Over the course of the past few months Games Workshop has been releasing their newest models in boxed sets of three. The first, Fall of Cadia, brought back fan favorite Saint Celestine, newcomer Belisarius Cawl, and Inquisitor Greyfax. The Second, Fracture of Biel-Tan, introduced to the new Eldar God of Death Ynnead with The Yncarne, Yvraine, and the Visarch. Now we are waiting on Part III:Rise of the Primarch with announced release of Roboute Guilliman, Cypher, and Grand Master Voldus. The sets are full of great characters that do something that GW has not done well before, amalgamize the fluff and competitive play of 40k. Today we are going to look at what that means.
When I first started playing Warhammer 40k there were two distinct groups of players that I often encountered. The Fluff Players and Competitive players. When I talked to either group I would get one of three reactions from those players:
I play fluffy because I don’t like the cheese lists that people bring to the table, it makes it not fun.
I play competitively because if I am going to play the game, I want to win at all costs.
I don’t care what you play, let’s just play.
All three answers have merit. I used to consider myself a fluff player and like a lot of other players I have gone through a lot of changes to what I play. When I started in 5th Edition I loved the Space Wolves. There was no cooler character in the game than Arjac Rockfist, I mean come on he’s Thor. I built my army with the intent to have as much fluff in it as possible. One of my first lists was the following:
Bjorn the Fell Handed
Four Wolf Guard Terminators with ThunderHammer/StormShield
Five Wolf Guard with Chainsword/Bolt Pistol
Land Raider Crusader
2 Units of Grey Hunters.
1x Power Fist
1x Curse of the Wulfen
1 Unit of Long Fangs with Missile Launchers
Those of you who played in fifth know that this list was not the most competitive but it was the most fun for me. I have plenty of tales that I could tell you of Arjac standing by himself in the middle of the field with the Relic for two or three turns making impossible saves the whole time. I had fun with this list, but it was fluffy and the first time that I took it to a tournament. I got hosed. I took last place at a tournament in Pittsburgh at Legion Hobbies and Games.
It was around that time when I was talking with two of my favorite road trip buddies, Ryan and Jacky, that I decided to build more competitive lists. Seventh edition came out and very quickly bike armies became all the Rage. Chapter Master Smashfucker, The Librarius Conclave, and eventually Dark Angels Black Knights all became top priorities for me. I took them to a few local tournaments throughout 2015 and even hit up Michigan GT and Da Boyz that same year. I had a lot of fun playing more competitive lists though I did not have a winning record at any of the tournaments where I played.
Since the beginning of 2016 however, I have decided to start playing the game a bit differently. I wanted to play the game on hard mode. When I first started the game there were two armies I was interested in playing. Space Wolves and Orkz. Orkz, as any competitive player will tell you, are on the bottom tier of armies. They have a multitude of issues that I will get into in another article, but damnit they are fun to play. I’ve never met someone who didn’t like to play against Ork players. You get to kill a lot of things and we have the weirdest rules. BUT ITS FUN! or should I say Waaaghhhhh!
All of this brings me back to my initial point, I know, I know, I took the long way to getting here. GW has now made it so that there fluff matches the competitive side of the game. Sure there will be a lot of guys who still run the Triptide/Eldar/Sisters of Silence lists out there, but now what about a Celestine/Grey Knights list or the War Convocation with Belisarius Cawl. New lists are also starting to pop up from the new Aeldari book that will challenge the top tier armies in the game. Now is the most exciting time for me, even as an Ork Player, 40k continues to build a better game and hell, we haven’t even gotten into the hobbying side of it.
What are your thoughts? Leave an answer in the comments below.