So, I was talking to a good buddy the other day and he brought up something that I thought was spot on. What he said he was realizing is that at some point you have to choose what to sacrifice: Competing at top tables or fluff lists.
Sacrificing fluffily lists is something that I have come to just simply expect. You have to build the most effective force possible and if you can get something in there that you like 'just because,' then fine.
Lets think about chess. How fluffy is it to have two knights and two castles. Shouldn't a 'fluffy,' chess set have one castle, lots of knights and a cannon? And what is with all this MSU-pawn-spam crap!?
On the other hand, at what point does sacrificing for the sake of winning become nothing more than a disgusting action that isn't good for anyone involved. If you pummel your opponent so bad he wants to have nothing to do with competitive play did you sacrifice too much?
I love this next picture because it speaks directly to the heart of the issue (Pun 100% intended). "All we ask for is your heart." I can tell you that ever since I switched my play style and simply accepted the new competitive environment that it is extremely hard to turn it off. I used to bring army lists to pick up games where I built the entire thing off of a black library novel. I don't feel like I want to even try anything like that anymore. Mostly, I don't get to play more than once a week and when I get to play I want to "practice." Just like any competitive sports team, you don't practice for competition by screwing around.
Does that mean I lost my heart? I'd like to think no. I still really want to play narrative games where the epic stores of yore happen on the tabletop. I want to see thunder terminators charge headlong into titans and cripple it. But when it comes to tournaments and my tournament list I am not going to bring a worthless HQ like Astorath and 100% Death Company, even though I think the list is really cool. I would play that list in apoc.
So, here is the question. Is it a reality that when it comes to competitive tournament play you have to give up either fluffy lists or choose to not be in competition for the top table? Can you do both? Show me how to have my cake and eat it too.