In the wide world of 40k content creators, there’s always a constant battle to decide on who to spend our precious home time hours on to listen to for gaming commentary. As I was chugging through the school year, I found myself lost in the endless void between BadCast and Meatwatch releases, hunting hungrily for more content to match my own tastes of the game. I needed something fresh, something that could maybe make a splash in my daily routine. As I pored over endless lore videos and really-hard-to-watch Dark Angel gameplay, I stumbled across fighting game YouTube; which then led me to League of Legends YouTube. And that then lead me to MagikarpUsedFly, a channel that was trying to evolve, taking on the task of learning Warhammer 40k and documenting the process (which, let’s be honest, isn’t cheap).
I was hooked immediately on the channel’s friendly, jokey, clearly unrehearsed at all content. I saw a bit of myself in them as I learned the game – something that comes across in their videos. I enjoyed watching them discover the things that I loved in 40k, the things I hated, and being able to blow up all my friend’s little dudes they spent so much time on. That pure satisfaction of playing your local guys as you all learn a very complicated game together. I had to reach out and talk to them. Thankfully, Matt over at MagikarpusedFly was very open to my initial contact and I was able to shanghai the whole team into answering some questions on their experience so far!
Gunum: Hey MagikarpUsedFly crew, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and hang out with me. Any time I can talk about 40k with budding people in the hobby, a small part of my need to extend the game to new players is fulfilled. I think some introductions are in order before we get started. Would you please fill us in on who you are, how long you have been making digital content, and what you and your team are currently working on in the 40k world?
Magikarp: Not a problem! Love the website, I think I speak for everyone in the group that we all scroll through your articles on a regular basis.
My name is Matthew Castro, but my online persona is MagikarpUsedFly – I’ve been making video game-related content, video essays, and small documentaries for the better side of about 5+ years now, and the next big venture I’m working on is creating a new channel centered around Tabletop Gaming like board games, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering and more importantly Warhammer 40k.
Gunum: Since you and your pals have started this adventure into the wargaming space, what are some stand out things you’ve encountered? The cost, the game itself, the lore?
DonP: I think it’s amazing that something that is behind the curve tech-wise in a world dominated by tech has withstood the tests of time and has such a huge following today. [Warhammer 40,000] is expensive, has a steep learning curve, and requires hours and hours of time dedicated to just putting together and painting the models yet it’s still so fun. Another thing that shocked me is the lack of exposure the pro gaming scene has for this game. You wouldn’t really know the outcome of major RTTs or events unless you already knew the right forum(s) or outlets to find them.
Dameki: Like all hobbies, it can be expensive which is understandable but it is definitely cheaper than other games I had played in the past. I would sink thousands of dollars every couple of months into Magic the Gathering for full playsets of cards where Warhammer I’ll sink a few thousand and then only have to buy a book every so often. I think the thing that shocked me the most though was that the tournament scene isn’t really run by Games Workshop and I was used to MTG and how Wizards of the Coast handled or helped with most of their tournament infrastructure and events.
Bricky: I hopped in back around 7th edition for a short period of time, so I understood the huge cost very well. I think what surprised me the most was really the next level GW had reached for content. Way back when you had a singular codex every edition with no extra CAs, PAs, or anything of that ilk. While asking for a model-based game to suddenly have the balance updates and support of a video game is ludicrous, comparing it to the way it was is pretty spectacular. Also, painting. Every day I feel I get way better at painting and every day some random guy online shares their creation and puts me to shame. It’s freakin’ incredible.
Magikarp: I think the biggest aspect of the wargaming space I did not expect to see at all is the support of the community. Coming from the gaming sphere it can be extremely cutthroat and closed off (I could create an entire book of death threat comments and general hatred towards me from my YouTube channel alone), however in the wargaming scene like 40k – everyone has been so welcoming and the number of people reaching out to us has been insane. This is great because I’ve personally fallen headfirst in love with the game so seeing everyone enjoy the content we’re providing is really cool.
Now you’ve started making videos on the hobby, have there been any negatives that you didn’t expect getting into it?
DonP: It’s very easy to fall behind if you don’t stay on top of things (looking at you, pile of shame). Not only that but we need to be diverse in what we play otherwise people get tired of watching the same 4 armies fight each other all the time. In addition to that, the games are extremely long and take up a lot of mental capacity which means that streaming or recording days are exhausting.
Dameki: Things can get a little overwhelming trying to work-life balance. I love the hobbying part of the game and find painting my models to be very therapeutic. I do find that I can get a little OCD and paint something or areas that don’t need to be painted because no one will ever see them. One thing that irks me about the hobby is WYSWYG and how now you are left with either magnetizing a ton of models or purchasing multiple copies for weapon load-outs.
Bricky: Starting off with 2,000 points is a mistake that we try to remind anyone watching us NOT to do. Of course, we needed to start with it in order to make content on the game so the first few months of building, painting, and learning the rules were pretty brutal. It gets even worse when you have a favorite army and you want to make it all look good. Imperial Guard’s models are very outdated so I don’t mind if I only battle-ready them. But the new Sisters look absolutely fantastic and I want to make sure they all look excellent, which leads to a ton of extra time working. Also, learning the rules. Youtube and Twitch chat are extremely quick to point out if they believe a rule is wrong, so knowing exactly what you’re doing is very important. Whether that’s to prevent it from happening or to show them they’re mistaken and you got it right.
Magikarp: Startup costs are huge. Not only do you need the right camera equipment, microphones, gimbals, and space to record in – you need A LOT of armies and models. People don’t like seeing the same armies fighting over and over and over again, so getting access to a lot of different armies with different builds and also paint really well can be a huge hassle. Don’t even get me started on different terrain and mats.
It’s a huge endeavor but we’re having a lot of fun getting into it (can’t say the same about our wallets though).
Are you starting to feel obliged to make more 40k content?
DonP: Oh yeah, playing and creating content for 40k has been so rewarding and so fun. We know there are endless possibilities on how to make the viewing experience better and we’re hoping to provide our viewers with the best possible viewing experience. I love the personalities of the guys that we have and I know that we can work together and entertain the community.
Dameki: We love making this content and it seems our audience loves what we do. We are constantly looking for new and inventive ways to play the game as well as listening to our fan base and add armies that they want to see to our lineup. I really enjoy getting together with everyone and slinging some dice across the table.
Bricky: Without a doubt. You really can’t go multiple armies in and NOT want to keep making content for it. There is also something truly special about having a full army that you built, painted, and are now fielding in a battle against a buddy who did the exact same. It makes you want to start another army. Soon, there won’t be a channel and we will all be out of a job slinging primaris marines on a street corner.
Magikarp: Oh most definitely! Going into the 40k community we all knew there was a lot of content that can be made for the game and so we’re trying our best to fill the voids that we hope the community will enjoy. It’s not like we’re complaining about it either, any way that we can put our models on the table and throw some dice is a great way for us to relax and have fun.
Which of the crew is the standout, who’s the -best-?
DonP: Before we did the tournament, I definitely thought that Bricky and Matt were the best 2 players in the group. But as I write this and we’re nearing the end of our tournament, I feel that the gap has closed. Dameki was originally a T’au player and was lacking in all other phases outside of shooting (lol). But, once he picked up his Death Guard and Dark Angels he’s proved himself very well amongst us all. Bricky’s got great target prioritization and seems to have his units right where they need to be at all times. Matt and Marky play to their objectives so well and I feel like I learn something new about playing the objective game every time I play against them. Tom will table you if you give him the chance. He will take your favorite model and turn it into dust before you know it.
Dameki: JonP and Matt have definitely grown to be very strong players. JonP is an expert at melee and really knows how to put pressure on the board as well as pivot during a critical moment. Matt has been keeping the objective game on lockdown and knows how to get his opponent to move where he wants them to go. Bricky was the more seasoned player out of us and has some of the best unit targeting prioritization in the game. Marky is very good at analyzing the table and finding ways to pick up points when he needs to. Tom is definitely the unique one bringing lists you would not expect and then have you sweating when you start to fight it.
Bricky: At first I was the only one who played prior to 8th, so a bit of that knowledge helped me out. But all of the guys have caught up to me in absolutely no time. Matt, in particular, is the king of the movement phase always getting on objectives and snagging amazing sightlines. JonP never has the wrong combos set up. He knows when to use a stratagem and when not to. Dameki has never failed a nine-inch charge in his life no matter how much I want him to. And Mark and Tom both have their own skills that I haven’t played against them enough to fully grasp, but considering I just lost to Mark’s Orks it’s obvious he’s someone to be reckoned with.
Magikarp: Honestly, I think we all play at a decent level of equal value and have our own quirks. DonP is really good at move blocking with his models and building awesome lists where it’s hard to pick up secondaries. Dameki rolls INCREDIBLY hot. I don’t know how he does it but oh boy if we ever go to Vegas he’s rolling all of my dice. Tom pulls out some crazy units no ones talked about and somehow makes it work while having fun at the same time. Bricky is so knowledgeable of every army and knows how to finesse his way into victory even if he’s on the backfoot. Marky plays the objective incredibly well, when he’s serious he’s a complete force to be reckoned with.
Have you guys started to implement any house rules? We see this a lot in newer playgroups as they tend to adjust to rules in the 40k game that may not fit how they want to play.
DonP: No house rules yet but we also haven’t had time recently to play fluff games or just games off-stream in general. Since we do play live on-stream we stick to playing RAW considering there can be a bit of backlash in the comments when rules don’t interact the way they expect them to.
Dameki: No solid house rules but we do talk to each other about abilities and other rules that arise during matches. Normally if we cannot come to an agreement or if the rule still seems unclear we reach out to others for their input. I have submitted questions to GW for clarification on some rules that I’ve come across.
Bricky: Not entirely, however, if there was anything probably just a few RAW vs. RAI stuff. “Wrath of Mars” is a good example where we definitely wouldn’t run the “mortal wounds for the rest of the game” RAW style. If there is ever any dispute we just ask a third party or roll-off for it because dead air is a big problem in 40k content and we want to get moving as quickly as we can.
Magikarp: We’ve done some in-house rulings that help out a bit but we usually stick with RAW. When we run Narratives we’ll put in some house rules we think would be neat, but we try sticking to the rules just because if we’re recording the game some people can get very uh…let’s just say adamantly about rule interactions.
Have you gotten strange reactions from your current established fanbase as you’ve explored the hobby more?
DonP: A lot of strange reactions come from the time spent, the price, and the huge amount of plastic we’ve accrued in just a year. Not to mention how much we’ve committed for the studio, building the table, and countless weekends we’ve spent together for this. We also get a lot of viewers and comments of people providing less-than-constructive feedback for lists that we build but I don’t know if you would really consider that “strange” on the internet nowadays.
Dameki: We do get some strange reactions every once in a while but I think it’s moreso that some of our lists that draw the attention. When I build a list I look at what is considered “meta” at the time and look at what I have available in my arsenal and see if I think a unit could do better in a role than what was initially put on the list. In the end, we are all just here to have fun so yeah we don’t always run meta sweaty lists we run some fluff and kind of see what happens.
Bricky: Me and Matt both have a background in video games like League of Legends and the like. While we both have moved away from it, some people definitely had a bit of whiplash going from our well-established content to a full office with tabletop miniatures. However, between our videos, I think I can speak for both of us when I say that not a day goes by where we don’t receive a comment/message about a new player joining the hobby. Both of our discords have TTS tournaments now, many of our fans have picked up “start collecting” boxes or just some small kits. Even some of my personal friends are getting into it due to the content we are making.
Magikarp: I think the strangest reaction comes from the pricing of the hobby. I’m not going to lie, the game can be EXPENSIVE but that’s every hobby tbh. Even for video games, you spend like 1-3k on a computer and then $30-60 on whatever game you want every month (some people buy a game and then just never touch it). That’s basically the same thing, 1-3k would net you 2-3 armies and $30-60 are new units every month.
I think it’s more that people are used to playing and doing things immediately, and the idea of having to spend money to still work on it irks them but blame the financial aspect for it instead.
I saw your dice article on the math of the game. Did you realize the game was as complicated when you were getting started?
DonP: Seeing the math and running the numbers of how one unit will perform against another has been eye-opening to me. It’s helped me especially with target prioritization, what type of units should be fighting what, and synergistic list building.
Dameki: Seeing the math and statistical outcome of rolls reminds me of a lot of playing craps. In craps, you bet according to the statistical chance of a roll for two dice. In Warhammer, you’re trying to determine things like unit prioritization or objective selection based on rolling a massive amount of dice. It does fascinate me though because of how the percentage of a roll can determine so many things.
Bricky: The math is pretty interesting. Ironically since playing in 7th the game is significantly less complicated than before which is good because it helps me focus on math specifically. It really does help teach you a lot of things. Like how Ap-1 against a 2+ SV is significantly more powerful than against a 4+ SV. Or how -1 to hit and wound modifiers are far more potent when you’re hitting/wounding on 4s/5s. Knowing what is more effective in that sense can be super helpful in-game and knowing it on the fly I’d argue is one of the many skills of this game.
Magikarp: Math hammer has slowly become something that completely fascinates me. Seeing what your chances are of taking down a key unit or finding out more efficient ways to allocate your shots is so much fun. Coming up with the correct equations is also incredibly fun as well, albeit sometimes difficult. I honestly didn’t think this much of a thought process would go into the game but after doing more math I’ve found that my gameplay has gotten significantly better.
Take us through a typical day or week of playing and recording. (to get an idea of how many hours it takes to play and then edit video, etc.)
DonP: Weekdays are rough for me as I work 9-5, get to the studio around 5:40, and then have 20 mins to catch up on help with what I can before we start By the time I get there, most of what needs to be done has already been done so I just go around and check in on everyone and see if there’s anything I can do to help or if there’s anything I need to know for the stream that day. On the weekends, I try to show up 2-3 hours ahead of time to do some cleaning, restock our fridge, put things where they need to be, and help out with whatever we need for the stream that day. If I’m playing, then I like to go over my data cards and organize them by importance before the game.
Dameki: Depends on what day you are referencing. A weekday I start off going to work for 9 hours once I’m done I head over to the studio. Once I’m in the studio I look to see who is playing and if I’m the first or second one there I start working on getting the table ready. Once the table is ready I’ll double-check the cameras, make sure they are in position for the players, and get my phone ready on the gimbal. Depending on what I’m doing that day (host, cameraman, talent, or anchor) I’ll run through with the guys to see if anyone needs help setting up. About 30 mins before going live run a couple of microphone checks and make sure that the walkie-talkies work. On Saturdays I try to come in early (about 3-4 hours before the stream) and do any maintenance that needs to be done on the computers such as run antivirus scans, check for updates, and review any issues that might have occurred during a previous stream.
Bricky: Oh man. I live about an hour away and also don’t do any of the screen-based stuff. I normally am either playing or sometimes casting. The rest of these guys live around <20 minutes away so they do most of the heavy lifting. I just come by to roll 6s for miracle dice and make them mad at me.
Magikarp: Oof, there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that not a lot of people really know about and it’s SUPER hectic.
For a Typical Stream, the setup starts 1-2 days before by creating assets, overlays and filming the rosters on an infinite black backdrop. The infinite black roster overview is then sent off to one of my editors to create the clip along with an audio file the players would have to record and send over as well – I had to spend 1-2 months just creating the stats and a template for the editors to use to make it easier for them.
These are usually done about 4 hours before we go live, in the meantime, I run through any stats, talking points, assets, and overlays that need to be done for the stream. On the day we stream I usually come in about 3 hours before it starts to then start linking all the files together and setting up the assets. Around this time our other IT, Dameki comes in and helps me set up cameras (there’s 6 in total) and run through mic checks. When the talent comes we lav them up and they tell us what secondaries they’re taking while setting up the table and terrain etc. We stream the game while someone works the camera, the talent plays and another controls the computer as the host.
For RECORDING a battle report, oh man – we haven’t even tackled that yet, but I expect it to be a lot easier than streaming it. As for recording any other video, we can usually knock it out pretty easily.
What are some resources you’ve used to learn how to play?
DonP: Goonhammer and 40kstats have been extremely helpful for when I wanna get a snapshot of the meta and what’s taking top spots in RTTs. Goonhammer’s “Start Competing” articles have been great for when I want a crash course on an army. I also lurk in the Northern Front community discord that Jon K. runs. There I’ve learned so much about not only Space Wolves but aggressive play, how to deploy safely, how to use terrain to your advantage. Outside of articles, I do keep up with a few battle report channels such as Tabletop Titans, Tabletop Tactics, and Art of War. While they aren’t necessarily a battle report channel, Midwinterminis has a really good and easy to follow video on how to play Warhammer40k that I would suggest to anyone I know that wants to get into the game.
Dameki: I first started off watching battle reports on YouTube. I started off with Tabletop Titans and then Tabletop Tactics, Art of War, and Miniwargaming. I started to read more articles on Spikey Bits and watch some of their stuff for spoilers in order to prepare for changes and then the guys introduced me to Goonhammer. Later on, I started listening to podcasts like the Long War and FLGN.
Bricky: A big shoutout to Auspex Tactics who I’d argue is the best 40k youtuber around. His content is quick, clean, fair and has helped me discover synergies I never knew about before. As the other gents have mentioned, we are all big fans of the Goonhammer articles. I personally really love the GT overviews. Seeing what’s winning and why is very interesting. It also gave me a bit of validation. Way back when I was trying to tell everyone SOB was a top tier army, and few people believed me. With every single top 4 list covered in fleur de lis I feel myself being validated with a big smug grin on my face. So yeah, those breakdowns are fantastic.
Magikarp: GOONHAMMER is pretty big. Helped me learn different armies with their start competing articles. Along with that, just watching a bunch of different battle report channels. Miniwargaming, Art of War, Tabletop Titans, and Tabletop Tactics are some of my favorites when trying to learn how to play. Also listening to different podcasts from Frontline Gaming. Discord servers dedicated to the armies you play are also extremely helpful, being able to relay information from different battle reports and matchups specific to your army is a huge help.
It seems like you’ll be doing a bit more in house tournament play. Have you looked into the ITC or any of the competitive forums yet?
DonP: I haven’t really yet. I am definitely interested in the competitive scene but considering the current state of the world I know it’s not gonna be happening anytime soon. The game is going to be changing drastically over the next year too with all the new codexes coming out so I’ll probably start diving in once irl events are back.
Dameki: I haven’t looked at forums really but we did play some ITC format games during 8th edition. With all the changes that came with 9th I have also started listening to more podcasts like Art of War and watching more battle reports just to understand the mechanics and grasp a better understanding of armies I have yet to play against or pilot.
Bricky: Nothing involving forums at the moment. I have only attended a single tournament with only around 16 people back before COVID. I got last place and had a blast. I have been itching to go to more events but of course, the pandemic definitely puts that to a bit of a halt. Hopefully sometime next year we will take some trips out and play more!
Magikarp: As far as forums go not really. I do read a lot of articles on ITC and listen to a bunch of different podcasts revolving around competitive 40k while trying to stay on top of stats Peter the Falcon comes out with. Sometimes I’ll look over some things from the 40k subreddit but I honestly just enjoy having conversations on various Discords I’m a part of to learn more about an army and how to play them more competitively.
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about your content at this point, where can our readers find you guys?
Magikarp: For everything tabletop-related with our group you can catch us doing our shenanigans at our other Youtube channel, DiceCheck,and if you want to watch some live battle reports we stream every week at Twitch.tv/DiceCheck with more content coming soon!
Hell yeah! Any final words for our readers before we all go into this powerful New Year?
Bricky: Be the change you want to see. If everyone says something like Guard/Craftworlds/GSC aren’t good right now, be the person to prove them wrong. This game has more options and strategies than almost any other game around. There must be SOMETHING there that hasn’t been tapped into yet. Go get it!
Dameki: If you can’t make love make Warhammer. If you can’t Warhammer then watch us.
Donp: If you’re interested in watching a bunch of goofballs sling some dice, come check out DiceCheck on YouTube or Twitch. We have a great time and have been steadily improving our operations to provide y’all with entertaining Tabletop content.
Magikarp: Support your local LGS as much as you possibly can. Even if it’s just buying a box of troops from them once a month, joining their league or even helping newer players. LGS is the heart and soul of the community, without them we wouldn’t have places to play or communicate with other players who enjoy the hobby. A rising tide raises all ships so help out your local community as much as you can to help spread the joy you have playing, collecting, reading and hobbying to people.
Thanks for taking the time to read through our conversation with this fun group of guys, and a big thanks to MagikarpUsedFly for taking the time to talk to us. Welcome to the hobby! I’m personally psyched to see what their fresh eyes in the hobby will be able to figure out!
If you want to check out more of their Matts personal content, you can find him here on YouTube as well as these following locations:
- TABLETOP CHANNEL – http://youtube.com/dicecheck
- TWITTER – http://twitter.com/themattcastro
- PATREON – http://patreon.com/magikarpusedfly
- INSTAGRAM – https://instagram.com/magikarpusedfly
If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or if you just want to reach out and give us other people you’d like to see us interview, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org