In addition to building, painting, and collecting Warhammer 40,000 there are many ways to explore the Grimdark universe on the tabletop- narrative games, campaign games, and competitive tournament play.
As you build your army, find your player personality, and explore the tactics of the game I want to recommend that next step of playing in a tournament at some point.
Even as a narrative player, playing in and experiencing the tournament scene can and will help take your game to that next tactical level.
In this Hostile Galaxy 40K post we are going to give you the tools and tech to have the best tournament experience and cut down on the learning curve for competitive 40K.
Why play in a tournament?
For many of us playing in a local gaming club or store, over time, a group personality begins to emerge.
The group enjoys playing certain games, and favors certain factions in the game. Playing the same opponents regularly is great fun, and build the social narrative of friendly rivalries, but over time you begin to regularly know what is going to happen.
If I’m playing my World Eaters, you know I’m going to run across the table regardless of what you shoot at me with and put you to the bolt pistol and chain sword.
Participating in the tournament scene will shock you out of this- drawing different players from the area, all with different ideas and playstyles that you will get to face and test yourself against. In that moment on the table, you will have to make new decisions and be able to see them play out over the game.
Being on the spot in the moment, is an amazing catalyst for growth.
Even a smaller Rogue Trader type tournament at the local gaming store will draw in new players and new armies that you won’t regularly face in your local gaming circles.
Likewise, you will get to see a variety of armies in action.
Armies similar to yours that can offer some excellent feedback on refining your list, and new armies that perhaps you have never considered challenging before.
Think of a tournament as an intensive Warhammer 40K training workshop to make you a better player.
But one still has to uphold the honor of the club of gaming store they represent- so let’s explore a checklist of tactica to give you the best chances of winning.
The first jump off point is to of course be familiar with your army and how it works on the tabletop, and much of this is done by physically playing games. While battle reports and unit tactica on YouTube and hobby sites is important, and should be used, nothing compares to the tabletop level of moving models and rolling dice.
In terms of tournament prep it is all about getting the games in, and being decisive in your actions on the table.
One of the most efficient ways of doing this is to play a game to turn three and stop- looking at the positons on the table, and asking if it continued who would most likely win the game.
Doing this allows you to play multiple games of 40K very fast, getting in 2-3 games in the same time a regular narrative game of 40K would play. Setting aside a day of gaming and tournament prep with this format means you can easily get a dozen games in.
Playing to the mid-point of the game also helps you become a decisive player- vital in tournament time, and the efficient use of time on the table, since many tournament games have a set time to complete the game for a round.
Play to the mid-point being decisive and who would most likely win if it continued.
Reset and repeat.
The other half of your pre-tournament prep is to explore and play the missions if they have been released before the event, or if not possible missions from a previous event. This allows you to layer over your own army tactics and start thinking of how to play them for the event.
Also consider exploring what the current popular 40K army builds are right now, and what combinations based on what Games Workshop has recently released as there is a good chance you will encounter them in competitive play.
While you are refining your tactics and getting in tournament play based games, we are going to jump over to the hobby side for a moment.
Many tournaments offer prizes and ranking for best painted armies and other aspects of the modeling hobby, and perhaps this is something you want to consider and compete in as it is a major part of the Warhammmer hobby, but on a very utilitarian level you are going to want to build a display board for your army.
Some of these display boards can be very elaborate with terrain pieces and become almost a diorama, while other are more utilitarian with sections cut out for each of the bases for your models.
Here is why you need one for your own army.
Tournaments are timed events, a number of rounds of play through the day, often with little time between each round. Game can be mentally taxing and you don’t want to have to pack and unpack your army between each round.
Making a display board means that at the start of the tournament you unpack your models, and as you play games, and take model losses, they get placed back on the display board, at the end of the game, you are all set up to move to the next game just by carrying the display board to a new table. You want to have your entire army set and ready to go each turn, stress free, giving you time to mentally reset between each game.
During the event, in addition to testing your tactical skills, use the time to network and build your 40K social resources. If you are a Tyranids player, what are some of the other Tyranid armies like at the event? What is working for those players? By exploring other armies talking to players, this is a chance to pull experience outside of your regular gaming circle. Tournaments are a great place to make new hobby friends and perhaps even build a team for future events or even getting together to practice for future events.
Placing in the Top
The final layer on our tournament checklist if the structure of the rounds themselves- how to position yourself to rank the highest in the event, and work towards placing in the top five. Layer this advice as a template as the actual structure of each tournament and how the missions are ranked in terms of points can vary greatly.
Many events are not a straight win-loss setup, assigning battle points that you can win for not only winning the game, but also achieving other objectives throughout the game. In this format you can also lose the game, yet still earn points.
Often one might see something like this for each game played:
Win Game: +10 battle points.
Lose Game: +0 battle points.
Secondary Objectives: +5 battle points.
In formats like this you can lose a game and still gain some battle points, or even win the game and not gain all the battle points.
Consider this type of ranking as an advantage player.
How can you use a format that is not 100% win or loss to your advantage?
If you want to be #1 in the tournament and the grand winner, 100% you are going to have to not only win every game, but also pick up all the secondary points for each game- and this *is* something you should strive for, but it is a very much all or nothing strategy that tests everything on the table.
Every point of your game needs to be flawless and alpha.
I want to encourage you to go all in and win everything in the name of the Immortal God Emperor of Mankind- anything less will get you reported to the Inquisition and assigned to a penal battalion.
But even if you *don’t* win every game flawlessly you can still place and win some glory and perhaps some loot as you work on your skills over playing though numerous tournaments.
If you are not fully there yet with your tactics, there is *still* a chance to win with some Alpha Legion tactical execution…
The first game of the event is usually the most difficult since it is the most random.
Often many events will randomize everybody playing for the first match- you could be playing a Youngblood to 40K who just started, or a complete tournament ace on the table.
For that first game you are going to go all in and aim to win 100% of the battle points.
However, by mid game, just as you practiced in the training games, if you see that you can’t win the primary mission, abandon it, and put whatever model resources you still have left on the table into securing all the secondary or bonus battle points that you can. If you are not crushing it, trying to still win everything will leave you with winning nothing.
This will still keep you in the middle pack of ranking for the next round or two- a chance to break out and still earn enough battle points in the later games to place in the top five.
If you crush the first game, going into the next round with a full score plus bonus points, again try to win everything- and if you are by mid game, at that point pull back a bit.
DON’T win all the points every round.
The model for this is that if you are flawless victory every game, sucking up all the battle points, you will find yourself at the top tables later on in the event, playing against players like yourself who will be forced into an all-or-nothing game.
You either get all the points or none of the points- with one player getting knocked out and cast down to the middle tier of the ranking in the final game of the tournament.
Perhaps consider the tactics to put yourself in a few tables behind for the final game, crush that final game, and catapult into the top five rankings at the end…
With that you now have the tools, tech, and working talent to expand your 40K tactics through tournament play- consider tournaments and competitive 40K as a way to grow your game beyond your comfort zone, winning glory on hostile battlefields of the far future.
See you on the table.
From the Hostile Galaxy Team: Wargamer Fritz brings us another excellent article! Thank for taking the time to read through it. We hope you found his advice helpful and we invite you to check back again soon for the next one! You can find Wargamer Fritz on YouTube as well as on his personal website. Be sure to check him out!
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