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Veillotron

Army List Building Philosophy

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Sad to say, I value ease of painting above all. I got a ton of Sylvaneth and banged through them to have a finished army. My Disciples of Tzeentch still sit, mostly unpainted. Tgors are time consuming!

Edited by MacDuff

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My list building always starts with the latest painted unit and then goes forward from that to combine for an army that is interesting to play and looks thematic. This usually leads to disappointing reveals reading the warscrolls in bit more detail when my new models get in to close combat.

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I always have some ideas or theme behind how I want the army to play and the background behind it. It doesn't have to be something fully fleshed out. I started my first Age of Sigmar (and still ongoing army) with the following thoughts:

I really like Be'Lakor, I really like the look of Chaos Undivided Warriors in black armour. I didn't want to build that army in 8th edition, but I can build this Undivided Chaos warband in Age of Sigmar by starting out small. That's how I started my Slaves to Darkness army at the start of Age of Sigmar.  Most of it started by buying a second hand bunch and adding that to my Be'Lakor model I'd bought because I liked it. I have enough models for 2k (probably slightly more in the end), although I haven't finished painting everything yet.

That was pre-Generals Handbook though, and even before that I knew the army was a bit lacking due to more thematical decisions and the army itself. For example, it doesn't do anything in the shooting phase, which at the moment is a big deal. I'm currently at a crossroads as to how I make the army stronger without breaking my theme behind it. I've got some ideas which is good, but I also fully understand it'll never be upper tier, so it's hard to say whether the effort is worth it (In my case, adding in 6 Jezzails which I know how to integrate into my theme, but don't want to pay $83AUD per 3. So would need to put effort into converting them).

 

Over time though, I think as competitiveness edges it's way back into the scene that will become more of a factor into starting a new army. I don't think it'll ever be my most important factor, our scene will never get that large I feel. But certainly my later armies I chose them because I wanted to get that little extra leg up. My Free Guild army I wanted because it will let me compete in the shooting phase (something severely lacking in Chaos until recently!). I was going to start Gutbusters (as a faster moving, harder hitting close combat army which I like the models), but backed away as I didn't want to start another 'older' army.

I think that unfortunately that has shackled me a bit more recently. I don't necessarily want to start a top tier new army, there's definitely more of the older armies I'd like to explore, but not if they're going to be handicapped and never get a battletome (and the associated battalions, allegiance abilities, spells, etc that come along with those).

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What models I like most and what I have painted are always the most important factors for me. I'd much rather play with  a fully themed and painted army of models I love than anything unfinished or half-painted. They only get drafted in if absolutely needed, or I really want to try something new!

Models aside, I always enjoy trying to build a list around unusual or uncommon units and combos. Because I'm a total hipster like that xD

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I probably can split this into two sections - building an army and then building a list.  To explain, I'm building up a Chaos army currently - focusing on Khorne.  The army has been build pretty much based on models I like and fancy painting.  Building a list is where I pick painted models from my army to play with for a specific game.  I'm finally getting to the point where I have a decent range of models to pick from to do this.

List wise I will always field something that works in my head from a background point of view.  By that I don't mean hamstringing myself with combinations that are rubbish, more that I follow a general concept.  For example Khorne doesn't like magick and hates Slaanesh - so I'm unlikely to put in a Tzeentch Sorcerer or unit of Seekers, but wouldn't have an issue with a Chaos Lord on Manticore for example.  I'll have a few "must haves" in the army because that's what I enjoy playing with - Blood Warriors for one.

Most of my army is composed of Bloodbound units which have a really strong synergy between units (which has only grown), so picking units that work well together isn't really very difficult!  But it does get given a certain amount of thought.

I do try and pitch my list appropriately for the game I'm playing.  I'm not going to bring along what I consider a really tough army to a friendly round the club unless I've arranged for a practice game with their own tough army.  The question I tend to ask is "would I be happy facing this?"

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2 hours ago, Ratamaplata said:

Does it look good? Yes.

Do I want to paint it? Yes.

Then it's in. Otherwise no thanks. Play for fun :)

I completely agree with this.

Everyone should aim to create whatever pleases her or him. In my case I just really want a combination of the models I think look the coolest. If that happens to fit a particular Battalion aswell that's great because it means I might have to consider this 'upgrade'. 

Models for me who look well are also the models I like to paint. It's highly unlikely to catch me with more than 60 of the same models because I really think this is where my limit is in painting up the same model over and over again. Luckily we do have the bits to convert them somewhat but 60 truely is my max.

So the hobby should come first and the game second in my opinion. It also works out better this way because it's how GW intends their design aswell. If you look at PP you clearly see that the game comes first and you have to work with models who's quality goes from good to rubbish really fast. Many other boardgames have a similair style. I'd say the true 'in between' is found with Wyrd Games who has great models and great games but also a very particular steampunk/dieselpunk fantasy style which might or might not suit you :).

Having fun is the key to any hobby!

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3 hours ago, Ratamaplata said:

Does it look good? Yes.

Do I want to paint it? Yes.

Then it's in. Otherwise no thanks. Play for fun :)

Well that just about sums it up for me too

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Thanks to all for the feedback – it is interesting to read all the different viewpoints.

Since I spend the majority of my time painting, I choose my armies based on aesthetics and lore. I love both the lore and look of the Stormcasts. I am not the biggest fan of their death masks, but I have come up with a solution for that. For my Chaos army, I actually prefer the lore of Tzeentch but the aesthetic of the Khorne models. So I have decided to make a DoT army with a bunch of converted Khorne / Slaves to Darkness models.

Having said that, I really enjoy building “efficient” lists, even if this remains a purely theoretical exercise (I have never played in a tournament and my main adversary is my son).  And so I have spent more time than I would have thought initially reading through the warscrolls and thinking about potential lists.

To date, there is one instance where a purchasing decision what influenced by the strategic aspect of the game. I wanted my DoT to be mainly based on mortals and arcanites (save for the LoC, which is such a cool model). But there is such a huge gap in value for points between the Pink Horrors and the Kairic Acolytes that I decided to go with the Horrors, even though I prefer a thousand times the Acolytes models (and with their splitting ability the Horrors offer more flexibility from a strategic standpoint).  

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The research and theory stuff that goes into crafting a list is beyond my ken. I generally just find the cheapest way of hitting 1/1.5k that involves models that I like, and as much variety as possible.

With the Kharadron Overlords I am going to try and at least use the battalions. The Mortal Nurgle/Nurlge ones didn't do much for me as I didn't find the idea of painting 35 blight kings or 40 plaguebearers appealing.

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1. Look of the army
2. Competetiveness
3. Overall playstyle
4. How original it is

I want an army that is strong, because getting tabled turn 3 even with a "strong" army given the specific army is a waste of my time [emoji14]

However, I gladly sacrifise playing the best of the best if it means that the army "below" that looks so much better.

I tend yo be drawn towards bigger models like monsters, so that usually makes an impact aswell. Finally, if I can make a strong list AND it's original/gimmicky, that's a golden!

Skickat från min SM-G925F via Tapatalk

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I've spent a lot of time thinking about the game of "list building". All of the above are great insights into how people build lists.

I wouldn't personally call myself a "power gamer" only because I've no real interest in running to whatever the new hotness is. Since AoS's launch I've spent a lot of time reading codexes, watching battle reports, doing mathhammer and generally breaking down all the nuts and bolts of what makes certain lists competitive and what doesn't.  The conclusions I've come to are pretty simple:

1. Everything is good if you build your lists around gameplay

2. There's no such thing as net lists. 
 

I know I'll take heat for point 2, but I'll elaborate on point 1 first, because it's applicable to my reasoning on 2.

While I deeply enjoy the hobby aspect of wargaming, in the end I buy and paint models to put them on the table. So generally before I buy models I like to put together a list and then buy, paint and convert whatever I need to fill the list out. I've been "into" wargaming going on 10 years now, so I have a fairly extensive collection to pull from (Currently I have an 8th ed Warriors of chaos and Wood elf army, and for AoS I have a Sylvaneth and a burgeoning Disciples of Tzeentch Army). Occasionally I'll get an idea for a sweet conversion or a new model will be released and I'll build a list around it. 

When designing a list for gameplay, generally I take units to fill a battlefield role. Some of the categories are obvious: Hammers/anvils or support. But ideally I pick units to fill a primary battlefield role and a secondary battlefield role. Hopefully, by the time I'm done, I'll have two units to do anything i need on the field in case one gets wiped out. Fallbacks and redundancies are a big part of my list building process. 

After I've plugged all the units in to a certain points values, I'll ask myself, "Do I have something to handle x?" If I can't think of a good candidate to handle whatever x is, I'll make adjustments. Here's an example of some standard questions I'll ask:

1. "Can I handle units with a high volume of average attacks?" (bloodreavers stacking attacks?)
2. "Do I have something that can handle monsters?" (beastclaw raiders Huskar spam)
3. "Do I have something to handle units that deal ranged mortal wounds? (Clan Skyre and Disciples of TZ) 
4. "Do I have enough bodies to grab objectives in take and hold?"
5. "Do I have enough heroes to compete in three places of power?" 
6. "Do I have an appropriate magic defense?" 

Finally, (and the most important)

7. Can this list compete in every phase of the game?

OR

7. Can this list dominate at least 2 phases of the game?

------

If I can answer all (or most) of the questions with a "yes", then I'll take the list to the table to try out and then swap things around again until I'm confident I know how the list plays. Playing variations on a theme really helps you dig deep and is essential to getting a good understanding of what your units are capable of on the tabletop.

AS I said above, I also don't believe there are net lists in AoS. Yes there are certainly lists we see frequently that play well, (Kunnin Rukk, Husktusk spam, a billion bloodsecrators on the table, ect ect) but in AoS every list has a weakness, so there is very little that is truly "unbeatable" with a balanced list. Especially considering that AoS is an objective based game. There's been plenty of games where I was far behind in kill points, but because I played to objectives I won anyway. It's important to remember to play to the rules of the game, rather than just trying to table your opponent.  

 



 

 

 

 

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Netlist are a thing, thats obvius. In AoS they aren't so prevalent as other systems like 40k, basically for 2 points:

-AoS has not the amount of layers and rulers that 40k has, so its less obvius when someone has copied a very rare list over and over.
-The fixed rolls make that everything can hurt everything, so the rock/paper/scisors its not so heavy as those other games.

As other people has pointed, I'm totally fine with people going with the more OP things in the game. I only dislike when a guy that like to play that way, just don't recognize it, and go to "casual" or friendly games with the most power lists and just say "Bro! This was a SOFT list! I don't even put here a third Warp Fire Cannon!"

 

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4 hours ago, Auticus said:

On netlists... I would say walk through the adepticon AOS tournament and note the lists, and which ones were the same or very very similar.  

Frequency of list appearances doesn't mean that those lists are necessarily "netlists". "Net listing" is a term referring to a player's choices in a wargame where only the "best" options are taken, resulting in a difficult to beat list. Armies which use battalions (especially meta battalions that include smaller battalions) have a fairly limited variation since a good portion of the units are required, (and since battalions are big part of the way AoS is designed to play) there's bound to be some repetition. 

 

2 hours ago, Galas said:

Netlist are a thing, thats obvius. In AoS they aren't so prevalent as other systems like 40k, basically for 2 points:

-AoS has not the amount of layers and rulers that 40k has, so its less obvius when someone has copied a very rare list over and over.
-The fixed rolls make that everything can hurt everything, so the rock/paper/scisors its not so heavy as those other games.

As other people has pointed, I'm totally fine with people going with the more OP things in the game. I only dislike when a guy that like to play that way, just don't recognize it, and go to "casual" or friendly games with the most power lists and just say "Bro! This was a SOFT list! I don't even put here a third Warp Fire Cannon!"



The term "Netlist" comes from gamers who, rather than figure their armies out for themselves or build around a theme simply find the "best" list they can on the interwebz; particularly where only the "best" options are taken, resulting in a list that is very difficult to beat. Generally speaking, that's not the way AoS is designed, since min/maxing isn't as easy to do. 

I'm not suggesting that there aren't powerful combination out there, (and one could certainly build a list using units that don't synergize or buff each other) but by and large units are designed to be taken in tandem, and bonuses are given for taken particular combinations (most often those combinations are quite fluffy.) But because there is so many powerful units available there's very little out there that doesn't have a counter. Hell even the top 10 lists at Adepticon were fairly evenly split across the 4 grand alliances (3 chaos, 3 order, 3 death, and 1 destruction.) 

Ultimately, I stand by original statement. Currently there are no real netlists in AoS. At least not that I've seen. Certainly some things are more challenging than others, and things that are seen more frequently but they aren't really in these are league as the 40k leaf blower list, or the Vampire counts Triple terrorgeist list. Or warriors of Chaos with core chariots, three chimeras and a hellcannon. Even the killiest AoS lists are marshmallows compared to the net lists of 40k or 7th & 8th edition fantasy. 

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With my first pay check as a 15 year old I entered into Warhammer with The Grand Theoginist Volkmar on his War Alter. I went on to buy more cool models like the Volley Gun, Panther Knights and Karen Franz on Griffon. 

It's only in late 2016 that i've become competitive, partially due to a thriving Warhammer scene in Australia combined with my naturally competitive nature. 

I love the underdog story of humans (and it would eventually draw me to the Imperial Guard in 40k) and loved the crazy Germanic & Roman Empire feel of The Empire. At the time I was drawn to it because it was unique to my friend and I loved that the story included alliances with Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Ogres. It reminded me of the Dungeon & Dragons worlds that I played in. 

Today... I'm still true to The Empire, although I'm Free People. My army was from "Aldorf" which held the school of magic for The Empire, which reflects today with a heavy Collegiate Arcane representation in my force.

I look at my lists as a fully optimised force for the humans. I don't draw from mixed Order unless it makes sense narritively. I'd rather lose with "The Empire" than win with a mongrel list of SCE & Dark Aelves just because I can win more. 

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I find that I build lists with power and interactivity in mind.

Similar to Mirage8112's method...I either want a balanced list that gets to compete in all phases of the game, or something that lets me overcome the odds of skipping those phases. (I.e. shooting for a lot of armies). You also get to shift your playstyle to favor your strengths vs. opponent's weaknesses based on the current map objectives and random dice rolls determining how the game plays out.

I'm partially a power gamer, but I personally think of a power gamer as somebody who strictly goes for power over style. 

I.E. Going for 15 Kurnoth + Huricannum + skinks, because it is strong. There is no style there other than wanting an undercosted gunline army.

I think it makes sense to go for something strong within your faction or grand alliance, but there's a certain unwritten point when it just becomes spam instead of two armies with strengths and weaknesses.

I think rather than players frowning upon spam, the rules could discourage it. But it's more likely that a tournament pack would have to do that, as I feel it is unlikely for GW to dissuade people from buying models, even if it's the 6th box of Skyfires or the last set of 30-40 Savage Arrowboys.

I feel like there is a path for list building, and players fall somewhere on this line (with more in-betweens of course.)

Fluff & Aesthetics Only.........Theme & Balanced Power..........Pure Efficiency & Strength

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As a fluff collector/player, my army list is what I've collected for that faction. It varies from sub-faction to sub-faction.

If I were a power-gamer though here might be how I go about it.

- I'd take a list of everything and start cutting things

- Remove everything I'm not going to play for Alliance/Faction reasons

- Denote everything that has an ability that can be used in conjunction, either with the army in general or with a certain other forces. i.e. Death Hag with Witch Aelves

- Denote Battleline, Hero, Behemoth, etc. You may want to do Battleline separately

- For everything, compare the amount of damage they do per point to a 6+, 5+, 4+, 3+ and 2+. Repeat for amount of damage they can take per point, amount of mortal wounds they can take per point. Look at it. All of it. Choose the highest killer of hordes, highest killers of high armor, and most survivable units from regular and mortal wounds. Run again accounting for possible conjunctions.

-Spam those units/models.

Pretty sure this train of thought is why there are lists like 18 Kurnoth Hunters and 18 Tzaangor Skyfires

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I'm all about easy to paint.  Hence Stormcast in gold and Bloodbound in khorne red.

I did pick up the High Aelves portion of the Spire of Dawn and they are still looking at me.  I can tell it was a mistake.

Then it comes down to do I like the models?  If so I play them.

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So far, it has been a matter of liking the models or narrative for me.  For my Ironjawz, I like all the unit options, and so I have been getting all of them for the army.

However, I am a big fan of Chariots and Cavalry, and have a dream for a Slaves to Darkness Knights and Chariots army, and an even bigger dream for an Orruk Piggy Charge! army, full of Gore-gruntas, Boar Boys, and Boar Chariots.  Are they going to be the strongest lists?  Probably not, but I just really, REALLY like Chariots and Cavalry (must be the combination of being a Cowboy and Classical Studies major).  Goofy combos are also fun, especially if it is unusual and unexpected.

I also am thinking about getting a Dispossessed Dwarf army, because I really like Dwarves from Fantasy fiction, but so many people are getting into Kharadron Overlords that I want to wait before getting into them.

So, yeah.  Fluff and models for me, not competitive or crunch at all.

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Bit of a mixture of everything.

For bigger games (2000 points), mainly my list used to be decided by what models I have. I've recently started to get a few more bits assembled, so I now have a bit more choice, and I've been playing a lot of 1000 point games, so actually have to think about a list.

I'll normally try and pick a couple of units that are good statswise, with good synergy, or useful for the specific scenario/enemy, but then I'll make up the rest with stuff I think is cool, or I feel like playing with. I play dwarfs, and often use slayers, because who doesn't want angry gingers with axes wearing only trousers? I also play my hammerers a lot because I love the models, and I like the paint job I've done on them. And big hammers are cool, even if they're not always the best unit for the points. I also only have 10 quarrellers right now, and I play them because I like them, even though they'd be much more effective in a bigger unit.

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To me is always "rule of cool". I´m more a painter/collector than player (mostly because I don´t have a regular oponent within 200 Km). I must like the mini, otherwise it won´t make to my army, ever. No matter their effectiveness.

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I go through various stages in army building:

1. I NEED THESE MODELS TO COMPLETE MY LIFE

2. OOOOH, I'VE ALMOST GOT A PLAYABLE FORCE

3. OH GOD WHAT IS THIS MESS OF A LIST I'VE MADE!?

4. URRGH DO I REALLY NEED TO PAINT A WHOLE LOAD MORE OF THOSE?

5. ADDING THIS NEW UNIT IS GOING TO FIX EVERYTHING

6. IT DIDN'T FIX ANYTHING....

7. OOOOOH, NEW SHINY! 

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I always follow the rule of cool too - I simply select ministures I want to bring this time and that's how my lists are created. Also, following competitive metas entails some kind of expectation that the army will perform very well. In case of rule-of-cool-based armies, there are always things to blame for not winning.

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