Pimpcron deals with a touchy subject.
Hello again people of the Internet. The Pimpcron is back this week to explain a touchy subject, and bring some cold hard truth down on you like an enraged glacier.
So What Is This About “Bad” Armies and Units?
First off, I’m not here to say that you complaining about your army is unfounded. There is a serious power gap between the different codices. And this game is not balanced. I’m not here to say that all of that isn’t GW’s fault. But ultimately, the community of gamers that you play in makes all of the difference in whether or not an army is playable or not. If you play Tyranid Monstrous Creatures in a Grav-heavy gaming club, you’re not gonna have a good time. If you play in a hyper-competitive environment, then there obviously are a handful of armies that shine above all others and will own you. If you used to like playing your army a certain way, and then the meta for it changes with a new codex, you’re going to be mad because you can’t effectively play them the way you want.
So when people bemoan the Chaos Space Marines Codex, or the Tyranid Codex, they usually aren’t actually saying that their codex sucks; just that it doesn’t perform in their environment, or the way they want it to. That is like saying that butcher knives are terrible weapons: when compared to swords, sure. But compared to fists, they’re not bad at all. We tend to be lazy with our speech and label things with broad strokes.
Instead of saying, “I feel like many of my Chaos Space Marines units need their points adjusted to better match the other books.”
We say, “Chaos Space Marines are unplayable, they are a bad army, and you should feel bad for playing them.”
When we should say, “Blood! Gore! Terror! Maim the Emperor’s followers, corrupt the land of the mortals, and drink their souls!”
So Why Don’t I Have A Problem With “Bad” Armies?
Well for starters, kind of the elephant in the room, I’m a superior being. You don’t get this sweet living-metal body by being a dunce.
But besides that, the reason why I win games with my Orks, CSM, Nids, and Dark Eldar is because I play casual games. Only in a competitive setting does the real cheese come out and the huge gap in power levels appears. In casual games is where 40k shines and you can bring fun and fluffy armies and still win games. Just a few weeks ago a friend and I teamed up our Nids against another friend’s Chaos Space Marines with Daemon allies, and we just brought fun stuff. Our opponent took some formations and some kind-of nasty combos. We both laughed at our list (which was quite Genstealer and Lictor heavy) and said, “There’s no way we’re winning this. But we’re going to have fun.” Low and behold, we won that game. And I have another friend that has won TWO local tournaments with his Dark Eldar.
Maybe It Is You Though
I have had a couple players tell me that [insert army] is bad and unplayable. But I know from experience that those players are not the best at strategy. No offense to them, but I have known most of them for years, and they hop from army to army, attracted to whatever cheese will help fill the gaps in their abilities. Everyone is different, and there is no shame in being a less-able tactician. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that all people who complain about army power levels are just bad strategists, but in the cases I’ve seen in my personal life, it sometimes can be the case.
But sometimes it is you and not the army. I have ran into this with my Daemons. I have never had much trouble using armies in the past, but when it came to Daemons, it just didn’t seem to gel with me. So what did I do? After losing game, after game, after game with them, I decided to just throw them away. Kidding. I KEPT playing them is what I did. I must have lost my first eight games before I started figuring out how to use them in my local meta. And no, I don’t do Flying Circus or Summonpalooza with them. I do buff with Magic, and take a variety of units that can compliment each other and be effective against different unit types.
These army books are static and inanimate objects, they can’t change until a new one comes out. So what can be changed? The way you use them. It turns out that the way I wanted to use them at first just didn’t work very well. So I kept changing tactics until I found a way to use them that I could wrap my head around. I could have thrown the book on the ground and screamed and cried, or sold my army and been bitter about how “unplayable” that army was. But I was the problem all along. Of course, it would be great if army books could be effective in any build, but that isn’t the nature of the game right now unfortunately. The funny thing is, struggling with playing Daemons isn’t a personal failure on my part, and neither is struggling with your army a failure on yours. Some armies appeal more to us in theory than our abilities can use them on the battlefield.
In the end, I have kind of figured out how to play them, and probably win 40-50% of my games or so. But marginal success didn’t come from quitting or blaming the book. On the other hand, if you really can’t figure out any army, maybe it isn’t for you and you should try another one. And on the other-other hand, the complaints about army books not being balanced are valid complaints, but mostly in competitive settings.
So which one of you actually read this far before mailing me bags of poop?