Monday, December 28, 2015
"Meta" is stupid.
I decided to write up a little rant here. I don't tend to rant because, honestly, results always speak for themselves. It is when someone actually questions this basic law of reality that I start getting a little warm around the collar.
For those who even care about such things, let me tell you that if you look in the top 40 ITC rankings as of today, you will find the names of no less than eight people who attend the events I'm at. That's just the ones whose names I know. 5 of them are in the top 25. I normally wouldn't bother pointing that out. I don't find that particularly relevant, because it ignores the FAR more numerous games you play outside those events which are no less difficult and against the same competition. That being said, it was brought to my attention on a forum I frequent that my "meta sucks". I laugh for all the obvious reasons and wanted to offer a point of reference people can't argue with.
Aside from these players, a large number of other notables play in my "meta". One of them placed in the top 5 of 'Ard Boyz when that was a thing, and the field of competition was pretty large every year (basically you had to win 12 games in a row, just about, to make it). Another pair are twins (the infamous Skewis brothers), who win nigh every tournament they enter, though they play less now. I myself have gone undefeated in 50+ player events in several states, and once more at a heavily comp'd event. I attended TSHFT, plus a couple Seattle GT's and never lost more than one game. I have a sack full of medals and other honorifics for the various other tournaments and Best Generals I have won, not just in 40K but also in Flames of War and Star Wars X-Wing etc... Pretty much any tabletop game you can compete in, I've probably got awards for.
Why do I waste your time tooting my own horn about all this, other than to squash some know-nothing on another forum who thinks, wrongly, that he knows me and my meta? Here's why: the idea of meta is stupid. I want to address that.
Even though I play in what any fair minded person would consider a strong meta (decide for yourself but I 'd say I do), and complete with the usual Forge World nonsense and uber builds showing up from Portland Oregon to Vancouver BC, it doesn't matter. Every single person reading this blog plays with the same codex's I do! Everyone has access to the same online resources I do. Every one reading has the same rulebook (give or take the occasional linguistic difference of course). Everyone. If people choose, they even use the same house rules (ITC for example). So really the only difference in "meta" is whether or not you use ITC rulings or something similar for the event!
Yet this word has been expanded by people to mean a
LOT more than that.
They have pooled player quality, list strength, and a variety of other
less significant factors into a thing they collectively call
"meta". Those things aren't
one thing. They are multiple
things. However "meta" has wrongly
been made to mean all of it because people who run out of things to say, attack "your
meta" as if they could even know. Lol. The last bastion of cowardice for online
folks is to attack that nebulous "thing" called " Meta".
It isn't as if Eldar players on one coast don't know what the ones on the other coast do! This isn't mysterious stuff. Suggesting that the lists these people know how to make are different is asinine. So why don't all armies look alike? Why is it that in a field of 250 players, you can't find two identical lists or if you do, it's the needle in the haystack? The answer is, there is no true "best list" against which no one can prevail for Eldar (I'm speaking of ITC-like events). There is no such thing for Space Marines either. Several Eldar Generals with highly similar lists to the winners, lost. How could it possibly happen if the list or codex were beyond any doubt the cause of wins and losses? Lol.
At the Ambassadorial Tournament this year, two Eldar lists that were markedly different won their respective brackets. One was pretty well a balanced bag of Eldar tricks while the other was a sledge hammer. Both got the job done. The year before? No Eldar at the top at all. There really are more ways to skin the cat and a "weak meta" isn't one in which the non-sledge hammer plays nor is the "strong meta" the one in which the sledge hammer plays. Both were present. Did the lists win or did the Generals? Before you say "codex", notice the Eldar didn’t even make top table the year before!
You know where they proved their ability? On the tabletop. Not on some forum.
I am often quoted as saying that "The General matters more". So how is it that a "meta" can "suck" when its Generals are in the top 25 plus those playing/learning against them? What, did these top generals not take some online personalities pet unit so now maybe they should give their victories back? Absurd. These generals didn't subscribe to some online personalities concept of a mythical "best list" so they don’t get to count their tournament wins? Ridiculous. It's so stupid to even have to discuss this, yet these are what the online conversations are like. Keyboard courage is a thing.
Moreover, there are several excellent Generals in our area who don’t even show in the ITC rankings (or are way down at the bottom) because, like me, they don't care enough about the rankings to bother with it. Someone told me "well if you're not going to ITC events then…" Oh really? You want to know how stupid that makes one sound? Here's a true story: the last two ITC events I went to were 8 man affairs in some one's garage. Lol. People have a really inflated idea of what "ITC event" even means, just like they do the word "
Meta". I think I got points for those events, if
they even get reported.
Doesn't matter. What I do know is the guy who beat me for the win is really good and he's got the same stacks of wins to prove it that I do. Beat him if you think you're up to it. Yet the ITC barely knows who he is. Thus my disdain for even bothering to mention rankings; but again, apparently, people think they matter so I mentioned them for a point of reference.
Unless we are going to start requiring people to win 50+ events or Adepticon just to have opinions on forums, people need to get over this "meta" argument altogether and deal more directly with one another. It's a garbage argument. Every one of those smart asses on those forums would be absolutely silent if that was what was required to be heard. There would only be a few of us talking then, wouldn't there be?
There is some truth to the idea that in certain places, excellent generals choose to play friendlier lists out of a sense of sportsmanship. Never mistake that courtesy as weakness.