Hammer of Wrath: The epic question

Hey all, Danny here, and today, I am going to go back to something different, a thought-piece and personal reflection.  Don’t worry, I’ll refrain from doing this too much.

So, Adam and Salty John along with a few other #REKT members went to the Bay Area Open, and well, I could not. The whole young child thing and a crap ton of work kept me on the sidelines, but the stars have aligned in a different way.  I will be going to our local GT, Hammer of Wrath, and I get to play for the first time.   The first year, I helped judge the event, and I had to miss the second one due to my son being barely over a month old.  But now, I have the time, and I have had to try to answer a question: Should I care about being competitive?

My brain thinks this way. I can’t help but look at a game and find ways to optimize my success at it. I fully admit that even in Dungeons and Dragons, I look to power-build, and it is a conscious effort not to as this point.  I’ve played a lot of games, physical and tabletop, competitively in my youth, but the past few years, I haven’t had the time to play with the level of consistency needed to do well.  I know the system well, and I have a list with some reps, but well, is there the will? I have had to ask myself this.

As I’ve outlined before, being truly competitive means you need to do a few things: You need to know the rules (check), you need to be in constant discourse and learning about the game (check), and you need to play consistently (uh oh).   I know that with only 10-15 games of 8th edition under my belt, and really, only 40ish games of 40K in general over the past year and a half, I am going to be rusty.  I have enough self-reflection to be able to say that the likelihood that I would do well is low.  I could probably muscle through, and I am sure if I spent all of my free time contemplating matchups, talking with the team to perfectly refine a list and play some napkin games, maybe even cash in some extra time at the shop to get a few more games in, I could represent myself well.  But then, as I looked at my list and the 100+ models in it, I realized something: I am too old for that noise.

Part of it is that I think I can safely say that I am missing that certain Wille zur Macht that is required to do well at anything in a competitive sense.  I used to enjoy the competitive tension, the stress, the hard-fought victory or even the sting of defeat and lessons  gained.  Now, I think I want to hang with friends, play some games, and just focus on the fact that I do not have to change diapers for 12+ hours.   Yes, I’m becoming…casual.

That’s not to say that I am bringing a super fluff bunny list.  I have not gone that far, but I am bringing a list that I know cannot win a event because it cannot answer certain questions.  It is a list that is easy to pilot, is full of models that I love, and will make my games faster.  I am not in my 20s any longer, so moving a horde army quickly is not something I can do without a lot of practice.  Also, Ork-Back is real, and my back is already not faring well with a child in the 99 percentile of weight and height, so there’s that.

True story

Of course, I have no illusions about winning best painted, and well, I don’t see my list being a ticket to “Best Opponent” unless I get annihilated each game.   Really, I want to play, and I want to play well, but I also understand that I am not in the position nor have the desire to truly invest in my W-L record.   I wouldn’t call myself a purely Beer and Pretzels guy just yet because I still see the world through a competitive lens, but I am not actively trying to be competitive with the end goal of winning an event.  My list is problematic, but then, it is certainly not a fluffy list.  I have been thinking of how I’ll handle certain matchups, but instead of rewriting my list when I hit this wall,  I have simply accepted that there are certain lists that I will not have the tools to beat, regardless of how well I play.  Really, I am in that weird middle ground where I want to play the game I love in the way that is most natural to me but without the expectation that I will place.

We’ll see how that goes. I am hoping for a 3-2 record, but depending on matchups, I could easily go 1-4.  Really, my goal this weekend is to enjoy myself and hopefully have 5 fun games where there were far more laughs and jokes than tense, butt-clenching plays.

Man, it sure is hell getting older.  Adam and I have discussed this before that our time in the competitive sun is over, and that’s not inherently a bad thing.  What matters most is that I am playing, and hopefully, enjoying myself to some extent.

Of course, I could also get thrashed and just go back to pure competitive mode, but I doubt it. Not that I doubt the thrashing, that seems likely, but rather I think I have to accept that I get my jollies from playing the game and having fun, not the thrill of chasing 1st place.  This is not a value judgement on either really.

Thanks for listening to me ramble, and next week, I’ll have a recap of Hammer of Wrath!  Be sure to check out all of our usual goodies over at Facebook, Twitch, and of course, we need to stock up on reserves for our next big giveaway, so check out our Patreon.