Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leaf blower

How I Learned to Love the Game and Hate the Leafblower
by Darkwynn

Right before Adepticon I was excited about getting a chance to see all my old friends such as Hod and Steve from the Wrecking Crew, Allen Hernandez, Chester, Alex (Redbeard), Sparks and many others. I had no idea what I was walking into...

What I wasn’t expecting was to have people come up to me and give me a big high five and go "Thanks man, you ruined it for us!" At first I was genuinely confused. Then someone took the time to take guide me around the hall and point to all these tables. What did I see? Leafblower 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, okay I stoped counting after 5 but was still a lot. This didn't even take into account the heavy Mech Guard lists out there. I thought to myself okay, this could have just been one of my friends who said this and it will be out of the norm. Nope, six other people came up and wanted to say either “thank you” or “you ruined it for us”. So it got me thinking and after playing 10 games over the weekend and the long drive back home I decided to write this article.

 I am sorry for having helped to popularize the Leafblower.

Now some people are going to ask “what the heck is the Leafblower?” and some others are going to scream bloody murder on this article but this has to be said. The IG Mech list I designed was meant to min-max everything to the fullest extent and exploit the IG codex for what it could do. It included a large amount of Chimeras, Veterans and platoon squads for more scoring units. Multiple Heavy Support options on the Chimera chassis easily used the front line of Chimera's for cover and mitigated most concerns that other codex’s could bring to the table.

The problem with this list is no other codex could truly compete with it in the right hands and abit of first turn luck. From dropping gobs of strength 10 templates to the sheer volume of firepower it would dismantle your opponents army turn by turn. It had a psychological effect on a lot of opponents by crushing them so early, many just gave up. In the sense playing a Leafblower opens the thought of "why am I playing this game?" The owner is just rolling some dice and I'm pulling models off the table.

Therein lay the problem.

Remember the first time you truly got into this hobby? Did you get in it just to say to yourself “awesome I can kick my friends butts while they are curled up on the floor”? Was it instead because you thought the fluff of a certain chapter was so cool? I have heard hundreds of stories of people thinking that Grey Knights in the novels were the biggest and toughness guys in the whole universe. Now for the people who have played with Grey Knights on the table usually have another story of course to tell but that is another time.

My point is you picked this game to have fun and one big factor of having fun is your opponent has to fun also. No one likes to pick up half of their army off in the first turn. I totally felt like a douche in some games of mine at the tournament for example, I played a person named Tim Tollin. He was one the nicest guys I have ever played with and just a great person all around. ( Now, when I played him I felt bad the whole time. He had such a pretty army it made me feel bad to let them get removed off the table. He couldn’t even get out of his deployment zone because of the firepower in my list. Now he was fully meched up, had Space wolf Calvary and the whole nine yards but the list just carries too much fire power andit takes the fun out of the game. Once you take the fun out of your opponent how much fun is left for you to enjoy the hobby?

Now some people are going to say, “Well it’s a tournament, who cares? Your there to win!” Okay fine, if you want to bring it to the tournament sure, but doesn’t it make you a better general if you win with a balanced list? Hyper-competitive armies detract from the hobby in my view. Sorry I said it, might be taboo for the week, or month but sorry it s true. Players are moving away from the fun of the game into list escalations of I need to bring XYZ bags of melta to handle ABC of land raiders.


Why not - people who feel that they need to win or compete will do it. Blood Angels are out and what question did a lot of people in the community flock to? How is this going to stand up and beat IG? Even our group started to talk about it and missed the point of the game. What happened to let’s have fun with toy soldiers?

In our local area we have hobby tournaments which some people have a hard time understanding the point of it. I know one person who tries to make his rendition of hobby list and fails every time coming back with yet another "no hold bars version 2.0 list". Now I can see people saying “omg, Comp throw it out the door”, but don't forget that tournaments also have aresponsibility to bring people into the game and offer even new players something fulfilling for their entry fee. Its great to see events where players beaming with pride show off armies with real heart and soul, and massive amounts of details such as every gem done with every shiny spark. It also creates the atmosphere that people just want to play and have fun.

When an outsider or newcomer looks in and sees two grown men yelling over two armies of toys about list optimization and how someone will get owned in this xyz tournament, how does that help bring in new people? I had a friend who I have been trying to get into the game for awhile and he said point blank. Why? I don’t want to get my butt kicked in for months at another game especially where I have to spend 200-300 dollars at.

Where is this going?

This is my call to action to people out there who read this, as I am doing it myself. Build a balance army if you are going to take it to a tournament, build it around the love you have for the hobby and be proud of it. I am starting up my Soul Drinkers again and creating it around the Blood Angels. I am going to run a list that I have fun with and play to have a good time. If I come out on top awesome, if I don’t oh well no big deal.

Now, if you still want to take that Mech IG variant list to a tournament to super inflated your ego sure go ahead, but promise me this when you take it to the game store for the weekend you don’t bring that army to play new guy or random people. Because when you win and they didn’t even get a chance to move their guys on the table, it’s not good for you, it's not good for them, and its not good for the hobby. Instead, even if only for one game, build what you thing will be the most FUN list you can think of, and play for the love of the army, background, and the game.

~I will be playing the Leafblower one last time for the European Championship in Germany representing Team America. I was invited after having two high scores from Gladiator and Championship at Adepticon. Afterwards I will be retiring the Leafblower - never to be played again.


  1. Okay Nick, why isn't Strictly Average on your blog list?

    Just being who you are, you're going to have more people following your blog than I do after a year of hard work, so help a brother out!

    Turn about is fair play (not to be confused with the reach-around... that would be an awful mistake!), of course, so I've got your blog on my roll now.

    Good luck with your new blog!

  2. ha , its getting started and up and running.


    We just pulled post from the BOls roll over to here. I will have to ad yours for sure.

  3. I have to ask then. You playtested this list, surely. You tweaked and prodded until you knew what it would do. You knew exactly the consequences of playing it. Complete domination, everything you said it does in this blog.

    If you feel as strongly as you do that it's wrong... why did you do it knowing what would happen?

    Secondly, if for fun and fluff, why are the Soul Drinkers using Blood Angel rules? Why not Chaos marines, which is WAY closer fluff wise. Blood Angels are the top marine army right now and in no way at all represent Soul Drinkers. Right there you're going to raise eyebrows, playing the power game again.

  4. Great post.

    I just started playing 40K about 3 months ago, and the ultra-lists are pretty annoying. I just played Astronomi-con, and with the army comp score they use, the leaf blowers didn't show because their comp score would pretty much eliminate them from an overall win.

    I played against a fun IG build and did pretty well (I managed to knock out the gun of one of the Basilisks, and my opponent had a terrible time with the scatter), but I didn't see one leafblower at the tourney. I played to have fun, and I can honestly say every opponent I had was a blast to play against. I'm into the hobby for the hobby, nothing more.

    I'm a Black Templar guy, myself, so I have added you to my follow list.

    If you ever want to read up on my goings on just try "And A Noob Runs Through It", my 40K blog for all the noobs like me.

  5. Simple wallhammer, as I don't think the Chaos marine book places any where close to the Soul Drinkers. The Chaos doesn't have drop pods, but they have defilers, Oblitertors , and themed marked troops. The Soul Drinkers didn't have that and why try to pigeon hole the army to a book that doesn't fit the the fluff either.

    IN both of the Space Marine books they have it where you can make your own chapter to go to the rules so that is what I am doing nothing more nothing less. There isn't a Space Marine Character in the codex as a Librarian that fits anywhere close to Serpadon and the only other person I could play as Eckoties is the Chaplin CAssius but even that is much of a need pigeon hole. Now you look at Blood Angels and I can Run Mephiston as Serpadon and play him with the Spear of Telos and pick a Chaplin as Ecktoties.

    Blood Angels are not a top marine army right now by far, Space Wolves are with the many wolves and super troop HQ's they can have.

  6. First off there were lots of people working on Mech lists from day one of the new IG codex. I was as well as five others i know of in Alaska, Arizona, & Japan. So dont beat your self up so munch. Yes you gave it a name and put it on the net for all to see and have gotten a lot of credit for it, but if you didn't some one else would have.

    Now quiting a list because its TOO POWERFUL is BULL $*** play the game!!! If you feel your power level is a little high change your list, try other units. Try building a list that hase no forgeworld modles in it, there are lots of ways to have fun and still not curb stomp the person your playing.

    In all play what you want and don't be a A$$ doing it and you should have a good game.

  7. I call bullshit... blame the interent!

  8. What did you play for ard boyz? did you go with leaf blower or not?

  9. You create sense out of the foremost complex topics.

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