Last Saturday, the store held a qualifier for the ND Open( Quebec biggest tournament). Basically, an X round tournament where the winner gets a free invite to the Northern Defenders Open. I was running the event, so I didn’t get to smack people with my army ( or... you know...get curb stomped and cry ) but I found I had an interesting time observing the 2 top player’s strategy. Read on!
Here’s the final table, at some point.
Now before telling you who won, I want to break down their 2 armies and general strategy heading into the tournament.
In the left corner, burning eyes with his bright orange army of Eldar/ Dark Eldar is “ Capt. “ Kevin Lemieux, with the following list:
This is Wave Serpents eldar with a dark twist. Terribad pun intendend.
In the right corner, with the white
trousers paint job: Astra Whatstheirface
and the blue Imperial Knight is Eric Marcoux, with the following list:
This is a variant on the Pask Star to include an imperial Knight.
Now why do I find this so darn interesting you ask?
I like how each player went a totally different way with their list building to get to the final table. In short: Kevin played the meta game whereas Eric played the safe game. The whowhat now?
The meta game
In the week prior to the tournament, Kevin looked at the scenarios, and wrote down which local players usually attend this type of event, and what armies they play recently or what they could field (borrowing the new hotness from another local player or sitting in a dusty shoebox at home for example )
With these informations, he tailored his usual Wave Spam in an odd mix of Serpent/Venom Spam. The armies he most wanted to counter were the FMC Spam, Flyrants and WolfStar, without sacrificing much firepower versus the blob/dual blob, footslogging orks. It also provided a nice answer to the yet untested necrons Jetbikes or Wraiths. The other big thing here, is that there was no other Wave Seprent spam at the event (which he guessed based on that last paragraph)
Looking back at the tournament, the only army that was a surprise to his plan was Oli, who usually plays Tau Empire (his online username is OliTau on most forums…) that showed up with a theme-heavy Khorne list; a switch that ultimately made no difference on the meta.
This looks easy with a 8-16 player tournament, but it can be applied to the national scene. The easiest example of this is Sean Nayden’s #LictorShame that is designed to have a decent enough matchup against most builds and is extremely efficient at wrecking the Seprent spam.
The safe game
Eric has been playing roughly the same list for the last year. The modifications he makes to the list are based on what’s allowed for the next event he’s attending – in this case, adding FW Thudd Guns that are 0-1 in next month’s ND Open.
He knows every matchups and every scenarios because he’s played them countless times with the same core build.
This is the safe option: playing something you’ve tested and master, that you know works in the event you want to attend and that can stand it’s own versus whatever armies are being played at the moment.
This option’s downfall, much like miscalculating the meta, is meeting a player with more control in the game. This can happen if he has a better army and/or knows the matchup better than you.
The only question that remains is: Which path should you go?