Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tavern Talk: List Building

I posted my thoughts on basic Fantasy list building a few weeks ago here, but Kuffeh's Tavern Talk topic this week goes a bit deeper, so I thought I'd dig into it some more.

The beginning of every good (and bad) list

I wanted to see how people went about building their lists.  There are a host of methods people use.  Some start with the rare slots or their character choices, while others get the core choice out of the way.

In my case, as I outlined in my list building primer, I pick how I plan to win the game.  Shooting, Magic, or Close Combat.  Usually, a good list will have one area they are particularly vicious in, with the other two supporting, and enhancing further, the main strength.  This is how I approach my lists.  For instance, my Adepticon list started as a close combat based list with magic support and some shooting.  I went with points efficient units that were likely to beat nearly anything they face in close combat (Chariots and Hydras) and supported this theme by having a strong Shadow Magic presence that accentuates the strength of the list: high strength and high toughness units.  Shadow lowers the attributes of my opponent's units, making my already tough and strong units even better.  As you can see, my supporting role (magic) has tremendous synergy with my primary strategy.  My shooting is my weakest leg, but it supports my army nicely but filling in a weakness: warmachines, which don't care how tough my beater units are and can kill them relatively easy.  I have Shades and Dark Riders, both of which are excellent at hunting warmachines.  So my whole list is designed around a plan of killing my opponent with chariots and Hydras in devastating charges, and the remainder of my list is geared towards making that plan easier to accomplish.  

Do you see a difference between a friendly pick up game list and a tournament list? 

I do not.  I'm not a WAAC douche, but I don't have the ability to make a list with units I know are horrible and have fun.  If I know unit A is terrible and a waste of points, I simply won't add it to a list, whether it be for tournaments or random pick up games.  As I said in a comment on some blog, once you've eaten off the Tree of Knowledge it's almost impossible to get the genie back in the bottle.  How's that for a mixed metaphor?

One thing it seems many gamers often appear to view and consider with their lists is the meta game - how much attention do you put on the local meta-gaming?

In Fantasy, I don't.  Fantasy is much harder to metagame against, because generally what's good against one good army is strong against other good armies.  Obviously, if your 5 buddies all play Dwarven gunlines and that is your only opponent, this changes.  But if I played in a 2k tournament at my LGS tomorrow I wouldn't metagame at all.

Are your lists consistent or do you change from game to game?

Depends.  If I am playtesting for a tournament, they are going to be very consistent, with only minor tweaks until I get the build dialed in, or thrown out completely.  What causes my builds to change the most is the changing of point levels.  At my store we play 2k, 2.5k, and 3k roughly equally.  My list at each points level is radically different from each other, as certain units shine at 2k (Hydra) that don't shine at 2.5k.  So in that regard, what I deploy on the table top changes from weekend to weekend.

I have heard of gamers tailoring their lists to work against certain armies or lists, does this appeal to you?  How do you feel on the topic of tailored lists?

I am whole-heartedly against tailoring.  All lists should be built as all comers lists.  When I go for pick up games, I don't even show my opponent which army I brought until he has already finished his list.  Tailoring for a particular opponent or army is stupid, because it doesn't prepare you for tournaments if you are competitive, and doesn't contribute to having a fun game if you aren't.  If you are a non-competitive hobbyist and you want a pick up game for fun, how fun is it when your opponent stomps you with a tailored list?  Not fun at all.  So if competitive players don't get anything out of it, and non-competitive players hate it, who does like it?  WAAC douchebags who would rather club seals than have a hard fought game.


No comments:

Post a Comment