Brighton Singles Tournament - Day Two Update

Going into day 2 with 2 wins and a draw, I found myself on table 3 paying against a very good Forge World Sisters and Imperial Guard list (sabres, Jacobus blob, lots of AV 13 with 3 exorcists and 2 repressors). If this sounds familiar, you'd be right as it was being played by Steve Attoe from the Death or Glory blog! The mission was Crusade (5 objectives) with Hammer and Anvil deployment, and turned out to be a good win for me. And yes, heavy quad launchers rock, especially with ignores cover.

The Death or Glory boys were doing well this weekend, and I was now playing Mike Marlow and his Dark Eldar and Eldar Barron beasts and venom spam army. With the general fall in popularity of mech in 6th, I can see why the army was doing well, in addition to being played by a very experienced general. We played Emperors Will with Dawn of War deployment, and with only primaries being used to decide games in this tournament, a draw was looking likely! I managed to seize and proceeded to hold off the onslaught for a draw. This was my first time playing against Dark Eldar, so I was learning as I went so I was happy to walk away with a draw on table 2.

Final game on table 6 was playing Purge the Alien, which is always tough (although not hopeless!) with my MSU lists. And to my joy, I was playing Tau again! At least it was Vanguard and not Hammer and Anvil... With their prevalence of ignores cover and line of sight weapons, Tau can easily finish of any squads trying to hide to conserve VPs. This turns a tough match into a nightmare, but I never give up without a fight! So I stormed the castle and when time was called Tau won by an unsurprising 5 VPs. Good game nonetheless!

I had a brilliant time, and I was surprised to be playing on the top tables. I ended up 11th overall out of 40, on 3:2:1 and 34/40 points for painting, so really happy with my results. Thanks to Pete and Brighton Warlords for a great event, and to all my opponents for some very enjoyable games!

Brighton Singles Tournament - Day One Update

Tau Castle - Joy!

I return undefeated! I have to say this is thanks to a mix of strategy, luck and opponent's mistakes, but that's the game, right? Three great games so far and a lot of fun.

Three perfect aggressive deep strikes into my backfield - ouch!

So I'm 2-1-0 going into day two, just like the GT last year. Today saw me draw game one against a brutal Farsight Tau and Tau allies list in Big Guns/Vanguard, win Crusade/Hammer and Anvil against Zandreck/Oberon veiling Necrons, and win The Relic/Dawn of War against Fateweaver Demons (could have very easily been a draw).

Razorwall around The Relic

Definitely still need to speed up, and I'm expecting a hammering tomorrow, but we will see!

Brighton Singles this weekend!

1650pts SW&IG

So, the July Brighton Singles is this weekend and I'm ready for war!

I've been able to get all my models assembled and painted to a decent enough standard (actually I'm really pleased with the IG and hyperios launchers so far - hobby articles are on the way!), and I'm packed and ready to go.

Rules, FAQs and accessories

All the lists have been submitted and having had a look through everyone is bringing tough armies. Out of 43 players, there are a large number or Tau, plus a strong showing from Eldar, Chaos Marines, Necrons, Imperial Guard and Space Wolves. There are a good number of well ranked players attending too, so I'm really looking forward to some hardcore games!

This is my first tournament of the year and second ever 'competitive' event, so I'm approaching this tournament as a learning experience and as practice for the GT in October. I know I need to get faster playing, particularly making decisions, and this will be a good test of my army against a wider range of armies and players than I'm used to. Time to put some theory into practice!

Breaking news - I've just found out that my first round opponent will be Sharon Reddy with Farsight Tau and Tau allies, playing Big Guns with Vanguard deployment. For those who don't follow the 40kGlobal podcast or the UK rankings, Sharon is a highly ranked long term Tau expert. Given the current strength of the codex and how well I expect the army to be played, this is going to be a very tough game.


Blogs: Sons of Sanguinius

coolminiornot - Katan the Unleashed

I like to find blogs written by top tournament players, and Venerable Brother (Ven for short) at Sons of Sanguinius certainly qualifies for this. Now a member of the reigning ETC champions English team, Ven places very well in any tournament he attends, for example nearly winning the highly competitive Caledonian GT this year. The blog looks at tournament lists and analysis for different armies, and offers occasional guest posts from other UK tournament veterans. Good fun and interesting too!

CONCEPTS: Netlisting


It seems like netlisting is a four letter word amongst a lot of gamers, often used as a derogatory term for an army list that appears to be copied from the internet. Netlists are also often assumed to be high-powered lists, and that by using them you are somehow cheating or playing with an unfair advantage.

This CONCEPTS: article seeks to establish a clear understanding of the definition, pros and cons of netlisting.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a netlist as an army list that is commonly found on the internet, whether it be on forums, blogs or wherever, including minor variations on it's build-up. I will not include any and all lists that are on the web, uncommon or unique lists, otherwise every list on the web would be a netlist!

Personally, I can understand how satisfying it can be to create and play (and win!) with your own unique list. The army is your own and can be an extension of your personality and preferences, both visually and strategically. However, when playing competitively, I think that this attitude can be restrictive.

As I have briefly said before, a netlist can be a very useful tool for players looking to learn an army or particular playstyle. Also, choosing a list that consistently does well across a number of different tournaments means that any purchases are much more likely to be useful, hopefully avoiding dud units or models. This is a massive put-off for new players, having spent however much money and time getting their army ready to play, only to find out that half (or more!) of it is commonly thought of as terrible.

Using a netlist can give you the confidence that your army has the capacity to win games. I have heard so many players blaming their army or their dice for their losses, but I've never seen anyone with continually bad luck and when you're using a proven list, I'd humbly suggest that repeated losses are down to the general! At least with a decent netlist you can identify where the weakness is and work on improving your gameplay, rather than keep swapping around units or blaming the dice. It's also possible to read battle reports to see how others are using the list against different opponents to pick up strategies and tactics you might otherwise have missed.

As useful as it can be to learn the ropes using a netlist, there are plenty of pit-falls and disadvantages.

Choosing the right list
Although it seems like an easy thing to do to just go on the net and pick up a list, there are lots of bad ones around! When you're still getting to grips with a game, the problem is you might not know how to differentiate the good from the bad. Not only this, the lists you find may not be accurate. Sometimes lists are typed up by opponents who remember certain things incorrectly, so I strongly suggest verifying the list's authenticity before spending any money copying it!

To further complicate matters, there are some lists that are specifically build for certain tournaments and their variation of the rules. For example, if you were to take a list from NOVA, commonly accepted as one of the most competitive tournaments around, without doing some research you may not realise that the terrain set-up always includes a large line of sight blocking piece in the centre (greatly assisting assault oriented armies), that the missions are tiered into primary, secondary and tertiary objectives or that vehicles can never be scoring (e.g. in The Scouring).

Looking at the lists that did well in this environment, it was clear that many of the armies were built specifically to take advantage of, or at least avoid the disadvantages, of the tournament specific ruleset. This means that the performance of a list from that year's NOVA playing basic rule book missions with normal terrain is likely to be very different (and presumably worse).

Another example is the ETC (or equivalents). These team tournaments allow captains to pick their match-ups, so it is possible for a list to be designed in such a way as to be very strong against certain enemies, with the intention of tying to avoid it's bad match-ups. Copying a list that appeared to do very well doesn't mean that it would necessarily do so in a standard tournament setting.

Added to this, a large number of tournament players 'metagame'. This topic may well end up as a future CONCEPTS: article, but suffice to say that these players are well aware of what is popular and what they are expecting to face, and so tailor their lists against the common builds. However, this can leave vital tools out and weaken their lists against other builds.

I can throw in a personal example here of my first game at the 40kUK GT heats in 2012. This was my first ever national level tournament, and so you can imagine my joy following the random pairings when I found myself playing against the reigning UK Masters Champion (actually I was really pleased about this as I had gone to get some hardcore games!). After a really good and enjoyable game, much to my surprise I ended up winning. Chatting afterwards, he said that he hadn't built his list thinking that's he'd play anyone running my kind of list. Looking back over the lists 9 months later, I don't think that the match-up was actually that bad, but I use this as an illustration that there are top players out there who bring what they think will do best in the current 'meta', and that there are risks involved with this.

Before you have even found the list, others will have played against it and identified how to beat it. The more well known your netlist is, the more your opponents will have played against it. Knowing how to fight against an army is a massive benefit, so be aware that you will be making your opponent's life a whole lot easier by netlisting.

Learning Curve
Picking the latest GT dominating list is not an 'I-win' button! The players using those lists will know how to use them and are likely to have years of experience informing their decisions. I wouldn't expect to get into a Ferrari for the first time and win every race, so I wouldn't expect to know how to use a netlist to its full potential without practice and understanding why it works. That said, some lists are easier to pick up or more forgiving that others!

The originators of successful netlists have a good understanding of the game, and presumably didn't copy the lists from anywhere! They may have taken parts from various sources but combined and used these in a way no-one had thought of before, or perhaps have found an undiscovered combo or underrated unit. After all, the internet can be wrong (shock!), and as lists progress older netlists can seem weak and outdated. Only playing with netlists may therefore hold you back as a player.

Using a netlist as a learning tool can be really valuable, and save a lot of wasted time, effort and money. However, there are limitations to be aware of, and simply picking up a list without knowing it's context can be risky. Tournament specific lists aren't necessarily good outside of their format and meta lists go out of date and aren't balanced anyway. If you are going to use a netlist, I suggest doing your research, trying learn why it is good and how to use it, and then using that to inform your own list building and continuous improvement as a player.

Blogs: Faeit 212

scx - Closest I could get to the Faeit 212 background!

If you're looking for rumours then I think there is no better place than Natfka's Faeit 212. As always, rumours are rumours and should always be taken with a pinch of salt. However, I have found the information close to releases accurate enough to keep me coming back for more!

Food For Thought: Deal With It (If You Can) on 3++

When writing lists, it's incredibly helpful if you have a clear idea of what you want your army to be able to do. This will be a topic of it's own CONCEPTS: post - Tools, but for now I point you in the direction of Abuse Puppy's excellent article on 3++ discussing the typical armies that you need to have an answer for if you are trying to build a competitive take-on-all-comers list.

Food For Thought: Guru posts on Terminus Est

Terminus Est

I happened upon Terminus Est for the first time recently and thought I'd share Black Blow Fly's Guru posts. These generally encourage a balanced approach to list building, and stress the importance of the movement phase and playing the mission on a number of occasions (very good advice, that!). While I many not agree with all of the points, there is some very good advice included and I would recommend these to anyone wanting some good, thought provoking strategic articles.



I have to confess that I am a complete 40k nut. It's my release from the stress of the real world and I enjoy consuming as much of the game as I can. But I don't force it. If I'm not feeling like it, I won't make myself paint, blog, read or whatever. I prefer to do something else (there are other things, right? Right?!?), because I do not want my precious free time being taken up by something that feels like work or that I end up resenting. I do this because I've learned from my past mistakes.

My interests tend to go in long cycles. Before I got back into 40k, I was heavily into MTG (which is great!). But after a few years of intense enjoyment, things started to get a bit stale. I was playing and building decks out of habit but not really with the passion I had before. I ended up just doing it because I didn't really have anything else that I fancied doing at the time, rather than because I really wanted to. I eventually reached burnout – a point where I really couldn't stand the thought of playing or making a deck, I felt completely uninspired and detached from the game.

But I kept on playing anyway.

And then I really burned out.

Having had a break of a few years, I can now play occasionally for fun, but I no longer have the intense desire to make a killer rouge deck or try out loads of new combos. I dip into it when I feel like it and I'm happy with that. Perhaps I will return to my former all-consuming passion for the game, but equally, maybe I won't. I'm just going to see what I feel like.

I recently read this guest post on Imperius Dominatus by Adam from the Space Wolves Blog. Adam created and ran the site for years during the height of the 5th edition love with the crazy space Vikings, just as I was getting back into 40k. There was a huge amount of great content for me to devour, and really helped develop my understanding of how to make a decent Space Wolves army and had lots of cool hobby content too. Then the posts started slowing down, and suddenly stopped. For months nothing was added, and we were left with a big wolfy hole in the blogoshpere.

Some time later, the blog was re-launched in it's current iteration, purchased by another blogger who paid Adam to contribute occasional posts. And they felt forced. It was obvious to me (and probably many others) that sadly Adam had hit burnout, and was pushing out the content. Adam knew how he felt, but he just kept going anyway. Like with my MTG, he kept going until it was just too much, and the result is his farewell to blogging article linked above.

Wargaming, like any wonderfully nerdy hobby (I embrace this!), attracts a large spectrum of different personality types. I don't think I'm going too much out on a limb here to suggest that a large proportion of us (myself included) love to loose ourselves in the game, totally immersing ourselves and loving every minute. But I know I can become reliant on the escape it provides, and any other hobby or game doesn't seem as interesting or exciting. I've done it before with Diablo II, Morrowind, and MTG. But it can get too much, and whether through habit/addiction or choice, overdoing a game when you've actually had enough can lead to burnout and sometimes quitting the hobby that you once loved.

We invest a great deal of time, money, effort and emotion into our hobby, and it's not easy to put things in perspective sometimes. I think what I'm trying to get across here is that's it's ok, healthy even, to step away, have a break, and come back to your favourite game if and when you're ready. For the gamers who want to get better all the time, to the blogger who's trying to maintain their success or push to the next level, for the modellers and painters who are working on their masterpieces or to complete their award winning army – it's ok to have a break. For a hour, day, week, month, or however long you want, take a breather when you need it!

So I guess through past experience I've learned to pace myself and to recognise the signs of burning out. Sometimes it's a natural thing as interests move on. Sometimes it's overdoing it. Either way, I hope this has given you an insight into what to look for, and maybe a moment to reflect on where you are and why you're there.

Now, where's that codex...