40k Corner: Practical Meta for the Casual Gamer

Hey all, Oak here!

Back from the battlefields and fresh with the dust and wounds of battle, I stride into your living rooms, offices, haunted forests or dungeon cells.

This is my summer battlefield.  Here, there is only WAR.

I wrote previously on how we should all calm the heck down with each new book release because ultimately there’s always a way of putting the nails in the coffin.  Specifically before, it was about the Eldar book.  Now, I’m looking about what it actually means for a casual gamer.

(Un)Fortunately this post will be more of a discussion than anything because I can’t for the life of me reach conclusions because it’s tough to make broad proclamations on a culture that is definitely world wide.  I’ll let you know what I generally think after the break….

So after my video battle reports got out on the the interwebs (link here if you’re interested in meeting me in person), I got thinking about how quickly things can change in the world of what has become known as ‘Competitive 40k’.  There were quite a few comments deriding my host for taking a “Broken” Necron Decurion Super Detachment.  I can’t fault him at all, because I asked for a challenge.  Boy did I get one.

At the time, he was using an army about a month old, and I was using an army about a year (and an edition previous) old.  Despite my previous successes, I hadn’t anticipated running into something this strong, and the result was predictable.  I did need to roll the dice to see for myself, and now I can see what people are getting at…

I am convinced I could beat the Necrons if I take it back to the drawing board with my Guard, but that’s not easy.  I’ve tuned my army to defeat my local players.  It’d take a heck of a lot of effort to buy, build, and paint the new miniatures in order to make this happen…

But since March, 2 whole new armies have been summoned out of the void. Shiny, new, and brilliantly loaded with kick-ass, it’s been tough for me to keep from spending a WHACK of dough… Gun-crabs in particular, because they look so amazing…..

Hubba hubba.


If I was interested in staying super competitive with my lists, and staying ahead of the meta-curve, I’d need to be dropping what seems to be a minimum of $400 per month.  Being a ‘competitive gamer’ has its costs, apparently.

Does the average casual gamer have those kinds of funds available?  Personally, I’m on a budget of approximately $100 CAD per month, and I’m kind of at the upper end for my little group.  Realistically, I blow the budget every month when you factor in paint, and moments of (Oakenwife sanctioned) weakness, but the fact remains that not everyone can jump out and get the latest flavour of kick-ass.

So what I’m trying to emphasize here is the time element between something dropping and being practically implemented.

Totally Ridiculous Example:
“Everyone’s fielding iKnights at a tournament next month?  Simple.  Spam melta drop pods.” (Disclaimer: Don’t do this.)

My GW cart tells me this would cost in excess of $300 (CAD) for 6 drop pods, and another $300+ for the troops and Sternguard and and and….

This is great if I’ve got about $600+ to spend in order to prepare for the tournament next month.  But I don’t.  I also don’t have the motivation, time, or desire to paint 30+ marines and 6 immobile re-entry buckets.  I know these figures are discounting the possibility of after-market dealings but *shhhh*

This would be around 6 months of my regular hobby budget, and I’ve got 1 month to prepare for the tournament….

No, I’m very content to let the game come to me and Engineer solutions using what I have available and the budget I have to spend to expand where I have need.  Bonus points if my solution utilizes amazing looking models.  At least I wasn’t the one to rush out to the store to spend $800 on 4 gigantic walkers…

Thanks for bringing me back on topic, Austin.

I like to think I’m not the only person in this boat (read: income bracket).  Financial restrictions form a reasonable and natural barrier to prevent most people (or at least, ME) from being ass-hats.  A very shallow analysis, I know.

The weekly release schedule has generally sped up the process about thinking, but unfortunately has generated a Fox News style cycle of panic woe and despair.

Does it really serve anyone to get wrapped up in all of the rumours and fear-mongering and panic that you sometimes see on the internet as soon as a book drops?

Not really.

Having said this, you will on occasion see people rush out and spend all the monies all at once, but maybe they’ve been waiting for this release for YEARS (I watched someone actually buy 3 of those iKnight Wardens at the shop this past Sunday, point in fact).  In which case, kudos for having more control than I do on a monthly basis.

Whether or not this is a sound business strategy remains to be seen… but it’s tough to make judgements when the edition is only half complete.  In the meantime…

So has anyone here been noticing the impact of large shifts in their local meta directly resultant of these new book drops, or weekly miniature release schedules?  Or are the reactions online to weekly releases totally overblown for the casual gamer?  I’ll be lurking below…

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