RippedDragon put up an article on his blog referencing a post on Bolter and Chainsword. In this post one of the players at our LGS was asking how to beat Ripped. The thing is that Ripped wins most of the tournaments he attends. It’s all covered in the B&C post Ripped linked.
The post on B&C delves into ideal units for taking this out and that out, positioning and maneuvering, etc. All good stuff, don’t get me wrong, but as I posted on Ripped’s blog, the biggest disadvantage most players at the LGS have in facing him is they’re intimidated. Hey, he’s a great player, his record speaks for itself, so it’s easy to see how someone would be intimidated when facing off against him. Being a little intimidated isn’t a bad thing in itself. You’ll think a bit more about making moves, target priority, etc. However, completely succumbing to intimidation will make you do stupid things, over think your plan and only aid in your own defeat.
I’ve played Ripped…three times now (I think), with my Orks (the army I play best with), in tournaments. The first game in my first ever tournament was against him. I had been playing at the shop for a few months by that time and played Ming a handful of times. Ming was talking about just how brutal and effective Ripped’s list was and how he’s virtually undefeated with it. So, when he was my first match in my first tournament, you could say I was intimidated. It was one of the worst losses I’ve taken in a tournament. The following games I played that day went well enough however.
The second time was a smaller tournament we were running on 40K night. I honestly don’t recall much of the match other than I had lost. The last time was in the October tournament. We were both 2-0 for the day and it was going to be a deciding game on the tournament winner. This was the first game I had against him where I went in fueled for a win, anxious to try and go 3-0 that day and most likely win the tournament as a result. That didn’t come to pass, however that game was a hell of a lot closer than my previous matches against him. By refusing to be intimidated I played a good game against a great player.
A game of 40K is a big game of psychology. Making feints, misdirection, sowing uncertainty and much more. We all do these things, some better than others, but we all play the game of psychology. Our counter to it is to recognize these things for what they are and to see through them, to not fall for the bait. Intimidation is another tool in a player’s arsenal. It may not be intended, as is the case with Ripped, he’s not trying to intimidate people. None-the-less, it’s a tool and it’s an easy one to nullify by refusing to be consumed by it. One less tool your opponent has against you puts you one step closer to victory.