Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff II: Play What You Know

In the first part of this article I advocated not spending too much mental energy and time stressing over optimizing your list.  If you get neurotic about making tiny tweaks, you can get so absorbed in the difference between 7 multi-meltas and 8 Missile Launchers compared to 8 Multi-meltas and 7 Missile Launchers that you drive yourself crazy.  And what do you gain for all that craziness: nothing, because in the end there is no real measurable difference.  

Kirby commented that the best scenario would be to have plenty of playtesting experience AND an optimized list.  This is exactly what I'm advocating.  By the time you are to the "7 of one thing 8 of the other or vice versa" stage of optimization, your list is already optimized enough.  Anything further is hand wringing.

Does the list have good, redundant ways to kill tanks?  Great.
Does the list have good, redundant ways to mow down infantry?  Great.
Does the list have reliable scoring units?  Great.
No more obsessive compulsive obsession with required further.  GO PLAY a ton of games.  

So for today's article I want to stress another point: play the army and the list you know.  Innovating the day before the tournament is a really poor idea.

Time spent over-optimizing lists, is time not spent improving your technical play.  When you play technically better than your opponent, and you have a list with all the tools to win, that's all you need to be successful.  It is far more important to know your list, and how it plays, inside and out than it is to have an infinitesimally small edge in optimization.

Besides optimization, the other side of the coin is book jumping at the last minute.  Hypothetical scenario.  You have been playing Blood Angels since the codex launched.  You have months and months of experience and playtesting done.  You have a 2,000 point list you have taken to multiple tournaments and done very well with.  The Necrons codex launches, intrigues you, and you jump in.  A month and a half later, you bring Necrons to a major GT.  

Big mistake.  

Unless you assembled your army in a few days and spent that month and a half playtesting like a madman each day, you won't do as well as you would do with your Blood Angels.  Obviously, not everyone attends GTs in order compete tooth and nail for a high finish.  Some people would say: heck, I just want to have fun with my new love, Necrons.  And that is fine, but this article isn't for you.  This article is for the guy who cares where he finishes.  

So let's recap the Nikephoros' Tournament Maxims:

1.  Make sure your list can win: kills tanks, infantry and can score.
2.  Hours spent playtesting are 100 times more important than hours spent tweaking.
3.  Play the codex you have the most experience with in the last 6 months.
4.  Play the list you have the most experience with in the last 6 months.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. My problem is maxim no.3 because it seems I always get tired of a codex if I play with it for more than two months. I am already getting kinda tired with the IG (been playing since last July) so I need a new army to be refreshed.