Friday, July 26, 2013
Painting and Thinking
Posted by hyv3mynd
Just a quick painting update today with some 40k related thoughts and reflections at the end.
I've hit the ground running with Eldar since the new codex was released. The Tau and Eldar releases back to back have really stripped my confidence in the pure assault CSM + Daemon project I was working on. Last year, I built a Dark Eldar + Eldar army for DaBoyz GT so I've begun updating it for this year's GT but will be using Eldar as the primary detachment this time. Here are some of the painting projects on my table.
Wraithguard in various stages with some of last year's Dark Eldar for painting reference. Wraithguard on the left are just airbrushed, the one on the right has been varnished with an oil wash applied and some details and highlighting begun.
Farseer overshadowed by a wraithknight. Both fully airbrushed with some minor detail work started. I want to get colors on everything for practice games and our monthly tournaments, but I won't go back and finish up the models until everything is assembled with some color on it.
Obligatory wave serpent airbrushed, varnished, with some oil washes applied. The final GT list will probably have 2 for their flexibility, but there's so many other gems in the codex and Dark Eldar units I want to use as well.
While painting I have plenty of time to surf the net and read over the various forums and blogs. One statement that I hear regularly is "40k doesn't actually involve strategy or tactics". This could be due to the rock/paper/scissors nature of some matchups, or the common playstyles of lining everything up and smashing two armies into each other.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think we're entering the "golden age" of 40k. The first time I said this, it was referring to the veritable flood of new codexes and models. The more I think of it, the more I also believe that we're entering a period where strategy and tactics mean more than ever. The Daemon, Tau, and Eldar releases in particular have introduced whole new levels of mobility and resilience between speed, "JSJ", and the increasingly popular 2++ or 2+ cover.
Where this is leading us is to a place where terrain placement, deployment, and the movement phases are becoming increasingly influential on the outcome of games. No longer can we just spam the best units for an "auto-win". The ability to dodge in and out of cover, redeploy the army quickly, and play the objectives is becoming more important than sheer killing power. The beginning of 6th edition changed the meta with 5+ cover, 5+ FnP, increased rapid fire application and many games were seeing one player tabled or with very few models left. With the arrival of the Tau and Eldar books, we're starting to see armies that can hide from conflict or outrun it and choose the time and place to commit rather than lining up and seeing which army outlasts the other.
I believe the next logical step will see the veteran players facing off and finishing games with large portions of their armies remaining. People will start forgoing some damage output to JSJ, battle focus, flat out, and turbo boost their armies into denial positions, stepping out to strike once they've optimized their position to exploit a weakness in the enemy formation. Planning our your moves several turns ahead will become more important than ever.
In short, the return of tactics and strategy to our favorite wargame. All of this combined with the flexibility of the ally matrix will make for some of the most challenging and tactically satisfying games we've ever experienced. I say this of course from the competitive player bias as most of my games these days are at monthly tournaments or in preparation for said events. The necessity to create an army list that can compete with 3 different opponents over a day helps to balance out some of the rock/paper/scissors scenarios where a "rock" army may be able to defeat someone in a one-off game, but the same army will have a small chance of surviving 3 random pairings in the same day. As a result, the more balanced armies will be making it to the top tables and given enough time to influence the meta, perhaps 6th edition will end up being the most balanced edition we've ever had in the competitive scene.
I've seen this all myself at our events where gimmick armies like flyer spam, av14 spam, etc are starting to finish in the middle of the pack where balanced, non-spam armies are the ones going undefeated. Only time will tell, but I'm really excited to see what the field looks like at DaBoyz GT 2013. I'm more confident behind my Eldar army than any other army I've ever built for this GT as it has the tools and flexibility to mesh perfectly with my playstyle. Last year I placed 14th out of 88 overall and this year my goal is top 10 or better. I look forward to sharing my journey with you dedicated readers and I'll do my best not to disappoint!