Ruthless Casual #2: The Cogito

Now then, in the first meditation, I established that the current use of the word 'competitive' is wrong on all accounts, although I am too small-time to prevent this grievous misuse. But that really wasn't the point. The point was to reclaim the word 'competitive,' and to establish the concept of hyper-efficient gameplay.

Think about it. Your typical HE list is transports, Anni-Barges, meltaguns, etc. Why? Not because they are good, but because they are efficient. The HE player selects the best units they can get and still have room for more stuff. This also explains the idea of MSU, as it allows greater fire spread and flexibilty, again more efficient than buying a blob unit.

If we're going for weapon metaphors, the HE player is the meltagun, and the Ruthless Casual player the plasma gun. The meltagun costs ten points and therefore is the cheapest one-shot AT gun in the game. The plasma gun costs more, fires more, has more range, but could blow up, which is about as efficient as boiling water on a tiny campfire. It is also a tad weaker.

Here's an experiment. The following is a 1500 point Chaos list:

Daemon Prince- Wings, MoN, Warptime- 175
Daemon Prince- Wings, MoN, Warptime- 175
5 CSMs- meltagun, in Rhino- 120
5 CSMs- meltagun, in Rhino- 120
5 CSMs- meltagun, in Rhino- 120
5 Plague Marines- 2 meltagun, in Rhino- 170
5 Plague Marines- 2  meltagun, in Rhino- 170
3 Obliterators- 225
3 Obliterators- 225

Or, in HE language:
14 KPs
2 Monsters
25 bolters, 5 of which are twin-linked
7 melta
6 Oblit weapons

Average PPM: 39.5-ish

Here's a 1250 list I wrote for Twin K for the second four-way, boosted to 1499 (that I could feasibly make with my own minis):

Ahriman- 250
9 Thousand Sons inc. Sorceror with melta-bombs and Doombolt, in a Rhino with extra armour-309
15 Chaos Marines with 2 melta guns- 245
15 Chaos Marines with plasma gun, missile launcher- 260
2 Obliterators- 150
5 Havocs with 3 missile launchers and 1 autocannon- 155
Predator with lascannon sponsons and dozer blade- 135

Or, in HE language:
8 KPs
1 waste of points
36 bolters, 7 of which are AP3, 1 is twin-linked
2 melta
2 auto
2 las
4 missile
2 Oblit weapons

Average PPM: 30.6-ish

I look at these totals and I notice four obvious points of comparison:

  • The first army is more mobile than the second army
  • The second army has more units over 200 points than the first army
  • The second army has more types of weapons than the first army
  • The first army is much more short-range than the second army
I also notice that the second army is somehow both more and less points-efficient than the first army. Theoretically it is more efficient, since on average each model is cheaper. However, if I lose one of the 200+ units, that's a big blow to the overall performance of the army.

This leads me to one very obvious conclusion as to what Ruthless Casual has to be:

Ruthless Casual is riskier but more rewarding.

If I buy a meltagun, I am confident that I have made a reliable purchase that improves my army's AT. If I purchase a plasma gun, I know that it could bust open something AV11 or less, or permadown a few infantry, or it could blow up. Furthermore, I have paid 5 more points for this privilege. HE players do not want risk at all, they want performance, which explains a lot about their attitude to things like Possessed, Chaos Dreads, and Orks.

I'll be coming back to Possessed, as I want to expand on something about them. For now though, I can happily conclude my second meditation having found one clear point about my own gaming style, which I call Ruthless Casual. It's sort of in the blog title, no?

Coming up: Meditation 3: The Secret of the Possessed Squad and why I don't consider myself pure casual.