Sunday, 4 January 2015

Army List Advice on Forums - How good is it?

Seeing as I love to write scathing and sarcastic rants regarding things I hate (University Accommodation Internet Connection. Maybe I'll post it sometime), I decided to nostalgically delve deep into the sarcastic 40k underbelly that are online forums. Recently I've been pretty patronising of forums and users in a few of my posts, and I'd just like to clear the air.

Firstly, just don't post your list for advice on a forum if it's fluffy. Because any advice anyone gives can easily be dismissed 'because it's for background'. If it's for background, nice, just don't come into a setting purely there to give competitive advice when that's not what you're looking for. That said, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if you are looking for competitive advice either, and here's why:

First of all, you have to think about what forums do, they essentially provide a platform for individuals to communicate and discuss a certain shared interest, right. And one of the appeals of this is that everyone is on a level playing field in terms of how your opinion is viewed and perceived. As a personal example; you could be the best Chaos Space Marine player in the United Kingdom or a guy with 300 points of Chaos Marines who names every model in his army and your opinions will carry the same weighting unless the poster has some knowledge of who you are, which is exceptionally unlikely as if they were looking for a particular opinion they would come straight to that individual rather than posting on a public forum hoping to snipe an individual.

Sure, you can make the argument that they are looking for someone with more experience with the faction, but it comes back to the point again, it's a complete lottery, and frankly, the vast majority of opinions I have seen given in the last week of nostalgically browsing could practically be written by a bot because it all follows the same formula.

1. Check list for units commonly perceived as bad.

2. If units are found, remove from list.

3. If units are removed from list, replace with unit of same slot commonly perceived as good.

4. Check unit gear for perceived sub optimal loadouts.

5. If loadouts found, remove from list.

6. If loadouts are removed, replace with publicly perceived optimal loadout.

7. Once the above steps are complete, attempt to insult or patronise anyone who does not follow this formula.

From someone who has built weird and whacky lists from scratch and done well with them in top level tournaments, this is not how to write a good list. The only list I can think of that was ever any good that effectively used this formula was Wraithwing, and even then it just so happened that they worked well together (D-Lords, Wraiths and Night Scythes with barebones Warriors). Besides, that book is now the oldest in the game, and that list was first created in 5th edition.

As mentioned in the previous post regarding Obliterators. The key to a strong list is one where all its components are working together towards the same win condition, not just blindly picking units that seem good at certain roles. The days of well-rounded 40k lists covering all bases with each unit are over. If you have an 1,850pt army, whose win condition is to smash your opponent so that they cannot physically control enough objectives or flat out tables them, then having 600 points put into Plague Marines is not going to help you achieve that, so you effectively have 1,250 of a tabling army. You have an inefficiency, because quite frankly you don't need a beefy ass unit holding your backline if the enemy has nothing to clear it with, which quite frankly, is EXACTLY what your list is trying to do.

Forget the plague marines, take the dirt cheap option and pour all of those points into something that will actually help you win the game.

EDIT: This is not to say that if you reply to posts on forums you don't know what you're talking about, it's very kind to offer assistance with other peoples lists and you have my respect for it. However I would highly recommend that you try to think a little bit more about the box in terms of helping the playstyle that the original poster is going for. 

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