View Full Version : Your list building considerations

26-07-2013, 12:45
I've just been thinking about building a list for a tournament and I'm wondering what type of armies will be there and what builds would be used and the tactics and so on.

I want to know what you consider when building your list? What is important to your overall plan with your army?

26-07-2013, 12:59
Generally for me theme comes above all else and if the list is fun to use. While il admit power is kind of important at the same time it isnt the be all and end all to me. Id rather not come highly in a tournament but have a fun fluffy list which is great to play with than to have the typical power game spam list

26-07-2013, 13:09
I try for a theme, I also try and have a balanced list which provides me options in each of the phases.
I like to have an infantry battle line (anvil) a mobile element( hammer) a fire base ( missile troops/ mages/ war machines) and finally some form of harassing units (fast cavalry or skirmishes)
Though I always struggle to get it all in!

27-07-2013, 15:29
My list making criteria are, roughly, as follows:

1. Transport - all my armies fit in a single case, two for 40k (stupid vehicles). I hate carrying around tons of cases like some pack mule, so if it doesn't fit into a single case (GW sized double) I won't take it.

2. Uniqueness - I will not make an army that someone in my local gaming club already owns. My biggest issue with both Fantasy and 40k is I get bored when games are too similar, so I want to have something different from everyone else.

3. Theme - Night Goblins, Nurgle Daemons, Wood Elves (No trees), Savage Orcs. All my armies have an overall theme and I will make the best list I can whilst staying within the theme.

4. Effectiveness - I don't mind taking sub-par units, but I'm not taking anything that's utterly garbage. But this quite often ties into the theme as I will find an idea/notion to revolve my list around and make that as effective as I can.

5. Cost - I'm not made of money so the cheaper I can make it the better.

30-07-2013, 10:30
1: What is the primary focus of the list, how does it win games, the turn phase will it use the most to win games?

2: What units benefit the army type's primary focus?

3: How does this army type play against my general meta?

4: What strengths and weaknesses does the final list bring to the table top.

Constructing tournament lists will always depend alot on meta, environment and comp. Once those are sorted out as the basic restrains to work within, I usually pick a focus for the list. This may be affected by the strength of the tournament, the theme of the list or the style in which I feel like playing. Having a few big armies means that its alittle more easlier to change the focus of armylists and play style.

Personally I prefer strong movement phases and board control, which usually means theres alot more mobile troops, redirectors and utility units in the armylists, than horde or rank and file choices.

At the moment our meta has turned into 'chaff wars' games, where board control through chaff drops are really big and lists either need to counter these small threats or know how to play against them.

30-07-2013, 19:53
My check-list is as follows :

The models I actually own
The models I have painted
What I find fun

30-07-2013, 21:50
If I'm starting a new army I want it to play different than my current one. So lets say I play Daemons and Ogres, Skaven, Bretonnia or High Elves would be something I could fancy.

Then I need to like them, like their models and like their fluff. So far HE and Bret are in the lead. Then I would also consider how much money and work it would cost me to get this up and running. Again Skaven is losing out of the three options. Next up, it is very important for me that the rules are playable. What do I mean by this? Competitive? Well yeah, but I also want the book to be "up to date", the new 8th books got this nice feel to them. Also internal balance is very important or else you'll end up with very few builds. (A problem I have with my Ogres) This last step is quite important because it will determine how much joy I get out of my army when playing it. If I end up hating it because of crippled rules or bad mechanics (hi2u Dwarf players) I might as well avoid the army all together.

After all these considerations High Elves would win for me, just barely with Bretonnia in a good second. However I am quite happy with my armies at the moment. I'm not itching to start a new army. So waiting for a new book before starting Bretonnia sounds like a good plan to me.

03-08-2013, 10:41
If you are building a list for a tournament first you have to consider why you are playing. Are you doing it just for fun? is it to try and win or do well? or possibly its to try out a new army, style of play, list, unit or possibly a combination of these? if its any of these bar trying to win then to be honest it does not matter what is in your list, go out there and have a blast, and remember you are just trying to have fun!

If you are trying to win (and I do not mean win at all costs) then you are entering the murky and contentious world of creating an all comers list. Now while many tournaments are not grand affairs, and if you know a lot of the people going then to some extent you may be able to tailor your list towards some of the more common armies and even builds. However I think this is a bit dangerous as you never know what "surprises" you may face, so as a rule of thumb then its a good idea to prepare for all possibilities. For me this is a large part of the fun of Warhammer, the sheer complexity of of the variety within the game, the unstoppable units and the hard counters to them. Trying to create the perfect list is impossible but for me its fun. So where do I start?

Well first I pick an army. This should be self explanatory and completely up to you on what lifts your imagination to play, be it the models, the background or the rules. I only mention it that unfortunately not all armies are created equally for tournament play, but more so, some armies push you towards a style of play, or naturally have hard counters. In a tournament this may only affect you in 1 game out of 6 but that may be enough to stop you competing for the higher places, which leads me to the second point.

Comp, most tournaments will have some form of comp, or scenarios or special rules and themes. Learn the rules, and fully understand the comp. Try and work out what the organisers are trying to encourage and discourage,it is hard to overstate how much of on advantage this can give you if you know what others will not be bringing. Tied into this is the scenarios used. Is it a pitched battle tournament, randomly generated scenarios, fixed scenarios or is the organiser doing something different. If you know that two out of four games you are going to need to cross half the board then this should surely effect you list design heavily.

Once you are at this stage you are in the process of list design, or more accurately "all comers" list design. There is a difference. For me I like to chose an army that can compete in all phases of the game. Combat, Shooting, & Magic are what most people think about when you say that, but a lot of people forget the other two which are just as important. Movement and Deployment. Think about what you want to achieve in each one of these phases, is your shooting just going to be for harassment or is it to bring cannons to act as a hard counter to monsters? With movement again this comes down to the scenarios, but in a lot of tournament formats you are going to want to get the highest no of points possible, does this mean crossing the board, or breaking and then running down a unit to get full points for it? As another rule of thumb, static armies do not do well in tournaments. (Sorry Dwarfs). Lastly I mentioned deployment. This is half the game in tournaments, if you are facing a list with something you are not prepared for, but can out deploy your opponent then life will get much easier for you. Usually this means having a large amount of drops, but it can mean having an understanding of how to avoid an opponents deathstar, or how to use the terrain to your advantage.

Finally then, we are onto the nitty gritty of the list design. Now for me the most useful thing is not to only think about what your units are going to do, but also to think about what they are going to counter. I see a lot of lists on Warseer that are regiment after regiment of essentially the same "type" of troop that fulfil the same battle field role. Either being a hammer or anvil, or good at destroying high armour targets but not massed ranks etc. Again the idea in a balanced list is to have counters to all of these, but not necessarily have too much of one yourself. Now there is a counter argument against this, which is very valid. Most balanced lists may be able to kill one or two monsters in a game for example but if you are able to bring many more say then target saturation may leave you with a favourable match up on the rest of the board. The same can be true as well for massed ranks (Think Orc and Goblins) and magic etc. The important thing here to remember is again, Comp and what happens if your monster list runs into an Empire or Dwarf cannon party?

Now with all that said, here are the questions I like to ask myself in my lists, I need to have at least one way of answering these questions, and preferably two or more, just in case a cannon blows up on you turn one!

How do I counter/ break massed ranks?
How can I kill heavy armoured units?
How can I take down enemy monsters?
How will I defend against enemy magic/Miscasts?
How will I overcome massed shooting?
How will I overcome Regeneration & Ethereal?
What will I do against a deathstar I cant easily beat?
How will I deal with enemy characters?
How will I deal with Psychology ie terror, and losing combats?

Now truth being told its very difficult to answer all these questions to a level that you are completely happy with, and it does necessitate usually having the same sort of items in nearly every list. Im looking at you flaming banner, and dispel scroll, but thats life. Usually at this stage after going through my list 3 or four times, im at a stage where I can answer all the questions to some extent, and this is where the tactics of how I am going to play start being devised. For example I may be good against all those questions apart from mass shooting, so my tactics first turn are to focus on eliminating cannons/ shooting units to negate there impact as much as possible. Or im good against all apart from monsters and I cant reliably shoot/ magic them down. I will need to use chaff to redirect them from the main battle, or deploy in such a way as to reduce their impact. (see the importance of deployment now in from a purely tactical perspective)

Im sorry if this has been a long waffly reply, but it truly is a massive question. I don't know what level of player you are, or if you have been to many tournaments or not but this works for me.

04-08-2013, 11:03
Usualy the first question for list building is how is the list going to win. Some knowledge of the local meta is always inportant in deciding what you are going to take. Knowing what types of games you are going to play is useful as well, at the most basic level you need to have your bases covered for the senarios in the BRB. Lastly I think it's important to use a list that you find fun. If you are going to a tournament you want to have a good time. Winning games is the aim of the tournament but you want to have some laughs along the way and feel that you've managed to place where you have because of your ability as a player.


04-08-2013, 11:17
For tournaments:
1. Chose a crazy idea, theme or underused units/items to focus on. Included in this step is checking if the build is too common, I don't want to bring a list that everyone uses.
2. Check restrictions to see if it is possible.
3. Fill list with units that complement or strengthen the original idea.
4. Can I use models I like?
5. Debate the list with friends that are waaay better than me at tournament play, and refuse to change anything important or copy their ideas. Like a stubborn child.

Normally I start with special and rare choices since that is where my ideas often start. Then fill core to slightly over minimum. Then do characters. Often this leads to few and underequipped characters since I always add them last and if I go over in points I often simply drop an item or two. I also have to have an equal number of models in all ranks so I can't drop one infantry guy to save points. If I take multiples of the same unit then the units have to be identical and with the same amount of characters in them. No exceptions to this.

Spiney Norman
04-08-2013, 13:05
Here's how I build my list
Mandatory choices first

1. Pick your wizard lord
2. Pick your BSB, and if your wizard lord is not your general, pick one now
3. Fill up to your minimum core threshold
4. Rare choices next, in most armies the most powerful units are rare.
5. Fill in the gaps, spend the rest of your points on whatever is effective for the army you want to build, whether that is special, core or additional support characters.

05-08-2013, 16:16

A great post there, I'm going to save that and use it for future list checks. :-D

Some other great replies, it seems the main consensus is what Lorcryst said:

My check-list is as follows :

The models I actually own
The models I have painted
What I find fun

With a bit of competitive choice thrown in somewhere.

I suppose if you you don't have the models or plan to buy them they won't be in your list!

05-08-2013, 17:02
I'll add a caveat : I sometimes use proxies before deciding to buy or not some models ... but only with friends, and I warn them beforehand :p

05-08-2013, 17:04
I'll add a caveat : I sometimes use proxies before deciding to buy or not some models ... but only with friends, and I warn them beforehand :p

You dirty proxier you!

05-08-2013, 17:07
Yup, not ashamed either, with a limited budget and the current prices, a couple of games with proxies (I still have the correct base size and some models on them) is the way to go to test things :shifty:

Also, I've been collecting GW/Citadel models for more than 25 years now (started at age 14), I *do* have a very large backlog of unpainted/unassembled models in my stash (see my PLOG in my siggy for a partial list) :p

05-08-2013, 17:45
Yup, not ashamed either, with a limited budget and the current prices, a couple of games with proxies (I still have the correct base size and some models on them) is the way to go to test things :shifty:

Also, I've been collecting GW/Citadel models for more than 25 years now (started at age 14), I *do* have a very large backlog of unpainted/unassembled models in my stash (see my PLOG in my siggy for a partial list) :p

I've heard on the Internet if you proxy then you are a power gamer. Got to be careful!

And I've seen your massive backlog I peruse your plog often, so stop procrastinating and go and paint something ;-D

05-08-2013, 18:56
I did make a dent recently in my backlog, but I'll have a bit less time in the coming months : I just found a job, had my first day today :D

Anyway, on topic, I've remembered another "check box" on my list : try to take something different than last time ... I tend to collect models based on a "master list", but those are usually in the 5K to 8K range, allowing me more choice when designing 2K~3K 'standard' army lists.

05-08-2013, 19:45
The tournament package usually determines what kind of list I'm bringing. I read the scenarios and then make my list to optimize my chances of winning.

13-08-2013, 07:34
I'm still in the testing phase, so each one of my lists emphasizes one unit or an idea and builds on it to the max with a couple of supporting units / characters.

It has made for some interesting battles!