Warmachine Hordes: Tournament List Chicken

  • Posted by
  • at
Crowing Rooster

So MKIII tournament season is in full swing and lists are getting crazy. Today we are talking about list chicken.


So You Decided to Go to a Steamroller?

Answers are hard to come by sometimes but, most factions do have an answer to most tech. But, what if the answer to some tech is not the answer to other tech and actually the direct opposite.

Lets take a look at 2 lists:

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points
(Sloan 1) Captain Kara Sloan [+28]
– Hunter [11]
– Hunter [11]
– Hunter [11]
– Hunter [11]
– Stormwall [39]
– Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator [4]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]
Gun Mage Captain Adept [5]
Gun Mage Captain Adept [5]
Gobber Tinker [2]

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points
(Stryker 3) Lord General Coleman Stryker [+28]
– Ol’ Rowdy [18]
– Sentinel [8]
– Sentinel [8]
– Squire [5]
Sword Knights (max) [13]
Sword Knights (max) [13]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Gobber Tinker [2]

The first list is trying to shoot you to goooo and it is dam good at doing it. Fine, Your first list you have some shield guards and you have some ranged armor buffs maybe like Disco’s Aura for Retribution or Deflection Spells, etc.

The second list is trying to stab you and it hits HARD plus it is running 40+ models so volume of attacks matter. Great, your 2nd list you have some troop clearing spells and some rough terrain AOE’s to slow down the line.

But here in lies the problem:


You have no idea which list your opponent is going to drop – which is the list chicken.

While this concept of 1 list > 1 list is probably the same issue in 40k and they get boned if they pull the counter. At least in Warmachine you don’t have to play 1 list all tournament long, who ever thought that was a good idea?

ADR can help the issue if you are truly worried about it. However, you are limited to the current season of ADR casters and then you can only help a list with so many points.

If you drop your anti guns list the game vs the hard hitting infantry will be a pain, if you drop the anti infantry you get shot off the table. This can leave a sour taste in your mouth at a tournament. You brought the right tools for the job, but since list chicken exists, it can make you use a wrench when you need a screwdriver.



How Do You Fix This?

Overall steamrollers and masters tournaments are pretty fun, and everyone is still living with list chicken regardless.
Maybe a 20point sideboard could be an option? I can fit 3 shieldguards into a list with 20 points as a Cygnar player.
With a 20 point sideboard as a Cryx player you could fit in Saxon Yorick and some Carrion Thralls if your opponent can summon forest or rift rough terrain.


Is It a Problem?

Should there be this Vegas like gamble in warmachine. With all the rules and lists in design space to make a “positive player experience” does this gambling mechanic really belong?


~I don’t know BOLS? What do you think? Please share in the comments below?

  • Nvision

    I like the two-list Steamroller system as it currently is. It forces you to be adaptable. If the pairing you get is filled with hard counters for your own, you need to find alternative means of tackling the board. Whether that be focusing on board control, playing for scenario, or boldly striding in for a hail-mary assassination. It makes for more memorable games because you have to play them differently. It’s a dice-based game, so there’s already inherent gamble there.

    • ZeeLobby

      Agreed. It’s one of my favorite things about WMH.

      • Richard Mitchell

        That is true, when the list fails you, then it forces you to know the rules inside and out and be creative. Ahem, strategy.

  • BlakLanner

    Even with list chicken, I much prefer the current setup instead of only bringing one list and dealing with “oops, we all just happened to bring something your list cant handle today”. The necessary responses to common threats is far more vast than what any list can take.

    That being said, bringing ADR to Steamroller might be a good thing. It gives us some options to customize our forces and, since the casters rotate, it can help keep things fresh. MK3 has made a lot of casters more viable so the issue of all your ADR casters sucking is much less of an issue than it was in MK2.

    This is also why there are multiple ways to win a game. If you can’t kill them, try to stall them or control them and win on scenario. If you can’t do that, go on an assassination run.

    • ZeeLobby

      Not to mention in WMH a hard counter will counter very hard. I mean they aren’t joking when they say that they balanced the game by making everything OP. The good news is that almost every faction has counters for the various builds. You just have to bring a combo that covers a fair amount of them (or the current meta) and hope to dodge those 1 or 2 counters you don’t have an answer for.