but everything would be a lot smoother if people were actually realists and took everything into consideration. It would avoid a lot of debates and arguments online and also put things into perspective. I was having this discussion about Purifiers against Orks and one guy said 50% of the Orks will die, I’m like hold on a minute you need to do the psychic test (which Orks don’t have a way of stopping) 50% is just average 4+ dice rolls you could get more or less (recent game I got 6 out of 7 4+) and then the Orks get a armour save even if is 6+ – someone actually worked out it would be 42% dead. I know it’s not far off 50% but it’s still not 50%. Point is been a theorist will only get you so far it’s the practice which actually has the proof.

Another theorist which winds me up is the “Tabler” these are the folks who come in army list threads and troll saying they will beat the other person by turn 2 because that person’s list is rubbish. That might be true about the list but hold on a minute cowboy. You need to draw LoS, roll to hit, and wound. Are you playing on a football pitch and do you auto hit and auto wound? No I didn’t think so – now cut the crap.


In the end my message is try and look at everything outside the box. Don’t say “ohh lascannon armour 12 tank go boom” because that’s not always the outcome. Sure you stand a good chance but think oh I’m BS3 I have 50% chance to hit and I have 50% chance (4+) to penetrate etc etc. Run the numbers first for the entire sequence from start to finish. If you keep this in mind it will make gaming a lot easier and more enjoyable as you know certain units when doing a task will be up to the job and you can work out chances of something working or even surviving 😉 – don’t go firing lascannons at armour 14, it’s not the best idea 😉

So what side of the fence do you find yourself on – theorist or realist, and who do you like to play against? Let me know your thoughts.

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