Monday, July 18, 2011

SONAR! Submarine Detected!

Submarining in Warhammer 40k is an interesting concept. Just as a submarine can cruise below the surface, surfacing to destroy a target – a submarine in Warhammer 40k is someone who cruises through the middle/upper layer of the pack without surfacing at the top until the end.

Since my 40k career began, I’ve discarded this idea – I prefer to win big or lose big. And ultimately, almost every GT experience I’ve ever had has been identical: I start off strong, get to the top early, and the rest of my games are fending off whomever has the closest number of battlepoints / strongest wins. Every massacre pits me against another player who’s doing as well as I am. In the end, I’ve either defended myself against all the other top performers, or I didn’t.

The “didn’t” part is where this article comes in. Wargamescon ended not too long ago, and I sat on Table #1 for four games in a row. I ended up in 11th place after taking a 30 point dive to Ben Mohlie in the last round, and all the armies in front of me that I *wanted*to play against…placed ahead of me, and I didn’t get to play them – they never made it up to table #1 where I was fighting off the other max point (or close to max point) players.

Submarining doesn’t have to be intentional. Whether people do it on purpose or not….I have no idea. I’ve always given every game 100%. I don’t place perfect correlation between table placement and player skill (like saying, “The players on table #1 are better than the players on table #3), but having many virtually identical experiences at GTs, where I’m consistently playing against the top performers, where we are ultimately knocking each other out to see a contender from table #2-6 rise up and win….

It makes me wonder if I should aspire to be on tables #2-6. Somewhere in the 85th percentile of points starting out instead of in the 100th percentile. Start off GTs with a win, but not a massacre…so that I can cruise my way up the middle (in theory) to pop up at the end, not having to have played any of the max point players.

I remember one event where my opponent told the judge that him playing me must have been a mistake because he had intentionally not scored full points so that he wouldn’t have to pair up against my army. He thought it must have been a mistake because I generally am sitting on or near the top point-wise. Submarining? I’m beginning to think that I should start aiming a little lower at GTs to make the ride to the end smoother.