Friday, February 4, 2011

Question for the Community; Do You Think There is a Meta Game?

Old School here with a Question for the Community concerning the existence of the Metagame. The metagame is defined as a source of influence into the game that is not directly related to the rules, rather the metagame is a web of unit choices, combinations, USR and common army list builds that a player may percieve to be common enough at any given time to influence the type of army, army list and tactics he or she may use.

With that being said, there are some established arguements on whether the metagame exists or not. One side states that a sold Take-All-Comers list defeats the idea of Meta because it is balanced to stand on its own against any other army or take-all-comers army. The other side states that you cannot build such a take-all-comers list without taking into consideration the common units and weapons (like mech and melta) and the weapons you would need to combat them.

I have also heard some people say that when considering National level GTs, there is no meta because every list present is a list balanced to take on anything, while more localized scenes have a meta based on the common armies (marines for most areas, in our case, Daemons).

So, as you can see, there is some food for thought here when it comes to the issue. What do you think? Is there an ever-evolving metagame that really is the controling factor on competitive list building? Or do you think there is no such thing as Meta and balanced army lists by nature defeat the idea of Meta-gaming?
Are you in-between, saying there is meta, but only to a degree?

I will reserve my own opinion for a later post, but for now, would like to see some intelligent commentary from the other authors and from the community as a whole? What do you think?


  1. I think all the situations you outlined there exsist simultainiously. I do think that there is a Meta Game but this Meta Game is largely influenced at a local level (ie: gaming club) and the gamers favored gaming environments (ie: Tournaments)

    You could even say that everything that you just outlined there IS the Meta Game, as all those situations exsist and have a massive impact on the way we collect and game.

    I tend to build armies based on the 'Take on All Comers' model, mainly 'cos i dont want 5 different versions of the same army! I also have a Fluffy Army of Death Korps, which has never won a game yet!!

    So yes i think that there is a Meta Game, but its just larger than we all realise!

  2. I would say that there is a metagame; not quite as powerful as it is in MtG, but present nonetheless. On a local level it's much stronger, you have the guys who run weird lists or have less popular armies that you have to take into account when building.

    But even on a larger scale; building a balanced list is in itself making a metagame decision. It does the same thing as taking a specific deck/sideboard to a MtG tourney; minimizes the number of bad matchups for your list. Taking melta to kill armor, or templates for lots of guys on foot? That's playing to the metagame. It's still a balanced list; but the current metagame demands that your list be able to have an answer to any threat.

  3. There is a meta game no matter what level you are at. When people are building lists they are scouring the net for common lists and tournament winning lists and building lists to counter them. You are taking into account what is popular at the time. The meta changes in scope based on level of play though. It is more prevalent at lower levels like FLGS play. It is not as bad at the GT level, but it is still there.

  4. I have a friend who tries to talk about the "meta game" in every game we play. 40k. WoW. LoL. DnD. He is one of those "theorycraft" type of guys that talk a big talk, use statistics to predict outcomes... but never wins games, because in the end it doesn't really matter. I have made a habit of punching him in the face every time he says the word "meta". It's stupid.

  5. Bill Brasky once ate a Bible while water skiing.

  6. Yes, Virginia, there is a metagame, but different in how it's applied. I see it more as the some total of "known" or famous lists. I agree with sircarp that it's nowhere near as pervasive as in MtG but it definitely exists and warps at the very least how I build lists.

    When I build a list I have to account for Pod/DoA armies, horde Orks, mech Guard, mech Marines, TWolf/Longfang spam, Tyranid T6RUs, Meltavets... the list goes on and on. Most of these builds can produce a take-all-comers style list but they each do so in their own particular way, boiling down to a key facet that you have to plan for or have a glaring weakness in your build.

    It doesn't even matter if I haven't personally played against anyone with that build at the store, as I know that, thanks to the diverse group of players present, somebody could reach into their bag and bring out THE ONE ARMY TO CRUSH ALL MY DUDES.

    I'd say the reason that the metagame is less pervasive in 40k than Magic is that there are more possible viable builds, especially from the 5th ed codices. In magic there are maybe 7 or 8 decks that are in contention, and of those only 2 or 3 are going to show up in any number. In 40k that can be said for codices but within those there are at least 4-5 solid builds that have very different paths to win.

    If at your local club you can run into a wide gamut of archetypes it becomes harder to single one out to crush, with the possible exception being the generic "mech" archetype. This becomes especially true at a large tourney, where if you can't deal with each build you are going to get hosed at some point.

    The metagame comes more into focus when planning tactics against different builds, as you need to know what makes it hum and kill it right quick.

  7. BILLLL BRASKY, best damn salesman in the company.

  8. This is a minor thing, but an obvious and straight forward example. I think the most basic form of metagaming and understanding its existence is min-maxing. If a metagame didn't exist there would be little difference between giving the same upgrade to either of two units. Choosing one over the other due to cost efficiency has little to do with a unit individually and more to do with interrelationships of units.