I think every gamer nerd, regardless of gender, is familiar with the cycles of games. What was killer cheeseball one edition gets hit with the nerfbat in the next, all in the name of "balance" (and really, in the name of profit, because nothing ever actually balances except the gamemakers' checkbooks when you spend more money to buy whatever'll keep you winning.) We've talked a little on this blog before about making themey lists instead of cheesy lists, making characters instead of powergaming, that sort of thing... the idea that some armies/classes/specs/colors/whatever are more powerful than others is pretty standard, right?
I got into 40k about...oh... early 2004? Something like that. And I didn't really build my own army until the Witch Hunters codex came out in that summer, and I became a decent player during that fall after the 4th edition rulebook came out. I was a newbie to the geek world at the time, and although I understood that some armies were cheesier than others (or beardier...do people still say beardy? We used to say beardy.) I didn't understand that this could change at the drop of a hat. A combination of MtG, WoW, 40k, and D&D taught me this.
Anyway, fast forward nearly 10 years, and now I understand that while blue might rule in this set, it's one prerelease away from being kindling, and while my holy numbers pale in comparison to the discoball next to me, give it a patch and I could well be back on top...or at the very least we could both be underneath a paladin. (Why is it always a paladin?)
Right, 40k. For years, Khorne was the end-all be-all of armies. 26 points for a whole group of power-weapon toting models that deep strike to annihilate everything in their path? Helllooooooo! And Khorne berserkers - an extra attack and bloodrage across the board? Why not?! Khornate possessed with rending claws - charge into melee on turn two, four attacks off the charge and sixes deny armor saves? There's no downside! I played all of fourth in a bitchin' khorne army, part of 5th before my demons got ripped away from me, and then took some time off until the new Chaos codex came out for 6th edition. Sometime during that time off, it became Khorne's turn to take a nerf.
Yep, that's right. I am officially no longer playing the flavor of the month. Or decade, as it were.
I don't mean to sound like my khorne can't win - it can, and does - but when put up against a very good player with a very good list, especially one dedicated to the other Chaos gods, and especially if they forsake all idea of character or theme and build to kill? I'm doomed, DOOMED! I LOVE my khornate army, with their red and gold paint job and their massive handfuls of dice ("Let's see, that's three Mutilators, so two attacks base plus one for two close combat weapons plus two for charging is five attacks each, fifteen total, with power axes and rerolls because I hate space marines, then my lord, that's three attacks base plus one for two close combat weapons, plus two for charging, plus d6 for the demon weapon..rolled a four...that's 10 attacks from him....25 attacks total.") but I'm not quite as big a fan of getting tabled by a god that used to get laughed at. Since when are Nurgle and Slaanesh so damn good? WTF!
How do you reconcile your army falling through the nerftree and hitting every branch on the way down? Swap armies? Deal with the loss? Build the cheesiest list you can? Take some time off and enter some painting contests?
*sigh, grumble, growl*