I’m Gareth, or to many, Beard and for obvious reason! I’m going to tell you about my journey from a casual gamer, up to entering a very competitive tournament and how this changes your outlook on gaming.
First a bit about me and how I got here. I got into 40k around 6 years ago, a friend of mine invited me to paint a miniature one evening, when our usual “geek night gang” didn’t turn up – albeit a chaos marine! +shudder+
I was hooked instantly, unfortunately for me, my wallet didn’t quite match the going rate for a box or two of marines, so my first few models were a job lot I won in an online auction and you can probably guess, they were marines……and they were blue!
Having researched the armies, as we all do, I was drawn to the Sons of Sanguinius, the Blood Angels. My first attempts at painting were very much below what we often joke about as “pro-painted”, but I persevered and I now consider myself, a decidedly average painter.
Six years on, I’ve got just shy of 20,000 points of Blood Angels, 4,100 points of Orks and 2,000 points of Tyranids………along with a Blood Angels shoulder pad tattoo! Yes, really! My missus even refers to 40K as my “crack habit with something to show for it!” And yes, I have a missus, so you can stop laughing! The boys at the club have seen her and dubbed her Mrs Beard (she’s not actually got facial hair, don’t worry!)
As far as my style of gaming goes, I’ve always been quite laid back, I played various dungeon crawler games, card games, board games, you name the game type and I’ve probably given it a bash. I joined the hobby just after 6th edition came around, so I missed the glory days of the 9th legion when power creeps just started to come in.
I love the idea of fluffy blood angels armies, very fast moving and always wanting to be in close combat and as we all know, 6th and now 7th ed have geared more towards shooty armies, so as you can probably guess, my win-loss ratio had become somewhat abysmal – but all that has changed recently.
Having moved over 250 miles away from my usual gaming group around 5 years ago, I had to cure my itch to game and came across Firestorm games, I joined Vale Renegades only 6 months ago, and what a lovely bunch of people they are! (But you already knew that!)
In 6 months, I’ve played armies I’d never come across before and learned more about my own army and others than I thought possible! Having seen that a 40K league wasn’t far off starting up, I figured I’d give it a bash.
My 1,850 points list isn’t that great for the league, out of 8 games, I’ve won 1, drawn 1 and lost 6 – most people would probably have given the job up as a lost cause, but not I, I wanted to win…….that and the beer ain’t bad in Firestorm!
As good an experience as the league has been, games have been organized over a number of months, however, very much opposite to that, a double tournament recently came around, rather conveniently named “Double Tap”. At 1,000 per person, 2,00 points per team and a sub-par codex to hand, I set about trying to come up with a decent list, that, without knowing my team mate in advance, could do a bit of everything.
As it happens, I was teamed with an Eldar player, Ash, who you may already know to form Team CheesyBeard! We had a laugh, beat some people we didn’t expect to and came out with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, and 4th place out of 8, which I was over the moon with.
Then the big one – Seeds of Destruction started to loom ever closer, as the weeks went by, knowing how tough competitive events can be and also being Northern, meaning I resented the £35 entry fee if I wasn’t even going to win a game – I had to change my tactics……..
When I joked about my missus earlier, she really does put up with my hobby/obsession. I say that as I try to watch a battle report at least once every other day, I pick up some form of 40k related book at least once a day, drool over Forgeworld’s website hourly in work, and I’ve even been known to talk about 40k in my sleep.
So knowing that Seeds was coming up and having increased my target from “not last” to a decent showing, I’ve been even more obsessed with lists, tactics, weapons load outs, what armies are likely to be there and so on, so my missus has had to put up with several nights of me list writing then muttering it was useless and starting over!
Having almost 20,000 points of marines, there aren’t many models open to most chapters that I don’t have, 20+ bikes, check, 100+ assault marines, check, dozens of vehicles, check, 200+ basic boltgun marines, check, so I wasn’t too worried if I ended up using my Blood Angels as another chapter……Yes, I know Heresy! You can probably imagine, I’ve come up with several chapter names such as Blood Hands, Blood Fists, Red Scars, Blood Ravens……
Now I’ve rambled a bit, onto what you’re really here for, the changing mindset.
I want a respectable showing at Seeds of Destruction, and I know Blood Angels aren’t going to cut the mustard this time around (note, this was written before the Angel’s Blade supplement and Angel’s Blade also came out a little late to meet the tournament deadline), so having picked a chapter – I’ll not tell you which as I’m planning part 2 of this blog after the tournament and I don’t want to spoil the surprise – I had to actually write a list!
Now we all know about “Death Stars” and “unkillable units”, we’ve all rage quit against them and you’re lying to yourself if you haven’t at least cried inside when someone unexpectedly turned up with one against your fluffy list! Did I want to be the guy? Was I really that desperate?
I don’t want to say Hell Yeah, but then again, who doesn’t enjoy winning once in a while?
You can guess, I did indeed include a “Death Star”, but when you look at the chapter’s specific warlord traits, chapter relics and bonuses in the Angels of Death supplement – there’s a clue for you – the Death Star pretty much writes itself!
So what then do I do to synergize with this Death Star that I have? I know that my Death Star is all out attack, so with that in mind, the rest of list mentality has to be Go Big or Go Home! Anything else that comes along for the ride has to not only be surviveable, it has to be tooled up to do a job and to do it well!
Now hang on a moment…….. as a Blood Angels player, our “thing” was fast moving and assaulty, so Assault Marines, and lots of them, Death Company, again with jump packs or another delivery method. – Did someone just say 5th ed, Deep striking Land Raider?
What I’ve opted for is so, what’s the term, in your face, that I’m almost out of my comfort zone when I see opposing units disappearing en masse – bear in mind this was in testing – that I’m almost beside myself.
I’m not going to spoil the surprise as my list will be included in part 2 of my blog, but I’ll let you know that in testing, I’ve won 5, rather convincingly in each one, and lost 1 game. Admittedly the loss was against the exact counter of my army, which had to happen at some point. I’ve now raised my target to upper half to mid table, should I come lower, I might be a bit disappointed, but I started the hobby having fun and I’m sure the tournament will be blast, no matter the result.
One last note, please, pray for my missus, if I reach my target, or even do better than I expect, she’ll never hear the end of it!