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View Full Version : Discussion: Two-list format and "specialists" (sideboard) in 40K



RandomThoughts
18-12-2012, 14:24
Inspired by a post on aircraft and the necessity to bring counters that might do nothing if you don't run into flyers, I'd like to discuss two concepts taken from the Warmachine Steamroller rulesets and discuss their potential use in 40K and how bis their impact would be on balancing the game:

1. Two-List Format

Essentially, this: Player brings two complementing lists (from the same army, of course) to their games, get to look at the two lists their opponent brought, decide which of their lists the want to use and simultaneously reveal their decission.

There are multiple ways to apporach list building unter these rules. If you want, you could use a strong list twice, with small changes and tweaks. You could build against certain factions, say one list anti-elite and one list anti-horde. You could run a mech-list and an infantry-heavy list. You could run a strong all-comers list and another list that covers the most glaring weaknesses in your all-comers list, or a strong all-comers list in combination with meta-list that will run over the most common power-builds on your area. Or a strong all-comers list plus an unusual list that works great against some matchups and goes down to other matchups like an Eldar Wraith list. Or one aggressive list and one defensive list, or just about anything else you can think off.

2: Specialists / Sideboard

Essentially, this: Players bring more models to their games and decide what to leave out right before the game starts. Your opponent has no flyers, there goes your anti-aircraft. Your opponent has no AV 14, there go your Bright Lances. Your opponent has no Deep Strike units, there goes the officer you use to mess with his reserve rolls.

I'm sure others will come up with far better systems than I ever could, but I'd suggest something like this:
Initial Lists are 500 points over, right before the game, when you know the list you're playing against, you have to cut units untill you're below the set point limit. You can cut whole units, you can remove models from units with variable size, but you can never replace stuff. If you want the choice between a Devestator squad with Missiles and one with Heavy Bolters, you got to include both in your initial list and cut the one you don't want before the game.

I'd also suggest that FoC only comes in after the cuts. If you want, you'Re free to include 5 Heavy Support choices in your initial army, but you'll have to remove at least two before the game, so you kind of force your hand.

Of course, this also opoens up a bunch of possible approaches and strategies: The most obvious one, of course, is counters to stuff that needs specific counters that are useless against everything else. We're talking anti-aircraft here, heavy anti-tank (AV13-14) for armies without Meltaguns in every squad, highly situational units (like Whirlwinds and Banshees), etc.

As an Eldar player, I might bring both Pathfinders and Jetbikes and drop the Pathfinders against an assault army and the Jetbikes against a gunline.

I'm sure there are other useful approaches for other armies as well. Essentially, what it comes down to, in my opinion, is that balanced lists get a ittle boost over skewed lists, players are encouraged to bring situational units and take the occasional gamble in their unit choices, and certain overcrowded slots could see a bit more variety.

My Take:

I think either will complicate army list composition, which will be a concern for casual play in the store, but less so for tournament play. I don't expect to ever see both of them in effect outside of competitive play.

I think a lot of players will complain that it is too difficult, especially when you have to take FOC after cuts under consideration. The Two-list format might appeal more to them, but then you might run into transportation problems, as many players already find it hard to squeeze one army into their bags and boxes.

Still, the two-list format might be easier to adjust to for many players. I think the question is: Are the benefits worth the extra effort. I think so, not just because it encourages a bit more variety on the table, but it also takes some of the choices made during army selection and places them on the actual gaming table.

Metal Handkerchief
18-12-2012, 15:06
As a Magic: The Gathering player, I know the competitive value of a sideboard.

However, I think it's a very bad idea. Currently in M:TG, there will be 1-2 decks that wipe the floor with everything in the most recent metagame (standard format) and the Sideboard actually helps them do that, instead of help other decks up. Basically, sideboards help the already-winning force more than the challenger.

For example, a Necron Flying Circus could get absolutely torn to pieces by a Tau list when the Barracuda comes out (because of it's air superiority niche) as well as Eldar against a couple of Nightwing Interceptors (same deal)

If you have a sideboard, the Necron can simply drop the fliers against those two armies that may be it's only weakness to plan for prior to the tournament. Thus, instead of lowering the prevalence of such lists, you just reinforce them, because there is no risk in mono-spam lists.

Eldar Wraithguard lists for example. 100% guaranteed to lose against Dark Eldar every single time. With a sideboard, not so much. The risk for the Eldar player in choosing that list is gone.

It'll homogenize the competitive side.

Charistoph
18-12-2012, 18:14
It can work with Warmachine/Hordes for several reasons: there are few, if any, "all comer" units like there are in 40K; there is a lower model count, allowing for tighter builds of only a relatively few units/models on the board; the game is built around a competitive environment with models and units that are relatively well balanced.

It can work in 40K, but only at Kill Team/Border Patrol levels. Too many points easily allows for pure lists to be built and taken.

Chem-Dog
18-12-2012, 21:51
It'll homogenize the competitive side.

As all I hear about the competitive side of 40K is "Spam-lists", "Net-Lists" and the same dozen units taken from the same handful of Codexes, I'm really not worried about homogenising the Competitive side any further

These measures, if you need 40k to be a competitive game, I can see their appeal. In that instance I'd prefer the multi-list option as it requires infinitely less faffing around.
If, for example, you've been scared into panty-wetting paroxysms by dire tales of the dreaded flyers you can build a normal list and you can also build one that's fully H5N1 inoculated.

The interesting thing is, with both players gaining the same advantage a certain amount of gamesmanship can develop, neither player knows which force their opponent will take so they can guess, hope or try to deduce which army will be used, this could extend to both of one player's forces using an identical, or at least similar starting element.

RandomThoughts
19-12-2012, 11:18
As a Magic: The Gathering player, I know the competitive value of a sideboard.

However, I think it's a very bad idea. Currently in M:TG, there will be 1-2 decks that wipe the floor with everything in the most recent metagame (standard format) and the Sideboard actually helps them do that, instead of help other decks up. Basically, sideboards help the already-winning force more than the challenger.

Didn't know that, that certainly is a good argument against the sideboard format.


These measures, if you need 40k to be a competitive game, I can see their appeal. In that instance I'd prefer the multi-list option as it requires infinitely less faffing around.

Another viable argument against the sideboard-format.


If, for example, you've been scared into panty-wetting paroxysms by dire tales of the dreaded flyers you can build a normal list and you can also build one that's fully H5N1 inoculated.

The interesting thing is, with both players gaining the same advantage a certain amount of gamesmanship can develop, neither player knows which force their opponent will take so they can guess, hope or try to deduce which army will be used, this could extend to both of one player's forces using an identical, or at least similar starting element.

So yeah, how about the two-list format? No fudging around with lists before the game, but still some flexibility.

Okay, I see one new problem: What if the Necron player brings one flyer-spam list and one no-flyer list? Suddenly his opponent has to take a gamble: Play the anti-flyer list or play the normal list. But then again, he could have brought anti-flyer elements in both lists and then he could get the drop on the necron player... I still see a lot of potential...

Chem-Dog
19-12-2012, 12:30
I think the Necron player has the same conundrum, if they're potentially fielding a flying circus, there's a good chance their opponent will be suitably safeguarded, abuse lists like this are a lot less powerful if you know they are coming and practically toothless if you can build to counter them.

Chapters Unwritten
19-12-2012, 13:27
Because I think people would just polarized their lists, I think it wouldn't work out. You also take the need to make an all comers element to your list out of the equation with a two list format.

IMO, warmachine gets dull with its by the numbers approaches, and things like this are how they compensate for the fact that you need to have some opposing elements to each army to win. 40k would become very polarized with dual lists - or worse, people like me would still just make one. Heh.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

RandomThoughts
19-12-2012, 14:18
Because I think people would just polarized their lists, I think it wouldn't work out. You also take the need to make an all comers element to your list out of the equation with a two list format.

IMO, warmachine gets dull with its by the numbers approaches, and things like this are how they compensate for the fact that you need to have some opposing elements to each army to win. 40k would become very polarized with dual lists - or worse, people like me would still just make one. Heh.

1. I don't think we'd see more polarized lists than we do now. I already see a lot of polarized lists, from Razorspam through Green Tide to I-don't-know. I think the players that would play two extreme lists under that format already play extreme lists, and the players that strife for balanced lists will still strife for different but balanced lists.

2. I don't see why you would only bring one list. I mean, I guess it takes the least effort. But then again, so does throwing together units and random with no considerations for how they interact and what you need to cover flyers, heavy armor, infantry spam, etc.

Charistoph
19-12-2012, 14:39
Because I think people would just polarized their lists, I think it wouldn't work out. You also take the need to make an all comers element to your list out of the equation with a two list format.

IMO, warmachine gets dull with its by the numbers approaches, and things like this are how they compensate for the fact that you need to have some opposing elements to each army to win. 40k would become very polarized with dual lists - or worse, people like me would still just make one. Heh.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2


1. I don't think we'd see more polarized lists than we do now. I already see a lot of polarized lists, from Razorspam through Green Tide to I-don't-know. I think the players that would play two extreme lists under that format already play extreme lists, and the players that strife for balanced lists will still strife for different but balanced lists.

2. I don't see why you would only bring one list. I mean, I guess it takes the least effort. But then again, so does throwing together units and random with no considerations for how they interact and what you need to cover flyers, heavy armor, infantry spam, etc.

Which is why I think it could work for low point games like Kill Team or Border Patrol, but not at the standard 1500-1999+1 tournament point values we see people building for.

AndrewGPaul
19-12-2012, 15:25
In the Warmachine/Hordes Steamroller format, don't both players need to choose which army list they'll use after they know who they'replaying that round (and thus which faction they'll be up against) but without knowing which selection the other person has made? If you try to adopt this as some sort of "flyer balancing" mechanism at 40k tournaments, I'm not sure how it will work - you somehow need to guess correctly whether the other guy will use his flyer army or his other army.