There are many disconnects with the World of Theory Hammer and the public at large. Often the World of Theory Hammer has a bloated sense of superiority which can mainly be attributed to the anonymity of many commentators. Even using words like theory is just code for immutable laws pulled from the aether as if sent from Brian Boitano himself. Luckily, Internet reality and real reality\usually don’t play well together

Let us not get confused here, good advice and theories are floating around we could just use some better delivery systems. A confluence of two specific disconnects lead to many generalizations or diminishing precision.

It starts by not understanding a basic reality of most wargamers: limited amount of model resources. This doesn’t mean that it is not fun to theorize about what could be if only you answered that Million Dollar Drop question right or punched Kevin Pollak instead. Still, how useful is list advice when you assume that everyone has access to every unit in the game? Only the Richard Branson’s of 40k live in this world– still many blogs and forums advice lives in an unlimited access fantasy. Putting up lists often don’t relate to anything when there is no context. It is kinda the same way I cannot relate to driving a Viper when I only own a Dodge Stratus. This doesn’t even explorer the possibility I might not even be a Dodge Viper person I could very well be more a Ferrari Scuderia Spider person and not even know it! It also contributes to a Tony Robbins abstract self-help (if you follow this list you too can win) mentality that tells players that they have to throw their models away and start from scratch without explaining why.

So how can advice be more helpful than just saying bring more melta? It is hard, sometimes it takes more than pulling from the spam these 4-5 units Army Builder handbook. Especially if a player only has Shining Spears, Swooping Hawks, and Guardians. Oh ok, that is a bit extreme, but even if a list looks that hopeless there is always explaining what counts as means.

Anyway start by finding out what units does an advice seeker have or what units they are able to add. The next thing is to find out exactly what style of army they like and the goals they have. This is very important because it separates those that want to enter tournaments to folks that just want to look at pretty figures. What about new players? Asking about the things they seem to enjoy from watching 40k. From here you can start to build a template of what a player is looking for. In the end is not about validating your perceptions of perfect lists because advice should be about helping the other player fulfill their goals. Of course, this does not forgive anyone that wanting to run Pyrovores or Legion of the Damned unless they have a really good fluff reason for it or don’t mind things collecting dust.

The other disconnect is play-testing or the apparent lack their of. Some places just love to spam lists like the Duggars have babies. It could be the research background, but actually playing the lists you claim are good can only help in the evidence department. Throwing lists advice on a blog or forum is not inherently wrong just sometimes needs an asterisk. Here is an example of one high offense when super theory hammering descends around a new codex release . Take a Goatboy (sorry) list from BoLS when the new Space Wolf codex came out….

Thunder Wolf Bluff/Pizza Delivery System

HQ: Wolflord, Saga of the Warrior Borne, Thunder Wolf, Storm Shield, Runic Armor, Frost Axe – 255pts
HQ: Njal – 245pts
Elites: Lone Wolf, Terminator Armor, Chainfist, Storm Shield, Fenris Wolves X 2 – 105pts
Elites: Lone Wolf, Terminator Armor, Chainfist, Storm Shield, Fenris Wolves X 2 – 105pts
Troops: Grey Hunters (10), Meltagun (2), MoW – 170pts
Troops: Grey Hunters (10), Meltagun (2), MoW – 170pts
FA: Thunder Wolf Cav (5), Powerfist – 280pts
FA: Fenris Wolves (10) – 80pts
Heavy: LRC, MM – 260pts
Heavy: LRR, MM – 250pts

Regardless of how you feel about the list take a look at what Goatboy would post a year later.

HQ: Rune Priest, Runic Armor, Chooser of the Slain, JaWs, Living Lightning
Elites: Iron Priest, Thunder Wolf Mount, Wolf Tooth Necklace, Cyber Wolves X 4
Elites: Iron Priest, Thunder Wolf Mount, Wolf Tooth Necklace, Cyber Wolves X 4
Troops: Grey Hunters X 9, MoW, Flamer, Rhino
Troops: Grey Hunters X 10, MoW, Power Weapon, Meltagun X 2, Rhino
Troops: Grey Hunters X 10, MoW, Power Weapon, Flamer X 2, Rhino
Troops: Grey Hunters X 10, MoW, Power Weapon, Meltagun X 2, Drop Pod
Troops: Grey Hunters X 10, MoW, Power Weapon, Plasma Gun X 2, Plasma Pistol, Drop Pod
FA: Land Speeder, Typhoon ML

A little different don’t you think? Oh, 40k Meta you cruel, cruel mistress.

Goatboy plays at least once a week so one could surmised that he might have come to the second list from play-testing his way there. That is the beauty of an always evolving game. If players took the time to test out their theories the Internet and the general knowledge base would be better for it. Especially when each new codex brings new dynamics to older armies. So the next time you throw up a list or point and laugh at someones else take a moment and think, “is there to make that work” and where is this player coming from? You never know that list could be on the way to something great or at least parts of it.

To reiterate, the Internet does have good ideas because our collective experiences do create a certain zeitgeist that on the edges do speak some truth, like how hopelessly terrible certain units are or how 3rd ed codices really need an update. The real dangers are people let whatever motives they have to seep into an otherwise objective discussion that can change it into something deeply subjective. Besides we all know how much easier it is to say something sucks than it is to explain or demonstrate why that is.