Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Being A Tournament Newbie

It's been a good couple of years now since Matt and I made our debut on the tournament scene. It was the Freebootaz doubles and rather miraculously we placed 3rd! Ever since then we've struggled to replicate that performance whether in singles or doubles play. However, the main thing for both of us is the joy of playing competitively.

I often meet people who are playing in their first tournament or even sometimes those who have come along to watch because "they don't feel like their ready for a tournament just yet". This article is aimed at those people in a bid to expand the UK tournament scene so that I don't just see the same old faces (you know who you are!). So what can you expect at a tournament then?

Well frankly it depends on what you expect from it. Personally I attend tournaments to play somebody different and make me really think about how to best use my army. For others it's the painting competition and some just like the banter. There's also that small group who attend with the intention of winning. Let's get something straight, they're most certainly the minority. I'm not talking about people like myself who'd love to win but just aren't that good/harsh/lucky. I'm talking about those who aren't interesting in anything but winning. These are often referred to as WAACers on internet forums meaning Win At All Costs. For the tournament newcomer these are the guys who are most likely to put you off the scene.

This is a massive shame because, as I've said, they're most certainly the minority. In the tournament games I've had I've only come across these guys on a couple of occasions. Therefore don't let this be the reason you don't go to a tournament. Similarly, if you don't think you're competitive enough don't let that stop you either. With the exception of the first game you're most likely going to be paired up with someone of a similar skill level (or someone that was lucky/unlucky). This means that if you're only coming along for a bit of a laugh and bringing a list that reflects that then you'll likely find yourself playing like minded people towards the end of the day.

As in most things in life there'll always be someone better than you and equally plenty of people a lot worse than you. Over the course of a few tournaments you'll probably play a mix of these people. This will only help to improve your game. When you play the top players you'll doubtless pick up a few things from them and when you play the other guys you'll see them doing something wrong that you know full well you've done in the past.

The other thing to consider is the rules. When I first went to a tournament I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the rules of the game. I was wrong. Every single time I've been to a tournament I've discovered something I'm doing wrong or a rule I'd misinterpreted. Sometimes there's a moment like this in every game! Ultimately, whether you choose to believe it or not, playing by the rules is important. Not just because you don't want to be cheating your way to victory but also because the armies are designed with the rules in mind. If you aren't playing it right then your army might be performing better or worse than it should.

Anyway, I'm rambling now and I'm meant to be getting to the airport so let me leave you with a few points in summary:
  • Don't be put off by the WAACers. They aren't what the tournament scene is about
  • Don't worry about how competitive your army is, there's a lot of luck in who you get drawn against
  • Winning isn't everything. I've been to tournaments and lost nearly every game but still enjoyed it
  • No one will judge you for not knowing the rules - half of the time they're probably just assuming something that turns out to be wrong
So with all this in mind now comes the shameless plug for my tournament, Blog Wars 3. For anyone who hasn't played in a tournament before or has been to one but was put off I'd say BW3 is an excellent place to start/pick back up. Despite people saying a friendly tournament couldn't exist and still have prizes the first two Blog Wars did just that. Grab yourself a ticket and come along. It's only £15 for a whole Saturday's entertainment. For more details click on the BW3 logo on the right, below the ticket link. I hope to see you there!

PS. I'm now away for a couple of weeks but hotel WiFi permitting I'll answer any emails I get. Not had chance to schedule any posts though so it'll be a bit quiet on here until I'm back. See you on the other side!


  1. I'll second Alex's comments about BW being great for your first tournament - me and a few friends went to BW1 for our first tournament and it was awesome! A great way to get into competitive playing in a non-competitive environment.

  2. I've been wanting to head up to a BW event but Maelstrom is "just" that bit too far. And its not like I'm worried about a bit of a drive for a good day out!

    If you are interested, I am currently organising a friendly tournament on the 40KOnline community down south (near Bristol). You can find more details HERE. We've built up a loyal following and always look to include different faces for exactly the same reasons you say!

    We also particularly "frown" upon WAACS... its really NOT the spirit of the day we try to foster!

  3. This has made me really want to try a friendly tournament. Unfortunately my army won't be painted by BW3. :( Roll on BW4!

  4. These sort of articles do make me wish I would pull my finger out and give a tournament a go.

  5. As A tournament newcomer, played my second ever big tournament in Jan at Caledonian and I have to say everyone I've met and everyone I've played has been incredibly friendly, even at the top tables where the 'waac' players tend to be, each and everyone has answered any questions and been super friendly towards me!

    So I highly recommend going to a tournament, the bigger the better imo, and see for yourselfs! It's not a different game that's played, you get to play games with people who you've never seen before and play lists that totally different to the norm, it's a challenging and very enjoyable way to spend time.

  6. Hi, nice Blog, now following, any chance I can get my Blog on your Blogroll please :D Just dded yours to mine, Thanks



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