|I hope you'll all read this in my voice|
I've been thinking about the general philosophy of how to build a list. There's been a long running debate as to how much the armies you expect to face should factor into your list construction. Is it better to prepare to respond to any opponent, or to prepare to make your opponent respond to you? While a matter of personal preference, I've always been one for plans. However, the game has changed with the two, soon to be three codices of sixth edition, and especially the addition of alliances to the game. For the tournament player, having a plan for what to do in each game is the first step to victory. Let's look at the type of plans we'll have to be making, shall we?
The basis of every plan is information, both about your army and your opponent's army. I've been playing Tau for years, so I understand that there are times when moving forward is necessary and beneficial. Before you start playing an army in tournament you should have enough games with them under your belt to understand how to play them both to maximize advantages and minimize disadvantages. But my understanding of Tau no longer suffices to inform me of my options of what to bring to a tournament. Now I also need to at bare minimum understand how Space Marines and Eldar can synergize with my Tau. If I wanted to expand my options, I would consider what any army except Tyranids and Chaos Daemons, Dark Eldar and Sisters of Battle could bring me. In short, my options are vast and require more effort to comprehend than they did a year ago.
|Information, the first principle of warfare...|
Now I'm sure some of you knew every matchup for your army during fifth edition, from those where a single die could decide the game either way to those where playing was just a formality. But how many of you know all fifty-five matchups for your army? Do you know how to react to an armada of Tau and Necrons? How about a mob of Templar and Blood Angels? There's a plan that can solve all your problems with these matchups, one that will make your considerations disappear.
In the game Go there is an old proverb: When in doubt, Tenuki. It can mean anything from focusing your attention on a different part of the board to simply refusing to react to your opponent's plays and force them to react to yours. You could continue trying to consider your matchups in terms of how you will counter your opponent's plays...or you could make plays that force your opponent's hand and consider how to exploit their reactions. I can't tell you how those Templar are going to try to rip my face off, but I can tell you they won't be paying as much attention to my face when this dragon is trying to cook them. I don't think I'd have to worry about my hair, which leaves me time to worry about their backfield and how I can get their units off objectives with my other units while they're busy.
Playing reactively, either on the table or when you're planning what to bring to the table is a losing gambit, and I really don't like those. Here's what I like a plan where I win, even if I look like I'm losing. Not just a fient, but a plan where my death could spell my final victory. I'm going to go look for some ways to make that work. Go find something to paint, I've got plans to make.