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The Warhammer 40k Metagame
Old 22 Nov 2007, 04:53   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
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Default The Warhammer 40k Metagame

As you know, many games have a strong metagame and Warhammer 40k is diverse enough to have a very potent one. Luckily it is also expensive and "personal" enough that people out "just to win" are usually dissuaded from our hobby and on to other games. This is not to say there are not uber-competitive people at tournaments, or even friendly games. It can be said, however, that Warhammer 40k has a smaller percentage of them than games like Magic the Gathering.

Therefore, a discussion of the Warhammer 40k metagame will no doubt be very convoluted and vary wildly based on your shop. That doesn't mean we can't try!

Things to consider in our discussion are:
  • Definition of Metagame:
The game within the game. For instance, if you are the ONLY Tau player and every single other army in your store is Marines, then you will want to design your army to fight Marines, not Tyranids. This is the most simple type of "metagame" possible.
  • Army Ratio:
What armies do you fight the most and least?
  • Army Points:
What point sizes are the most frequent? Is this a tournament or friendly games? Does this influence the metagame?
  • Model Number:
Are the armies you fight hordes of models (Orks, Nids) or few but potent models (Necrons, Marines)?
  • Core Kill Strategy:
In what phase do your opponents kill? Assault or Shooting? Are they highly mobile, therefore making the movement phase important.
  • Scenario:
Do you always play cleanse or is this a tournament with multiple game types?
  • Tabletop:
How much, and what type, of terrain is common?

Now this rubric works for every metagame, but I would really like to discuss the tournament metagame here, especially with respect to how the Tau interact with it.

The metagame is very important to the Tau. Most players believe, for instance, that the Fire Knife configuration (plasma rifle and missile pod) is best on a crisis suit. This is a metagame decision. If every game was against Orks, then the Burst Cannon and Flamer combo would be far superior.

So how do you view the Tournament Metagame?[/list]
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Old 22 Nov 2007, 10:22   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

See, this is why I don't understand why 'tailoring' your list is a problem. The moment you start playing to the metagame (which I dont think anyone can help, unless your like me who doesn't really get to play anymore so just builds a very impractical army based on the models I like - FW battlesuits FTW) then your tailoring your list anyway.
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Old 22 Nov 2007, 16:59   #3 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

Whoever said tailoring their list is "unrealistic" never served in an actual military.

The U.S. army is about 40% ground troops. Yet for some reason, Baghdad was taken by mostly Air Bombardment and tanks with some mechanized infantry.

Tailoring an army is far more realistic!
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Old 22 Nov 2007, 17:26   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

That is the fact...

If you are expecting to face tanks, do you bring Beretta 9mm? NO! You bring the 107mm Karl Gustav...

Think about it. All armies bring wepaons that are expected to work best. I think you will agree that an m82A1 is a stupid choice for CC. But, maybe a P90 or an mp7? they are so small that they can be effectivly be used in buildings. However, these arent as accurate as the M4 and so aint that good at rangs above 200m.

Also, if you expect the opponent to use body armour. You load armour piercing rounds. If you do not expect them to do so, you get a hollow point...

Modern military armies have armouries. These are filled with weapons. These are grabbed by the troops when they travel to battle. This is to give them an edge over the opponent that only have AK 47s.

Do you think the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Eldar, Tyranids or Tau will let that oppertunity slip? They are "modern" special forces. They are proffesional soldiers and use the equipment they think work best against the opponent.
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Old 22 Nov 2007, 18:40   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

Army Ratio:
Most: Space Marines/Tyranids
Least: Tau (never)

Army Points:
750-1500. Friendly.

Model Number:
Small numbers, with elite units.

Core Kill Strategy:
Tau: shooting, SM: assault. Tactics: kill the toughest unit, then the next, and the next etc.

Cleanse, recon or plant the flag (Cityfight)

City, 7-10 ruins.

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Old 22 Nov 2007, 19:33   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame


i mostly face IG, SM and orks

the IG players seem to like bombarding stuff with ordnance, the SM likes to max out the most effective weapons.....
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Old 22 Nov 2007, 23:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

See... Imperial Guard are meant to be that way. If you play guard at 2000 points and cannot get at least 2 ordnace weapons on the feild you are not playing right...

Metagame thinking IS the major factor in 40k. If we all played to 'fluff' then clear winners of battle would be either IG, Nids or Orks.

We need to think 'how can I win yet not be cheesy'?
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Old 23 Nov 2007, 00:01   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

"This particular army used to be 4,000 points. Unfortunately, in the previous battle, most of my troops choices got killed....

Allow me to present : My 2000 point IG army, with 12 Leman Russes."
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Old 26 Nov 2007, 17:59   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

Hi Shas Mak,

I really like this question, as I tend to view myself as a metagamer when the situation suits (competitive tournaments for example). Metagame shouldn't be confused with "grief-gaming", it is better regarded as sport- namely, the highest level of competitive sport. If you're trying to win the Superbowl, you don't need to sign nice players, you need to sign good ones. You can't put 12 men on the field, but you can call a time-out to free the opponent's kicker. These are accepted practices in the highest level of competitive sport, and anything legal in metagame goes.

Definition of Metagame:
The Eldar metagame is about speed and timing. Speed in the movement phase, speed in shooting efficiency and high strength weaponry, and speed in decisive close combats. The Eldar do their business in a specifically timed, "hurry" and battles of attrition are battles we cannot afford.

Army Ratio:
At the highest levels- Chaos, Tyranids, Eldar, Space Marines, and Tau.

The most rare: Pure Ordos (GK's or SoB pure).

Army Points:
Point size definitely affects the metagame. Most competitive tourneys are 1500+, usually 1750 for RTT's, and up to 2500 for the 'Ard Boyz. It's safe to say that in most metagame tournaments I've seen, people want more than 1,250pts.

It absolutely plays a factor in the game because while points may increase, FoC never changes. So if you took an army that's comfortable at 1,500-1,750 and used your whole FoC, raising points can only mean upgrading your existing selections. Too few points will mean losing strategically critical units and/or configurations.

Model Number:
At 1,500pts, I'm normally facing 30-50 models in a MEQ army, and upwards of 120 in a horde army.

Core Kill Strategy:
The majority of metagame strategies I come across are shooting-based, as it is more versatile than the assault options most armies have available. For the most part you're looking at 70% shooting and 30% close combat, usually a defensive counter or some sort of decisive blitz.

Metagame scenarios are incredibly variable, and they should be. Straight kill scenarios might be fun for some mindless bashing, but the game is designed for objectives.

A table I set is not likely to have less than 30% mixed terrain, normally 2-3 pieces of area/level 3, and a dozen mixed level 2's. I've been to some tournaments where scenery is incredibly scant (in fact, I've never been to a tourney with 50% terrain, as it may be unbalancing) like <25%, or sometimes they have area/level 3 and define everything as true LoS, which is a massive pain for an assaulty army.

The main thing with me is that I don't see a big, open-desert line 'em up and shoot 'em until someone runs out of stuff as "metagame". It lacks several competitive dimensions. When you design a tournament list versus a "friendly" metagame, you want to tailor in the latter, and not the former (unless multiple lists are allowed, I've played in a tourney like that this past year and won with a single list). There's nothing wrong with focussing on making the most optimum decisions and taking the gloves off as long as your opponent knows that that's the goal.

- Yriel
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Old 26 Nov 2007, 18:27   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Warhammer 40k Metagame

I'm to young to go in the shop and I play three people one doesn't have a real list and the other two are tau with loads of upgrades not many fire warriors so, I like assault.

Army ratio: tau 99%

Points: low

Model number: 10-20

Core kill strategy: anything that can assault

Scenario: we don't know the proper rules for scenarios and at 500 points we just play till they're dead

Table top: anything

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