Friday, August 6, 2010

No Pants Friday: Net Liszts

Ahhhhh, the sweet smell of the same Franz Liszt joke Dethtron and I keep using that nobody seems to care about....

For those of you fleeing the latest Friday Night Internet Fight, here's some good news - the  refugee camp that is No Pants Friday has plenty of room for you.  So lets begin the orientation and begin your re-adjustment to real life so you can reclaim your place as a productive(ish) member of society.  I may have to let the Surgeon General know about this FNIF stuff and what it's doing to the populace, she* may need to get some warning label's ready.

The start of the process begins.... NOW!

I'm more than willing to help rehabilitate you, but nothing is free.
As previously stated, this week's No Pants Friday is all about net lists.  Or, as I like to think of it, a great way to avoid wasting time and money. 

Lets face facts that you already know - 40k is an enormously expensive hobby to get involved in.  Whether it's in terms of money, time and effort, you're looking at a huge investment to even get started.  But let's address the gorilla in the room - the actual financial cost of getting started.  On many of the big 40k sites, the money thing seems to be taken for granted with rare exception.  Now I'm sure that the guys who are advocating some new list of theirs are full on aware of the cost involved in building, but they're the old hats.  Sticker shock has stopped being an the heart-stopping, pants-crapping issue it is for the new guys.  Plus, its also a constant.  You definitely pay to play.

This is where the importance of the army list comes in.   Its the thing that ties together the money, effort and even the game play aspects of the hobby.  When you want to play a game of 40k or what have you, the first step is the army list.  

If you're a new player, the army list is more often than not, the buy list - you don't have any of the models in question.  As an army is going to cost you between three and eight hundred bux, you better be damn sure you're not wasting your money on a shit list.  Unless you have access to enough stuff to proxy or are willing to settle for VASSAL for an extended period of time, you're gonna be spending at least part of that cash before you even play.

Nothing tanks a player's interest faster than the realization that they just blew a ton of money on an unwinnable list.

So why not a net list for your first run?  I know I've brought this up before, but learning how to play the game is significantly easier if you don't have to dick around with army composition as well.  It's also a more sustainable way to teach and learn.  More players will stick around if they don't shaft themselves right off the bat with an army choice.  Players sticking around generally being considered a 'good thing' for the community - local or global.

 In my own experience, the first time I tried to restart 40k was back in 4th edition with the Dark Angles.  It didn't go well.  I bought 1000 point starter list of my own devising and had even painted half of it.  Three games later and I knew it was utterly useless.  The frustration of that experience - the wasted time and money - directly caused me to drop 40k for a couple of years.  Once I picked up an Eldar list from YTTH# and BAM, good times straight away and then more good times as I began to riff off of the original idea.  I was able to learn the game without learning that I had wasted my money on a boondoggle. 

The most common criticism of net lists/decks/builds that I find is the claim that it's not 'original' enough to simply borrow/steal another player's roster.  The connotation being that people who utilized another person's ideas are somehow less of a human being.  Fuck that.

The whole reason people grab net lists is because they're better than what they can come up with.  The idea being that they would occasionally like to win a game now and then.  It doesn't make them less human.  In fact, I'd say that knowing your limitations and addressing your needs in an active manner makes you better off than the guy who insists that his pile of crap, however 'unique' it is, is the way to be.

I  have seen far too many questionable gaming decisions made in the pursuit of originality.  Whether its 40k, M:TG or even an MMO, there are far too many people out there who are making decisions based solely on not following the pack rather than based on increasing their chances of success**.  Some to the point where its almost like they don't have an interest in winning.  Why the hell are you playing a game involving opponents if you aren't interested in at least trying to win?  It boggles the mind.

My favorite example of this was from when I was playing Warhammer Online.  My guild (having a PvP focus) had been doing a recruiting drive right as we got started and we picked up the worst Chosen player in history.  He was forever using his two handed sword but had specced into both of the shield trees.  Plus, his main attack IN EVERY SITUATION was the PvE attack that built aggro - solo farming, PvP it didn't matter.  He went on and on about not being a cookie cutter build.  Good for him.  He sucked complete ass.  So do most people who refuse to use other people's ideas.

Back to the issue at hand - I've seen the cookie cutter epithet used to refer to lists that are copied from another source as well as to describe unit repetition.  Both are bullshit.  I say build what you like and if it means that you grabbed a list from another player then so be it.  Don't be afraid to go out there and grab a net list. Its perfectly viable means of picking an army.  If it makes the game fun for you, then who the hell is anybody else to tell you differently?

------[Foot Notes]------------------------
*Its things like this that make me pretty optimistic about future of the human race.  3 woman Surgeon generals in 20 years and two of them black?  Fuck yes!  Although it turns out that the surgeon general is ACTUALLY a vice admiral.  This footnote brought to you by the WTF Council of America.

**Oh sure there's the appear of being the guy to find the 'next big thing' and shaking up the meta or what have you.  But I got news for you - very few of us are that guy.

#To his credit, Stelek does advocate strongly for newbies being taught how to play with good lists because of the frustration involved in taking shit advice.


  1. Totally agree. Net lists are a framework, a starting point for somebody to get a leg up so they don't waste a bunch of money on a shitty army.

    Net lists are often simple and repetitive so they're easier to pick up and learn. Once players get familiar with the basics and understand how the list operates, they can move on and create their own variant and go nuts.

  2. Here's a legal analogy for you (because I only think in legal analogies thanks to 3 years of law school): If I have to write a motion to file in court, and 6 months ago I wrote a motion on the same point of law, I'm gonna cut-and-paste like a sumbitch. I'm not gonna reinvent the wheel, as not every attorney is gonna blaze their way up to the supreme court. Getting a list off the interwebs is the same thing. Find something that's proven and works or pay out the ass for a bunch of figures that are the 40k Ford Pitnos. Similarly, a client doesn't want to pay for me to re-tool and overhaul something when a cut-and-paste job would yield the same results.

  3. have to agree wholeheartedly my main man. While I bought a bunch of shit that didn't work together and wasted a lot of money in the process I did get the joy of lots of shopping and having crap models to practice painting while I learned real techniques. anyway, YTTH and to a lesser extend BoLS (after learning how to filter shit out) helped to unfuck me. woo hoo.

    also does underwear still count as "no pants" or should I be fully full on Donald Ducking it right now?

  4. Yeah, I did that once too. Bought a Grand's worth of Imperial Guard back in '98 only to win something like 1 game in 2 years. So I got frustated and quite until '03.

    Tried again, still sucked, quit until '08 when I actually won a few games. Discovered YTTH and got a lot better very quickly.

    I'm not sure, BTW, why the color of our Surgeon General should affect your feelings for humanity. Or is that your own illogical fondness for uniqueness showing though?

  5. its just nice to see educated, not white people in charge of things for once. Race equality = good.