So, it’s been over a month since I wrote an article for this series, and my original plan was fortnightly. So we are going quite well so far. But I have done an absolute mass of painting, and dealing with a few non-hobby things that have popped up (my real life and job got in the way), so I’m going to cut myself some slack. But in terms of prepping for the World Championship, the main thing I’ve done is play games.
Now these games are different to my normal casual games, or even my normal tournament prep games. Instead of focusing on how I can tweak the list, and what changes I can make, I’m focusing on my own strategies with the list, and how I can improve its performance. Not the performance I ‘could’ get out of the list, say by swapping in some different models. But specifically how I can use the current models to the absolute best of my ability.
This is unlike me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’m a completionist. When I start a new army or game, I like to have everything. This means that I have all the options at my disposal when I start competing properly, and it allows me to customise my list to my heart’s content. The side benefit of near constant tweaking, is that it forces me to paint more models. On the off chance that I need model X, I first need to have it painted, so this iteration is great for getting entire factions painted.
Secondly, these constant changes help me to be a better player. By constantly changing up what I have, I force myself to learn on the fly, and am always adapting to new situations. This helps me learn and understand different models/playstyles/rules, and forces me to be able to deal with whatever is thrown at me, with whatever I have.
But, constant iteration of a single list, gives its own benefits. You can learn how the list will perform with exacting detail, and in a myriad of situations. You can slowly figure out the optimum way to use each of the pieces, so the list can have the most effect overall. And without the option of swapping something that you feel isn’t working, you can force yourself to improvise, adapt, and overcome any perceived weakness (shameless stealing a tagline there).
At the moment, I’m sitting at 25 games with my current list. Each of these games is recorded in a short paragraph with the major details included, as well as picking out a few things to work on. I’ve included a some sample entries below (with the names blurred);
Now, the intention with this is threefold. Firstly, it gives me a quick overview of the game, and how it went. Secondly, it specifies what I think I did poorly in the game, or any opportunities I have seen that I could benefit from next time. And thirdly, it gives me a running commentary on how I’m playing.
If I showed the three or four games before this, most have the comments of, I lost Drycha early, needed to work on Drycha positioning, traded Drycha and it wasn’t worth it. The games above were all at a two-day event, so my main goal at that event was to use Drycha more effectively. After these five games, I’m confident that I have gotten better at using Drycha to the limit of her abilities, whilst also keeping her fairly well protected.
Looking back at this run of games, what I need to work on is being able to absorb the current game state and then predict the future game state. I need to identify the safe plays, the big plays, and then accurately predict the likely outcome of each. Sometimes, going for the big risky play is needed, other times, the safe play is best, and I just need to wait for my opponent to make a mistake.
So, that is what I will be focusing on over the next half dozen games. And over the course of the next games learning that skill, I’ll be able to identify what I need to work on next.
Until Next Time,