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Warmachine & Hordes: List building- From Theory to Practice Part I

4 Minute Read
Oct 16 2010
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Relasine’s list building articles got the gears in my head turning, and so I’ve decided to show how I approach taking a list from the drawing board to refining it on the tabletop.
If you haven’t read Relasine’s list building articles, you should.  I highly reccommend them.  They’ve got great advice for new players, and some good reminders for grizzled vet’s.  I see far too many new players (in every miniatures game!) plop a bunch of unrelated units onto the tabletop with no real clue as to how the units should be used, or how the army is supposed to play.  Against other new players, and with 3+ power armored troops in 40k, you can get away with this….for a little while.  In a game like Warmachine or Hordes, where having internal synergy is absolutely key, this can be a death sentence.  Even if you disagree with some of the details of how he creates a list, seeing how other people approach the subject is still useful since it can give you some ideas of what you can expect to face across the table, especially in a large tournament environment.

In his first article he came up with a Legion of Everblight list with Absylonia as the Warlock.  Now, Relasine is not a Legion player.  I know he owned Legion at one point, but that was years ago back in the heady days of MkI.  Those were the days of Sputnik and Yuri Gegarin.  Back then the world trembled at the sound of our rockets………back on topic.  At one point in the comments, Relasine suggested that I might try the list out myself and see how it performed.  After a lot of thought, I think that’s exactly what I’ll do.  Here’s the list he came up with:
Absylonia, Terror of Everblight (-5pts)
* Nephilim Protector (5pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Angelius (9pts)
* Carnivean (11pts)
Blighted Nyss Archers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Blighted Nyss Archers Officer & Standard (2pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Bog Trog Ambushers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Totem Hunter (3pts)
– 50 Points

Overall, I find I like the list.  It mostly fits in with my playstyle of taking roughly twice the Fury potential of my Warlock.  So if I have a 6 Fury Warlock, Abby in this case, I’d take enough beasts to generate 11-14 Fury at maximum potential.  This list has 13.

I do need to make 1 change- I’ll be switching a maximum unit of Warmongers or Warspears for the Gatormen.  It’s not because I don’t like Gatormen, it’s that I don’t own any, and I don’t like proxying over a long period.  Warmongers perform a similar role of infantry clearers,  but struggle a bit more versus single large targets.  Thanks to their assault ability, Warspears are better versus hard targets, but struggle against infantry.  With the Archers, Bog Trogs, and a spray from the Carnivean already being decent anti-infantry abilities, the Warspears seem like a better fit.  If I ever do get some Gatormen (they’re on the list), I’ll sub those in.  For now, taking Warspears free’s up 1 point I could use to take either another Shepherd, or perhaps the Swamp Gobbers to add a little smoke protection for the army.  I could also upgrade the Carnivean to Typhon…..

The meta-game is fairly relaxed in this area.  There are a lot of newer players still learning the game, so a ‘go-for-the-throat’ list isn’t as necessary to do well.  My opponents are a fairly even mix of Menoth, Retribution, Cryx, and Cygnar, with a little Mercs, Trolls, and Khador thrown in.  With the Trolls faction book coming out, I expect to see an uptick in blue opponents.  The diversity of factions means I need to be prepared for a bit of everything, but I think Relasine’s list fits that billing.

Now, my own style with Legion is to go for the assassination, but that still means needing the capability to deny my opponent a scenario win.  Heavy Warbeasts and multi-wound infantry are good at this, but so are small 2-VP models like the Shredder or Totem Hunter, since they can camp out in terrain on the edge of a control area, and their high defense, multiple wounds, or both make them more difficult to eliminate.

The Carnivean, Angelius, and Warspears can put the hurt on an opposing Heavy Warjack or Warbeast, but two P+S 21 CRA’s from the Archers can also put on some hurt, especially if they ‘tag team’ with the Warspears by having the Archers fire first, and then the Warspears move in to finish the job.  Combined, the two units will do an average of roughly 30pts of damage to an ARM 20 target if the Archers get to shoot twice and the Warspears can all get the charge.  That drops to about 22 points if the Archers only fire once, but 22 is still normally enough to take down multiple systems and neuter most of the counter attack.

One other change I may make is to swap the Nephilim Protector for a Nephilim Soldier.  The Soldier is a little more aggressive, and with the slightly higher damage output, will be a little better able to help take out heavier targets.  If I do this, then using the 1 free point to take the Swamp Gobbers will probably be a necessity to protect Absylonia.

Ok, so I’ve got several ways to take down Heavy Warjacks, several ways of taking out infantry, and a nice mix of shooting and melee capability.  I think it’s time to take this list onto the tables and start the refining process.

So how do you approach listbuilding and the initial testing games on the tabletop? Do you fiddle a lot with overall army composition between games or are you willing to “take your lumps” over several games until you feel you really understand the list – before tuning it?

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