40K: Armies Don’t Determine The Meta
What really determines the tournament meta armies or the mission?
With the results in from Adepticon one thing is clear: the Eldar/ Dark Reapers have been dethroned and Flyrant Spam is the new king of the meta. Yet the questions remains: why? Neither the Eldar nor Nids saw any changes before Adepticon, so why did the meta shift, and what makes the meta shift anyway? Let’s take a look at some options.
The Big Shift
Between LVO in January and Adepticon in March we saw a big shift in the meta. At LVO Eldar lists ruled the roost, eventually fighting in a mirror match to determine the winner. A month and a half later at Adepticon Eldar lost their throne, handily, to Nids – who like Eldar at LVO made up a good chunk of the top lists. What’s most interesting about this shift is that both books were out for LVO, and didn’t change between that event and Adepticon. This meta shift was driven by players and event rules, not changes in game rules.
To further complicate things we have the Caledonia Open, a major UK event that took place the same weekend as LVO, in which the Nids that would later win Adepticon went on a rampage. Because of this we know that the powerful Flyrant list was known at the time of LVO, yet didn’t do well at that event. So what caused the change? I see thee main options:
- Eldar where on top for a while so people built “meta-buster” lists that could deal with the threat, those lists won.
- LVO And Adepticon use different missions and terrain rules, that favor different styles of play.
- Players simply got bored of winning with Eldar and tired different things.
Lets take a closer look at these options.
Meta Busters Beat Eldar
One theory goes that any time a list is on top players will start building lists designed to beat it. This would mean that the Flyrant list is a hard counter to the Eldar list, and simply beats the old king while still being strong enough to hold back other lists. While this could be partially true, Flyrants are good vs Eldar, it doesn’t fully cover what happened. After all people where predicting that Eldar would win LVO for a while, and this Flyrant list was known, so why didn’t it show up and win LVO?
Missions and Terrain Are The Deciding Factor
Both LVO and Adepticon use their own mission packets and have separate rules for terrain. LVO, for instance, rules that you can’t see into the ground level of most buildings. According to some these missions and rules favor different lists. The Caledonia Open had rules closer to Adepticon’s than LVO’s, which could explain why the same list won those events, but not LVO. The importance of missions make a lot of sense for this particular situation.
Players Like To Change Things Up
Sometimes players get bored of playing the same thing over and over again, even when they are winning. A player may chose to change things up for fun or a challenge. One prime example is Nick Nanavati who won LVO with Eldar but took a Chaos list to Adepticon. In fact, overall we simple saw less players taking the old Eldar list to Adepticon. While there are many reason a player might change their list, it is interesting that the winning player chose not to take the same list. I’ve seen the same thing in local events – players are simply looking for a challenge or to try something new.
So What Is It?
Looking at it I really think it’s a combination of all three factors that changes the meta. Depending on certain situations one of these factors maybe more important for a time than others, but overall they all contribute. And we can’t forget the important of new releases. If I did have to pick one factor as being the most important I would say its the missions and terrain rules. At the end of the day, though, the meta is always going to be changing. We’ve just got to try and keep up.