A Scrub's Journey to Greatness: How to approach a tournament game

Hey guys and girls, Andrew here again, this week we’ll be glancing at some methodologies to approach a tournament game. We’ll be looking at the game once list chicken is over, as it takes an S tier player to fully understand all the match ups between lists in this huge game of ours.

After List Chicken

So we’re going to look at the game after list selection has occurred, again, that could be its own article, and probably will be...

What The Theme of The List Is

First thing to look at is not the theme list (Winter Guard Kommand, or Faithful Masses), but the Theme of the list. Is it an armor skew, does it try to out threat you, or is it a scitrition list that’s trying to kill all of your scoring pieces and eek you out of scenario barring an arbitrary assassination?

Every list has a ‘plan.’ Your job is to get enough knowledge of the game that you can look at your opponent’s list and ‘know’ what their plan is. This will take lots of conversations with local players, and talking about what their lists do, what the list is afraid of, etc.

What The Caster Does

Now that you know their plan, you should look at the caster and figure out

1) What the caster does for the plan

Is it Amon and he speeds the jacks up and makes them hit hard? Is it Vlad and he casts “ALL THE DICE!!”, or is it Denny 2 and she’s just going for a top of 2 assassination?

2)   What are the strengths of the caster

Is it Vlad where he has a great stat line, he’s camping 3 every turn and he’s way back, is it Denny 2 with her incorporeal every other turn, or is it Amon… I guess he camps 1 and hits really hard?

3)   What are the weaknesses of the caster

Let’s continue with the same casters, Vlad 1 can essentially cast one spell a turn, is he turning into a combat demi-god, or is he killing you with his army? Denny 2, if you don’t give here an in for assassination, she’s trying to attrition, and she can just die to a few lucky shots. Amon… he’s arm 14, untargettable by combined ranged, but… arm 14...


Largest Threats

Now you look at their caster and pieces and see what their linch pins and scary pieces are for you, do they have a few dead units? Then ignore them, do they have a Blightbringer? KILL IT

1) What’s the most threatening model in the opponent’s list?

Cheat, if they have a Discordia or Imperatus, the answer is always them, better hope you have Grievous Wounds in your list...

2) Is there a credible threat to your support staff?

Two mortar crews, fireflies, minutemen, Vessels of Judgement, they’re all scary to choir and mechaniks

3) Is there a really scary assassination threat on the table?

Butcher 3 and his BAE Lola, Kreoss with the ‘Pop’N’Drop’, Sorscha 1 with her… entire card...

Greatest Assets

This is where you look at your list from your opponent’s perspective and say, “What screws with their plans the most?” It could be an Eyeless Sighted Vessel of Judgement, cause who doesn’t hate those? This will be the Greatest Theats list in reverse

1) What’s the most threatening piece for your opponent?

I just gotta say, Scourge of Heresy is scary, they got an arcan shielded StormWall? Lol, got this!

2) Can you kill their support staff trivially?

Rinse and repeat from last time, you got electro leaps? Lots of blast damage? Lots of arcing fire? Your opponent has to think about that.

3) Do you have a crazy threat assassination on the table they have to respect all game?

You know what kills casters? 12 rocketeer shots to the face, oh and they’re pow 12 extra die cause rules, it's scary.

Dead Spells and Units

Do you have a few models that do nothing in the matchup? Congrats, you have Chaff! Use them to block charge lanes, contest zones, and just generally be a nuisance, now your opponent still has to put activations into killing them in spite of the fact that they otherwise do nothing for the match up.

Primary Path to Victory

Is it a super live scenario? Is the enemy caster really scary but prone to over extension? Cool you’ve got a plan.

It might even be: Put your caster JUST within threat with as much survival tech as possible and dare them to try, if they fail, you win.

Secondary Path to Victory

As the game goes on, you need to have a Plan B. Are you losing scenario? Are you losing Attrition? Are you MASSIVELY down on clock? Have an escape plan, probably assassination, but it can be to force your opponent’s clock, or force a big play on scenario.

Your Deployment

Are you going second? Awesome, counter their deployment by putting your assets against their liabilities, refuse a flank by making a bunch of your army deploy on one side, with a couple hard to remove zone contesters on the other, etc.

Are you going first? Threat those zones as hard as you can!

Play the Game

If you’ve looked at all of these steps, you know what you need, what you can throw away, and have a plan walking into the game. You know what your opponent wants to do, and you should know how to try to prevent them from doing it. Sounds like you’ve got this, now go play the game!

This is how I try to do it, of course when playing in a tournament you’ll be tired and not quite with it by round 3 or 6, but having this in mind and practicing it can help with improving your ability to identify what you need, what you don’t, and how best paths to victory.

That’s it for this week, tell me what kind of things you guys do to get the most out of your games, is there a methodology you try to implement?

Quote of the week- “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”- John Wooden