Hello, my name is SuperHappyTime... and... I'm what you might call a netlister. (Que "Hi SuperHappyTime”)
For those not familiar with the term netlist or netlister, it's a derogatory term used by a player-base to insult a group of players that build their gaming playstyles/profiles/lists not based on personal experiences, but on internet searching. More specifically, they look at winning playstyles and build their said lists from them.
Now this will generally cause hate from a number of nerds:
· Those who dislike the Win at all costs mentality
· Those who pride on playing “their way”
· Those that believe you need to play with your own personal creation, and not something you found elsewhere
· Those who believe you need to take sub-optimal choices in order to have a good time
· Those who believe taking the time to determine and use the optimal choices are breaking the game
You can find more about Netlisting on 1d4chan, or any gaming forum you want. Go ahead, I’ll wait a little bit.
So what am I doing here? Well, I’m here to tell you to give in to the dark side of the force.
1. Play Experience Is Still Required
When was the last time you won based on skill and not dumb luck, with an army that you’ve never played before (either with or against)? Chances are, not high, especially if the person across from you has. Netlisting might buy you into the second round of a tournament, but it probably isn’t getting you into the Top 2, 4, 8, or possibly 16 (unless your game is horribly broken, in which case you might).
2. Welcome to the Worldwide Web
You might be new here. Chances are very good that on a world of 6 billion people and a very small population of gamers that you aren’t the only person wanting to try a certain list or elements there in. Chances are very good that someone else has figured a few things that work and a few that don’t. Why aren’t you taking advantage of that knowledge and using it yourself? Especially if it is something that works or you should be doing
3. We All Reach the Same Conclusion
Put a nerd in a room with no way out, give him all of the time and resources he needs to develop the perfect strategy/ies for a game and then probably forget he needs oxygen, food, and water to survive and try again with a new nerd and items to sustain himself. Given enough time he will have found nearly the exact same game strategies that the competitive community already plays and a netlister can decipher from said community.
4. Netlisting Helps Game Designers
There is nothing more detrimental to a gaming scene than one playstyle that annihilates all others but itself. Gaming in a vacuum with no netlisting practices will rarely lead to the conclusion that something is wrong with a game. Early in a game’s meta, you’ll want a playstyle to pull ahead of the rest. This oddly motivates the meta to build their list to prepare to play against the Bogeyman and not as the Bogeyman, something BETTER than the Bogeyman.
5. It Helps Bad Players Win
A big difference between a good and a bad player is that the good player recognizes tthat something is bad for winning. The best example is in Magic the Gathering, where in a sealed pack setting the good players will cut down to 40 cards, while a bad player will stay at 43, 47, or even more. What the good player knows is that several cards in his deck will be game-changers, while most other cards help you sustain the game. Going to 50 cards vs 40 increases your odds of finding that game-changer from 1/40 to 1/50, or a 20% decrease in drawing that card over the 15-20 cards you will likely draw in that game. Netlisting is that extra helper that separates the wheat from the chaff and gets the win.
6. Netlisting Takes Work
The worst thing a netlister can ever do is to use the previous tournament winner’s exact same deck. Primarily because it’s the new Bogeyman that everyone is looking to dethrone, but mostly because it may have been an unexpected fluke. Again, I use Magic the Gathering, where a 48-land deck called Seismic Swans won a major tournament, then mostly disappeared from Top 8 decks thereafter. It’s also necessary to keep up with the format, as the Skeleton of the deck you are playing may change as competitive players do better with certain additions that become part of the Skeleton. Likewise, looking through a few lists isn’t the same thing as looking through a lot of lists
7. Netlisting is Also Budget Friendly
This may be the ultimate sticking point for WAAC Players. Because I pick out only the best things, I’m not spending money on all the things that don’t work. I may be spending twice as much as a Casual player did, but I’m likely beating him more often. Your play experience may be a bigger factor in the end however, but after enough play-throughs that will likely change to your favor.
8. Effective Netlisting isn’t Always Possible
Netlisting isn’t always an easy adventure. In particular with Warhammer Fantasy, finding effective data for Netlisting had few and far data points. I performed my own usual Netlisting routines on a set of maybe about 15 events from 2012-2015 and I’m relieved to have found that much. But even in that data, some armies (Beastmen, Tomb Kings) were very lacking in available lists and other armies (High Elves, Warriors of Chaos, Dark Elves) had so many distinct Skeletons that it made choosing the best impossible. Not to mention the amount of data when I had some and the lack of it from other sources.
I think I’ll wrap up this post for now, as if you can’t tell I may have repeated myself occasionally. My next post may be on my usual process of Netlisting, my findings in my own Netlisting bit, or where netlisting goes with AoS.
Laissez les bons temps rouler,