The Necrotechs Workshop V – Broken Wings

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Broken, Beaten, Scared

It has been a long, long time since I’ve had my ass beat as badly as it has been beat while trying to worry through Deneghra 3. Taking my deserved beatings, though, doesn’t feel good, and It’s illuminating two aspects that I don’t find that I am very experienced with: List Pairing and List innovation. I don’t think that either of these are skills I cannot try and bring to wield as a deadly weapon, but it may yet take a number of years.

The Road More Traveled

There is, and probably will continue to be, a very strong subcurrent of the Warmachine culture that abhors the practice of Net Listing; the practice of finding other players lists, likely online, and using them. Often this is used to demean a list or player, insinuating that they lack the originality of playstyle and the ability to play the game well.

It’s not the player that wins, in these discussions, it’s the list. These traditional hard liners would prefer if every player constructs their own lists according to their own desires, and would learn what does and does not work through trial, error, and preference.

I hate this thought process.

Among the more flagrant elitist displays, this argument makes a fair bit of suppositions about the person using these internet lists that are likely not to be true, beyond even the originality argument. Warmachine covers a vast swath of the personality spectrum, and there are many valid reasons to go to the internet first, before trying to figure out a ‘Caster or model on your own.

I don’t want to make this too long, I aught to take some time, someday, to write it all up, but the main argument that I have against the hatred of net listing is that of time investment. There are many players who get to play Warmachine 3-5 times a week or more and who are able to iterate their lists in a day, or even a span of days. These people dedicate days and days to the tweaking of lists and seeing how to best spend those last two points in a list or which beast load out is their favorite for a ‘Lock. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to play more than a single game a week, and when I do, I want it to be a pretty good game that I stand a chance of winning. Often, this means that I don’t want to construct my list based on my whims and fancies as whenever I do that I end up making miserable lists that drive me nuts. Having enough time for only a single game a week means that I will often work backwards from a list I found on the internet to a list I enjoy and feel comfortable with. I’m also bold enough, most times, to contact the person where I found the list and ask them a number of questions about the list and how it works for them, why the chose the models they did, and why they didn’t choose a certain model or two. It’s never any fun to be in the middle of a game and realize that the rule states living enemy models destroyed, not simply models destroyed. Many times I end up with some great insight on how to use the list, where to apply it, and how it works in specific match ups.

I talk about this because this is where I am with Denny 3, and it’s making me extremely frustrated. against my better judgement, I am trying to build a list with her, and it has been difficult. What I have noticed, as I remember the games that I play with her, and even back through the past, is that I don’t particularly have an eye for synergistic abilities and compounding traits.

What I reach for are those models and units that I am familiar with and that I know what job they perform. It’s a simple and fairly basic trait that I’ve developed after formative years with the game, before the world of the internet brought me the fantastic, stress-relieving ability to look at someones list and build upon it in your own way. Upon the shoulders of Giants, as they say.

As a final note to the Net List, I do want to acknowledge that their needs to be acknowledgement that the list isn’t yours. It is disingenuous to try and pass off a list that you tore from the internet as one that you came up with. It might be easier on the ego to tell people that you came up with the exact same list as some Internet Famous Warmachine player, but it’s not doing anyone any favors. We know where your list came from, and that is just fine. Instead of telling us how your thought process is the same as some well known player, tell us what inspired you to play the list, and why you think its fits in your playstyle.

Wine and Cheese

While I can’t say that I’ve been happy with the results, I have been trying to build the Deneghra 3 list on my own for a reason. I want to pair the list with Goreshade 3 and get them to a point that I am very confident with them. I really want them to cover both the common list pairings and generic conceptual lists. This has lead me to try and build lists that do not really compliment her suite of abilities, but lists that accomplish a certain task, but with her at the helm, and that may simply not be a very good way of trying to grind the most out of her abilities. This is, as you may have read earlier, one of the problems I have recently focused on. Last year I was focusing on trying to make the best decisions for the list pair that I was playing, and I think I’ve honed that enough to be confident. Just because you know what both of your lists do, and what their targets are, does not mean that the lists truly compliment each other.

That is going to be something I work on this year – Making sure that the lists I take are ones that make sense when paired together.

  • Moondog

    Regarding “net lists” – In my experience the critique of net lists comes from a similar place as those that intentionally try to win games with models commonly held to be underpowered/bad/whatever. Building a list brick-by-brick and winning with it is a source of pride and satisfaction for that sort of player and anything that circumvents or compromises that is anathema.

    Not saying that is a bad thing; just an observation. What is most definitely a bad thing is hoisting your stance upon someone else especially if it is uninvited. Screw those people.

    As you said, if you aren’t claiming a list is your idea when it wasn’t, who are you hurting? The days of us copious free gaming time grow less and less frequent as we get older. Better to maximize the time you get to play than throw away a couple of hours on a bum list idea that you just wanted to try out. Leave that to the young ‘uns. 😉

    Regarding list pairing – The problem you mention about list pairing is one of the things that usually ends up frustrating me about WM/H. Given various meta concerns, you can’t necessarily play the two/three lists you want to play; you need to make sure they’re covering the appropriate bases (and/or not redundant).

    You sort of need to find one ‘caster you want to play, figure out what they’re good into (or at least, not terrible into) and then pair them with someone complimentary. But not someone too good, or else you might not end up ever playing the list you wanted to test out in the first place. 🙂

    • Tionas

      Two weeks later: I agree. I was, at one time, the type of player that enjoyed stamping together a list. After 10 years playing the game though, I’ve not only outgrown it, I don’t even look fondly upon that time. I understand that its generally the first step in a Wargaming career, but I think its a foolhardy endeavor, especially now in the age of the internet.

      List pairing is a massive problem for me.Last year at this time I was working on picking the right matchups and, for the most part, I’ve gotten a pretty solid concept down on how I want to match against factions, casters, and even list concepts.

      Cryx has that exact problem with Asphyxious 2. His weaknesses are small, so the temptation to play him into a lot of games in a tournament is strong. using him once and getting him out of the way to allow you to just play the other caster you brought feels really weak, because so many times, He’d just be the better caster. But you’re not getting any better with a caster if you don’t use them!

      • Moondog

        I think there is a sort of “teach a person to fish” aspect to the net list thing that makes sense: there is a definite value in having a deep understanding of why a list is good. I can hand someone a list that is fairly well battle tested and they can win games, but if they don’t internalize what makes that list strong/work/good some match ups/bad in others then all I’ve really done is just give them fish. The process of hashing out what makes a good list is a very valuable learning process in general, and circumventing that as a new WM/H player is doing yourself a disservice in the long run.

        We, however, are a couple of old WM/H salts that have families and stuff to do, so I don’t see it as nearly as much of an issue. 🙂

        Complete aside: there are remarkable parallels between this discussion and what I’m experiencing with SF5. Never would have thought there was as much conceptual cross over, but there you go. Warmachine: Tactics should have been a fighting game. 😛

        I’ve had the same thing happen with Khador as you have with Cryx. I ended up feeling much, much more comfortable with the Sorscha2 list I put together as part of my list pairing, which meant that I didn’t end up running Butcher3 nearly as often as I thought I would (or probably should have, for learning purposes).

        With those kinds of ‘casters chambered up it almost makes sense to have your second list be a hard skew that answers the few things you’re worried about with your “all comers” ready list. That is really meta dependent however, and not at all fun from a learning perspective (since you’re going to play the “better” list 90% of the time and not touch the ‘caster/’lock you probably wanted to work with more).

        WM is hard. 🙂