Thursday, June 20, 2013

"When the Bad Things Become Good Things" - Culmination of a Tournament "Season," and the Development of a Meta

Last year, I was in Amsterdam when 6th Edition Warhammer 40,000 fell down upon us.

Being the "responsible" TO I like to try to be, I'd preordered mine for pick up from ... well, from the Amsterdam Games Workshop. It's a cool place!


The release of 6th Edition did some CRAZY things to the NOVA Open. First, we had a bunch of drops; players who didn't feel they'd be ready in time and said "let's do next year." That was ok ... we had a lot MORE players say they would rather drop if we stuck with the old edition ... and who could blame them? Who wants to play an "old" Edition at a major GT when the new hotness just dropped?

So there we were, faced with a matter of really only a month to translate an entire new edition, new FAQ's, new combinations, new everythings, and somehow manipulate our missions into shape to be functional without also totally screwing over the players who'd just spent months preparing and purchasing and painting!

Last year's NOVA missions strongly resembled our 5th Edition standard and packet. They were tweaked to be more functional with 6th Edition, but not much.

This year, they've taken a lot of time, investment, and energy from the world community at large, and have developed into what I feel proud in saying are some of the best and most 6th-edition-reflective tournament missions out there. A whole big post is still in the works about WHY I feel that's the case, and what went into their design, and making them work in such a way that "standard" rulebook mission 6th edition armies would translate well in feel and success to the NOVA's matured 6th Edition mission packet.

Pausing there, the real thing about this post is ... sometimes Bad Things end up being Good Things.

For the first year of 6th edition, the big GT scene in a sense kicked off with the NOVA, and one might say despite hours of work, we couldn't have been perfectly ready ... and weren't. The missions weren't perfect, the meta wasn't developed, and it was a wild and whacky experience. BUT ... as a result ... we also get to be the first major GT to be held with a full year of brand new, rapid-fire-released codices, matured FAQ's, experienced blog-reading meta-developing list-building, and everything else all packed in and settled down.

So ... the bad thing is now kind of a good thing, and the buzz is showing. Registrations are at an all time high, and we're still getting tons of great feedback (At this point, mostly just positive) about where the missions and planning have gone to. I'm excited about it.

That said, what's the opinion of the average reader out there on where the meta is now? At first, everyone reacted to the changes to transports and vehicles with a mass exodus to "Foot." Blob guard and GK foot hordes ruled the day for a while, and the spectre of "Cron Air is going to dominate!!!!" faded in the face of mass foot armies kind of ignoring them, and winning a ton of events.

Then came the dreaded Heldrake FAQ (note, I don't say: CSM Dex), the FMC circus of Chaos Daemons, the rule-bending firepower of Tau, and now the Serpentine and very subtle potency of Eldar. Let's not forget DA and all that jazz. Either way ... the meta has changed as a result. Vehicles are now peppered into many armies, monstrous creatures and marginal deathstars are re-featuring, and the game is moving to this pretty radical place where balanced armies bringing a combination of big things, armored things, and foot are doing quite well.

What armies do you think will do well at NOVA and into the future this year? What style of build do you think will do best? Where do you think the game will go next? I, for one, am excited ... and can't wait to get my own models back down on a table with BFS, AdeptiCon, and more throughout the rest of 2013, 2014, and into the unknown future of 6th Edition. I'm just ... kind of excited about the game right now!


PS - Caveat - the "actual" Tourney Season, if there really is one, probably starts with AdeptiCon for most people, as the biggest and coolest and most mature event. I'm speaking more to the unique situation this year where the NOVA was the first international GT to hit after the release by dumb chance, and taking a long-view look at the maturation of the meta from radical instant-knee-jerk immediacy in August 2012, through what it looks to be turning into by August 2013 (in my opinion - something really awesome, cool, balanced, variable, and fun!).

13 comments:

  1. I for one am also excited about 6th. I have read an article that the writer stated,

    "6th edition is truly about the general instead of the army list."

    Thinking about this long and hard and going thru learning 6th I feel this is absolutely true.

    I see combinations of army builds now that are allowing for more vehicles and interestingly enough builds that allow for a 5th edition feel with a 6th edition twist.

    That being said if missions are not carefully developed blob armies will have the advantage with the 6th edition rule set. I look forward to digging into the missions now that adepticon is over.

    Nova is coming and a new chapter of 6th will be written as it is with every major GT.

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  2. 6th is something to suffer through and hope GW accidentally makes a good game with 7th.

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    1. For some actual substance, I find the lack of a stable meta and the overall randomness of this edition to be the main issues. Between allies and flyers it's hard to build an all comers list. You can't bring all the tools to a fight anymore.

      I think this makes the competitive scene a bit of a whack-a-mole with everyone trying to get ahead of the curve by guessing the right kryptonite to bring to the table. Some people might like this, but I don't. It's made list building for me a chore and has discouraged me from participating in the tournament scene. I think in the long run this hurts the hobbiest players the most. By the time I get an army planed, purchased, and painted it's been blown out the meta and I got to spend another $200 updating it.

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    2. I would, I just don't have the cash to continuously chase the meta.

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    3. That kinda comment confuses me. I've been using the exact same Tyranid army to even success from the beginning of 6th Edition to present. It's certainly not the only army that is perfectly fine regardless of new codex releases.

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    4. The one army that doesn't allow allies or has had any new releases or rules revisions since the new edition came out?

      At some point this edition my armies fell behind the curve, and it just seems like I've got to spend at least a few hundred dollars each to catch up. Which is hard to do when there are less players around and the game is to me less enjoyable.

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    5. I get that ... it's something of a bit of the nature of a new edition, and one where they've released codices at a faster pace than I can ever recall.

      The game is - ironically - at a very balanced state, in that the newer codices haven't really budged the meta ... just brought older dexes up to speed.

      You COULD rebuild your list with every release to mesh with new allies and such, but you really don't HAVE to, and every dex also works WITHOUT allies (i.e., the new Eldar) if you don't want to have to keep too many eyes on too many moving targets.

      For me personally, it is also not THAT expensive a hobby; if I compare it to golf, or SCUBA, or video games, or any of the things i used to play years ago (Video games), or still do today (Etc), I'm not going to find all that much of a price point difference over the course of a year.

      I confess part of this may be that I merrily proxy-hammer in pick-up gaming, and typically spend energy updating and/or building 1-2 armies over the course of each year. $1200 a year for a hobby isn't all that outlandish in comparison to many ... there are a lot of things, not least of which is going out for drinks/food, that I spend more than $100/month on.

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    6. Also, no intention to pile on here or respond with simple "ADAPT!!!" claims (love you Aaron!) ... it's just that I find the game at a really awesome state right now; and there are some cells of players who really didn't like the wholesale change to the correct playstyles / list styles who may find the game more palatable now that things are starting to settle down.

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    7. Previously I didn't mind the cost of the hobby, but the last round of price increases(where Land Raiders went to $75) crossed a mental threshold for me. That plus the recent GW legal shenanigans discouraged me from buying anything but just the rule books. I'd happily go 3rd party, but there are just some models that don't have reasonable 3rd party substitutes.

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  3. Thank you for the work you do, Mike.

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  4. Can we expect an updated Nova primer or are the missions you talk about reflected in the current primer?

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