Some times you wonder if all those beatings you are receiving on the table are finally going to manifest into something more than bruised pride. You tell yourself that with each loss you are learning, and you should be unless your an egomaniac and blame everything but yourself for the loss. So you take another loss, shake hands, collect your army and think about the match and analyze it pondering where your mistakes were, how you could have played it better. You take those lessons in loss to heart, evaluate your list, adjust your tactics and hope the next game fairs better for you.
I’ve mentioned before that my introduction to 40K was primarily at the hands of Kamui, as well as Dark Heart (another high school buddy). Once the rules were learned and the introduction games were over there were no punches pulled when they played me. Maybe they did pull a few punches but what they did not do was let me win. I fought tooth and nail for losses, the occasional draw, and the extremely rare win. I took those lessons to the LGS when I started playing there and they were invaluable. The guys at the LGS play a handful of games a week typically and are also veterans of 40K. I had about two years under my belt at that point and played once a month usually. I lacked the experience these guys had but I didn’t do poorly overall and held my own. This was my first real indication that all the floggings I was receiving prior were turning me into a better player. When you play the same person over and over, which was typically against Kamui for me, it’s a bit harder to gauge your progress. Sure, you can tell the difference between wins, losses and draws and judge based on which column is collecting more marks but the real test is playing completely different people and face off against armies you’ve never seen and play styles you’re not familiar with.
Having now played at the shop for about eight months I’ve faced off against some of best players in the area and have learned a lot. Last night it all seemed to come to a head as I played the two players who ranked 1st and 2nd for the ‘ard Boyz preliminary in the area. The first game was against Space Wolves for objectives and I pulled out my first win against this player ever. The second game was against a Mechanized Eldar player, also for objectives, and I got another win, only the second time against this player. Both games were played at 1,500 and I was using my Speedmek Ork style list.
Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised at how things went last night. Of the past six games I’ve had I have won five of them, the best run I’ve had yet. I’m not bragging here. My point is that we all need to take our losses as learning experiences to better ourselves. If you can play as many people as possible, it will only make you a better player. Playing in a small group is fun, I’m all for drinking beer and shooting the shit while we play, but at some point you will probably plateau as a player if that’s all you do. Also play the best players you can and keep your chin up. You may lose a lot against the best players but at the same time you should be learning from them. Having an impressive win record means nothing if you’re playing inferior opponents all the time. I’ll gladly take my beat up and scarred record any day playing against awesome 40K players than being undefeated against people I could play blindfolded.