Good versus Great

What is the difference between good and great players? We’ve all seen those players who are good, who do well at tourneys and place highly. What about the ones who are just stellar though? I am referring to the sorts who REGULARLY finish in the top echelons of tourney play. After Arcanacon this year, a number of players presented themselves as repeat offenders in the final placings. Okay, I am specifically talking about memebers of the GoldenD6, but this equally applies to others out there.

From what I have seen, there are three different types of good players. There are the good players who have extremely over-powered armies and this is how they rack up the points in the battle points categories. More often than not, they cop a hosing in composition and sports. Another type has normal armies that they use to good effect. Case in point would be mjb’s Sisters of Battle, downunderork’s Speed Freaks or our own Golden One’s Ultramarines. The third type of good player may not have a great army but plays the mission. This is where the great players come into their own. These are the people who haven’t overpowered their army by focusing on it’s specific strengths or thrown in “weak” units to make it look less powerful.

They don’t, in fact, need to because their big secret is that they know how to use their army very well by using it’s strengths to the best of it’s ability, but most importantly, they don’t over expose the weaknesses in the army eg. fragile troops, small numbers etc. They also focus on the mission and keep in mind the ultimate objective. In fact, the truly great players have their deployment in mind before either player has begun to put units down on the tables. They are the master tacticians who know their own army and also have a good knowledge of YOUR army too. This gives them the big edge, not because they know all the special rules that relate to your army, because they also know how your army should operate and can predict almost how you will play it in each scenario. At the moment, I don’t even fulfill one of the three criteria!

Nine obliterators in an army and I regularly recieved thorough trouncings. Or just throw everything down on the table and fire randomly at things; like hitting a Leman Russ with plasma guns because I get more shots rather than meltas that (at close enough range) are guaranteed to smoke it.

So, beware, my opponents, for I am learning. Partly from understanding my own shortcomings and addressing them, but most importantly through observation of people who seem to consistently out perform their competition! Does this mean I am going to start rocking up with the Golden One’s Ultramarines?

Well, the thought hadn’t occurred to me until just now. Chances are I would do extrememly badly with them. What it does mean is that I am thinking more about my army, what it does well, what it does badly, how to use it’s strengths and mimimise the impact of it’s weaknesses and how am I best going to fulfil the goal of the missions that I am playing.

The one thing that I haven’t talked about is the actual personality of the great player. This is almost as important in the Australian tournament scene. The main reason being is that it seems pretty self-evident.

Don’t be a schmuck! That’s the crux of how I look at it. And it really is that simple; treat your opponent with the respect and dignity that you would expect to receive. It’s a win/win scenario. Bring on Arcanacon 2008!! 2008; the year of the R@!