Tuesday, April 26, 2011

40k the psychological part

I once played a game against Alex Fennell, a very talented 40k sevant from England.  He now lives in Maine and is part of cold steel mercs, a well known club in the NE.  I was still new at demons and it was my first tournament with them.  Needless to say my list was sub par, however his list was unoptimal aswell.  It was a small rogue trader type tournament with 24ish people, and he had brought his pirate themed orks.  It was his fun army vs my poorly built demons.  Meaning it would have truely been a battle of generalship.

Well we started off on our game, and I got my ass ripped up.  Not because of list.  Not because of match up.  Not because of mission.  Because of DICE!  No...  Lol it was because he out played me.  It's not often I'm outplayed honestly, but I try to learn the most of it when it happens.  What was the conclusion I came to?  Simple, he got into my head, made me indecisive, made it so I was trying to half ass a lot of things, instead of comitting to anything etc...  As to how he did that I'm still very unsure, but it happened, and I lost because of it.

To bring up more examples.  Last year at NOVA I played Dash of pepper.  Truth be told we were both in each others heads.  Both of us are well known tournament goers with relatively impressive records, and scary armies.  We both feared our game with each other.  As much as I was winning or losing the mental game he was winning or losing the same.  When we got started though, I was still a nervous wreck and Dash (who was buzzed) got his cool back.  Maybe through booze, maybe because he's mentally tougher.  (I do believe he was in the army at one point)  Whatever the case, he tore me a new one.  Again, simply because he got in my head.  (Although this game was far more dice based)

My game this year at mechanicon against Matt Cassidy is yet another good example.  We basically figured out we would be playing at the top table sunday morning, and we both spent all Saturday night talking it up over dinner with our respective collegues (fancy language gets girls) about how to best destroy one another.  While evetually I came to the conclusion the match up (while it could easily go either way) was in my favor.  He probably came to the same conclusion and came down Sunday morning nervous, while I was calm and ready to play.  It was because of this that I managed to table his foot guard (over 200 models!) 

As much as players might not want to admit it, many games are won and lost before they start, all because of psychology.  It goes along the mantra of if you go into a game confident you will do well, vs going into the game unconfident and doing poorly.  A lot of times, less known players see my name on the match up sheet early on and get disheartened, because they are aware of my many GT placings.  They give up on the game before it starts, and that is often why my round ones never seem difficult to me.  I'm sure this sort of thing happens to the more experiencedd of us all the time.  But that is just one of the many ways you can get in your opponents head,  I'm sure there are many, many others. 

I want to know your thoughts on the role of psychology in 40k, and how you implement it to your advantage,


  1. I've treated 40k like poker. First, there's the hard numbers. Then, the strategy. Finally, the psychology. When you get in someone's head, you're putting them off their game. Mental resilience is a boon in playing competitive 40k.

    One player I met would talk endlessly during the opponent's deployment, chatting about different armies and games. Another one played with feigned surprise when his dice were rolling well, like "I can't believe this list is working!" One nameless, anonymous dude was so frightened of Witch Hunters at Battle for Salvation that he spilled Coca-cola all over his opponent's list. That's master psychology right there! :P

    I'm not at the level yet of manipulating my opponents. Playing Daemons, there's a slight edge that compliments my style: being capable of anything at any time. More experienced players don't let that rattle them, but they at least have to pay attention.

  2. Usually if I have to play someone I dont like being around it throws off my game. Sucks when it happens in large events.