Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Slipshot Musings on Tournament and Tournament Players

One of the things that I have realised since going to tournaments a couple of years ago, is that the dreaded ‘tournament player’ or ‘competitive player’ is largely a myth.  Whether or not this can be put down to extraordinary luck on my part or not is up for debate.  But seeing as I still lose my fair share of games at said tournaments, I’m fairly confident in dismissing that hypothesis.   The fact is the majority of players at any given tournament aren’t tournament players.  This applies just as truly to NoVA as it does to softer comps like the Throne of Skulls and is something to bear in mind if you’re thinking about entering the tournament scene.

Particularly among casual players, there is the perception that the tournament players are a bunch of WAACs (Win At All Costs), but the reality is usually pretty far removed from this.  Not to say that there are no stereotypes that hold true.  Comp players tend to love the spam, for example, as it ties very much into the subject of a later post; that of Variety vs Redundancy.  This can leave their armies looking uninspired and boring to the casual or narrative-driven player, but they’re just being constructed under different criteria.  However, a significant proportion will play against that with some genuinely odd lists created to beat the list de jour and come up with some pretty damn interesting builds and tactics to do this.

But more to the point, only a small minority of players at a competition will fit into the competitive player mould.  And in any case, competitive should not be used as a synonym for ‘arsehole’.  Arseholes happen regardless of competition.  It’s my view that you are less likely to have unreasonable opponents in tournaments than you are to have unreasonable opponents in a random pickup game.  This is because you need a certain amount of wherewithal to travel, book a hotel and participate in any given tournament.  More so than just turn up at a nearby store with no codex and half a list written in crayon on the back of your hand.  Most competitions frown on that kind of thing.

The point I’m trying (and failing) to make is that everyone should give a tournament a go if you have even the slightest inkling that you might enjoy it (and provided that you can afford it, of course!).  Most of the time, you’ll be drawn against people just like you (yes, YOU!) and it’ll be little different to your average pickup game. 

On a final note, I apologise for the bizarre composition of this post, but it’s been a little busy around here and this entry was typed over two days, so the bottom half was written precisely when I forgot the gist of the top half.  You may think that remiss of me, and indicative of a half-arsed and scattershot approach to this blog.

Those of you who’ve listened to Overlords will have expected it.

So long, imaginary friends!

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