It’s Round 4 of Day 1
You’re undefeated and the day is about to wrap up. You never expected your army to do so well, but here you are! Absolutely killing it!
You open up your BCP App to see your last pairing of the day and your heart drops…
… You face the frontrunner.
This player may be the local talent or a traveling top GT player. They are the best of the best, and here to win. You begin to question your army, luck, skills, level of sweatiness, how sobre you are…
…You begin to wonder if you can win. What can you do to conquer such insurmountable odds?
Tap Into Your Zen Game
I’m not expecting you to go into full meditation mode, or roll out your yoga mat (though it’s always good to get a few vinyasas in). The first thing to help is to take a step back from the table and relax. Breathe. Ask yourself: What do you have to lose?
• Competitive 40k isn’t like MtG – You aren’t playing for cash. Your success doesn’t improve your economic status.
• This is a hobby. You’re not supposed to be stressed over a game. HAVE FUN 🙂
• This isn’t your life (though at times it feels like it) – After this GT you have a family, a job, friends, spouse, other hobbies, etc. to come back to.
• Your partner/wife/husband already thinks you’re a loser playing this game (congrats if you have loved one thats proud of you).
• Your gaming friends will be proud of you if you win or lose. Either way you’ll have an awesome story afterwards at the bar.
Compartmentalize the ideas that this game is not consequential to your actual life. It’s important to remember that this is an escape and that you should just enjoy the ride, for better or for worse. The amount of times I was one victory away from Top8ing or winning an event has become a number I’ve lost count of. Losing is the best way to learn and makes you a better player. I love losing a tight game and getting new insight to builds, tactics, and basic reading comprehension. Take these games and build and learn from them.
So maybe I’m being to much of a fatalist; not all of these games end in losses. You still have a game in front of you. You could win this! So how can you overcome this round against a gaming legend?
Starstruck? Don’t be.
When playing people, remember that these players are not LeBron James. They are normal folk who need this escape as much as you do. Diffuse the sense of celebrity of a player. They are nerds just like you and I. There is no shoe deal or sponsorship riding on this game; just two people who spent a stupid amount of money on plastic soldiers and travel plans. Laugh and mention you both could have went on a European vacation instead of going to AdeptiCon and hanging out at the ForgeWorld booth. You’re both normal human beings who made the same mistake.
Don’t let a reputation sour your match up either. Through the grapevine you might have heard that the player in front of you is a poor sport, master tactician who makes zero mistakes, cheater, or a strict rules lawyer. Suspend these beliefs and make your own opinion of them. Most top tier players are really nice people; who are extremely friendly and a joy to play against. Don’t approach your game with preconceived notions of a player’s intent. Most of the time they mean well.
Now… back to the game. So you feel a little more relaxed. The game starts up and it appears that you have a conflicting rules situation. The player starts to talk you through a rule and it doesn’t seem quite right. It bugs you and you feel like you should speak up. Don’t keep quiet. Speak up.
If it Doesn’t Feel Right, It Probably Isn’t.
So which of the following responses is correct when your opponent is explaining a rule:
A: “Trust me. I go to a lot of GT’s”
B: ” If I was wrong, would I have won *insert event*?”
C: ” I had this argument last round and the TO agreed with me.”
D: “It’s in the new FAQ. You probably didn’t catch it.”
E: ” No one plays this rule. That’s why you didn’t know.”
If you don’t like any of these answers, you’re correct. Don’t just accept your opponent’s claim when you feel unsure. Remember, it takes a few minutes to check a rulebook/ codex/ FAQ / check with judge. The worst feeling is playing with a lack of trust or knowing a rule was misinterpreted. I know that a lot of players who scour the internet to chase the meta dragon come across a lot of GT drama. Maybe it was blatant cheating on a twitch feed or someone was caught with weighted dice; it paints a misdirection about competitive players being a pile of bad eggs. Though these kind of things can occur, most of the time problems like this will not occur during the game. If this happens to be a problem in your game make your observations known. Call a judge.
I know I just mentioned in the previous section that players mean well and aren’t usually out there to screw you. All players are far from infallible; we all make mistakes. Players who game a lot may be playing a rule wrong for a very long time due to a random judge call, or just an overlooked detail glossed over time and time again. It’s important to speak up if you feel it’s necessary. In the end, these disputes might actually teach one of these top dogs a new trick or two.
The next time you walk with giants, relax and play it like any other game. The only battle you should be fighting is on the table. The one in your head should already be won.