Unreasoning Hatred

(Or A Rant Against Steam Tanks)


I hate Steam Tanks. I hate those hulking, clanking, steaming, grinding, armour-clad monstrosities because they seem to be a regular fixture in many Empire players’ armies, and the only reason not everyone uses one seems to be that not everyone owns one. I hate the fact that every single Empire army I have ever fought in a tournament has had one. I hate them because they’re huge, practically indestructible, and cause Terror for my troops. I hate them because random silly people keep pointing out that any army can field one, because nowhere does it actually say that it must be used in the Empire army. Most of all, I hate them because they seem to break every rule in Warhammer. Nobody can deliberately move out of combat except a Steam Tank. Nobody can inflict up to 15 strength 6 impact hits on a unit except a Steam Tank. Nobody uses the same damage table as a castle except a Steam Tank. We hates it!

If I could remove one single thing from Warhammer, it would be the Steam Tank. Imagine my delight to hear that it works more like a normal chariot in the new Empire book. Imagine my despair when I discover that they neglected to mention some vital detail that makes it even worse than before. I have made a point of killing every Steam Tank I have ever faced in a tournament, even when it cost me an entire regiment of White Lions to cripple it, and it still had to be finished off by Spearmen. Whenever I play Orcs in a tournament, I always take a Rock Lobber, just in case I meet a Steam Tank. It seems to be the one thing I can always hit with flying stones (probably because it’s so big you can scatter 4” and still hit it!), and that is the only thing I like about them…

Unreasoning hatred seems to be a normal part of Warhammer. Whether it is against a particular unit, an army as a whole, or even against a player, everyone seems to despise something. You always know when you’ve discovered what a player hates most, because they start to spasm every time you mention it. They twitch and jerk until at last the ranting explodes out of them, and they tell you everything that is wrong and unreasonable about their particularly special hated thing. As you may have already guessed, mine is Steam Tanks. They are wrong, WRONG I TELL YOU!!

Being only mostly insane, I am still able to identify the thing that I have an unreasonable hatred of, but how many of you do the same? Are you aware of what it is that you dislike most about the game? Is it a person? An army? A Steam Tank (twitch, twitch)? It is possible that you hate more than one thing, although I like to believe that there is always one thing in particular that you really find indescribably annoying or unfair. I say this hatred is unreasonable, but you probably don’t think so. You probably feel justified in loathing it quietly, with just the occasional outburst to let the world know how wrong this thing is. But is this behavior really healthy?

Sometimes the object of your unreasoning hatred will not be the thing you hate most at all. It might be something you only hate a little bit, but really doesn’t deserve to be hated at all. My favourite example of this is High Elves. High Elves are an army currently at the low ebb of their power. Of all the army books, theirs is in the most desperate need of revision. Like the Dark Elves before their revision, High Elves are too expensive and under-equipped. They have decent magic and some cheap magic items, but that does not an army make. I believe that most players’ hatred of High Elves stems from the end of 5th Edition, when the original army book was re-released. Once again, the army had been under-powered, and unfortunately someone overcompensated and turned them into an opponent’s worst nightmare. The current army book seems to be another over-compensation, back in the wrong direction once more. Another thing everyone seems to hate is Repeater Bolt Throwers (although again, this may be a hangover from the old rules). I can understand people disliking them when there are 4 of them, but that is not often the case. Given that High Elf archers are harmless, what else have you got to worry about?

I don’t think it’s healthy to hate a player more than anything. It’s not like hating a Steam Tank. Steam Tanks are part of the game, and not a part that you have to play often. Players are real people, and you may have to interact with them on a regular basis. It’s well and good to prefer not to play someone – it’s not often you will be forced to play them – but you should try to get over anything more intense than that. Perhaps it is OK to fear a player, although you have to ask yourself why. Do they have fangs? Tentacles? Daemon Hunter Tattoos? Remember that a player who beats you soundly every time you meet is likely someone who you can learn a lot from.

You should always ask yourself why you dislike something intensely. It may indeed be that you are being unreasonable about it. You may be remembering something differently from how it actually is. If it is indeed a player you don’t like, remind yourself that the way they play the game is unlikely to really reflect the person they are outside of the game. If it’s an army you don’t like playing, maybe you need to work out a better way to go about it, select an army that can better deal with it, or even work out how to play defensively for when you come up against it. If it’s just one unit, you really should be able to deal with it. Even if it’s something you simply can’t kill, focus on the things you can kill instead, and try to minimize what it kills in return. After all, not everything is as bad as a Steam Tank…

Some armies, players and units are very annoying. Whole armies of skinks or Wood Elf archers are good examples of this. Armies designed to slow you down and shoot you, rather than engage and destroy, are always going to be annoying. And it’s true – some armies are not well prepared to deal with this sort of tactic. Unfortunately, this is part of the game. Different unit selection might help you, or it might not. It is important to remember that these sort of scenarios are exactly the sort of thing that have happened to generals in the real world. They adapted or they died. And unless you’re exceedingly unfortunate, not every game you play will be against such an army.

Whatever you hate, identifying that thing can help you. If you’re like me, and have an irrational hatred for a particular unit, you can spend all of your efforts on smashing it and then hacking up its remains. This is unlikely to win you the game, but it may make you feel better. Or perhaps you can squeal like a girl every time your units flee from its charge. Again, this may not help you, but maybe it will make your opponent feel better. If it’s an army, ask yourself why you really dislike it, and if it’s truly warranted. Then ask yourself if there is really nothing you can do about it. And if it’s a player, remember that you won’t normally have to play that person. If you do, remember that they might not upset you so much outside of the game, and maybe you can talk it over. If you don’t like them because they beat you, ask yourself how they do so. If you can’t answer the question, they probably can.

I plan to grow; to move on. I expect it will happen at about the time the new Empire book is released, and phases out the existing subject of my ire. And when I do move on, I expect something new will take its place. Something I hate more than anything else, and will do everything in my power to take it down. Maybe it will be something very different. Maybe it will be the new, improved Steam Tank. Whatever it is, I can tell you, it’s just not fair.