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Warhammer 40K: How Meta is Your Meta?

5 Minute Read
Feb 19

Big Warhammer 40K tournaments are just around the corner, but after a year of isolation – what exactly is the 9th Edition Meta?


As we move forward there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel and means one thing in the future: tournaments. Well for some of us anyway. There are many parts of the world that are already playing in tournaments big and small.  Other parts of the world are still on lockdown, so to speak, but we should eventually get to a point where a majority of us can attend a tournament. Even if we are unable to play we are always asking the question of what the “meta” is like. Many new players may not understand what the term means so we will give a quick definition, in relation to 40K, and see how you can have different answers when someone asks about meta.


If you look around people use the term to mean various things, depending on the subject. The actual definition of the term is that of showing “an explicit awareness of itself” or “concerning or providing information about members of its own category “. You see the term used a lot in regards to movies and TV but we won’t go there. For our needs, meta is basically the current trends for armies and/or units in a particular area. In this realm of meta there are a few levels to be aware of and this can affect what army you play or how you build your army depending on how high of a level you want to go. They are your Local, Regional, and National levels. Each requires a different amount of attention. I’ll be using my local area, Metro Los Angeles, as a starting point.

Local Meta

Everyone plays at this level and it’s where everyone gets their start. This is your local group of players or your local store. You play each other for a while and, depending how competitive the group is, you begin to make adjustments to your army based on your experience playing your games. This may also expand to some other local stores, if you have any other ones, when you start playing in tournaments. In my area, there are a number of stores within a reasonable driving area so when we play in leagues or tournaments we take into account what we have seen, or heard of, about the other store’s players and armies.

This really forms a kind of identity for the area. We have a lot of Chaos players so most people in our area either plays Chaos or builds armies to play against Chaos. Yes, you will still see Space Marines, Eldar and many of the other armies, but there is no guarantee that those armies will be at your local RTT, but there will be at least one Chaos army there. So, if you plan on stepping outside your normal playgroup, be sure to ask around about the armies being seen at local events.


Regional Meta

This is when things start to seem more like work than a fun hobby, for some(me) anyway. You enter the regional level once you start attending grand tournaments. Each state in the U.S. can each count as its own region with some big enough to split into multiple regions by themselves. Some areas have more access to grand tournaments than others. I think in my regional area, Southern California, there are about 6 or 7 grand tournaments, of varying sizes, every year. With all these large events you are introduced to armies and players you may not have seen or played against before. There may even be some combos out there that you have not even thought of but are seeing for the first time at a grand tournament.

At this level, it is difficult to get a sense of the meta in person. You have to start using other means to research what the regional meta is. This means joining various Facebook groups, reading blogs, and sometimes contacting the players themselves. It is usually much more than most people do if they stay in their local bubble. You also begin to research things that have nothing to do with your army but will affect your army. You begin to ask questions like, “How does the terrain setup look like at the event?” “What ruling did the judge make in regards to this loophole that has been making the round online?”.  It can become an obsession for some.

National Meta

This is essentially the meta you see at the really big events. I could be for a country, like the recent one in Australia, or for a large geographic area. For me, the Las Vegas Open is at the national level. The Las Vegas Open is unique in that it is the closest thing to an individual world champion that we can get. At a national event, you will usually get players from either all over the country or all over the world, like LVO or the World Team Championship. This is sometimes tougher to track because it may be difficult to know the top players from around the world. This can be due to that player not being able to attend other large tournaments or even them being overshadowed by a teammate.



You also get to see and experience the way other parts of the country or world plays 40K. There are sometimes issues with rule interpretations but they can easily be handled by the players or a judge. To get somewhat of a handle on what the meta would be like for a national event you employ a lot of the same tactics. Even so, don’t be surprised if you learn something you haven’t read about so just enjoy the event for what it is really for: meeting fellow gamers and having a good time!


~That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think, and how your local meta is, in the comments section below.


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