Tavern Talk – List Building

Kuffeh asks:

After listening to a recent show of Heelanhammer I came across the idea of list building.  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.  Do you see a difference between a friendly pick up game list and a tournament list?  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?  Are your lists consistent or do you change from game to game?  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?

The main criterion I find I adhere to when selecting a list is that the army laid out before me must look like the way I see the army in my head. In the case of Beastmen, that would be a mob of unruly goat men surging across the table in their desperation to get to grips with their hated foes, In that regard, I quote Aramoro: ‘Effectiveness be damned!’

Even for me there are some subtleties for my choices though; I do like a little effectiveness. So the first to go on my army list is always the Battle Standard Bearer (BSB). A Wargor with gnarled hide, heavy armour and a shield; he has rarely let me down, especially in comparison to the single time I tried to use a Gorebull BSB. After that, a mighty herd of Gors to strain their leashes across to their victims on the other side of the field is the next to go on the list. I’ve used a lot of Bestigors lately (and after all, they are very effective for me, and the models are excellent), but I find that they are not an automatic selection for me in the same way as the Gors. The Bestigors have had to fight tooth and nail (or should that be horn and hoof) to win their way into my army lists. After that, it’s a matter of bulking up the core blocks and then trying to find the points to test out something new and (so far) untested, such as the Lore of Death, Harpies, Razorgors or a Ghorgon.

Ideally, I like to try out a list (or very close variations of a list) for a few games before making a decision about whether it is a ‘keeper’ or not. A few poor decisions, which are particularly common in my games, can make a good list seem bad so I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt. Equally, bad dice can influence one’s thought on units or lists. For example, Justinmatters was put off war machines in his Orc and Goblin armies after this game in which his artillery dice had ‘misfire’ written on all six sides. Sometimes, though, a list turns out to have so many weak points that it isn’t worth playing even one more game with it.

The question of tailored lists and meta-games is an interesting one. Ordinarily, all my army lists would be ‘take-all-comers’ type lists, since I don’t know who I’m facing. However, with the Border Princes campaign I am currently running, each battle is against a known opponent, with a known army (or at least, a known race to select his army from) so it would be possible to select a list which is specifically effective against them. Luckily here, my lack of knowledge of Warhammer comes in handy, since I simply don’t know enough about any army to choose better options against them. Perhaps the only consideration I would make is not to take any of the big rare monsters (Cygor, Ghorgon, Giant or Jabberslythe) when facing Furycat‘s Empire – he really likes his artillery!

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Categories: Tavern Talk, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Tavern Talk – List Building

  1. I build my list by taking my prerequisites. Then filling out my Core with how I want my army to be, inevitably lots of Knights because I like Knights. Then I try to take Heroes that will plug the gaps in my Armies. So I take the Challenging Paladin to help me get some combat resolution points to help my Knight break units. I take a Prophetess to give me some magical support to buff my Knights.

    Though just to be contrary I build my list from one unit, like a Hippogryph Lord. Then try to work out what would be good with that unit, what helps it the most etc.

    • I’m still waiting to see the fabled ‘everyone on magical flying ponies except mandatory 400 points of core’ list you threatened a while ago.

      • I have it written up and ready to go. It’s a bad bad list I feel but I might roll it out for a game in the Campaign. 12 Pegasus Knights and 2 Characters of Royal Pegausii woo.

        • If you think it’s so bad, we could leave out of the white-hot competitive crucible of the campaign, and just play a normal silly game with it. I’ll bring along similar list but with Minotaurs, i.e. Doombull general, Gorebull BSB, and as many Minotaurs as I can fit in after my minimum core (which would be chariots for a laugh).

  2. I start off with a rough idea of what I want the army to be like. It could be something like ‘lots of mounted units’ or something very general like ‘I’d like to try a steam tank’, then go from there. I often pick a general up first, give him what I consider to be his ‘mandatory’ equipment… the bare minimum I feel he needs to do his job, and from there I go to core, fill that out and then round out my other slots. Then I go back over the list and use any spare points to augment my general and other characters with shiny.

  3. Always a good read senior Badger.

    I try to think of my list like a boxer.
    the right hook, the left hook…and some solid stuff to hit in the middle.
    even units follow under this. When I add a unit, if it’s a ‘hitting unit’ i think “what will be supporting this” and inevitably the razorgors, chariots and shadow lore comes out.

    if there’s anything devious, i consider that part of the boxer himself. Ie, raiders= tricky etc etc.
    Bestigors and support are first NON heroes/ lords to be budgeted for. I find that ‘uber’ lords are just too pricey and only in rare cases can do more than a well equipped unit can.

    magic, well that’s another story.

    • A boxer… that’s an elegant metaphor. I only wish I was a clever enough player to make full use of an overall army strategy. Aramoro in particular is very good at supporting all his units in a way I never seem to manage.

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