I started Pandora Prime Recon back in May, when I decided to get back into collecting the Warhammer 40K CCG as a way to pass the time during COVID-19. Since then, I’ve posted 39 other articles about the game, from interviews with artists, to deck techs, to single card strategies.
Over the past few months I’ve also had the chance to test my new decks and ideas against my old friend @gregoryvettese, who specializes in Chaos.
My informal goal was to build a deck of each faction that could be competitive with Chaos. Although I’ve built a few decks I’m truly happy with, I still have much to learn about the game – which hopefully means many articles to come.
To the meat of the article, though – here are five things I’ve learned about the Warhammer 40K CCG since my first blog post:
1. Cards Are Hard to Find
While I’ve been able to purchase a number of collections throughout the year, finding 40K CCG cards – especially sealed ones – have been challenging. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to collect a game that’s almost 20 years old! Collecting has been even harder being in Canada, which makes shipping prices much higher and selection much more scarce.
2. Space Marines are Good
Because I mainly played Eldar in the old days, I never had much exposure to Space Marines. Recently though, I’ve been working on vanilla, Blood Angels, and Space Wolves decks in varying stages, and I have been quite impressed. I thought the low first wave and reliance on characters would be too difficult of an obstacle to overcome – but Space Marines are incredibly tough, especially if you’re playing the golden trifecta of Squad Faustus, Apothecary Singa, and Miller’s Bodyguard.
3. Chaos is Still Good
Chaos is just as powerful as I remember back in the day. Between the die roll mods, high die rolls and plethora of reactions, they can be quite challenging to play against. The difference today is that I know they are beatable. Armor boosting, reducing your reliance on rolling, and playing your own reactions are just a few ways you can metagame against Chaos. Or just play Squad Gathris and Endym’Tor.
4. Being Defender is Great
Back in the day, as an Eldar player I thought being the defender sucked because I’d never get the first BA at the first battle each turn. Now, after playing decks with a First Wave higher than 1 and being the attacker for a change, I realized how being defender is such an unsung gift. Choosing the first battle each turn, while it may not seem important at the start of the game, becomes more and more important as the game goes on. When the battles really count, the defender gets to choose them which is a huge plus – and you can always deploy cautiously at a sector to prepare for your opponent’s first BA.
5. Dice Rolls Are Not That Important (Maybe)
When building a new deck, my default strategy is to have as high of an average die roll as possible – which means stuffing as many 5s and 6s into the deck as I can manage. This can be to the deck’s detriment, however, as you may be missing out on cards that can improve your deck’s effectiveness in battle. While having high die rolls is nice, there is a certain point at which you’re not helping the deck get better, especially if the deck doesn’t need to roll very high to function effectively.
This is still a notion I am wrestling with when working on my decks, and it is a challenge since I am working across so many different factions, which have different notions of how high (or low) they need to roll to win.
Bonus: Games Take a While
While the average 40K CCG game takes about 35-45 minutes to play, some of the most intense games I’ve played can go for an hour or longer. It takes a while to play out a game across five sectors, and there are many decisions to be made – and if you’re not careful, a single mistake can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Here’s to the Next 40
Anyways, I hope you learned something from my experience with this project. While I’m a little sad we won’t see a new iteration of a Warhammer 40K card game anytime soon, I’m happy to do my part to preserve this little bit of Games Workshop history.
And, if you’ve been a reader of the blog: thank you! If you have your own memories from the game, feel free to leave a comment or message me on Twitter: @derfington.