Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Old Stuff Day - Following Your Heart, Using Emotions to Gain Victory in 40k Part I: Bad Relationships

Wow that's a long title. I'm going to blow up some blog rolls with that one, lol. Here's another post for Old Stuff Day.

This is one of my favorite posts. It was originally posted here  on Yes the Truth Hurts. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Part I: Getting Out of Bad Relationships.

We’ve all been there. It’s so easy to see in others, yet so difficult to recognize in our own lives. We care so deeply about them, yet they let us down, over and over. Always the promise is given; “next time, things will be better!” and of course the most famous line of all “I can change!”

It is the cycle of abuse, and it traps all of us at some point or another.

That’s right, I’m talking to you, Mr. Unbalanced Hammer Army player.

The scenario is a familiar one: Setting out to build a list, we stumble across a unit in the codex. It calls to us, it thrills us, we are infatuated thoroughly. “So WHAT if they cost 40 points apiece? They are TOTALLY WORTH IT!!” And sure, if we’ve spent that much on them already, what’s a few more points here and there in wargear, I mean after all they are the stars of our army, and we want them to perform! And if they cost this much, we’d better give them a pimped out ride!

Then, the day of the battle comes. “Surely,” you think, “after I have lavished so much attention on them, they won’t let me down.”

“Surely, they won’t betray me. I love them so much…”

It usually starts with one failed save. You pick up your model, you take it off the table. You are troubled, probably more than you ought to be, but things are still alright, you’ve got 4 more where that came from, right?

Then the next failed save comes. You remove another model. Maybe at this point you’ve crushed a 120 point enemy unit, maybe not. Still, your heart is troubled. Things are not going as you had hoped, and every model you take off the table tears at you more than it should.

Another dies, then another. At this point, you feel thoroughly let down, betrayed. How could they fail you? You invested SO MUCH in them!

“Next time will be better,” you think, “next time things will be different…”

Ok, ok, so maybe that is a little more dramatic than the reality that MOST of us experience (though I swear I’ve seen misty eyes after gunning down someone’s TH/SS Terminator squad with massed bolter fire, lol).

The truth is, I am describing something I have experienced personally. There is a strong temptation to take super units, pimp them out and then wail away with them at your opponent. These are real “noob” hammers, but against more experienced players will usually fail as they keep your super unit at arms length and whittle them away to nothing.

When you are going through a game, you should never really feel an internal wince when you lose models or even an entire unit. Units are expendable, models are expendable. If it’s upsetting to lose something during a game, that’s probably a clue that it doesn’t belong in your list. Every time you lose something, the feeling you get should be “that’s cool, I’ve got more where that came from!” and you move on with the game. Once you have a list where this is how you consistently feel while playing, you will miraculously find that you are winning more and more games. This is a result of having a BALANCED force without obvious lynchpin units.

My personal Albatross was the Biker Command Squad. I loved this unit, and to be honest, it is a great unit IN CERTAIN ARMIES. But I tried to shoehorn it into a role for which it was not suited, and I was consistently disappointed. My super-expensive bikers would fall, one by one, to concentrated fire or dozens of Strength 3 melee attacks, and it upset me every time. Then I realized that they needed to go.

So, while you’re playing, try and pay attention to how you feel. If you are overly disappointed when you lose a unit, you probably overestimated its utility or its survivability, or underestimated the portion of your overall points you’ve invested in the unit. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize these things through a thought out analysis, because we tend to rationalize and make believe that what we WANT to be true, WILL be true.

Make the break. Get out of a bad relationship and enjoy the rewards of partnering with less flashy, less maintenance intensive, more reliable units!

Join me next time, for Part II of Following Your Heart: “Getting Into Your Opponent’s Head.”