I'm hearing through back channels that a bunch of people are very pissed at me for my last post. The one that was critical of the hotel/location at the NOVA. I suppose that's a good thing, because it means I'm still respected. Otherwise they'd be yelling at me in person. :)
The general gist of it goes something like:
"SandWyrm is just feeling butt-hurt because he didn't do well at NOVA. Why's he crapping all over the event?"Well, am I butt-hurt? Do I have an axe to grind? It's a fair question.
I lost 4 games and I won 4 games. Competitively I came in 114th or so. My competitive score was .476, but that's not a straight percentage. As Tony's winning score was only .92. So hey... middle of the pack. On the low side of average when ranked up best to worst.
Third place in appearance. 5th in overall standing (RenMan).
Do I think that I should have done better? Well yeah, who doesn't? Spag came in 18th, Farmpunk came in 21st. Based on how I do against them here in Indy, I feel like I should have come in somewhere between 36th and 50th on the competitive track.
But is that feeling really justified? If you look at my performance at Adepticon, I won 2 games and lost 2 games. I also came within spitting distance of best overall there too. So hey, same old same old. Right? Maybe. It would certainly be logical for anyone to think so.
Let's Discuss Play Styles
Farmpunk and I usually have very close games, but he's got a new army that better fits his play style. So he should be expected to do better than me. Farmpunk is also a quick thinking, adaptive player. Like Spag, he watches what you do and adapts. That makes him better in the late game than the beginning. He'll make mistakes early on from lack-of-plan, but then turn it around on the last 2 turns. That's his style.
But I'm the opposite. I'm a planner. An analyzer. That's my style. I have to crush your ability to respond within the first 3 turns, because after that I start making stupid mistakes. It's the reason I'll target your fastest units and skimmers first. Because I have to limit your ability to exploit my errors later on. I have to make you more predictable. :)
So with that in mind, how do you think someone with a planning style is likely to react when the battlefield is radically different that what he's used to? Yeah, not so well. How does a reactive player react? Quite well. It's not like they had a set plan to start with. They'll just do what they always do and adapt.
So Am I Bitter?
Eh... Not Really. At least I don't think so.
The LOS issues can be adapted to and planned for. So that's a one-time shock thing. The terrain spacing issues that tripped me up were, aside from a couple of bad tables that I didn't play on, due to player movement of terrain and a bad judge call. Those were apologized for and John made sure to discuss it with the other judges before the second day's games began. It wasn't nearly as much of an issue my 2nd day.
That leaves the boredom of playing on essentially the same terrain layout for 8 games. But is that really a competitive issue? Or just one of variety/fun? We'll discuss that in a later post. I don't think that it's germane to this one.
So let's get to it: My goal was RenMan.
I didn't expect to win best appearance or to even make the top 5. Despite my skills, that's not how I think of myself, and it's not what I'm really interested in. I didn't even know for sure that there was a pure appearance award until I asked Mike about it on the last day. Could I have spent more time on model X or Y to make it look better? Sure, but I don't see the point. Gabe won Best Appearance on theme, not technique.
Can I fault the appearance judges? Heck no. Not in the slightest. The appearance judging was the most perfect thing about NOVA and a pinnacle for events everywhere to emulate. I'm perfectly happy with my appearance score and placement. That's not where I failed.
Best General? Not ever likely. Because at some point my love of pretty always gets in the way of utility (and vice-versa). In real life I tend to be the 2nd or 3rd best at a lot of different things. Sales, programming, graphics, whatever. So RenMan is a great goal for me.
So Let's Discuss RenMan
Going into NOVA, I figured that I could bag the RenMan if I could win 6 of my 8 games. I won 4.
How many losses can I blame on the terrain spacing? One. If I plug one more win into the full spreadsheet that Mike made available (An amazing thing for him to do!), what would that get me?
2nd Place Overall. 67th competitively. I still needed a 6th win.
How many losses can I blame on having so much LOS-blocking terrain? None. It was an issue in my first match, but I was still winning until I made a stupid mistake that cost me the game. It was an issue in my 4th game too, but I always lose to Thunderwolves anyhow, and I forgot to bring on some of my reserves.
Now, how many additional games would I have won if I'd brought a different list, like this one that I was testing as far back as last December? At least 2, and probably 3. Including the one where I got boned by the terrain spacing. Because I would have had the tools to work around it.
So who do I blame for my not winning RenMan at NOVA? Myself.
One of the first lessons I learned about 40K is this: If all your games are close losses/draws (as mine were) then your list is at fault. Full stop.
I had a list I loved to play. One that worked for me and matched my style. One that I'd practiced a few dozen games with over the last year and a half. One that would have required less painting before NOVA to finish up. But what did I bring instead? A more static list that I only got 3 games of practice with before the trip.
Why? Because I had a bug up my ass about Thunderwolves. So I designed a list to torrent them that didn't do the job. Why? Now that I think about it, if I needed to win 6 games, then why worry about Thunderwolves? I could have taken a bad-matchup loss and still reached my goal. Stupid. I should have seen the forest for the trees.
I also let my uncertainties about Dark Eldar get the best of me. Well, I've since played a variant of that better list against a local Dark Eldar player. He lasted a little longer than usual, but he still would have been tabled if we'd gone to 5 turns instead of calling it at the end of turn 4.
So all I did was trade a good list that I knew well for a mediocre one that I didn't because I was insecure. My fault.
So Are You Bitter Or Not?
Nope. Disappointed in myself, yes. But not bitter at the NOVA. I'm even re-enthused about 40K now. Which is nice.
So Why Are You Crapping On The Event?
I don't think I am. I got a little riled when Mike posted his surveys and basically said everything was great but the hotel, which was only mostly great. Because I know what people said to me during the event, and that reality doesn't match mine. But at the same time I acknowledge the survey results and admit my own fallibility. Some people saw stuff I didn't, and vice-versa.
Honestly, I was planning to do some comparison articles before I ever went to NOVA. For the reasons I stated. Because I kept getting asked how it compared to Adepticon. I don't think that pointing out that Adepticon did X better and NOVA did Y better is going to destroy the competitive community. Any more than 2 years of arguing win/loss vs. battlepoints has destroyed it. It hasn't! We're stronger now than ever!
Is it a mostly negative article? Well yeah. But Hotel/Location was where NOVA fell down the most. I would have liked to start out with sunshine and roses, but I can't really talk about things like round scheduling without first laying the groundwork of describing the hotel and food issues. Because the two subjects are so closely intertwined. Be patient, the praise IS coming!
But You Still Seem Biased!
Everyone's biased. Spag won $1000 at the invitational. Do you think he's going to complain about anything? Farmpunk helped Mike plan out some of the details of NOVA and did quite well overall. So he feels invested in how the event is perceived. Other people are emotionally invested in what they think that the NOVA represents. So they're willing to overlook almost any problem. Still other people have issues with certain armies and love that NOVA seemed to nerf them a bit.
Me? I'm a nationally-average player with high expectations. I didn't win anything but a door prize. I've pushed win/loss as a blogger, but didn't actually help out with making the NOVA happen (aside from judging on Friday). That gives me a different perspective. Down in the middle of the pack we bitched about the terrain. But we also relaxed and had fun because the pressure was off. All that drama that you heard about on the top tables? Gone! After the first 2 games I didn't have to deal with the pressure that Spag and Farmpunk did. We had fun! That's a story worth telling too!
Are my expectations too high? Possibly. I like to compare the best to the best. But my posts should contain enough info to let you make up your own mind about how valid that is. My goal isn't to tell you what to think. It's to give you enough information to judge what I say for yourself.