Monday, November 29, 2010

Holistic Mumbo Part 2 - Temperaments and Elements

Heya, welcome back to another chapter of Holistic Mumbo.

Today I was checking up on what's in my hard drive and I bumped upon an old treasure of mine; a kind of deep thought topic about how I judge players and what armies suits them. I remembered me posting this up in Tau Online Forums before, but I assume that the thread is kinda lost in the webway. So without further ado, I will just post this out for all to read. Even today I still believe in this theory.

Are you the kind of player who would use your army to whittle down the enemy little by little until they break like a grinder, or you are the kind of player that will try to pierce through the enemy and break them like a lance?

When it comes to the game, you see many of the veteran players are often in sync with their armies and/or basically play well with their selected armies. However, if one is to look closely at most of the veteran players, you would notice that each one of their armies (if they have more) often have a similar feel to it, whether it is by type of armies (Infantry-heavy) or playstyle (Fast armies).

Likewise, there are many new players who often jump from one army to another as a result of them believing that their army is not performing to the way they envisioned it. Sometimes, they may have found their army, but have no idea how to adapt it to their own playstyle.

What kind of player are you?

Sometimes even after playing for some while, one will still have a very faint idea as to what kind of player they are. This is often true for players who have immersed themselves in the game for at least a year. How do I see myself playing on the table?, a player may ask. Most of the time players will find out how their attitude is to the game via one of the two methods

1)They will have to find out the hard way or by accident - This method is perhaps the most common one for players often will go for an element that they find themselves most comfortable in. You can often see some new players who instinctively charge at the closest thing that they can find, or you can see how a player often try to shoot whenever possible, even at the expense of the rest of the army.

2)Another player telling them their playstyle - Most often than not whenever a newbie plays against another more senior player, the senior player will often instinctively judge the playstyle of the newbie. After the game, the senior player will often impart words of wisdom or comments such as "Hey, I think you shouldn't be too gung-ho" or the most common one "Why did you do that in the first place?"

It happens to all of us at some point in our newbie lives.....

Based upon the answer of the newbie, the senior player will then help the newbie a little about the way they fight and to improve on their performance as a player.

For me, I always judge a player according to their personality. This is because most of the time, a player will always put in a little of their soul, their passions, their ideals into the game as they would want that army to be uniquely theirs. From there I would go about with the advice that best suits the player as a whole.

How do I judge them you say? I judge them based upon the 4 temperaments and also the 4 element.

4 Temperaments

Everyone have their own temperament, whether they are very passionate about something, or they are a little more calm-headed than your average folk. But how does that apply to this topic? Well, the temperament of the person will determine the tempo of the player when they are fighting. For example, a more cautious player will often play in a slow but steady advance while a more hotheaded player will always try to slam into their enemies fast enough so that they will be able to finish their game.

The temperaments that players often have are;


A sanguine person is generally very optimistic, outgoing, sociable, spontaneous and very confident about themselves, while at the same time they can be rather indulgent, proud, impulsive, and also not very disciplined.

Generally, in most cases, a sanguine player will always prefer a more straightforward battle, which will always involve some close-quarters fighting, whether it is close-range shooting or close combat.

In addition, most sanguine players are always good in improvising on the battlefield rather than planning their battleplans beforehand. Sanguine players are also prone to be overconfident when things are going their way and may neglect some vital aspects of battle that may hit them later if the other player counterattacks them. Armies that are often played by Sanguine players are Orks, (the epitome of sanguine players in my opinion), Sisters of Battle, and Tyranids.


A choleric person is always a passionate one and will always try to instill it to others, and most often than not they are seen as leaders. However they are always easy to be angered and also tend to be bad tempered when things do not go their way.

In terms of applying this to a player, one can see that a player of this sort is always a more aggressive player, who prefers to manipulate and force the opponent to their pace of combat whether it is by outranging the other player in the shooting phase or having a superior assault force than the other player. Choleric players are also more prone to being more easily frustrated when things are not going their way, and may do rash maneuvers.that may cost them the game.

Choleric players are often seen playing armies that often hits hard and fast, such as Blood Angels or Ravensquig or are seen using juggernaut armies, such as Nidzilla and Daemons.


A Melancholic person is always a thinker, and always ponders upon his next move or action and they can often be rather creative and also able to think in another person's shoes. However they are also prone to think in a rather, shall we use the modern term, ‘emo’.

A melancholic player is often a perfectionist, as they are particular about what they want in their armies and also they want their armies to work exactly to specifications. In addition they would generally be inclined to be strategically minded and thus would think much more about their course of actions and also able to orchestrate their army to work in harmony.

Melancholic players generally play armies that are combined-arms in nature or an army that can synergize very well with each other. Armies such as Eldar and Tau are most prominent among such players.


Phlegmatic people are often very calm and composed, to the point that sometimes people always think of them as being unemotional, but yet within the underlying composure, they are generally rather enthusiastic about things.

How this applies to the phlegmatic players is that they are very analytical, but yet they are also very enthusiastic about the changing tides of the battlefield. However, they tend to be very steadfast in their tactics and will not deviate much from their main objectives.

Phlegmatic players generally play a more static army, but they are also very strong in counterattacking advances. Armies most prominent with this kind of players are Imperial Guard armies (most variants), Static Tau, Iron Warriors of the 4th ed, and Static Noise Marines army.

Now do note that no one is restricted to one kind of temperament, but most players are an amalgam of several of these traits, but generally one trait will stand out among the rest, with the others being of secondary nature. One may be primarily melancholic and also having sanguine characteristics at the same time, which will influence a person to be a strategically-oriented close shooting army (Mech Tau is one such instance) while another may be predominantly Choleric with Sanguine traits which will make one into a very aggressive close-quarters oriented player (Ork Horde).

4 Elements - Adapting oneself to their own playstyle

Some players I know do know their own their own mentality about the game, but sometimes do not know how to make their army suit their needs. For example, a Space Marine player may know that he wants to charge his opponents fast, but yet he wants them to be numerous at the same time and likewise with an Eldar army who likes the versatility of his units but wants to be a force that counters his opponents more than being on the offensive.

In come the elements. To make a long story short, each element is a way of waging battle, and there are more ways of waging battle with the synergy of these few elements providing countless variations of the art of war.Now a very comprehensive article can be found here about the elements in general (thank you Silent Requiem for the references in regards to the elements), but I will instead focus on how the elements will react with the players of the Temperaments.

The Diagram of Temperaments and Elements and the Relationship between them


The Fire element rewards the bold and the audacious for you must keep the pressure on fast during the initial early game to provide yourself with the necessary advantages to win you the game, usually via fast and efficient units that will be able to reach the table within two turns to start the fight.

Sanguine: This best suits the sanguine player as it allows the player to come up close and personal and deliver their brand of battle in their faces. No fancy tactics, just that they reach there and do their job.

Choleric: This can also suit the Choleric player, for they are often prone to try and overwhelm the opponent in a certain phase of the game, and generally what better way to do this than to just break their backs in a relatively quick order?

Melancholic: Generally the Melancholic player will not prefer this style of combat, for the are quite cautious about their battle plans and would prefer to have a much more steady advance.

Phlegmatic: Phlegmatic players will also generally disdain the Fire Element way of battle as they often prefer to be on the defensive more than being on the offensive.


Water rewards those that are patient and are able to adapt to the changing tides of battle, and those who are generally able to counter their opponent's moves greatly. The tenet of the Water-based army is “draw your fist first before you strike” as you generally lure your enemies to their downfall.

Sanguine: A sanguine player will generally be able to play a water-based army to an extend, but nevertheless their nature is not one to patiently wait for their opponent's every move. They prefer to be in the offensive.

Choleric: Choleric players have the predisposition to try and control their opponents to their pace of battle, and thus they are generally are able to exploit this style of combat. But like the sanguine player, they are generally not too patient when it comes to a more passive way of fighting or that they do not exert enough control over their opponent.

Melancholy: This suits the melancholic player as a melancholic player often thinks ahead and will generally try to read the other side’s moves to their own advantage. In addition, they are able to use their armies to the way that they want to stop the enemy dead in their tracks. Whether it is going on the offensive or the defensive, Melancholic players feel at home in this style of combat.

Phlegmatic: This also suits the phlegmatic player to an extend as they are generally able to observe and deduce the enemy’s action and counter them. However, due to their nature, they tend to be a lot more passive than the other there Temperaments and thus they are often on the receiving end.


Wind element armies are generally the most suitable to those that are able to utilize their army in terms of maneuverability and agility and to move where they want to go. Hence they are akin to a hit-and-run force that will try to circle around the enemy and picking off the weakest member of the herd like a pack of wolves.

Sanguine: Sanguine players are able to use this battle style to a good degree, as they do have the tendencies to try and get in up close and personal with their opponents as soon as possible. But the sanguine player must be careful when they are faced with a far faster army, as then their tempo of battle may be severely weakened.

Choleric: Choleric armies are also able to utilize this tactic as dominance of the movement phase is but a step in dominating their opponents.

Melancholy: They are also able to utilize this style as speed enables them to maneuver themselves for the subsequent turns for their overall objective of victory, whether it is to counter an enemy or to launch a devastating strike against them.

Phlegmatic: Phlegmatic players will find this style very hectic and rushed as they would need to move quickly to gain the advantage and change to the chaotic battlefield.


Earth armies, as the name states benefits those that are steadfast and robust as their plan is basically to outlast their opponents and whittle them down little by little for the ultimate win, essentially putting them as attrition masters.

Sanguine: Sanguine players may be able to exploit this provided that the army is able to come in up close and personal. But in general, Sanguine players are not prone to use Earth-style tactics.

Choleric: Choleric players may find appeal in this sort of army as they are often very durable and also able to withstand a lot of damage before they come in for the kill. In addition, Choleric players would like to see their opponents being dismantle little by little with the superiority of their force.

Melancholy: Melancholic players generally prefer to be more flexible in terms of their tactics and thus the general slow and ponderous nature of the Earth-Style army is often at odds with the melancholic player's temperament

Phlegmatic: Phlegmatic players will feel at home in this battle style as they are able to counter their enemies while also able to fight at a considerable ‘leisurely’ pace of combat.

Do note however that many armies are a hybrid of two, even more styles of battle. Thus you will often see some earth-style units such as lootas in a wind-style army of Ork Kult of Speed.


With that in mind, I hope that you are able to discover what kind of player you are and also to find out what playstyle suits you best. Whether you are a hot-headed sanguine fire-wind player who plays A full assault Marine- Blood Angels army or a composed earth-water player who plays Imperial Guard, I hope you can discover the player within.

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