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!