Why is it frowned on to tailor a list against a specific opponent? - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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Default Why is it frowned on to tailor a list against a specific opponent?

Just wondering what you all think about this:

Recently, I was criticized (albeit in an extremely benign way) for trying to tailor lists against certain opponents, and got the impression that this is the prevailing attitude. I was told that I should be building armies capable of fighting "all comers."

I can see no problem with creating a list for all comers, but why wouldn't I adapt my army to suit the situation?

Aspiring Champion: I don't know, m'lord. Last time we fought these guys, we had no way of dealing with all their heavy armor. We have plenty of badass close combatants, but very little in terms of firepower. Perhaps we should revise our strategy?

Chaos Lord: NONSENSE! Send in the cultists! Blood for the blood god!

In case you wonder, I don't intend to "bring to cheese" against any of my friends. However, it could be the difference between being tabled and actually having some options against a certain list. I'm not bringing 3 heldrakes to the table, or even 2.

What do you think? Do most 40k players really frown on this? I think it's rather silly, myself.


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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 05:42 AM
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It's more overt list tailoring that is really disliked. Adjusting a list can be useful. But if you are playing Dark Eldar and your opponent fields a mostly foot army, it would be unfair for all your Dark Lances to suddenly become Disintigrator Cannons. If you face the same person frequently and want to bring something to answer a challenge they have you trigger an arms race of sorts too.

Among my gaming group, we generally make a list without knowing what army our opponents are using. This ensures the list cannot be set to eliminate a specific threat. It makes you learn to work with what you have at hand too.

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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 08:30 AM
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As with everything, I think it has grown from a combination of tournament 'best practice' and indivuals who list build with the intention of winning regardless whether their opponents are having fun.

So long as you are playing each other in a fun, social way it shouldn't be a problem. If you're being consistently tabled and have decided to change your list, that's fine. This should see your opponent change his list in response. That, after all, is the essence of the game. This isn't chess. It's a game set in a well developed background where tactical flexibility is one of the crowning virtues. The other one is having a good time - and not only enjoying playing, but letting the other person enjoy it too.

In summary, list tailoring is part of the game, if your opponent can't deal with it, ask them why they won't change their list too.

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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 10:28 AM
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If you've written a good list then to a certain extent you shouldn't need to tailor it at all, unless you're playing someone with a completely unbalanced list - e.g. all Flyers, foot horde Guard, Green Tide and so on. Whenever I write a list I run through a mental checklist:

- Can this list routinely get First Blood and Linebreaker?
- Can this list deal with multiple AV12 vehicles?
- Can this list deal with Flying MCs/Flyers?
- Can this list deal with at least one horde unit?
- Can this list deal with at least one large Terminator unit?
- Can this list crack AV14 on turn 2?

If the answer to more than one of those questions is "No" then I revise the list. This means that I normally have an answer to most common archetypes I see across from me, with only the rare completely unbalanced army that forces me to rethink how to play against it.

From your first post I assume someone is accusing you of list tailoring because you're getting a single Heldrake? That's not tailoring. That's writing a list which includes the best unit in the codex, and there's nothing wrong with that. The day you take multiples of them though, then your casual opponents might have a basis for complaint...

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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 10:31 AM
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It's sort of unrealistic too. In a real war you may know the type of enemy you face favours mass infantry or heavy armour and may include certain weaponry to counter that but you don't KNOW they will use the tactic they are known for so you will include things to counter anything.

It would be an "all comers army" that leans slightly towards the enemy. Swapping a few weapons out ere and there and maybe swapping a unit is cool and realistic but a total overhaul is a little unfair and not realistic.

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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venomlust View Post
Aspiring Champion: I don't know, m'lord. Last time we fought these guys, we had no way of dealing with all their heavy armor. We have plenty of badass close combatants, but very little in terms of firepower. Perhaps we should revise our strategy?

Chaos Lord: NONSENSE! Send in the cultists! Blood for the blood god!
This made me laugh!

Besides, what is your pal expecting if he always shows up with the same list that tables you? That you just play to be tabled or that you adjust your list to have some chances. Some basic "list tailoring" is just ok. I'd be more pissed off to have a friend who always shows up with competitive tourny level cheese lists rather than some taylored anti-me lists. He knows the way i play, the models i have, so he prepares accordingly. I know the same stuff and do the same! it is just logical. All comers lists are good in tourney scene where you do not know who are you going to face. But, mind you, if you'd be in atourney with your usual gaming group...you'd know the armyes and the game styles of people and you could and would taylor! Don't be cheesy, but don't be stupid either!

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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 12:02 PM
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It's just one of those unspoken rules, I've found it to be prevalent in every gaming circle I've come across. Tailoring to a specific opponent is a nono. Writing a list that fares well against a certain army configuration is okay though.

For example, during 5th edition I favoured xenos lists heavily, primarily tyranid and necron. My preferred list build was always in favour of numbers, so I ran a swarm of gaunts and a horde of necron warriors in each respective list. My opponents knew this, and most of their armies adjusted by carrying more flamer weapons, and two of my marine player opponents went from fielding one vindicator to two.

It gave them a sporting chance against the numbers I fielded without being a complete counter.

So all in all, I would say tailoring to a specific army typeset is okay, tailoring to a specific army list is not.


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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 01:45 PM
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Yeah, if I heard you had gaunts one game so I ditched my las and took all frag missiles, you would be a bit of a dick
But of you were being tabled by fliers, by all means take more AA, your opponents the dick!

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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iraqiel View Post
In summary, list tailoring is part of the game, if your opponent can't deal with it, ask them why they won't change their list too.
I think you're misunderstanding the difference between list "tailoring" and simply adjusting a list.

Tailoring a list would go like this:

I play against you one week SM vs Nids. I notice you run a horde style army, just loaded down with cheap units. I lose the game because I'm not equipped to handle the large number of models due to limited flamers and template guns.

Next week I show up with a new list composed of several Vindicators, all special weapons are flamers and 1 or 2 Land Raider Redeemers lead by Vulkan. I proceed to table you in 2 turns, as I now know your tactics and your list build. You get upset as I've meta gamed the hell out of your list.

Adjusting my list in the same instance would be me showing up to the second game with some flamers on my marines and 1 vindicator.

In short:

Tailoring a list means I built it to be a hard counter to another players list.
Adjusting a list means I saw weaknesses in my list and changed a few models to compensate for it.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 03:29 PM
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This, exactly this!

........
Through temptation and horror
I have held to my faith
As a drowning man grasps at a rock
Judge me not by my weakness
Remember not my sins of late
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